Simple Ways to Attract Readers to Your Blog
Create a unique identity so that you make an impression in the minds of your readers. Followers of your blog need to know that they’re going to get what they’re looking for. They should be aware of your posting schedule. You might not necessarily publish a post every day—one every two days is fine—but stick to the schedule you set. Plan ahead for the month and week, and stick to your plan no matter what (though emergencies are, of course, an exception). Being irregular and erratic will put readers off, and that won’t do any good for your reputation.
“Content is king,” but what visitor will return if the whole package isn’t pleasing to the eye? People want what they want when they’re browsing the Internet; you have micro-seconds to catch their attention while they’re scanning or they’ll simply move on. If you want to convert these browsers into readers, organize your website in such a way that spending time on it is worth their precious time.
The typical Internet user basically scans web pages in search of their desired information. The best way to catch their attention is to use a lot of negative (or white) space in your layout. The more cluttered the information, the more cumbersome scanning will be. White space, when used well, makes important content stand out, in turn making it easy for readers to absorb. Keep your paragraphs short and crisp, and use one-liners.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Get a professional to do the job of optimization for you. I have always been in favor of hiring experts for this purpose because it definitely made a difference for me. The old school of thought is concerned about use of keywords, which people use to search for the information they want, but many more factors affect SEO ranking: navigational ease, loading time, page clutter, links back to your home page (so that the user doesn’t have to press the “Back” button to get there). Optimization is hugely for bringing traffic.
Address Book: A Major Tool
Don’t forget the importance of the email addresses in your address book, as well as the addresses of all the domains where you have ads. Just one email sent to everyone can attract hundreds of readers to your latest blog posts. Just make sure to link to your website in your signature. Also, link directly to your blog posts. You might not have realized the amount of traffic you can generate with just one email. Don’t rush it, though; plan out the email and draft it carefully. You’re sending it out to everyone you’ve ever been in contact with, professionally and personally, so it’s going to affect your daily business interactions.
Spread the Link Love
Put your link everywhere you can. Spread as much link love as possible. Get in touch with other bloggers and convince them to link to you on their blog posts. If appropriate, invite them to write a guest post on your own blog, because a share of their traffic will automatically be generated for you. Read and regularly contribute to popular blogs, and include a link to your blog in your comments. Contact other bloggers to see whether they’d accept a guest post from you. Spreading link love and becoming acquainted with other bloggers will give you exposure among the dedicated readers in your niche.
Strong, Compelling Headlines
Again, “content is king,” but give it a chance to at least be read—that is possible only if you can compel the scanners to become readers. The headline plays perhaps the most important role in grabbing readers. As they say, “the first impression is the last impression,” so write compelling and challenging headlines that keep the visitor on the page.
Be Creative, and Use Your Tools
Creativity is one of the most effective resources at your disposal. Use what you have. Typography, for example: a variety of font sizes and bullet points can make content pleasing to the eye. Avoid monotony.
Promotion and marketing is of the utmost importance. Spread the word on your social networks, and link to your website. Take advantage of free online promotional websites, and get listed in web directories. Make ties with famous bloggers, and exchange links with them for mutual benefit. Start an online contest and offer a prize to those who comment frequently or regularly on your blog. Submit your posts to StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and Blogosphere News.
It’s a known fact that information is absorbed more easily when it’s presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The visual experience becomes more pronounced when content is presented alongside images that assist the reader to process the information. Graphic design has been in increasing demand for years now, for good reason: clear comprehensible content is prized. Make your blog posts intriguing to readers by creatively selecting images and captions.
Know Your Audience
Be mindful of your target audience while writing blog posts. Plan your article and visualize the content before you begin. Blog posts are readable if they make connections with readers, so don’t let your desire to impress them take over your writing. The title and flow of information should be seamless; that is, the post shouldn’t allow readers to divert their attention, and that is possible only when the blogger knows their audience.
Paid-to-Read Campaigns and Pay-per-Click Marketing
Running paid-to-read (PTR) campaigns and using pay-per-click (PPC) marketing are two effective methods of attracting readers. Most websites that run such programs present the available data on the home page of their website. The readers directed to your website through such campaigns are not targeted traffic, but campaign marketing can still be worthwhile. Deals are available that quote prices as low as $0.01 per click. Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing are the two major players in the segment.
Interact With Readers
Make sure your readers get to know you as a personality. Become involved with them actively by interacting in the comments section. Be somewhat informal. If readers feel like they’re a part of something, they’ll give you some word-of-mouth publicity. You can increase visitors while maintaining trust with regulars… right? Ask questions, and respond to your readers’ questions and emails. Let them get to know you as much as you can.
Keep an eye on other blogs in your niche. Read them and leave comments regularly. Get to know the bloggers who write about your interests and your area of focus. You’ll start to see benefits as you make a name and identity for yourself.
Don’t Complicate Things
Write well and write clearly. Use simple words and short sentences and paragraphs to make the experience enjoyable for the reader. At no point can you afford to sound too technical. Readers will get to the end of an article if it’s comprehensible. Avoid jargon and confusing your readers.
Find Your Niche
I am a strong believer that if you don’t know what you’re writing about, then you won’t be taken seriously. Find your niche; be unique and become an expert on your topic. You are more enthusiastic when you write about what you know, rather than about something arbitrary—and readers will notice the enthusiasm. The better you are at blogging, obviously, the more readers you’ll attract. Eventually people will see you as an authority.
Most readers will come to your blog looking for solutions to their problems. Readers won’t regularly visit a blog that is of no practical value to them. Do some research; learn what’s in demand and what’s being sought out in your niche. That’s not as difficult as it might sound, what with the availability of search engines like Google and Yahoo. You’ll be in a better position to provide for readers when you know what they want.
Providing true and accurate information on your blog is a non-negotiable. I feel (unlike many) that sharing the very best information with your readers is also important, even if it comes from other sources. Direct your readers to the most relevant links, and you’ll build trust—and that is key to your reputation. It’s reassuring for readers to know that you’ll provide the answers they seek, whether you generate that content or merely direct them to it.
Be Socially Active
Attend social events, family functions, trade fairs and local business seminars. Be humble, and interact with as many people as you can. Spread the word about your blog. Don’t be aggressive about selling up; instead, start casual conversations. Always have business cards in your pocket. Get a newsletter printed, perhaps, and offer a free tutorial or a speech at a local event. Let people know who you are, what you do and what your latest piece of work is. List your name in the local telephone directory and Yellow Pages. Yes, it sounds like an outdated way of reaching out, but if it helps, what’s the harm?
Nobody wants to read boring posts. Surely you don’t want readers to recoil from a post just because it lacks a pinch of humor. In fact, humor could compel them to read other posts and even become a regular reader. No matter how exhaustive or informative your posts are, they need to be interesting in order to catch the reader’s eye and imagination. I suggest writing in the second person; use “you” instead of “I” to make it feel more interactive and action-packed.
Too many spelling and grammar mistakes will put readers off. What’s more, they can damage whatever impression of authority you are trying to create. Readers will think, how can I trust someone who is not careful enough to give a professional touch to their own posts?
No matter how good your content is, failing to proofread—twice and thrice, even—could undermine the point you’re trying to make in the post. Avoid slang and jargon; use a professional tone with an approachable voice.
This was an attempt to round up the most important tips for attracting readers to your blog. There are probably many more innovative ideas, so spare a minute and leave your thoughts!