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Keeping Visitors on Your Blog – Give them Something else to Read

Yesterday I had an email from Jim Logan that contains a tip that I’m sure some will find helpful. Jim has kindly given me permission to publish it here:

Hi Darren!

I discovered something on my site that your readers may find of interest. Recently I changed the template of my blog, nothing exciting there, but in the change I added a module that put the name and link to my five most recent posts at the top of every page. Here is an example.

What are interesting are that almost overnight my page views per visitor and number of ad impressions increased by nearly 50%. Likewise, my Yahoo! ad revenue doubled. My site supports my consulting work and as such I don’t post for ad revenue, but I can’t deny seeing the Yahoo! ad revenue double – even as small as it is – is exciting.

What I believe I unwittingly did is offer readers something to click to after they read whatever they came to the site to see. The module with the five latest posts has clearly increased my page views and appears to have increased my ad revenue as well.

Jim went on in his next email to me to write:

Looking back, the whole thing makes sense though. I am now giving readers that hit individual posts something to click to next, something specific. Without going to my main page or clicking to an archive, they can now directly click on a post title and read another post. In a world where we can can only hold a person’s interest for a brief moment, it makes sense that having the next post readily available increases the odds of it being read.

My average pages per visitor have increased from 1.6 to 2.4, some days average higher. I’ve seen a similar percentage gain in ad impressions and ad revenue. Right at 50% increase for pages read, ! ad impressions almost doubled. My ad revenue increased the greatest, but the level is low to begin with. I started noticing the increases within 3-4 days of adding the five latest posts to each page.

Jim uses Mambo to run his site but those of you using other blog platforms can do similar things using plugins. I know WordPress has a variety of them.

I use the Related Posts plugin here at ProBlogger at the end of each post to suggest to readers other posts within this site that relate to the post that they’ve just read and have a similar feature to Jim’s in my sidebar with my last 5 posts run by a plugin called Fuzzy Related Posts. Both give options for readers to read more and in the process stay on this site a little longer.

I haven’t noticed quite the increases that Jim has had as a result of using these plugins – but have not positioned them quite as prominently as Jim has (his positioning is excellent in my opinion – although there are only so many things you can put in such an optimal position).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I use the related posts plugin after each post (on the single page) but can see the value of putting recent posts somewhere prominent — although it’s silly in my opinion to include it on the front page (that’s where the new posts are, so there’s no real need to list them). I may try this out for single post pages. Thanks.

    –dad

  2. Leon says:

    Thanks for the tip, but I use Blogger, so that’s done automatically. During my travles through the blogosphere, I came across a blog that resembled Problogger. Another Amblogger perhaps?

  3. Genevieve says:

    I was wondering what was going on when I was looking through my tracker and found a flood of visits from one URL and it looks like my blog is being pulled into something. I’m sure the people who have checked my blog have already seen the validity of the layout and the fact that I coded everything myself (in exception for using the default wordpress template to help me figure out some of the coding). For those curious, by all means you may pull it inside out with a fine tooth comb. As an artist myself I have nothing to hide, but than again I’m sure only the blogs with the box layouts are the only ones being picked on within this subject. I’d kindly ask Leon, that you not jump into any conclusions and you might want to check my post on copyrights because I am very aware of them as well. To Darren I’m sorry to have to post about this type of matter on your blog.

  4. Leon says:

    Thanks for the tips Darren. I’ve been using the related posts plugin and it does help. I’m looking into implementing recent posts as well. :D

  5. Elle says:

    Do you think that there is a better option between 5 most recent and 5 related? I like related. It seems that prominent placing really does help (and would, and should*), but I’d like to know of any drawbacks before I change my template. Any thoughts?

    *One thought is a two-way argument… Someone finishes reading a post, likes it, goes to the bottom and clicks on related. The other scenario is the person didn’t find what he or she was looking for and didn’t look much into it, but sees other options that might suit the needs (and maybe clicks on an ad somewhere in the process, but I also care about snagging readership).

    Hmmm. I think this deserves further study.

  6. Marco says:

    Well, Darren, you may not have seen the increases in page views with the 5 related posts plugin , but most of the times, when I read your posts, I visit one of the related posts included in the list, generally the one with the most attractive title.

    I think this happens with most of the people that visit Problogger. Well, that’s what I think.

  7. Elle says:

    Oh, I didn’t even think of telling you that. But I always wonder at the amazing thing that is the own spider web trap I fall into on just your blog! (A whole web on one site!) I go in circles, on and on, and all it takes is one new article to speak to me, and I’m off.

  8. Jim Logan says:

    Darren, thanks for passing along my experience! The more I think about the entire thing, the more it resembles brick-n-mortar display advertising. You enter a store for one thing and while in the checkout line or walking towards the exit you discover another. Having related and most recent posts serve as displays to present to visitors that otherwise came to your site for something else.

    As every business can make money three ways – get more new customers, increase the value of the average sale, and increase the frequency and volume of repeat business…recent and related posts increase the value of the average visit.

    Thanks again!

  9. Leon says:

    Sorry if I offended Genevive, but you have to admit, there is a resemblance.

  10. Mike says:

    Anyone know a good plug-in for Top Posts for WordPress. I found a few but there were lots of comments of people having trouble with them. Anyone use one that they can vouch for?

  11. Hey, I stumbled upon this blog month ago. I tip my hat to you – its not like other blogs – its like a one-stop shop and go site with practically every topic that interests most people.

    I have a question. I am on blogger.com – using blogspot as a web host. I am considering changing web host providers and paying out the cash for a more reliable, powerful, and all around better service – like squarespace.com or hooverwebdesign?. However, this can get really expensive. Any advice? The purposes of my blog is just to inform, dicuss, and is virtually for non-profit. I do have a donation buttom but no adsense or other forms of ads

  12. eSearing says:

    I remembered reading this article a while back and decided to create my own random article generator which sits at the top of my blog. I figure it will give visitors more to read and recycle some old articles. Each link also opens a single page so I get more ad revenue potential too.

    I did it with a simple sql query and output the results in a ul.
    I also added some site links to let users know what else they can do on my site.

  13. Mattheous says:

    Is there a plugin that I can put on my Blogspot blog to do this for me? I know you can manually add them in, but I’d like to do it with a plugin.