How to Ask Your Blog Readers a Question

Today’s episode is about how to ask your blog readers a question. It might be a scary idea at first, but it’s quick and easy to do and can be a very powerful way to grow your blog.

In this Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). Today we talk about:

  • Ten benefits of asking your readers questions
  • 12 tips and ideas for asking your readers questions on your blog
  • Examples of question blog posts
  • How to get responses to question posts, even when you don’t think you have enough readers

Further Reading:

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Welcome to the ProBlogger podcast episode 25 and day 25 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, where I’m giving you a different challenge every day for a month to help you to build some blogging habits that will help to grow your blog. Today’s challenge is one that I use regularly in my own blogs and I see many successful bloggers doing. Today, you’re going to write a post that asks your readers a question. It could actually be a really simple post for you to write, but it can build a lot of engagement with your readers. Today, I’m going to share a whole heap of reasons why you might want to ask questions, but also give you a series of tips on asking questions that are relevant and helpful, to build that engagement with your readers.

You can find today’s show notes at, where I would love to also hear how you found today’s challenge and see a link to the post that you wrote.

Hi, this is Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to day 25 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. I hope you’ve been enjoying the challenges so far. We’re actually in the final week. Today’s one is one that you could repeat over time. In fact, many of the challenges we’ve done in previous days could be something that you build into your monthly workflow, but this is definitely one that I would encourage you to use on a regular basis. It’s a writing challenge, but it’s one that doesn’t really have to take a whole heap of time today. In fact, it might be the shortest post you’ve ever written because all I’m asking you to do today is to ask your readers a question in a blog post. Your blog post might be just a question or it might be part of a blog post.

There are many benefits of asking your readers questions. Firstly, it gives your readers a sense of community, participation, and belonging. There’s nothing like coming to a blog where readers are interacting with one another. It gives a sense of social proof and it makes your readers feel like they belong, that they own the blog in some sense. It also increases your blog’s stickiness. People are much more likely to come back to the blog tomorrow and in an ongoing way if they have contributed something to it. Questions are also relatively easy to ask, these posts are fairly effortless to write, although they can take some moderating and you do want to put some time into thinking carefully about the questions you’re asking.

Question posts are also really helpful for you to learn about your readers and to gauge where they’re at. They can also fuel post ideas for you as you say how your readers interact with your question, and they can also open up opportunities for follow up posts. In fact, sometimes when I’ve started a series of posts with a question, that’s worked quite well. Well-worded questions also can rank really well in search engines. That’s what people tend to type into search engines in many cases, questions. If you pick that actual question that they’re typing in, you’ve got a good chance of ranking for that.

Question posts can be good for generating incoming links to your blog as other people pick up the conversations. In fact, if you ask a question and then say something like, “Feel free to answer this question on your own blog.” You might actually find that it generates some incoming links. They also give you a real means of entering into a conversation with bloggers and other readers of your blog. This is great in the early days of your blog, in particular, as you’re getting to know your readers. And the answers that you get in question sometimes can act as actual blog posts, as I mentioned in yesterday or the day before’s challenge, using reader’s comments as blog posts are something that makes your readers feel a little special, but it also can be really insightful for other readers.

Some bloggers don’t ask questions on their blogs because they’re scared that nobody will answer the questions. This is certainly a challenge that will face some of you today if you don’t have many readers, but I’ve got some tips on how to get the conversation going even if you don’t have many readers below. But build questions on a regular basis and will overtime bring a lot of these benefits that I’ve talked about.

Your challenge is to ask a question in the blog post. I’ve got a few tips for you as well. These come out of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook.

Firstly, you want to keep your question really relevant to your blog’s topic. You don’t want to just ask a question that really has no bearing on the rest of what your blog’s about.

Secondly, ask a question that builds upon a previous post. You don’t have to do this, but this is something that I found that works really well.  I give the example in the workbook of a post that I wrote on Digital Photography School where I talked about the pros and cons of shooting in raw versus JPEG, which is a choice that most photographers have to make. The post went quite well; it was quite popular. I followed it up a few days later with a post simply asking my readers what format they shot in, and then I’ll link back to that post. By asking this question, it got a conversation going, but it also drove readers back to that previous post. If you can keep a conversation going on something that has been working on your blog already, that can build some momentum on your blog.

