Last week while attending BlogWorld I noticed a recurring discussion pertaining to increasing blog readership. These discussions were part of the session content, as well as informal conversations I had over a meal or at an evening gathering.
I decided to share these with you because, after all, who doesn’t want more readers?
Off-site Ways to Increase Blog Readership
1. Blog Alliances
By building a network or Mastermind group of sorts with other bloggers in your market, bloggers can create coopetition (cooperation + competition) to help each other grow. What do they do? Things like commenting on each others’ blogs, linking to one another, guest posting, cross-promoting each others’ products, meeting regularly (online and offline), etc. A great resource for blog alliances was put together by Darren Rowse.
2. Comment on Others’ Blogs
As you comment on other blogs in your market (not necessarily competitors), readers of that blog will have an opportunity to learn more about you by clicking through to your site. Remember to fill out the website field on the comment form so your name is hyperlinked. Avoid putting the link to your site in the comment itself, as it might get thrown into the spam bin (along with future comments you may post).
3. Comment on Readers’ Blogs
Nothing is more flattering than when a respected blog author posts a comment on your blog, right? That’s how one of your readers feels when you take the time to click through and comment on theirs. This is a great way to build rapport with your subscribers and readers.
4. Promote Posts or Pages, Not Just the Domain
Both search engines and readers appreciate when you link to a specific piece of content on your site, as opposed to just the domain name. When possible, make sure the linked content is related to the page you are posting the link to.
5. Yahoo! Answers
Yahoo! Answers is not only a great place to generate ideas for creating content for your site, as well as learn about issues your market might be facing, it is also a great place to interact with readers and introduce them to your content. Find a question you have a solution for, and respond. It’s important not to be overtly promotional. Chris Garrett suggests the following format when responding to a question: “Here’s the short answer…but the longer answer is here [link to article].”
On-site Ways to Increase Blog Readership
6. Build an E-Mail List and Send Subscribers to Post Archives
By giving visitors an opportunity to get more from you (subscribing via e-mail), you have an opportunity to build a relationship and drive traffic to resources on your site that might go unnoticed otherwise. Take your top posts in a given category and introduce e-mail newsletter subscribers to the content via e-mail. With this approach you’ll get more traffic and build more rapport with readers.
7. Disable Comment Moderation
I have to admit, I didn’t understand this approach when I first heard it. If you don’t want spam on your blog, you have to enable moderation, right? Yes, it might stop spam; however, it also stops engagement with commentors. When they hit submit on their thought-provoking comment, and the result is “comment awaiting moderation,” it is disheartening, and you may have just lost yourself a visitor. For those who believe blogs should promote engagement, disabling comment moderation helps in that effort. FYI: You can always flag a comment as spam later on so that future comments from that user or address will never be approved.
8. Respond Quickly to Comments
This is self explanatory. Again, if engagement is the key on blogs (and it is), the blog owners’ responsiveness is a tip to readers.
9. Mobile-Enable Your Site
Mobile is growing. More people are surfing the Web on mobile devices, and enabling your site to serve content in a mobile format will keep readers coming back. There are free plugins to enable this capability for WordPress blogs; there are also paid services. Here’s one plugin that I use.
10. Send Personal E-Mails to Commentors
This seems labor intensive, but for a newer blog may be well worth the investment of time, especially if your site is low on engagement. Darren Rowse suggested this idea, indicating this is one of the approaches he took to grow his community. Essentially, the blog owner sends a personal e-mail thanking the commenter for the comment, including a link to the post, and informing them that they will be updated whenever a new comment is posted. Darren indicated that commenters were surprised by his e-mail, and it made for more meaningful engagement, and increased readership.
Your turn: What are your thoughts on my notes? What is missing? Useful? Chime in using the comment boxes below.
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