Obviously, we’re all here trying to make money online, but it’s really easy to get caught up chasing the green and to lose sight of why you’re really blogging. A blog should provide value to its readers. In the long run, this value will return to you in the form of profits. But even more importantly, consistently providing value gives you a fan base of people who listen to what you have to say. This reputation for value is more important than the thousand dollars you made off your last information product. It’s the real key to success online.
So, I thought I would discuss 5 ways that you can provide value to your readers and keep them with you over the long term. Feel free to change them to suit your style.
1- Reply To Your Readers
The whole point of your site should be to start a conversation. It’s really not just a matter of you publishing your article or blog post and then that’s that. What you should be doing is getting people talking, and you should be communicating with them as well.
When someone asks a question in the comments, reply to them. Read the comments and, if something occurs to you to add, put it in the comments. Even if you just want to add something to the post, write it in the comments. Replying to your readers will get some interaction going. It will also build your online reputation as somebody who communicates with their readers, and this will really help you get new readers and keep the old ones.
2- Solve Your Readers’ Problems
Whatever problems your readers have, you should focus on solving them. This will depend a lot from one niche to another, but you should basically see that as the focus of your blog. People are looking for information online because they have problems, questions or pain; they want solutions, answers and something that will ease their pain. These things should be offered on your blog.
But don’t stop with just your blog. Your whole network of sites should all be geared toward this aim. This includes your Twitter site, podcasts, marketing articles, Facebook page – everything. Give them what they want by solving their problems, and you’ll be creating value that they can’t resist.
3- Go Crazy With Plugins
There is a whole universe of plugins out there, and each one you add cranks the value of your site even higher. An easy one that most people think of is the comments plugin, which makes your blog more interactive. You can also use the Flickr plugin to add pictures related to your niche to your site. There is a Twitter update that shoots your followers a message every time you update your blog.
I said go crazy with them, but don’t go too crazy. Every time you’re thinking about a certain plugin, first decide whether it will give your readers value or not. Just adding a bunch of junk because you can won’t get you anywhere. In fact, it may clutter things up too much. Keep your readers in mind and only add plugins that they can use.
4- Give Big
Of course, you’re running an online business because you want to make money. But you’d be surprised how much being simply generous for no reason will greatly boost your readership. Give something and expect nothing in return; the value of your site will skyrocket for your readers. If you’re generous, they’ll see that and it will really help to build trust with them.
From my experience with VeryBestSoftware.Net, where I give software reviews and discount coupons, I have seen that it’s a good idea to occasionally give something away. Give away a report to your valued readers or have savings coupons for well known products and give them something really valuable. You may lose money by giving something away free, but what happens in the mind of your readers when they get something free from you is priceless. They’ll see that you’re in the game to help and provide value, and not just to make as much money as possible.
5- Give Everyone Respect.
Don’t get caught up in the hating that routinely occurs everywhere online. Stay away from negativity and treat everyone with respect. Even when people ask stupid questions or act rudely on your site, don’t get annoyed with them. They’ve got a right to be there just like everyone else. When the webmaster responds to someone everyone hates, it creates a terrible reaction. You end up just looking like a big jerk who is lording their power over some defenseless idiot. It’s easy to be a hater online; instead be respectful.
I hope this helps to give you an idea of some ways you can create value with your blog too. Feel free to share your experience with us.