Ask questions that are answerable. This might sound a little obvious and silly, but sometimes the questions I see bloggers asking are so hard to answer that people don’t actually answer them. 

This is related to it, the number four is, ask questions that readers will want to know the answer to. Ask about a hot topic on which readers will value the insight of other community members.

Number five is to suggest possible answers to your readers. I find if you ask a question and you give some options at the end of the post, it can help to start the conversation. There are times, though, where you won’t want to suggest the answers because you may actually change the direction of the discussion, so use that one in moderation.

Number six is to generate some debate by asking an either-or question. This is a technique that works really well on social media where I find if you give people two choices to choose from, would you do this or would you do that? These questions are particularly easy to answer because people just need to write a single word to respond. This is good particularly in the early days of your blog where you might not have a whole heap of readers and you’re still in some ways training your readers to be interactive with you.

This is why the raw versus JPEG question that I mentioned earlier is a good approach. It generated a heap of discussion because people just had to write raw or JPEG as the answer. Some people chose to go a little bit deeper and talk about why, but for many people, I’m sure that was their first comment on my blog and hopefully, it showed them that commenting wasn’t too hard or scary, and hopefully, they came back and shared more comments in the future.

Another thing that you can do in the early days of your blog just to get people interacting is to try using a poll. Polls are great because they’re anonymous, people don’t have to reveal who they are and they can participate by simply answering your question with a click by choosing an option.

Another way to get a conversation going is to choose a more controversial question. This might be something that you do use in moderation or that some of you probably like to do it a lot. Just be aware that readers could get a little fired up if you choose something that’s a really hot, controversial question. You want to moderate those questions as well.

Being willing to share your own answer is also another tip that I share in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook. It’s really important to do this because if you’re asking questions, you need to show your readers that you’re willing to answer them, too.

But you might want to hold off a little bit. If you’re pretty confident that you’re going to get some people answering, you may not want to be the first person to share your answers. Hold off a little bit, see what other people say first so you don’t sway the conversation, but be ready to add your opinion. The other option here is you might want to follow up on your question by giving your answers to the next post.

Do you have a frequently asked question that you’re unable to answer? This is another place that you can ask a question to your readers. I’m going to show you an example of that in a few moments.

The second last tip is to ask more personal yet on-topic questions. Instead of just asking people what they think about a question, ask them what they do in their own lives. For example, I want to ask my readers to tell me what they’re favorite lens was at Digital Photography School. It was answered by over 200 people and at the time it was my most commented-upon post. So, don’t just write theoretical questions. Ask questions that people have some sort of personal experience with.

The last tip I’ll give you is to follow up on your questions with summaries of the answers that people provide. This is my favorite type of post. When I ask a question in one post, I take the answers and I put the best ones into a second post. This gives you more content, but it also shows your readers that you value their answers. It creates a really interesting second post.

For example, when I ask my readers about their favorite lenses, I then followed up with a second post which was a summary of the most popular lenses. This second post went viral. I think it was because a lot of my readers wanted to see where they fit into the rest of the community. It was a really interesting exercise.

I want to give you just a few examples of questions to help you to think through what type of post to write today. These all come from Digital Photography School. One question I’ll link to this in the show notes. That one question I asked was which digital camera manufacturer is best? This is a question that caused a real debate among my readers. There’s no clear cut single answer to this. It’s an opinion-type post. It was a little bit controversial in some ways, but it provided me with a perfect opportunity to do a second post where I provided the results of the answers that people gave and I was able to summarize those results in a post called The Best Digital Camera Manufacturers. I was able to show my readers what they thought as a community.

That one was a little bit controversial, but it works for us because when people buy a digital camera, they invest a lot of money into that camera, so they want to back that up and to prove themselves. It’s just a good question to ask when someone’s invested heavily in something.

The second example I will give you is one where I gave a bit of an incentive for people to answer. It’s a post called Win a Prize by Telling Us About Your Digital Camera. In this instance, offered a prize to get people to answer. This was (again) in the very early days of my blog when I didn’t have a whole heap of readers, so offering some incentive for people to comment was a good thing to do to get people used to commenting.

