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How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog – Part II

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.

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How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog – Part I

This is a 4 part series on how to keep first time readers on your blog (or how to make your blog sticky). This series of posts continues at part II, part III and part IV.

Wayne has a good post titled Previous posts still bring visitors which picks up on the importance of your old posts in blogging. He writes:

‘Blog posting on a regular and long term basis pays off in visitor traffic.

Older posts are like a good gift that keeps on giving.

Like a beautiful flowering apple tree, a blog continues to grow and bear fruit. It also provides sustenance from the past, like apples frozen for pies at a later date….’

How true Wayne’s words are. The way I like to think of it is that my blog’s archives are perhaps my blogs greatest asset. Each post I write has the potential not only to reach current readers – but readers for many years that surf in after finding it on search engines.

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Does Frequent Posting Boost Traffic?

Susannah is tracking if her blog’s traffic levels correlate with her levels of posting and writes:

‘Generally speaking, it looks like the theory of more posts = more traffic holds true, but of course what the logs don’t tell you is that on the days I was posting a lot I was at a blogging conference and the blog URL was up on the projector between every session. Nor does looking at this graph reflect the posts that were controversial. That first spike is accompanied by a barely significant increase in post numbers, but was on a topic that caught a lot of interest.’

This is something I’ve done a little research into on my own blogs also. What I’ve found (although I don’t have as nice a graph as Susannah) is that my overall traffic does tend to increase on days that I post more – however there are a couple of further observations that are worth making.

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Pitch me Your Posts

This time tomorrow I will have been blogging for 7 hours straight in my blogathon to raise money for the Tsunami appeal, I’ll have added around 30 entries and I just know that I’ll be starting to wonder where the next 70 will come from.

So this is a call for the most interesting post (or two) that you’ve written on your blog in the past few days. Leave a link in comments below and if I find it interesting (and if I don’t get hundreds submitted – unlikely) I’ll link up to it with some comments. Might be a good way to promote your writing and get your blog noticed by a few more readers.

Journalism’s Critique of Blogging – A Great PR Tool

Interesting piece over at What Next Blog looking at the way the Wall St. Journal and New York Times are Still Dissing Bloggers.

‘It went on to create tension by saying that “Bloggers push stories and theories that make big media look slow, defensive or part of some far-fetched conspiracy.” Noting that “competition is rarely welcomed by the incumbents,”, the article admitted that “it can help make them better.”‘

I actually think that the more they critique blogging the more successful they will making it.

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56 Directories To Submit Your Blog To

Search Engines are perhaps the most popular source of traffic for most of our blogs – however its also worth working on other sources for traffic to supplement what Google and Yahoo sends your way. Directories are also a useful source of traffic so ‘Text Link Brokers’ provide this useful list of 56 Directories To Submit Your Blog To. Most of them charge a fee to to submit to – but some of them are completely free.

Feedburner Feedcount

I have recently been using Feedburner’s RSS services and have found them to work quite well. A number of you now read this site via the Feedburner RSS feed (although most still track us on the old one).

In the last day or two Feedburner have added a new feature to help you promote your readership via RSS – its a little button like this one that shows how many of you are using this RSS feed to follow my ramblings.

Click it to subscribe to get the feed in order to add it to your news aggregator.

Building blog traffic for newbies

The Blog Herald has a good post on Building blog traffic for newbies – pretty basic tips but well worth a read if you’re new to blogging and wanting to get some traffic over to that blog you’ve been working hard on. Here is their last tip:

‘The most important feature of all: post regularly and post often. It not only brings readers back regularly but it means the spiders from the search engines will return more frequently indexing your entire site, and you’ll start getting hits from the search engines. Some may argue but these aren’t that valuable but I would argue that’s rubbish. It exposes your site to a new audience for free, and even if only a few return you’ve still built up your readership for free. Take the Blog Herald for example, we get 5,000 views per month just from clickthrus in from Google and another 2,500 from other search engines (Google is the only real game in town though). Even if only 1% return to the site later, that’s 75 new regular readers per month or nearly 1000 per year, and what I also find is that this traffic also responds well to advertising on the site if they’ve stumbled in for the wrong reason.’

Mailing List Services

Does anyone out there know of any plugins for Word Press and Moveable Type that are for collecting and generating a mailing list for your blog? I’ve been using a paid system for the past year that has been very unreliable. I’m sick of writing up emails to send to those that have signed up for my mailing list only to find that the program which is billed as seamless and easy to use doesn’t end up sending anything 50% of the time.

It doesn’t have to be a plug in for WP or MT – I’m looking for something that will allow me to collect email addresses (opt in style) and shoot out weekly emails. It needs to be cheap (free is good, but willing to pay) and able to handle lists of over 3000 recipients. Any suggestions would be gladly received.