8 Tips to Keep 1st time Visitors Coming Back to your Blog

You work hard to create quality content for your blog, so you owe it to yourself to make sure that you’re doing everything that you can to generate traffic to your blog, and to keep visitors coming back.  I’ve been blogging now for about 18 months, so I thought I would share some tips on what has worked for me.  There are obvious tricks like including the TweetMeme button or the ShareThis button, but in my experience there’s less awareness about the tips I’m sharing in this post.

1) Post at consistent intervals.  For myself I post every Thursday.  Determine what frequency & time works best for both you and for your audience, implement a schedule and stick with it.

2) Develop a cycle for your e-newsletter and send it consistently.  Consider an rss-feed e-newsletter.  About 6 months ago I switched to an rss-feed driven newsletter using MailChimp, and now I never miss an e-newsletter, or send them out late.  This may not be the most dynamic way to share your content, but it is extremely practical and still allows for weekly tinkering and adjustments to content and layout.  FYI: This is not an affiliate link, and MailChimp does offer both free & paid plans.

3) Add a text link in each post that encourages readers to sign up.  I’ve started to include the following text (with appropriate links) at the end of each blog post, and I’ve seen dramatic improvement in sign up for both my e-newsletter and rss feed: “Like what you’re reading?  Have you signed up for my weekly e-newsletter yet or are you following my blog’s rss feed?”  I’m doing this in addition to the graphic prompts that are included as part of my blog, and I’m finding that I’m getting more clicks/sign ups from the text links.

4) Respond to comments in a timely fashion.  Keep the conversation going.  Does the commenter’s expertise mesh with yours?  Review the blog of the person who commented and see if you can return the favor by commenting on one of his/her posts.

5) Continue to circulate your older posts via your existing social media outlets like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

6) Write posts that reference other’s in your social network.  These types of posts will generate more traffic than any others.  I recently wrote a post titled “My Definitive Short List of the best Nonprofit Blogs and Consultants.”  I listed some of my very best contacts that I’d developed over the course of the last few years.  Those listed helped to circulate the post to their followers.  The day after I posted this, I had one of the highest traffic days ever on my blog.  Who are the experts that influence you/your industry?  Have you taken the time to share this information as a blog post?

7) Exchange blog postsNothing has made a larger impact on the traffic to my blog than exchanging blog posts.  You’ll be introducing your blog to a whole new set of potential followers.  When you include a link back to your own blog, this also works as a link building strategy which helps with organic search.  Seek out partners with complementary products or services so you can be sure that your guest post will resonate with your new audience.

8 ) If you’re struggling with having time to do posts, keep your posts shorter, or consider breaking longer posts into a 2-part or 3-part series.  Comments & questions from the earlier posts can influence the direction of the later posts that continue the topic.  In addition to saving you time, this also help to keep your readers more engaged.

In his new book, Linchpin, Seth Godin talks about the importance of “shipping” which is essentially getting your product out on time even if it’s not perfect.  The same applies with blog posts.  You can always find an excuse to delay or skip a scheduled blog post, but if you commit to it, you will get it done.  You still have the option to go back and add more content or edit it, but you owe it to your audience to stick to your schedule.  Keep your posts short so that you’re not overwhelmed, and this will give you more time to share guest posts on other blogs and respond to comments on your own blog.

What methods have worked for you?  Please share in the comments section below, and if you found this post helpful, please retweet!

  5 comments for “8 Tips to Keep 1st time Visitors Coming Back to your Blog

  1. June 2, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Blase — these are all great ideas. I’m doing most but not all of these — in particular I haven’t been inviting readers to sign up at the end of each post and I should. Thanks.

  2. June 3, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I strongly agree with #4 and #7. Commenting on your readers’ comments and responding to every question is a crucial element of reader engagement. Exchanging blog posts or inviting others to guest blog or be interviewed on your blog is great way to diversify content and expand your audience.

  3. June 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Jeannette-thank you for your positive feedback! Glad that you were able to find something helpful in my post!

    Michelle, thank you for taking the time to select the tips that you find most useful! I hope others will comment on their experiences as well.

  4. June 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Michelle,
    Just took a peek at your Copy Doodle blog-what a great resource for bloggers & small businesses! I just subscribed to your rss feed. Here’s a link for any other readers who may be interested http://www.writtenbysumer.com/blog/

  5. June 11, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Thanks Blase , for sharing these useful tips.

    Specially your suggestion to be consistent in blogging even if post is little short, or break them in parts.

    For me this will help in long run.

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