A lot of blogs (especially early on) will have a high “bounce rate”, or many of their visitors will click somewhere else after they have visited the blog. This mostly, in my opinion, is due to:
- A) The short attention span of most people.
- B) The use of “sharing” sites that link a lot of visitors to a page (think Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, etc.)
But did you know that there are things you can do to better convert these passersby?
Before you read on, you should also know that the rest of your visitors will probably come “organically”, that is, they will find you via a search engine looking for search terms related to your content.
“Okay then, tell me something I don’t know!” Chances are, if you monitor any stastics about your blog or are familiar with blogging in general, you may know this already.
So how can you go above and beyond the average blogger and be sure your site has a high “visitors to subscribers” conversion rate? Besides an eye appealing general site design, be sure to follow these 3 key points.
1. Make sure subscription/follow option stands out, and is above the fold
I have visited and enjoyed a lot of great blogs – but one disappointing thing that I notice far too often is that quite a few of the bloggers don’t make it simple and easy for readers (and me!) to subscribe, simply because they ‘hide’ their subscription methods way down the page (or an even worse scenario, they don’t show them at all!).
If one of your goals as a blogger is to grow your readership then one great way to capture first time readers is to get them to subscribe (whether that be to an RSS feed, an RSS to Email service or a newsletter). If you hide or obscure these options you’re not likely to get the conversions.
The best approach that you can use to converting these new readers into subscribers is to place your subscription options prominently in a sidebar, and for additional conversion success, under posts on single post pages (usually below the fold). This means that whether a new reader is above or below the fold they are invited to subscribe.
2. Have some way for readers to get in contact with you
A lot of blogs can leave a reader feeling like they know a little bit about the blogger; and if you are posting about a topic in depth, or are just posting about yourself, this should be true.
So another key way to invoke a community within your blog and a closer relationship with your readers that will turn into ‘reader loyalty’ and increase the chances that your readers will share their blog with their friends, is to have some sort of options letting readers contact you, outside of just leaving a comment.
I understand some bloggers desires to have privacy or to cut down the admin of their blogs by keeping themselves difficult to contact, but by doing so you not only filter the potential weirdos but also legitimate opportunities, potential partnerships etc.
Contact options don’t necessarily have to be giving out your email address – you could have a contact form, give Twitter details, have an IM option or give other social networking profiles (social networking, when done right, has served as a great resource for staying in contact without revealing sensitive info like an email address).
3. Let readers know what your blog is ‘about’ the moment they enter
This point is closely tied to the use of sharing and social networking sites, especially sites like StumbleUpon: people surfing the internet (while they may be ‘killing time’ as they do it) do not want their time to be wasted on content that they have no interest in.
The drawback for you is that most people who happen upon your blog are not going to snoop around to find out what it is about. If you want to have any chance of them hanging around, it needs to be obvious from the get go.
Some great ways to do this are through the use of a logo, or small description at the very top of the page that lets readers know exactly what your are about.
Mostly this point needs to be heeded because you may be letting potentially interested readers slip through your fingers by not making your blog’s topic apparent: they may have had every intention to subscribe if they knew your blog was about “Piano Playing”, but since you didn’t make it obvious, they clicked away and were lost forever.