10 Ways to Convert Your Blog Visitors Into Dedicated Readers
This is a guest post from Oleg Mokhov. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Do you want your blog to grow, increase your readership and subscriber numbers, have your content constantly spread, and make more money? Then you need to convert your blog visitors into dedicated readers.
Visitors are those that stop by your blog, skim through an article or two, and then leave – never to return. Boo. They’re of no use.
But dedicated readers regularly read your blog, spread your articles, leave high-quality comments, and buy your products. Yay! More of these, please.
Your mission is to convert your blog visitors into dedicated readers.
What good is 1,000 visitors a day if most of them don’t return? Traffic figures alone might make you feel good, but it doesn’t get you any desired results.
It’s all about quality over quantity. 100 dedicated readers beats out 1,000 passer-by visitors.
Here are 10 ways to convert your blog visitors into dedicated readers:
1. Be Yourself
This is slap-in-the-forehead common sense. But some bloggers try to be someone they’re not just because that type of personality is successful.
Just be yourself. Not only is it easy when you don’t have to force an unnatural persona, but you’ll have a 100% genuine and desirable voice.
On my blog Lifebeat, I’m completely myself. And it’s so easy not having to worry about projecting a certain image. I just write how I talk. Very relaxed and informal. I keep it simple and to-the-point. I inject jokes and music references. I constantly share personal examples. And since I’m a huge anime fan, all my articles have anime images rather than Flickr or iStock Photo ones.
Are you funny? Be funny. Serious? Be serious. Angry? Be angry.
Just be yourself.
2. Put the Reader Experience First
What makes you return to a restaurant? Chances are it’s not just the food but the experience.
Great articles alone aren’t enough. You also need a great reader experience. If you want visitors to convert into dedicated readers, you need a website people want to regularly return to.
That means don’t do anything on your blog that’ll compromise the reader experience. Translation: don’t annoy your visitors.
Common offenders: too many popups, ads, social bookmarking buttons, and subscribe links.
Just look at some of the most successful blogs: Daily Blog Tips, Problogger, Copyblogger and so on. No popups, and very light ads, social bookmarking buttons, and subscribe links.
I designed Lifebeat to put the reader experience first. Very clean, very simple, and the content is at the forefront. There’s no popups, no ads, no anything that would detract from enjoying reading one of my articles.
If someone really wants to subscribe or share your article on Twitter, they’ll do it. Don’t annoy and turn them away, losing what could’ve become a dedicated reader.
3. Focus on Benefits to the Reader, Not Your Features
If you want dedicated readers, your blog should focus on what the benefit is to the visitor. Not just your thoughts and ideas but value to a visitor.
Answer the “so what” question for new visitors: what’s in it for them? Why should they care?
Instead of putting the spotlight on what features my blog has, I focus on the benefit to visitors: helping you maximize your life. Ideas and strategies to help you do more of what you love and are passionate about. Not only do I state it in the About page and anywhere else, but that’s the focus I have for each article I write: how can I help and provide value to you, the reader.
Visitors care what you can do for them (benefits), not what thoughts and ideas you have (features). Focus on benefits, not features.
4. Write for Humans, Not Search Engines
Who reads your blog? People. So write for them.
Some bloggers make the mistake of writing articles solely based on highly-searched keywords. That results in nothing-new, unremarkable traffic bait. They might get search engine traffic, but very few visitors will be converted into readers.
The best search engine optimization is amazing content. Not website tweaks. Not a WordPress plugin. Not meta whozawhutsit. But amazing content.
If people like your articles, they’ll share it on social media, blogs, email, and even word of mouth. You’ll get higher-quality links, too, since it’s interested people linking to you. And, as Daniel here or Darren of Problogger and Brian of Copyblogger will tell you, high-quality backlinks are the ultimate SEO.
Now, optimizing for search engines can help with search traffic. And if you find a keyword phrase that happens to fit what you were going to write about anyway, go ahead and use it.
