You are reading this either because you own a blog and you are hoping to get a more robust following or you are just about stepping into the whole blogging issue that people talk so much about and you want to learn a couple of things before joining them. Whatever the case is with you, I’m sure you understand what I mean when I say it is one thing to get people to visit your blog and another thing to get them to subscribe. You should also have heard the saying, “The power is in the list” a couple of times at least.
No matter the number daily hits your blog gets you always need a group of people that are in your inner circle. These are not just visitors or readers, they are followers. They are the 20 percent that make you 80 percent of your total sales. I believe it’s quite safe to say subscribers are the life of any blog.
But the truth is getting these people to part with their email addresses is not the easiest of things. But with the seven ways I will outline below you are guaranteed to have more people hit the Subscribe button. These are things I also do so I know what I am talking about.
Write “Buzz” Lists
Some people call them top lists. I call them Buzz lists because they create a kind of buzz when you publish them. On my blog very recently, I wrote a top list on 21 Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read. I put together the list based on the books I have bought or read and without asking, people began sharing and tweeting the list to their followers and I even got links back my blog because of this.
When you are putting this kind of post together, don’t break it into parts. I published a list a few months ago and I invested quite some time into it but made the mistake of thinking the posts should be broken into two parts. Neither of them took off.
Blog from a Unique (and Consistent) Angle
It’s no use rehashing information people can find elsewhere. Put some uniqueness and originality into your writing; make the formatting unique and consistent with the general theme of your blog.
I blog about entrepreneurship over at my blog so when Forbes released their list in March I thought, “What kind of post should I make out of this?” Everyone was writing about the Facebook Six, the rise of Moscow as the new home of billionaires and that Mark Zuckerberg was no longer the youngest billionaire; but I decided instead to write on the Richest African Billionaires. That’s the kind of thing you should try to do with each post you write.
Improve Your Blog Design
I am a fan of awesome blog designs and premium themes. If you are using a free theme I advise you to get a premium one as soon as you can. For me, WooThemes, Thesis, Elegant themes and more recently Genesis have the best designs as far as I know. These premium themes get most of the work done for you without you having to mess with some cryptic code.
Also you should try to use images and graphics on your blog. A picture they say is worth a thousand words, images make your writings easier to absorb. Imagine teaching people how to create a design using Photoshop and the whole teaching is done using text alone. I am very sure it would be effective, ain’t it?
Use the Power of a Good First Impression
You’ve got only one chance to get it right first time. You have only one chance to create a good first impression. It is commonly believed that your reader decides whether to stay or leave within the first 5 seconds so you should strive to make your blog sticky enough to keep them beyond this threshold.
Something you would have to do something about is your About page. A good number of new visitors on your blog will love to know who you are and what your blog stands for. Put extra work into this page because it’s one of the most visited pages on any blog.
Limit Their Options
Don’t distract your audience. If you want to get more people to subscribe to your list then give them very few choices. When people have very few options to choose from they are sure to take more action. I regard it as a bad thing when you have too many links going out to other blogs (and most times they are your competition), it makes your blog “leak”.
The joy of every blogger is for visitors to spend time on their blogs, but they can’t do this if you keep opening doors for them to get out through. You need to keep them for as long as possible in your loop. Make the outbound links on your blog ones that are very necessary; the more visitors spend time on your blog the more likely they are to visit again and the more likely they are to subscribe.
Use Different Channels
Spread you wings as far as you can. A lot of your visitors are trying to learn something new, that’s why they visited in the first place. And you can be very sure that not all these people are on both Twitter and Facebook, you can also be very sure that not all of them know how to subscribe to your feeds. These people are new.
To keep in touch with these people, you will need to get in front of them as much as you can; get on their Facebook walls, appear in their Twitter updates, get seen in their Subscribed Feeds blah blah blah. The more they hear from you, the more likely they are to go where you want them to – your blog. But be careful not to overload them with the same information over and over again, it is bound to repel them.
I once had a dilemma that had to do with my Twitter account; I wasn’t posting regularly at the time so I felt I should recycle my blog posts to keep them “in touch”, and at this point I had just over 10 posts on my blog. I put an interval of an hour between each update so in principle they got to see each post at least TWICE daily.
This taught me a lesson as the subscriber base I had slowly built to over 500 began shrinking very quickly. I had to put a plug to this before it became too late, my followers were getting sick of seeing the same thing every time.
Tell Your Readers to Subscribe!
This might seem obvious but the truth is many of us just throw up our subscription form on the sidebar and hope for a miracle, it wouldn’t not in this world. The sidebar option is getting less efficient by the day, what I do is that I have a subscription form at the end of each post, at the footer, and then the sidebar. You can also use light box pop-ups; the one I recommend is Michael Dunlop’s Popup Domination.
The catch is that you should make your subscription easy and your subscription form prominent and catchy. And tell them to drop their emails. But you should make them feel like they are exchanging their email addresses for something of value. The most common is of course the good old eBook option. You should make sure that people on this list of yours get more value than the regular visitor. That was why they parted with their emails in the first place.
I know you would have heard most of what I have laid out here a couple of times each but the question is, “What have you done about it?”
Tagged as: blog, consistent, Design, entrepreneurship, facebook, genesis, impression, mark, michael, options, popup domination, readers, social media channels, subscribe, Themes & Templates, time, twitter, unique