You’ve done it! You have successfully created your new blog and visitors have started rolling in; however, you’ve begun to notice something disturbing – no one seems to be sticking around to read any of your posts! What going on? Is there a next step or is your blog doomed to forever remain in internet obscurity? Thankfully, there are many methods and tricks available to engross and retain your new visitors.
It is important to remember that on average, most web users spend less than a minute on a web page or blog so it becomes vital to not only engage readers quickly but to also keep them invested with your site. The following five tips and tricks are among the most effective measures to keep people on your blog.
1. Internal Linking
Interlinking content from one post to another is one of the most popular ways to catch your readership’s attention. It not only strengthens the overall optimization of your blog but it further entices readers to stay on your blog through the discovery of more site related articles of interest. For example, if I’m writing an article about social media and I’ve already blogged about the most overlooked social media sites, it would prudent to include a link to that article within the post.
These are the optimal rules to follow when setting up links in your articles: if it’s linking to a page or post within your blog, set it so that it opens up the link within the same page. If it links to an article or page outside of your blog, have it open in an external window. This way, once they are done reading the article you have linked to outside of your blog and close it out, your window remains open as a separate reminder to check back in.
2. Related Posts Widget
You may have noticed that most websites offer a set of related links at the bottom of most article pages. The intent here is to provide bait for blog readers who may have otherwise clicked away upon finishing your latest article to continue to surf the net. An interesting related post may entice their attention back within your site, successfully retaining your reader for another post or two. After all, the more time they spend enjoying your work, the greater the chance you will earn a loyal follower.
There are many widgets that not only provide this service but also automatically pick out appropriate related posts from your blogsite based on relative tags or labels which leads us to…
3. Using Tags/Labels
Choosing the right labels/tags goes beyond increasing navigation efficiency and helping set up related posts. They can also provide additional hooks to retain interested readers. If your reader becomes invested in a particular subject featured on your blog, a good identifying label can open the doors to every other post you have made that shares the same label which not only ensnares your reader’s attention but can also resurrect some of your older posts to new sets of eyes.
Be cautious, however. You do not want to overload each post with tons of labels. Choose a select few that will best direct your readers to the best gathering of related content. For instance, if I’m writing about the Harry Potter movie series, a blanket label of “Harry Potter” would be more efficient than individually creating a label every movie in the series. Not only would this be time-consuming and overwhelming to your readers (especially when you consider how long the Harry Potter titles are) but it would all essentially be leading your readers to the same posts.
Ask yourself how you would search a blog for a particular subject. In the case of Harry Potter, it is more likely that one would either search by the series title or perhaps the author of the book series, J.K. Rowling.
4. Taking Advantage of Your Sidebar
One of the best ways to keep your visitor’s interest is to take advantage of your blogs sidebar(s). Although most blogs automatically feature an archive widget which displays all your blog posts separated by title, month, and year, it can be frustrating for your visitors to comb through the archive section to find a particular post of interest – especially if you have a very active site. Bottom line: the archive should not be the primary gateway to your content.
There are many other options and widgets that can streamline your sidebar and give your visitors direct access to additional content. The most popular method is including a “recent post” widget highlighting the latest posts on your blog. If there are any particular posts you are proud of and want to show off or if there’s one that has gained a lot of traction with visitors, feature it in a “spotlight posts” section. Many first time browsers are likely to check it out to get a good idea of what your site is all about.
The sidebar is also an ideal spot to include links to your site’s related social media platforms, email subscriptions, and follower buttons. The more accessible these are, the more likely your visitors may end up subscribing or following you.
5. Strong Opening Lines
It is important to remember that the first line of your posts may represent the very first impression a new reader may have of your site. A strong opening line can arrest your reader’s attention, making them more likely to read your article and even explore more posts on your blog. After all, which of the following would garner your attention the most? Charles Dickens’ classic, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” from A Tale of Two Cities; or, “It was 11 a.m. on a boring, torpid Wednesday.” The only thing that may spring to life from that last example would be a reader mistaking the word “torpid” for “torpedo.”
Now I’m not suggesting that your blog should strive for Dickensian prose but a little dash of creativity can go a long way in endearing you to your readership. In this way, think of your blog post like the opening of a movie or a book. What would grab your attention?
If you have any questions or comments relating to social media or content marketing, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
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