Blogging is more and more about taking advantage of what you have. Even if you have a small reader base to work with, you’re going to want to use that base to its full extent. This is normal. But this situation also demands that you handle what little traffic you have delicately.
When you try to turn your traffic into more than just readers, you over-estimate them. Instead, you should keep it simple and not force your readers to do what you want them to do. Let it happen naturally.
Want to keep visitors on your site? Do you want to maximize conversion rates? Do you want more traffic? No problem. Just don’t expect to much of whoever visits your blog.
Keep It Simple, Stupid! (KISS)
The easiest and most effective way to get your readers right where you want them without overwhelming them is to keep it simple for them.
You can try simplifying your sidebar or minimizing your footer. Remove those ugly Feedburner subscriber count buttons and those useless Twitter follower count buttons. If you insist on bragging about your dedicated subscribers and followers, replace those buttons with real clean text that actually matches the rest of your blog. (like FamousBloggers did in their header)
Don’t Pester Your Readers
Stop nagging your readers. Don’t bug them to buy a product, subscribe, or sign-up to your newsletter (or something similar) too much, or it’ll just make it that much easier to press the close button on your website.
Instead of bothering your visitors, you should simply focus on making it easy to turn traffic into conversions, if and only if a visitor feels compelled to do so.
Only tell your readers to buy your product if they show an interest in it. For example, if a visitor is on your actual product page, you can go crazy with the nagging. But don’t when the only thing your visitor wants to do is read your content. That’ll drive your visitors away faster than you’ll believe.
Provide Easy Navigational Control
A great way to increase conversion rates is to make it easy for your visitors to navigate through your website using a navigation bar and search form. This also makes your website look much more sizable.
Search is the only way to find what you’re looking for on a blog quickly and efficiently, and I feel that it can’t be said enough to keep your search form visible. The same goes for your navigation bar, obviously.
Another way to provide a powerful navigation system to your website is to link often. Link within your content, link within your sidebar, link within your footer. Link, link, link. Links are just what visitors need to effectively do more on your website. Internal links also positively affect your search engine rankings, so that each of your pages has some link juice to share.
Don’t Provide Too Many Options
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a blog because there was just too much to absorb? Chances are, we all have. Blogs like this are overkill and don’t let the reader easily find what they really want. Don’t be one of them. This is all part of keeping it simple and minimizing what a visitor has to go through to find what they’re looking for.
The average internet user attention span is about 2 seconds. (actually, I’m not sure what the real number is, but you better bet that it’s low) You have to capture your reader within those short seconds. So don’t expect too much of your traffic. Don’t expect them to want to read your content after being forced to face a terribly-written sales pitch. Because if you do, you’ll just end up disappointed.
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