Last week, we introduced the premise of using blogs in marketing, and what to do once you have your own blog. In that same vein, this week we are following up with tips for keeping your readers once you have reached out and engaged them in the first place.
Getting Readers to Stay on Your Site
In a world where single impressions are used to measure website results, one might wonder why it’s important to care how long readers actually stay on your site. When it comes to marketing, keeping readers engaged means that you’re increasing their familiarity with your voice and information. By staying on your site, readers are able to connect to the content, which may make them think about your ideas later or want to return (more on this below). You’ll also want visitors to move around on your site, which is why you should always provide links to other areas that might be of interest. For example, if you published a complementary article last month or previously mentioned the topic at hand, you’ll want to refer back to that old post. When readers move through your site, it increases your impression rate click by click–getting you more bang for your buck per visit or guest.
Getting Readers to Revisit Your Site
Why allow readers to have one single good experience on your site when you can encourage them to create a pattern? Readers make pivotal decisions about whether they might want to return to your blog in the first few seconds of landing on it, so inviting them to come back again begins promptly at the start of their very first visit—even with your blog’s title. An easy-to-memorize name will make it easy for one-time visitors to find their way back to you. The look and layout of your blog are also invaluable tools that can influence how the general populace—or your targeted audience—perceives the value of returning to your blog, so don’t skimp on the creative. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
The next step is to make your content as subscribable as possible by providing easily identifiable links to RSS feed, your newsletter or other forms of content subscriptions; this includes ‘following’ ‘friending’ ‘liking’ ‘fanning’ or other ways to connect with the page. It also helps to flat-out prompt readers to bookmark your hyperlink. Anything that removes the middle step of making your reader remember that your blog exists will be useful, so be sure to try to lock them to a mailing list or feed as soon as possible.
You’ll also want to make your blog extremely user-friendly so that it’s a welcoming and easy-to-navigate space that readers will want to revisit. We’ve previously discussed the importance of user-friendliness on the Web, but there are a few differences when talking about a blog rather than a website or forum. For example, utilize your blog’s sidebar to chronicle past posts, organize content by key words or add a search feature. Don’t just load this valuable space with heavy text and ads; besides, a busy blog will generally overwhelm readers and dissuade them against ever coming back.
Of course, no effort goes so far as introducing frequent, fresh content and enforcing quality control. By providing plenty of new, engaging content (that must, must, must be typo-free), readers will come up with the bright idea to come back again all on their own.
These aren’t stand-alone suggestions; each relates to one another in order to create a plotted process by which readers are easily directed and re-directed to the blog. Much like with all advertising, it takes several interactions or impressions before marketing tactics can truly take hold; and it’s those who have been most often exposed to your messages who are likely to convert to customers–and spread the word.