I don’t consider searched keywords when writing an article. Only once I have an idea down, I’d use the Google keywords tool to see if there’s a wording for the topic that people use most often. If not, I don’t worry about it at all. I never once let keywords dictate what I’ll write.
But put your message first – don’t compromise it. Make search engine considerations a distant second to writing what you have to say.
Write for people first, optimize for search engine traffic later.
5. Be Consistent
Choose a posting schedule and stick to it no matter what. Build a cache of articles or schedule your posts if needed.
I clearly state that I post a new article on Lifebeat every Monday and Thursday. I’ve stuck to that schedule ever since I started and haven’t missed a day yet.
Consistent readers need consistent updates to return to. Provide it for them.
They’ll know when to expect a new article, just like how people regularly check in to their favorite webcomics and news sites on certain days.
6. Make It Easy for Visitors to Subscribe
The more you have to work to get something, the less likely you’ll take the time to get it. Right? Don’t even try to deny it. That’s why iTunes is killing it in music sales: it couldn’t be easier to find and download a tune.
Be like iTunes on your blog. Make it clear and simple for visitors to be able to subscribe via email and RSS feed. Remove as many doors for your visitors as possible.
A visitor who subscribes is much more likely to convert into a dedicated reader. This is because your visitors can read your latest articles from the convenience of their email inbox or RSS feed reader. Your stuff is sent to them, so even after they forget about your blog they’ll still get your new articles, increasing the chance of them reading regularly (and maybe even sharing or buying your stuff).
Putting an RSS and mail icon in a sidebar isn’t enough. Make the subscribe option on your blog as non-cryptic and easy as possible.
Only a small percentage of your visitors will actually know what what an RSS or mail icon mean. Spell it out for the rest of your visitors, including why they should subscribe (it saves them time and energy because new content is delivered directly to them).
And people love free stuff, so don’t forget to mention that visitors can subscribe for free. Magazine subscriptions still have some thinking that subscribing to anything means paying.
I have a simple design on Lifebeat, so the subscribe buttons are in plain sight and clearly marked. I also explain in a short sentence what it means to subscribe and why a visitor should do it… and of course I mention that it’s free.
7. Be Remarkable
Be unique. Be great. Amplify yourself.
Don’t try to be the best in some field where you could never dominate. Instead, do what Seth Godin says: create your own category and dominate it. Analyze and figure out your unique traits, then crank them up to a 10.
People aren’t going to be interested in yet another productivity, personal finance, time management, self improvement, or whatever blog that says nothing new. Use #3 (Be Yourself) and amplify your unique traits.
I’m a writer, electronic musician, and adventurer who’s following his unconventional passion in life via non-conforming means. I never followed societal rules and found my own way. I also have child-like curiosity, not limiting myself to how I “should” act – an eternal kid in an adult’s world. I combine all of those traits and more into what I hope is an always-improving remarkable voice that can offer something interesting, something fresh, something game-changing and disruptive.
Would you return to a blog that bores you or doesn’t excite you? Of course not. So be interesting to read, and visitors will start converting into dedicated readers.
8. Talk With Your Visitors
It really is that simple: talk with your visitors. Reply to their comments and emails, send thank-you notes if they leave a comment or subscribe, or whatever else.
Use what works best for you (and doesn’t compromise your personal style – remember, be yourself). Email, comments, Twitter, whatever. But use at least one method of communication, so that visitors can form a relationship with you and feel like they’re reading from someone they know (or know that they can contact, at least).
I’ve never been comfortable on social networks and instant messenger, but blog comments and email have been natural for me. So I focus on posting and responding to comments and sending and replying to emails as my forms of communication with my visitors and readers. I also try to regularly send out thank-you emails.
People regularly return to something that they’ve formed a relationship or connection with. Think about it: you care way more about what your friends are doing than strangers.
9. Be Unconventional
Say something new that gets people thinking, motivated, and/or take action.
If you piss them off, that’s great too – there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and controversy gets visitors interested (just ask Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, or Steve Pavlina).
