This guest post is by Darren of Findermind.com
Isn’t the best way to impress readers by providing great content? My answer would be yes, because most people come to your site for your content.
There are, however, some things you can do to impress and build credibility among your (first-time) readers even before they start to read what you have to say. How? Let me explain.
Provide quantitative instead of qualitative statements
People are not stupid. Messages like “we are the best blog providing blogging tips” won’t work. Your visitors are skeptical. They want evidence to show you’re the best blog for blogging tips. That’s why it’s important to provide quantitative instead of qualitative statements. Here are some examples of quantitative statements:
- 116 new subscribers daily
- over 56 new twitter followers every day
- join over 170, 000 subscribers (this example’s from ProBlogger!).
In conversion rate optimization, using statements such as these is considered a best practice. Why? Because it consistently produces higher conversion rates.
There is, however, one good way to provide believable qualitative statements…
Let somebody else do the bragging for you
This concept is used a lot around products releases, where it’s known as “providing testimonials.” But, of course, you can use the same concept for your own website? If, for example, Darren mentioned something nice about your blog, why not showcase it to your readers? An example might be:
“Absolutely the most useful blog on WordPress Tips”—Darren Rowse, ProBlogger.com
As you can notice, this is a qualitative statement (without any specific evidence). People won’t believe you if you brag about yourself. “We’re the best, the greatest, the cheapest…” Sorry, that doesn’t work. Do you believe it when the author of a specific blog says they’re the best in their niche? One of the first questions that comes to mind after reading this is, “Why are you the cheapest, greatest, and best?”
There is some research, however, to support the claim that if you let another person do “the bragging” for you, then you can establish credibility quickly. In chapter 22 of his best-selling book 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, Dr. Robert Cialdini mentions a study he’s done with Jeffrey Pfeeffer (you can view the study here in PDF format).
The pair asked study participants to imagine themselves in the role of a chief editor for a particular book publisher. Their current job was dealing with a particular author. To get an impression of that author, they had to read an excerpts of a negotiation for a sizable book advance. The results showed that the participants rated the author more favorably in every area when his bragging was done by his manager, than in those areas where the author bragged about himself.
If you mention a quote from someone else (like in the above ProBlogger example), then it’s best to put it above the fold—next to your logo, for example. There’s often a lot of empty space there, and some people use that for ads, but you can use it for building credibility among first-time visitors.
Put a universal Like button on your blog
The above screen shot is from Mashable.com. At the top of their sidebar, they display a universal Like button which is visible on every post and every page.
This can communicte significant social proof, and has one big advantage: it’s very easy to click on. Also, it’s very easy to locate—more on that later.
Why use this instead of the Facebook social plugin? After all, Problogger does:
The answer is that the Facebook social plugin has several disadvantages :
- It has to be placed below the fold and in the sidebar. Space above the fold is most commonly used for ads.
- The Facebook Like button is a lot harder to find, with so many elements competing for users’ attention. I would estimate that the single Like option on the universal button is at least three times easier to find because there’s a number next to it, and eyetracking studies tell us that people’s attention focuses on numbers (mostly because they are an indicator of facts, and people love to read facts online).
- Why would I like to “Find the Blog on Facebook” if I’m already on the blog? That instruction simply doesn’t make sense. It’s not one of the things I want to do. The thing I want to do while on a blog is read its content, and if it’s good, I can either like it or not. As such, a simple Like button is more relevant to users’ intentions.
The universal Like button creates credibility very quickly. Everyone’s on Facebook. By seeing your Like button—and the number of people who like your blog—visitors will understand that there are real people reading your blog. This further establishes social proof: the bigger the number of people who Like your blog, the better.
When to apply these principles … and when to ignore them
Are these principles applicable to all blogs? No. It all depends on what you blog is about, and who’s in your audience. For example, I blog about people search, and I can’t really apply these principles to great effect, because I can’t built a loyal audience. My audience members’ goals are pretty short-term: they are looking for a person’s details, and once they find that information, they’re gone.
But I would recommend these principles to owners of blogs that have a potential to build long-term audience relationships, like people trying to build a more successful blog, people trying to make money online, people trying to save money, and so on. I would recommend these principles for people trying to build a loyal audience—and I’m pretty most of you are doing that.
What other techniques have you used to impress visitors to your blog as soon as they arrive? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Darren loves to do guest posts on blogging/social media. His current project involves teaching people how to use social media to successfully re-unite with friends and family members. If you ever wanted to do that, start by reading this article, titled 25 Free People Search Engines to Find Anyone. Good luck!