Today Rich Page shares five tips on how to optimize websites to capture repeat readers.
You may be a blogger that thinks they have a pretty popular and well created blog – if so, well done. But remember every blog is a work a progress, and there is always room for improvement. Here are 5 great ways to help optimize and improve your website, and inspire new visitors to become repeat visitors:
1: Track your Internal Search Results
One of the easiest ways to gain insight into your blog and improve it is to track your internal search results. You can easily do this using Google Analytics (learn how to track this), or use this cool wordpress plugin. It’s very important to identify your top searched keywords – it helps you identify what’s popular with your visitors (write more content relating to these), and also, just as importantly, what visitors are failing to find on your blog (look for keyword searches that have zero results and create a post about them – as long as you can make it relevant to your blog). The more relevant internal search results the user finds, then the more chances of them signing up to your feed and coming back for more!
2: Reduce the Bounce Rate of your Articles
The best way to stop someone from leaving immediately after reading your blog articles (i.e. bouncing) is to expose them to as much of your blog’s great content as possible, or by getting them to sign up to your feed. And what is the best way to do this? Immediately after the visitor is done reading the blog entry they arrived at (and remember, most visitors don’t arrive at your homepage – they get deep linked in from search engines or other blogs), at the bottom of the article place prominent text links to subscribe and links to read related content (problogger.com actually does a great job of this). Just don’t fail here and bury these important links away on the right hand column, or at the bottom of your comments, like I see so often.
3: Survey and Learn from Your Website Visitors
What’s another great way to improve your blog? This one is simple, yet many blog owners don’t do it – you need gain feedback from your visitors! Simply sign up for a free survey tool like 4Q, and get to know your visitors better. It allows you to ask your visitors questions in the form of a non-obtrusive pop-up survey. Here are the 3 main questions you need to ask your visitors in order to gain insight for optimizing your blog:
- What was the reason you came to this blog?
- Did you find what you were looking for?
- What else would you like to see at this blog?
Asking these questions allows you to gain some real insight into your visitors and their needs – and remember, a blog that doesn’t meet the needs of visitors could spend all the money in the world to get new traffic, but it wouldn’t get many repeat visits (way cheaper) because the visitors aren’t finding what they want. And don’t just survey your visitors – act on what you find! It can often be very revealing…
4: Build a Community into your Blog
Want to get as many repeat visits as possible, without having to rely on RSS feeds to pull visitors back? Then build a community for your blog, and engage not only yourself with your readers, but allow your readers to engage with each other. This is particularly a great idea if you are niche blogger and you have a small but captive audience. There are a number of ways to create this community for your blog – the basic way is to setup and install ‘MyBlogLog‘ or ‘BuddyPress‘ as a widget on your blog. The more advanced way to build a community is to create a social network around your blog using Ning or KickApps. Both of these are free and allow you to fully customize, brand and create your own community, and use your own blog feed as a main ingredient of the community. Win-win situation for you and your readers!
5: Setup Goals and Begin Testing to Improve Them
Lastly, one of the most important things to remember for blogging success is to set goals and try and beat them. And for blogs, your goal is likely to get as many readers as possible. But be more specific and actionable. For example set a weekly goal for new readers, i.e. 100 new subscribers per week. Then, test elements of your website (using Google Website Optimizer) to try and improve your subscribers and reach your goals. One of the best things to test is the ‘subscription’ area, usually found to the top right of your blog – where your RSS feed links and newsletter signup form usually is. Test different calls to actions, different images and different copy. See which one drives the most goal conversions. And for the goal conversion to work, you will need to tag your thanks page with tracking code (which is easily done if you use AWeber to manager your feed readers). Here is a cool plugin to help you use Google Website Optimizer on your blog. Also, if you are selling a product or giving away something like an ebook on your blog, you can track that as a goal and test to improve sign up rates.
So there we have it. And remember, don’t ever think your blog is ‘done’ – always keep striving to improve your blog. If you don’t, before you know it, a competitor will appear out of nowhere and start stealing away your beloved visitors. For more ideas on how to help improve your blog (and websites in general), and to find ways to stop wasting so much money on online marketing, consider checking out my new free ebook all about this.
So, what are you waiting for? Use these tips and start improving your blog right now – and who knows, it may end up being as successful as ProBlogger one day!