How to Get Your Readers On Elastic

There are a number of factors you can use to measure the success of a blog. One is the number of people that regularly return to the blog. As if they were on a piece of elastic.

Unless you are well known and have a good reputation in your industry or niche you’ll have to give some thought to why readers would return to your blog. There are several ways you can encourage this.

Post good content

Content that is of good quality and relevant to your audience will encourage your readers to come back for more. If you can provide useful information and practical help for your readers they will value your posts. Blogging a series of related posts will also have people coming back for more. Posts that are controversial in some way can also keep people interested, especially if they spark off some lively debate.

You can also encourage readers to return with a variety of blog posts. Variety means if your last post did not interest a particular reader they are still likely to return to see if the next one does. If a reader notices that of the past few blog posts only two were actually useful, they will be less likely to return.

Post often

Blog at least once a month. Many blog visitors decide whether to subscribe or not based on the frequency of the blog posts. There is no use subscribing to a blog if the last post was nine months ago. Post good content often and your readers will expect to read new and interesting posts from you soon. This will build anticipation and increase the chances your readers will become subscribers and recommend your blog to others.

Posting more often means you will have more blog entries. An abundance of good material will make it more likely that other site owners will find your posts in search engines and link to some of your posts or promote them via social media sites.

Encourage comments

Post about topics that are likely to start a debate or ones that your readers can contribute to. Ask them for feedback, help and their opinions. Make it easy to post their comments, don’t take ages to approve and publish their input and reply to as many comments as you can. If your readers feel they can be a part of the debate they will be more likely to return to your blog.

Make returning easy

Make it easy to subscribe by setting up an RSS feed. If you are operating in a niche that would not be aware of how to use an RSS feed put up a post that explains how your visitors can become subscribers. You can also set up an opt-in form to encourage your readers to subscribe so they can access a resource they will find useful. It would also enable you to inform them when your newest blog post has been published.

A blog needs traffic like any other website. If you can get a proportion of your visitors to regularly return to read your posts you will be building a fan base that will make your blogging more rewarding.

3 Bad Blogging Habits

Blog key on keyboardThere are many pitfalls to starting and running a blog. Possibly the most common is believing that all you have to do is upload a post and hoards of people will arrive at your blog to read and interact. There are other damaging mindsets or habits that bloggers can get into and today I want to briefly look at three of the most common ones.

1. Losing focus

When you started your blog you had a particular reason for doing so; it might have been to express your views on a topic or it might have been to just communicate with a close circle of friends about your daily activities. However, over time interest wanes and wanders and the blog can sometimes lose focus. Over time this loss of focus can result in the blog being abandoned, meaning all the effort in setting it up and maintaining it go to waste.

If you’re committed to blogging for the long term you need to remain consistent. Readers will come to your blog for the first time and either be interested in your subject matter or not, will either like your style or not and, if they like your subject and style, they may comment and then come back later. If your focus and style have changed they may never return again. Remember, once you’ve established a topic and tone for your blog it’s best to stay with it. You’re free to change it, but if you do you’re basically starting all over again. It might be best to start a completely separate blog instead.

2. Ignoring the reader

Some of the people who read your blog will leave comments; some readers will agree with you and some readers may even praise your insights, but some will pick a point you’ve made and criticize it. People leave comments on others’ blogs for the same reason they themselves blog: to exchange ideas and express their points of view. Always respond to your readers comments; thank them for reading and taking the time to comment (even the severe critics) and then respond, as appropriate, to their comment. If you ignore comments your readers may end up ignoring your blog.

3. Not updating info pages

Info pages on an average blog are the Contact and About pages. It’s likely that if your contact details change you’ll remember to update the details on your Contact page, but how many update their About page? It’s provided by WordPress as standard and a whole host of bloggers leave it unchanged. Why they do this is known only to them, because this is the first page that a large number of first-time visitors to a blog check out, and the reason why many of them leave without looking further.

All you have to do is say a little about yourself, who you are, and what your blog is about, and why you feel qualified to write a blog about this topic. If your blog covers a particular niche, rather than being simply a log of personal comments, then your potential readers will want to know why they should read your opinions.

There is nothing wrong with having a personal blog about your personal thoughts on things, but if you are presenting yourself as a form of expert on a specific topic, you will have to persuade readers that you have a right to do so. Your About page has a role to play in that process and it should be updated whenever there is new information that could persuade your visitors to trust you.

So, do you recognise any of these bad blogging habits? And if you were to add to this list, what would you mention?