Monday, September 04, 2006

How to convert blog traffic into loyal readers

After reading an inspiring article on ClickZ regarding effective landing pages, I've decided to look at ways to improve conversions on blogs. By conversions, I don't mean clicking on the "order now" button as this isn't very common on blogs. What I mean by conversions is making it easy to subscribe to your RSS feed, bookmarking your posts, and/or leaving comments. In this way, businesses can help generate leads using blogs and you can increase your blog traffic

Many people find your blog daily either from comments you may have left on other blogs, links from other websites, random searches etc... The question is, how do you keep this traffic and convert these people into regular readers?

I must admit that I'm still tweaking my blog daily to improve my conversion rate but here is what I've found from my own experiences.

10 ways to increase blog conversions

  • Write compelling and informative content. If people happen to find your blog, ensure that that it's worth reading and is on topic. If you write crappy content, don't expect people to browse your blog or return to it in the future.
  • Keep your content focused. You should have a blog description. This could be a one-liner or an objective, make sure that your content keeps to this objective (I sometimes admittedly don't do this)

  • On every page, make sure that people can easily subscribe to your blog. This means placing the subscribe RSS feed icon at the top of your blog. By the way, if you're looking for some creative feed icons, check out my feed icon library. In addition, provide multiple ways to subscribe which may mean by email as well.

  • Make browsing your blog easy. Blogger Beta 2.0 has added a category feature which makes this really easy. The trick is to use this! People that land on my blog can easily check out my other content. I've also added my most popular posts which demonstrates some of my best (or worst work). I also plan to add an additional column - my favourite posts. Also, don't forget to add links to your other blog posts. Notice how I did this in the last point. Lastly, adding an archive feature is also a good idea as it allows users to browse your posts chronologically.

  • Add credibility to your blog. Look for blog awards and apply for them. Notice how I've added my S.O.B. award so that it's front and centre. Have look at what blog awards are out there by going to Google and searching for them. You never know what you'll find.

  • Make adding comments easy. Ask yourself - do you need to make fields mandatory when adding comments? Don't place barriers in the way of allowing people to add comments. Also, allow people to read the post as they leave the comment. This may make it easier.

  • Allow people to track their comments. Blogger Beta 2.0 actually creates a feed of the blog comments that makes this quite easy. If you're not able to set this up, at least add Cocomment to your blog to allow people to track their conversations. I use this and find it fairly effective.

  • Add a link back to your home page. Sound obvious? It took Google a few weeks to add this in for Blogger Beta 2.0. Remember that people will be landing on various pages of your blog. Make it easier to come back

  • Have an "About the author" area that is front and centre. Blogging is all about being personal. Add a picture and a short paragraph about who you are and where your from to your blog to show that you are a human just like your readers are. In addition, listing your credentials can add credibility to your blog focus. I work for Eloqua which is a leader in marketing automation software and I'm on the front lines of e-marketing on a daily basis. I have a good idea as to what I'm blogging about. I've even found people that relate to my background which includes technology, business and history (yes, history).

  • Show how much fun you are having. I personally love to blog as it allows me to organize all of the ideas that I'm generating regarding business blogging, search marketing, and e-mail marketing. While this is great, also show the fun you're having. This is typically done by certain posts. Here are some of my own examples: I made it to one month, Paris Hilton plays games using ebay, Google and myspace, Blogs let the rest of us take back the night etc... etc... If you're having fun out there with your blog it should be fairly obvious.
I hope that these tips will improve your blog conversions and even increase your blog traffic. If you have any additional methods to improve blog conversions, please leave me a note.

Chad H.


2 comments:

Yvonne said...

I think it's OK for some bloggers to go off-topic every once in a while. I like seeing my favourite blogs mix things up a little bit :)

Great post Chad!

Chad H said...

Completely agree Yvonne! That is what "Anything Goes" is all about. Thanks for stopping by.

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