I’m constantly pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and become even less self-conscious by writing about unconventional topics (or at least an unconventional perspective on something). Heck, even I would get bored of my own writing if I played it safe.
If your article is no different from the latest blurbs that day, your visitors will treat it at such: a quick skim-through and then move on.
Get visitors thinking and talking and you increase the chance of them coming back for more (and maybe even bringing some friends along).
10. Have Fun
A blog isn’t a cubicle job, so just have fun.
People want to enjoy what they consume. If you have fun writing an article, chances are people will have fun reading it. And people tend to return and consume more of what’s fun and enjoyable.
I have so much fun writing and making music on Lifebeat it should be illegal. Like, I’ll be writing an article or creating a new tune or mix, and an alarm will sound. Woo woo woo! It’s the fun alarm: someone’s having way too much fun.
Have fun, and your blog will be fun – and visitors will start converting into dedicated readers.
Maximize Your Blog Visitors
Maximize your blog visitors by converting them into dedicated readers using these 10 ways.
Your blog to grow, your readership and subscriber numbers will increase, your content will be constantly spread, and you’ll make more money from more products sold. Now who doesn’t want all that?
Have these 10 ways helped you convert your blog visitors into dedicated readers? What other ways have worked for you?
Oleg Mokhov is a writer, musician, and adventurer who explores unconventional life-maximizing ideas and makes energizing electronic dance music at Lifebeat. You can read more about maximizing your own life in his Life Maximization Guide.
27 Responses to “10 Ways to Convert Your Blog Visitors Into Dedicated Readers”
HP van Duuren
‘Those are great points to consider
when writing new posts….,’
Some of the things that I do on my Blog(s) to make my posts ‘Sticky’ (and turning them into dedicated readers) is to provide the Guests on my blog with interesting posts that can help solve problems, and to help them to get right to the ‘core’ of my Blog(s) I have a special ‘Most Popular’-widget that directly show’s them what’s popular.
Besides my own posts, on some of my Blogs you can also find compelling daily ‘third party’ items like for example on my Writing Blog ‘Writing Tip of the Day’and ‘Joke of the Day’ on my Games Blog.
An other thing to make my posts more ‘readable’ is to give my posts interesting eye catching sub-headings that make readers curious about the rest of the post. At the end of each post you will also find a ‘Other Related Posts’ header with a few links to other related posts.
Those are just a few of the techniques to make it
more fun to Stick arround on my Blog(s).
So I hopefully I did hand you a few new ideas and approaches that have been helpful, and that you liked those ideas enough to actually Bookmark my Main Blog so that I can see you arrond on
my blog(s) or better to see you ‘Stick arround’
on my Blog(s) with dedication 🙂
All the Best,
To your Happy – Blogging – Inspiration,
well great that’s what the most important thing for any blogger. Unless you have dedicated i.e regular visitors you would not get any clicks for your adds nor you can sell any product from your blog. Convincing visitors is the most important aspect in this competitive world where there are so many competitors who writes the same content as we. 🙂
Great tips, I too have an issues with the timing of my posts. I wish I could do it more consistently as well. By previous posters, I would say this may be a common problem though. That is some concilation. Again great tips and keep them coming!
I love the Be Remarkable bit.
I actually use that as a life philosophy and just wanted to tell you it resonated with me.
great tips..being ones self is very important..people hate fake ….writing the truth and saying it freely also works
Write for humans is probably the best piece of advice I get out of this post. If you don’t write for humans, the same human will rarely come back to your site twice. Spam looks like spam.
Thanks for your understanding of the things that matter for one to become a successful blogger.This article has indeed refreshed and fortified my understanding.Truly there is a place for everyone in the school of success, if we would do what is necessary to succeed. Our choice to do what necessary is the proof of our choice to succeed.
I’m not a “techie” type gal and I get inundated with what I’ll call “well-intended” advice and instruction to use all the software, tricks, and tactics to increase the readership on my blog.
