When I started blogging I used to measure my success in page views. As I watched my daily readers creep up from 100, to 200, and so on, I thought that I was on the road to blogging success. However, the problem was that I?d been overlooking some very important numbers.
For starters, I didn?t have many subscribers. And even if I had a lot of page views, the bounce rate was over 80%. Even if people were stopping by my blog, they weren?t sticking around or sharing my posts. In fact, I had precious few inbound links from authoritative blogs. If I wanted to grow my blog and my online business, I had to revolutionize my approach to converting one time readers into loyal readers and fans.
Here are five ways I turned my readers into fans:
Create a Blog Series
The traffic on my blog didn?t really start to grow until I started posting regularly in order to attract more readers and to capture more search engine traffic. The more I posted?at least five days per week?the more I increased my impact with readers. While plenty of bloggers struggle to think of a topic, a series made it easier to create momentum for my writing and kept readers coming back.
Caroline Johnson shares at Daily SEO Tip, ?Nothing attracts people more than curiosity. Take some story or topic and write a succession of posts about it, with every one being only a part of the whole and suggesting that something really interesting awaits the readers in the next one and, finally, in the last post of the cycle.?
Use Social Proof to Validate a Blog
When I started bringing in more readers, I realized that I needed to do a better job of presenting myself and my authority to speak to my topic. I began by creating an about page with several endorsements from industry leaders. I also added social media sharing buttons that displayed the number of times my posts had been shared.
Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot suggests considering five different kinds of social proof for a blog:
1. Expert Social Proof
2. Celebrity Social Proof
3. User Social Proof
4. Wisdom of the Crowds Social Proof
5. Wisdom of Your Friends Social Proof:
I didn?t incorporate all of these on my own site, but as I integrated more social media sharing buttons, I saw my page views and subscriptions steadily increase each week.
Don?t Be Shy About a Call to Action
Once I figured out how to both attract more readers and keep them around with effective social proof indicators such as endorsements, subscriber counts, and social media counts, the next step was to convince them to either subscribe to my blog or my e-newsletter.
I?ll get into the e-newsletter subscribers a bit more in the next point, but when it comes to attracting more subscribers through RSS or email, the most important thing is to ask readers to subscribe in a location where they were most likely to look. It really can be that simple!
Pamela also suggests creating a call to action for both specific landing pages and for the bottom of a blog post. She writes, ?Once you?ve designed some CTAs for your landing page, be more ?in your face? about converting your blog visitors into subscribers by placing these subscription CTAs directly within each of your blog articles. Don?t worry ? they don?t have to replace your articles? lead-gen CTAs; just insert your blog subscription CTA directly below the one you?re using for lead generation.?
Delight Readers with a Problem-Solving Give Away
It was not enough to just offer readers a free download in order to entice them to sign up for my e-newsletter. Free does not lead to more conversions or higher engagement with readers. I?ve tried it and I?ve seen my friends try it, and I assure you, it doesn?t work for building a direct marketing e-mail subscriber list.
I had to delight my readers with a giveaway that was so surprising and useful, they couldn?t resist subscribing to my email newsletter list in order to get it. Dave Navarro writes for ProBlogger, ?Giving away a product-quality resource is an incredible list-building tool because it takes people by surprise ? they?re not used to getting something truly substantial for free. And workbooks are particularly powerful because they contain the promise of some fairly immediate results ? when the reader gets through it, they?ll either have a particular problem solved or they?ll have more information around a topic that?s important to them.?
In order to create an attractive eBook to give away, I studied which posts attracted the more comments, shares, and page views. I then wrote an eBook related to some of those posts that specifically addressed a problem commonly faced by these readers.
Highlight Services Above the Fold
When readers stopped by my blog, I wanted to highlight my blog content that I?d labored over. However, those readers of my blog didn?t know anything else about my business or the products I wanted them to buy?or I lost sales to shopping cart abandonment. I?d failed to use my blog to highlight my core business!
Kristi Hines takes a look at CopyBlogger, one of the leading blogs for both writing advice and lead conversion tips. She notes that ?Before the content, there is a section that draws attention to Copyblogger?s WordPress solutions for design, hosting, SEO, and conversions.?
When I added a navigation bar link highlighting my business and a sidebar ad with a listing of my services, I began to see a steady uptick in emails from readers who dropped by for a blog post but stayed to hire me.
Building a blog takes a lot of time, but converting readers into fans isn?t too hard to do. If you plan ahead for your posts, use some social tools, prompt your readers to take action, and highlight your best work, you?ll be able to increase your reader engagement like I did.
This guest post contributed by Lior Levin. Lior works for a company who develops apps for Passbook that are related to credit monitoring charges. Lior also advises to a css company working with webmasters all over the world.