You might also like to read part I, part III and Part IV of this series on helping those first time readers to become loyal ongoing visitors to your site before reading on. Here are a few of the things that I’ve tried over the past few years to help those one off first time readers to stay around and interact with me and my blog a little longer than a one one off visit:
• Individual Page Design – Make sure the individual pages on your blog are as well designed and laid out as your front page. I constantly come across blogs with very poorly individual archive pages. Work on making your pages engaging and easy to navigate – they are a potential doorway into the rest of your blog and therefore deserve a little attention when it comes to the design of your blog. It is worth asking a non blogging friend to test your blog’s usability and navigability to see just how easy it is to use.
• What is your Message? – Make it very clear what your blog is about on every page of your site – if your reader cannot work out what the point of your site is within a few seconds they will probably take off pretty quickly. What message are you sending about your site? Consider a short pithy statement at the top of your site that communicates what its about in a succinct way. Here at ProBlogger its ‘helping bloggers make money’ – a statement which will hopefully draw bloggers wanting to make money into the rest of the site. Use pictures, words, symbols and layout all to help you communicate these messages. Again get the opinion on non blogging friends to help you test what message you’re communicating.
• Provide pathways into your blog - think about where you want potential readers of your blog to go next? What are the key posts that you’ve written on your topic? What would be a good introduction to your site? What do you want them to see? I would always include a clearly labeled link to your home page, to an ‘about’ page and to some main category pages of your blog. Give your reader a clear and easy way of going deeper into your site and engaging with your topic. Once again I’ll use this blog as an example – the menus in the boxes at the top of this blog are specifically designed for this purpose. I’ve included links to the key categories that I write about as well as some to answers of the main questions that I get asked. In addition to helping readers find their way around your site this strategy will also help you with search engine optimization as it helps SE’s robots to spider your site quickly and easily.
I’ll continue this series on making first time readers loyal readers tomorrow. Feel free to leave your own tips and strategies below.