Increasing traffic, it’s a quandary faced by anyone who runs a blog. The only thing harder than acquiring new readers is converting them into regular visitors. Follow these 21 tips to get new readers and keep them coming back for more.
1. Follow a Posting Schedule
One of the first things people look at when they visit a blog for the first time is the publish date of recent posts. If the last post was two months ago red flags go up and readers won’t bother checking back for new content. Even if your budget limits you to one post a week or twice a month, keep a regular schedule to show that you’re committed to the content.
2. Respond to Comments
New readers want to know that you listen to comments and aren’t just churning out posts. By responding to comments you start a discussion and make them feel appreciated. This shows that you’re connected to your blog and what people say on it. Plus, it’s a great way to build new relationships.
3. Keep Content Relevant to Your Target Audience
As you continue to build your credibility in your niche, keep content relevant to your readers. Your returning fans will stop coming back if they think they have to dig through pages of articles that don’t relate to them. While writing off-topic once might drive new readers to your blog, they won’t come back when they see that the coverage they came for was a one time thing. For example: someone who runs a knitting blog and writes an article on cats will bring cat-lovers to her blog, but they won’t stay to learn about different types of yarn.
4. Set Up an Easy-to-Use Comments Section
Readers don’t want to go through a 10 step process to comment on your article. If people enjoyed filling out lengthy forms, they’d spend more time at the DMV. Not only does a complex comment process dissuade readers from talking about your post, it’s what they remember your blog by if they return. By using a streamlined commenting process, new readers can feel like their voice is heard without getting aggravated.
5. Brand Your Content
If you’re starting a new blog, your posts should take on some resemblance of unity. In the same way that it’s important to stay on a posting schedule to show readers that you’re reliable, publishing consistent content that’s on-brand and in a similarly branded format will show that you’re an authority and know what you’re doing.
6. Start a Series
This is a helpful way to bring new readers back to your blog at least one more time or keep first timers clicking through your internal links. Be sure to note in the first part of your series when the next part will be, “Come back next week to read Part 2…” and link back to previous parts as your series progresses, “As we talked about last week in Part 1…” Readers will want to follow the series or click-back to catch up on what they missed.
7. Send Out a Newsletter
Weekly newsletters bring the content straight to the inboxes of subscribers. Rather than hoping fans will actively seek out your website, newsletters give a one-click option straight to your best content from the week. They’re great reminders about how awesome your blog is.
8. Create Monthly Wrap-ups
Not all blogs have the resources to run a weekly newsletter, so an alternative is to create a monthly wrap-up. Instead of creating a whole new post, wrap-ups take the “best of” from previous blog content from that month. These posts are great for sharing on social channels as they show new readers all the great content you produce throughout the moth.
9. Set Up an RSS Feed
RSS feeds bring your content to readers in the same way that creating a newsletter does. Fans who want to return regularly can add your feed to their Feedlys or Google Readers and skim through it at their leisure. Creating an RSS feed can also help with branding as fans add your site to categories like “content marketing,” “paleo diet blogs,” or whatever you write about.
10. Optimize for SEO
Those three little letters can taunt blog managers who think SEO is only for specialists that spend all day manipulating Google — and maybe fighting penguins. But there are many quick ways to help your blog’s search optimization that will drive new readers to your page in spades.
11. Promote Your Blog on Social Channels
Go where your fans are. By promoting your blog on Twitter or LinkedIn and using appropriate hashtags, new fans can discover your blog. They can also follow you or like you on Facebook to keep getting updates on your posts. Social media brings in new fans and keeps old ones.
12. Suggest Similar Articles
New readers who find your blog because of your fancy new SEO tactics or social media promotions want to know what kind of content you produce and if it’s their cup of tea. Creating a section on your blog with “You May Also Like” or some variation of that phrase with other articles on the topic will let new readers know what your blog is about and keep them clicking around your site.
13. Edit, Edit, Edit
New readers that visit your blog go through a mental checklist when deciding if it’s worth their time to read and trust your content. We’ve already seen two of the ways they do this by checking the most recent posting date and looking to see if the content is uniform. The next way to make a good impression is to go through your posts with a fine tooth comb to make sure they’re devoid of errors. Articles riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes are a huge turn off for new readers.
14. Vary Your Posts
This may seem counter-intuitive to the previous advice to keep content branded and to a schedule, but varying your posts by length or even type of content will draw more traffic and keep your current readers interested. Why not mix things up with a video or two every month? Or very the delivery dates of longer articles with shorter, easier to skim posts. You’re still drawing the same target market with your content, but pleasing more people by diversifying the how they view it.
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15. Invite Your Peers to Guest Post
Ask other authorities in your industry to guest post for your blog. They’ll enjoy the exposure and promote your blog through their social channels. Word of mouth is still one of the most reliable marketing tactics, and a ringing endorsement from one of your peers in the form of guest posting will go a long way to building readership.
16. Guest Post for Your Peers’ Blogs
Guest Posting is a two-way street. Offer to create content for others in your industry to promote yourself and your blog. You’re putting your name directly in front of the audience you’re trying to reach. Don’t make new readers come to you, go to them.
17. Comment on the Blogs of Others
If you just read the last two tips and don’t think you’re close enough with your peers to build a guest posting relationship, start by commenting on their blogs. They’ll be flattered that you read their work and you’ll start forming a professional relationship through discussing a topic both of you are interested in.
18. Make One Day of the Week Special
Give readers a reason to come back on a specific day. If you post weekly, make sure it goes on the same day each week. If you post daily, choose one day of the week for something different. Whether it’s a weekly wrap-up, a Wednesday Infographic or a fun Friday post, changing up the format helps increase traffic for that day. For example, on CopyPressed, Dave Snyder shares his thoughts on Snyde Comments every Thursday and we post a weekly comic on Fridays.
19. Link Back to Other Posts
Do you see what I did in number 18? I linked back to Snyde Comments and the weekly comic. Those are two other posts that you can click to that will keep you on this blog longer. Toss in a few relevant links in your post and to create suggestions for what fans should read next.
20. But Don’t Link too Much!
Once you get into a really good groove linking around your website, it can be tempting to link back to anything relevant to your topic whenever you see a keyword. Try to limit the amount of hyperlinks to only the most relevant articles. Too many links and new readers will think you’re trying to sell them something.
21. Write Honest Headlines
Your new readers will visit your blog because they’re interested in your topic and stay because the content is relevant. You don’t need to draw them in with headlines that oversell or have nothing to do with your topic. Tell readers exactly what the content is about so they know what they’re getting into. The goal isn’t just to attract new readers, it’s to attract the right readers that want to keep coming back.