You’ve got your blog, you’re writing content consistently and you’re starting to get some decent traffic.
So what now? That’s the million dollar question I’ve been asking myself the last couple of days.
Who doesn’t want more traffic, a more substantial blogging community, and yes, more sales?
I’ve let things slip a little over the last few weeks. It was inevitable because I was trying to do too many things at once.
I’m back on track now and have been thinking about ways I can encourage people to stay a little longer and be more engaged with my blog.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
Pretty important really. Is it easy for visitors to get around your site?
I think keeping things simple helps. There’s nothing worse than going to a blog and being inundated with a hundred different ways of getting around it. It causes confusion.
It may seem obvious but making the titles of your navigation menu describe exactly what you have on each page is essential. So, if it’s an archive page. Call it an archive page!
You don’t want to go to the opposite extreme though and only have a couple of pages on your navigation menu as personally, I think that’s confusing too.
I’ve been to a few blogs recently that only have a couple of pages in their navigation menu; one was just a home page and an about me page.
So, how do I get around your website then? Help me out and I’m more likely to stick around.
I’ve recently added a couple of buttons to my sidebar: Resources and Start Here. After reading my blog, I’m hoping they point my readers in those pages’ direction in particular.
Ever been to a website that just blows your mind but for all the wrong reasons? Psychedelic colours, too many colours, not enough colours.
I’m not an expert on what the best colour for your blog is but I know if you’ve got loads of bright, vivid colours on your website you’re going to give me a headache and I won’t stick around too long.
Less is more, I think. Shades of the same colour work pretty well and lots of white space makes things easier to read.
I use a contrasting colour for the areas of the page I really want people to notice, such as my opt-in form.
Header & Tagline
I wish I were a graphic designer sometimes. I created my header logo and for now it does the job but I know it could be better.
When I started my blog, I didn’t have a header logo at all. I’m sure many people start out that way.
It’s important to get one though. It’s part of your brand and will help people remember your website.
The tagline is also important so people can get a sense of what your blog is about.
I recently changed my tagline as I felt the one I was using stifled my writing and it’s subject matter.
It was only a subtle change and you may not have even noticed but just by changing that one thing, it felt liberating!
Headlines & Sub Headlines
Not necessarily something to keep your visitors on your blog but something to get them there in the first place.
Attention-grabbing headlines are something that’s going to get people to your blog. At least try to make the headline as related to your post as you can though!
If you don’t, people won’t stick around longer than to read the first paragraph.
The other thing that a lot of readers do, me included, is skim a blog post to see what it’s all about to decide if it’s worth reading.
You can be helpful to your readers by including sub headlines. It also helps to break your post up into sections and makes it easier to read.
Images can really help break up text and I think using an image will grab your readers’ attention.
I’ve not tried it much until today but try to think out of the box with your images.
An image of someone pointing to your headline or what you want to emphasise draws your reader’s eyes in that direction.
Unless there’s a specific need to, don’t write in a formal way, if you want your visitors to stick around for any length of time.
I make my posts conversational, like a was talking to someone and telling them about a particular subject.
Try not to use jargon as well as this can really cause confusion and if you do use it, explain exactly what it means.
If you don’t people will just end up confused and not come back.
At the end of your posts, do you tell people what to do next? Or do you just leave them to their own devices and they go somewhere else?
I generally always ask my visitors to share my post and sometimes ask them, if they liked the post, to sign up to my mailing list.
The other thing I have on my blog is nRelate which amongst other things has a related posts plugin.
I have it set up to show thumbnails at the end of my posts suggesting a few other related posts that visitors should read.
Original and Unique Content
OK. So pretty much every possible subject has already been covered a thousand times over in blogs throughout the world but you still have to be original and put forward some unique content.
Here’s where your personality comes. You’re unique, so put some of yourself into your blogging. Tell interesting stories that have a message behind them.
Check out what other people are writing about and write about the same thing but in your own words and from your perspective.
That’s still original and unique content because no-one else knows what you’re thinking about, only you unless you put it down on your blog.
Ask A Question
I’ve not really used this much but I think it’s an excellent way to engage your audience.
I don’t mean a questionnaire, I mean writing a post asking people what their opinion is on a particular subject.
Or you could ask them what you should write about next or even ask them for help on something or if you can help them.
I’ve only done once and it really got people making comments and engaging on my blog.
Community of Peers
Now this is the best thing about blogging. Getting to know other bloggers and creating a community spirit.
There’s a loyal following of regular commenters on my blog and I’d like to thank those people particularly.
I really appreciate them coming along and taking time out of their busy lives to come over and leave a comment.
If you have this on your blog, or are striving to get it, make sure that you treat this group of people right, as they’re the most important visitors around; VIPs!
Always reciprocate and visit their blogs too and leave useful comments and remember to share their stuff on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.
And that’s it. That’s my thoughts on encouraging people to stay that bit longer. It’s not an exhaustive list but it’s what I’ve come up with so far.
I want to open the floor to you guys now. Tell me what you think.
Is there anything to add? Am I talking nonsense? What do you think are the most important ways to encourage people to stay on your blog?
Please keep the conversation alive by sharing this on your favourite social media sites and leaving a comment below.
P.S.Why not also sign up to receive email updates from me whilst you’re at it ?