1. A question. You’ve probably read this hint before, but it actually works. When you ask a question at the end of your posts, you encourage your readers to leave a comment. Does every post need to end with a question? Of course not. But if you’re looking for comments, it can certainly help. Sure, you may feel a bit foolish if you ask a question at the end of your post and no one answers. (This has happened to me a few dozen times.) But if you’re patient, the answers may come weeks later. Even if they don’t, keep trying.
2. A Twitter tweet button. Simply critical. Twitter is a mecca for content sharing. Make it easy for followers to tweet your content by placing a tweet button at the end of your post. You can install a plug-in like Tweetmeme (for WordPress, TypePad and Blogger) or the official Twitter button. I personally use blog post tweet buttons multiple times per day—I tend to share content more readily when the button is right there in front of me. Hint: Press the tweet button yourself to see what it does. You may need to adjust the controls if the tweet doesn’t include your blog title or doesn’t include your twitter handle. (I learned that one the hard way.)
3. A Facebook “Like” button. Depending on your audience, a “Like” button could be another way for your posts to get exposure. The Like button made a huge difference on my company blog, which is an informational blog for parents. Parents love information, and they love Facebook. Put the two together, and that’s a nice chunk of Likes for the post. You can grab the Like button code from Facebook or use a WordPress plug-in.
4. A list of related posts. This sounds labor intensive, but it’s actually simple to do with a plug-in. Try the Yet Another Related Posts plug-in for WordPress or the more visually pleasing Link Within plug-in (although I couldn’t get Link Within to work on this blog and never heard back from their support team). [UPDATE: As of fall 2011, I’ve been using the nRelate Related Content plug-in, which I highly recommend. See it in action below.] These plug-ins use algorithms to come up with related posts by matching titles, tags and categories. Once again, related post links is a feature I use on other blogs all the time. It encourages readers to explore your blog rather than navigate away after reading a single post (FYI–Google calls that your “bounce rate”).
(Okay, so here goes… I’m ending with a QUESTION. Hopefully you will post an ANSWER in the comments. Hint, hint.)
What “end of post” plug-ins, buttons or other finishing touches have you found to be successful?