The third one is one similar to the example I gave earlier in the podcast, it’s called What Digital Camera Do You Use? Again, it’s asking readers to share their own experiences about the gear that they use and it gave me really useful information about what my readers told me about how much they spend on their cameras, what level they might be at, but it also gave me great content for a follow-up post.

Another question I asked was what shooting mode do you shoot in most of the time? Again, this gave me an opportunity to link back to a previous post that I’d written about shooting modes on cameras and it gave me an opportunity again to follow it up with another post that summarized the responses.

This next one is one that I actually didn’t know the answer to myself. I mentioned this earlier. It’s a post titled, How Would You Photograph a Funeral? This question actually came in for one of my readers. It stumped me, I didn’t know how to answer it. I’d never photographed a funeral. I had a few ideas about how I might approach that, but I decided to ask the reader the question to the community. It stimulated the most amazing discussion as readers really came around the reader who is about to do this particular thing. It really served that reader and since other people will find that post and find it really helpful the responses. I’ve done this type of what I would call a community workshop a number of times.

Another reader once asked me, “How should I photograph my grandma who’s in palliative care? She’s in her last days and my family wants me to photograph her.” Again, this is something I didn’t know how to answer so I asked it to my community, and it led to a really interesting and helpful discussion. These questions you don’t know the answer to show that you are willing to learn from your readers as well.

The last example that I’ll give you—this is one that we’ve asked quite a few times—is simply to share your best shot ever, your best photo ever. This post simply asked our readers to share a link to their best ever photo. It gave our readers a chance to show off their work a little and to have a moment in the limelight. Again, it also opens up opportunities to do summary posts and to show off your readers in that way. I’ve done this same type of post on ProBlogger quite a few times. Show Us Your Latest blog post or the best post of the last month.

There’s a whole heap of questions and obviously these all relate to photography, but I’m sure as I’m sharing these examples you can think of questions that you could ask your readers as well. Of course, you don’t just have to ask questions on your blog. You can also do the same thing on Twitter and Facebook. In fact, many of you probably do this on a daily basis. But the challenge today is to create a post on your blog that asks a question.

For some of you, you don’t feel you have enough readers, I’ve already given you a few tips on this. Start with a poll, ask a question that has only two answers, but another couple of things that I did in the early days on my own blog, I always answered my own question in the comments. Instead of writing my answer in the blog post itself, sometimes I would be the first commenter and I would just say something like, “I’m going to kick off the discussion with my answer.” That increased that comment count from zero to one, but it also showed my readers I was willing to have a discussion with them.

The second thing I used to do occasionally in the early days was just to email a few friends or other bloggers and say, “I’d love to hear your response to this question.” That might sound a little fake, but it got the conversation going and it made my one answer look a little less lonely, and many times it stimulated other people to join the conversation, too.

I love asking questions on my blog and I hope that you build this challenge into your weekly or monthly blogging routine. It takes your blog from being something where you broadcast to the world and start to have conversations with the world, and I think it brings a lot of life to your blog.

I’ll talk to you tomorrow on day 26 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode on asking your readers questions as I mentioned at the start of this episode. You can go to and share the link to the post that you’ve written, asking your readers a question. I would love to see what action you’ve taken today based upon this particular challenge. Also in show notes, you can get a 50% discount for 31 Days to Build a Better Blog the Workbook which gives you an extra 7 days of challenges to do on your blog.

Also, as we’re approaching the end of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Series, if you like to go to and scroll to the bottom of the page, there’s a contact form there and I would love to hear your suggestions for topics for future episodes. Tell us what you’ve liked about this podcast, but also give us any feedback or suggestions because now, we’re beginning to think beyond this first 31 days. We’ll base what we do upon your feedback.

I look forward to chatting with you tomorrow on day 26 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, where we’re going to get off our blog again, focus on building relationships with another blogger, and in the process learn something about blogging ourselves. I’ll chat with you then.

How did you go with today’s challenge?

How did you ask your readers a question? What did you do to get responses?

I’d love to hear your feedback on this approach to paying asking readers questions in the comments below.

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