Your post has reinforced my gut level instinct to forget about all the fancy traffic-generating maneuvers. You’re absolutely correct in your perspective of the uselessness of 1000 visitors to your blog who will never return again. Who needs THAT?!
Thank you for your off-the-cuff and transparent viewpoint on blogging!
I also think that writing posts about upcoming projects and articles can attract our readers and make them want to come back frequently
Fabulous! Thank you for this post! It is so important for me to stay on track with being myself, staying true to my vision, following the goals I have set, and having fun no matter what! I am so thankful for posts like this to remind us that we ARE on the right track and that numbers aren’t always the true measurement of whether we are doing it right or not.
Much of it common sense too, something most of us lack as soon as we get on the internet.
So easy to be yourself, you’ve known you all your life.
I never have done keyword research when writing, despite the fact er are always told about keyword density. The, type pages always seemd so spammy anyway. You need a post that reads good and revolves around a topic not just 2 or 3 words.
Will certainly be implementing these strategies.
Thanks for sharing
Nice list of tips.
I’ll definitely be implementing these strategies.
I’ve noticed as mentioned that I do get traffic but no interaction from my visitors. That need to change 😉
Great post to remind me and the other readers that you don’t need any slick tricks or whatnot to get a very popular blog. If you’re having fun writing your blog, your readers will be able to see that and keep coming back for more.
One way I constantly try to improve my blog is to analyze new blogs to gauge my first impressions on their setups and to analyze my favorite blogs to see what elements cause me to I like the blog.
Looking forward for more posts from you.
Great post! I was just talking to a friend about the benefits of having dedicated readers as opposed to one-time visitors. I didn’t have a clearly defined way to turn one into the other until I read this. Thanks!
Wow. I got inspired. And now I realized I did a lot of mistakes.
I love no. 5 and 8. Really important ways.
I guess some webmasters forgot the importance of building relationship with the readers and that’s why a big percentaage of the readers are not coming back.
Being consistent on what to do is the most important thing that you have.
The point I liked is ‘Write for readers and not for search engines’. And that’s a true point! I’ve seen some blogs (or websites) which gives fake titles and they content doesn’t offer what their title says. But the thing is that such sites have top ranks in search engines!!.
-Roshan Ahmed 🙂
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Wow all points are top notch and described beautifully.
I must say that we all know these basic steps but these kind of posts always encourage us to do more and more better.
John Paul Aguiar
Great tips.. I think being yourself, and consistent and reliable is the best way to returning readers.
Talking with not at your readers works too and be funny.. people luv to laugh and if you can share quality info and make them laugh then that’s gold.
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Yes and for that they will feel comfortable in your blog.
This will be like there is someone who always welcome them whenever they visit your blog.
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All of these are great! As a blogger our goal is to have loyal readers. Thanks for this list!
Chat with you later…
Dev | Technshare
Awesome Post. These are some brilliant tips. I strongly like the point 1 and 3. I love this point bud 🙂 “Focus on Benefits to the Reader, Not Your Features”.
Anyways, other tips are good as well. Nice Post.
Thanks for sharing this great post. !
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I think point no 5 is also vital.
And if you notice than point no 5 is the point which is common in every successful blogger.
What do you think ?
Yeah Yeah Yeah!! Point no. 5 is too important and which many bloggers (or at least me) fails to do. I though of having many posts and schedule it to stick to the time table, but it didn’t worked that way. I’ll try to get into track anyway! 😉
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This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing and you should stick to it.
Take my advice just do it for one month and you will see the awesome result.
- Roshan Ahmed
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Being real is what seems to work best for me. I’m sociable and sort of goofy by nature, so blogging and talking back and forth is a lot of fun for me.
The comment section on my blog has turned into a fun place, and that’s an added bonus for readers. By reading the comments, they have access to information and tips from many different perspectives.
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Yes sometime in comments section we can read more indepth analysis about the post.
Because in that part most of the visitors share their experience, queries and views.
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