4 Powerful Ways Increase Blog Readership and Keep Those Visitors Coming
If there’s one thing that new bloggers struggle with when starting a blog, it’s gaining more readers. With millions of blogs on the web, how in the world can you get people to notice your existence? And more importantly, how do get them to actually come back?
If you’re asking yourself these same questions (and if you’re a blogger, then you probably are) take note of the pointers below. These are some tried and tested ways that have proven to increase readership and engagement in blogs. They’ll even include real website examples that you can visit and check out for yourself:
1. Provide real value – This is the most effective way to gain loyal readers that would spread the word about your site without any bribes or motivation other than the fact that you provide excellent stuff. And no, there’s really no way around this one.
Whatever your niche is, chance are there’s already a blog in the same space that’s offering great content, so the content quality bar is set pretty high no matter what industry you’re in. That’s why producing awesome content should be your top priority.
Aim for 5-star posts. You know, the ones that readers would find EXTREMLEY useful. Provide articles that are so rich in value that people would hit the share button without thinking twice. Don’t just offer good reads. Offer GREAT reads. Share knowledge that people would gladly pay for (but you’re giving away for free.)
Also keep in mind that matter how fancy your site is, readers are not going to care unless they see real value in your content. Remember that there a ton of other blogs that a user can visit at any given time. Why should they pick yours? You need to give your readers good reasons to keep coming back, and valuable content is the best way to go.
Social Media Examiner is a great example of a blog that provides tremendous value. Every single post on this blog is chock-full of actionable advice and content that readers can use in their social media campaigns. Most posts contain screen shots, step-by-step instructions, and thought-provoking insights that can really get readers to think and take action. It’s no wonder every single post Social Media Examiner publishers gets thousands of shares and dozens of comments.
2. Guest post on other websites – Providing content on other popular websites is a great way to tap into a new audience and get additional traffic. Do note that guest posting is only effective when a) You’re submitting posts to websites in YOUR industry; and b) If the websites are of high quality. Don’t waste your time contributing posts to low quality or spammy websites as this could do more harm than good.
Also avoid the “set it and forget it” kind of approach in guest posting. When submitting guest posts, be sure to actively share it across your social networks and monitor comments so that you can respond. It’s also recommended that you create solid connections with the bloggers that you submit guest posts for. Don’t just hand off a post then leave without looking back. Remember to keep in touch. This will make it easier for you to reach out to them again in the future. Plus, doing this allows you to widen your network and open yourself up to more opportunities.
Follow Danny Iny’s lead. Dubbed the “Freddy Kreuger of Blogging”, Danny was able to build a strong online presence from scratch by posting target and high-quality guest posts on numerous websites.
3. Keep your site simple (design-wise) – Your website must be easy on the eyes. Remember the famous KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) formula? The same thing applies to your website. While there may be a sea of graphics, gizmos, or plugins that you can add to your site, resist the urge to do so, and just stick with making the content as readable as possible.
Stick to the basic menus and don’t include anything that’s not absolutely necessary. Sure it can be tempting to emulate what the big blogs are doing with their numerous buttons, links, or menus, but again, resist the urge to do so. Prominent blog can do it because they really have a lot of things going on. But for a site that’s just starting out in the blogosphere, simplicity should be the way to go.
Take a leaf out of Leo Babauta’s book. As the founder of Zen Habits, Leo writes a lot about simplicity and minimalism, and his blog practices exactly what he preaches. No banners on the sidebar, no fancy graphics screaming “Look at me!” Just a white background, grey text, and a menu at the bottom. That’s it. Yet it has over a million readers and continues to be one of the most visited blogs on the web.
4. Be targeted and don’t try to please everyone – In the words of Herbert Bayard Swope, "I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time." This quote should apply to your blog as well.
Don’t let your blog be a Jack of All Trades yet a master of none. Zero in on a particular niche (the more specific you are, the better) and cater to that audience, and that audience only. Do your research and strive to know everything there is to know about this target audience of yours and tailor your content accordingly.
Don’t aim to be the next Yahoo! or Huffington Post that manages to cover several various topics at once. Instead, strive for a more targeted market. Look at sites such as Under30CEO (a site specifically for young entrepreneurs), Fitnessista. (a fitness blog just for women), or The BBQ Grail (a site for BBQ lovers). Sure, these blogs may look like they have absolutely nothing in common on the surface, but they do have one strong common denominator: These sites know exactly who their target audience is, and they produce content specifically for that specific audience, and no one else.
Image credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com on Flickr