Picture"Sky Diver Parachute Jumping" : Image by Horia Varlan
My latest Decoded Science article, "Risk Assessment for Skydiving versus Grocery Shopping", is a direct response to a reader's question.

Decoded Science offers a service called "Ask the Expert" so people can request answers on any topic of their choice. All the articles written in response are included in a category of that same name.

While I'm not an expert on safety, whether for parachute jumping or buying groceries, I do know how to dig out statistics and make a case for one probability to be higher or lower than another.

In essence, the "Ask the Expert" feature asks readers the question, "What topic do you want us to cover? What question do you want us to answer"?

A Canadian Connection for Risks in Grocery Shopping

My shamelessly self-promoting blog article in DeHaan Services, "How Canadians Might Risk Skydiving versus Buying Groceries", runs a similar calculation using some made-in-Canada statistics.

The really remarkable comparison is the overall rate of accidental deaths between the two countries!

One Writing Tip: Ask Questions to Drive Engagement

One important metric for the success of an online magazine or blog is "reader engagement". Do your readers ask questions or leave comments? Those people are "engaged".

Advertisers favour sites and pages with engaged readers, because it's clear that those people care about the contents.

As well, engaged readers are likely to return to the site and read the next article. They may even return to see whether their questions or comments have elicited replies.

So ask questions in your articles. Go beyond "agree or disagree" polls; try "what next" or "could you do better"?

What other generic questions should you use to engage your readers?

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    Mike DeHaan

    Mike DeHaan began writing professionally in 2010 as the sole proprietor of DeHaan Services.To see this information with the best background image, please refer to "About.Me",  befriend me at Facebook, or circle me at Google+.


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    Flexible Sidebar

    Weebly's "Blog Author" widget from the Blog Sidebar's Elements menu provides a lot of flexibility. You can change both the title and the text.

    It has all the capabilities for text editing that you find in most Weebly text widgets.

    At this point, I don't see a way to code any HTML in this widget.

    The "Picture" does what you expect: it displays an image of your choice. I just added my home-made picture of "Copyright DeHaan Services 2013" as the top element in this sidebar on Jan. 22, 2013.

    The "Search Box" is a "Pro" feature; if you're paying for Weebly hosting, it may be worthwhile.

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