Attention bloggers: There's no use in putting all that work into promoting and pinning and tweeting your content to bring new readers to your site if they read one post and never return. Your blog should be a buffet of awesome that readers cannot help but come back to over and over.
Once you've got people sharing your content and your traffic is beginning to grow, here are 7 ways to start building a relationship with new readers and keep them coming back.
1 | Add related posts
Once readers get to the bottom of your post, what do they do? Are there more posts to help them continue moving through your site? Are there links within your posts to help guide them to more information? While we want readers to sign-up, opt-in, and follow, they might need to read more than one post from you before they'll be willing to hand over their email address. Adding related posts via LinkWithin or Wordpress's JetPack plugin gives readers more options automatically and helps move them further into your site.
2 | Create a conversation
Invite readers to ask questions or leave their thoughts on your posts to not only help readers connect with you, but each other. Building a community around your blog is a great way to get feedback and help readers feel included in the process. Readers who take the time to get involved are much more likely to return than those that don't.
3 | Genuinely connect
Take a few minutes each day to answer comments and reach out on social media. Not all bloggers take the time to respond to their readers, so making an effort to create a conversation on someone's first visit can go along way to help you stand out from the crowd. Readers who get extra attention and more information or advice are are not only more likely to return, but more likely to share your content, tell their audience how awesome you are, and think of you next time they have a question or need information.
4 | Get them on your email list
It's one thing to interact on your blog, but if you can move readers to subscribe to your email list you'll be far more likely to hook them for the long term. Creating content upgrades can easily increase your subscriber numbers and allow you to connect with new readers on a weekly basis. Content upgrades are an extra piece of content (worksheets, checklists, audio/video files) that users can download by submitting their email address. I've got a post over here with a ton of ideas for adding content upgrades to your posts. [http://xosarah.com/2015/09/08/18-types-of-content-upgrades/] Also consider adding a reminder at the bottom of blog posts telling readers they can get more awesome content by signing up for your email list.
5 | Ask them to follow you on social media
Social media is one of the best ways to connect with your audience every single day. Using an app like Click to Tweet (or Better Click to Tweet on Wordpress) is a great way to build your social media following without actually asking. Create a pull quote or highlight an important part of your post to make it extra easy for readers to share. For example, I recently created an email challenge and included a Click to Tweet box for users to tweet that they were joining up.
Additionally, make sure your social media links are easy to find in your sidebar, blog footer, about and contact pages. And don't forget to add your social media links to your email newsletters - this way you'll get new followers every time you send an email! You might think most of your readers follow you, but you'll be surprised how your numbers will grow with one little mention.
6 | Create an email challenge
Get new readers involved and seeing results from the start by creating an email challenge. Here's an example of how I did this for Twitter. Choose a goal for readers to hit and then breakdown the process into simple to accomplish steps. Week-long challenges work well because they're simple for people to work through quickly, but hook them to your content long enough to interact and get to know you a bit. Running a challenge via email will also allow you to add them to your list. They'll get an immediate return on signing up and you'll get a new reader hooked on your content!
7 | Provide serious value
And of course, the number one, most important thing you need to do if you want new readers to become loyal fans...blow their mind with how much value you pack into a blog post. Every post on your website needs to pack a serious punch, so no matter how new users arrive on your site you're able to to provide inspiration, entertainment, or education, and create an impact with your content. I do this by creating how-to posts that give my readers actionable information they can put to work and get results immediately. (Just like this post!) If someone can go through ONE single post and learn something that benefits their business, their blog, or their life, get inspired to change/upgrade/create, or laugh/cry/have all the feels with you, they will definitely be coming back for more!
About the Author
Sarah Morgan is an award winning web designer, blog and business consultant, circus performer, and aerial instructor from just outside Detroit. She thrives on helping people grow their own websites, make the leap from unfulfilling jobs, and be brave in business and in life. In 2012 she quit her corporate design job to literally run away with the circus and get back to what she loves – working with bloggers and small businesses to create a killer online presence. Connect with Sarah via her website and on Twitter.