It’s hard enough to entice new readers to visit your blog; it’s even more difficult to keep them coming back for more! Writing valuable and interesting content is definitely the most important component to running a successful blog, but there are other factors to consider as well.
Here are seven vital tips to incorporate into your blog to ensure that you’ll have first-time readers subscribing and adding your blog to their RSS feeds.
1. Make it Easy to Join
Unless you have some truly captivating and salacious content on your blog, readers will not spend much time searching for a way to subscribe. It absolutely must be incredibly easy for the blog visitor to find the subscription sign-up. Have the button follow the content as the reader scrolls down the page, and make it stand out.
It helps to be clear about what requesting the subscription entails and what they can expect from you. Do you promise to post on a time schedule? Will you offer any special perks to subscribers?
2. Offer RSS
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, blasts your content to your subscribers in a constant feed along with postings from their other subscribed sites. It is likely that many of your consistent readers will utilize the RSS feature. RSS pulls information in which they have noted previous interest to one central feed and allows them to read their subscriptions much more quickly than having to surf from blog to blog. Your best repeat visitors will likely appreciate your blog’s RSS capability. It is true that RSS readers do not earn you clicks to your page, but you will certainly gain loyal readership.
3. Request Comments
Comment sections available under each blog post are a fantastic way to build a strong base of repeat readers. Allowing your readers to comment builds a two-way conversation and, therefore, a relationship. While readers may love to hear what you have to say, they love even more the ability to respond to your thoughts and have their own opinions heard.
Comment forums also give you the opportunity to hear what your readers have to say and gather insight about what your subscribers enjoy reading. Posting more content in the future aimed to better suit your audience will build faithful readers in no time. There is no need to worry about the content of your readers’ comments; most blog-hosts allow you to preview submitted comments for your approval before they actually go live.
4. Be Extremely Visible
Install a plug-in or widget that allows readers to contact you directly. You can list your email address right on the page, but this may result in large amounts of spam. Alternatively, you can find plug-ins that will disguise your email address but still route messages directly to you. Encourage readers to contact you via Google chat, Skype, or the web chat method of your preference. Beyond building a relationship with your readers, you may find all of your hard work even more rewarding when you have more contact with the readers of your work.
Social media now plays a huge part in drawing in and retaining readers for any blog. Install button links to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the endless list of other social media sites. Before intertwining your blog with your own personal sites, remember to consider what you say and the photos you post; they will become available to a much greater pool of viewers. It may not be appropriate for the readers of your blog on financial advice to see those embarrassing photos of you doing the chicken dance at that wedding reception last weekend. This is why having separate business pages is a real advantage.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Ask!
It never hurts to blatantly ask for readers to follow your blog. At the bottom of your postings, or if you’re able to pull off a pro maneuver and can work a phrase right into the body, ask something like: “If you find my blog helpful, interesting, or dare I say both, please subscribe to my daily updated blog. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook to stay up to date on events throughout the day.” Adding a sentence or two along those lines will only help your chances of a one-time reader becoming a dedicated follower.
6. Ask Questions and Take Polls
Building an interactive blog keeps readers coming back for more. Put your comment forums under each blog posting to real use by asking questions related to your article. Start or finish your posts with questions such as, “what are your thoughts?” or “who do you think is right in this argument?”
Another effective way to incite a response from your readers is to integrate a poll into your post. Ask a question after your article with a few different, predetermined answers and watch the opinions roll in. Your readers still have the opportunity to interact with your site much more quickly and easily than if they were to post a written comment in the comment forum.
7. Give to Get
It’s a pretty simple concept–people like to get free stuff. Request visitors to submit the best photo or post the best response to a specific topic to enter a contest for a related prize. This all depends upon your budget of course, but sometimes a witty T-shirt or a promise to have their submission posted on your blog is enough to entice readers to submit.
Getting a blog off the ground can be a slow and painful process, that’s for sure. Stick with it and you’ll build a strong base of return readers in no time. Keep your content fresh, be consistent, and remember the seven key strategies listed above to build that fan base even more quickly.
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.