If you’re one of my email subscribers, then you might remember a couple of days ago I sent out an email about a great tool that food and recipe bloggers could use that would help turn one time blog visitors into fans that come back over and over.
Well, I got a question from another reader who basically said “What if I’m not a foodie blogger? What can I do that will get people to come back to my blog over and over?”
And that’s an AWESOME question!
When people think about increasing their blog traffic, what they tend to think of is getting new people to come to their blog. And we can forget that it’s just as important to get people that have been here before to keep coming back.
Imagine you have 50 new people come to your blog every single day, but none of them ever return after that first visit. Your blog traffic is going to be stagnant at 50 people a day. But if you can turn half of those people into regular readers, then each day, you’ll have more traffic than the day before – makes sense right?
And that’s not all – people who become regular readers start to feel a connection with you – they’re much more likely to share you on social media than people who just dropped in for a first visit. And more shares, as we all know, means even more new visitors, so before long your growth will be exponential.
There are actually quite a few things you can do to turn people not just into return visitors, but into true fans of your blog. Let’s go over a few of them now!
Create Amazing Content
Seriously. I’m putting this first because it’s the most important thing. If you want people to become fans of your blog, you have to impress the hell out of them the first time they show up. And the thing that’s going to impress them isn’t how pretty your header is, or what “awards” you have over in the sidebar – it’s going to be your content.
Corbett Barr from Fizzle wrote a post about this a couple of years ago – Write Epic Shit. I go back and read it again every 3 or 4 months, just to remind myself of what I should be doing. If you’ve never read it, I suggest you do that right now. I’ll wait here until you’re done.
Ok, let’s move on 😉
Build an Email List
When someone finds your site – whether through search or on social media – the likelihood is that they will read the post that brought them there, and then they will leave and never come back. Even if you write epic shit, they will forget you when they leave. But, if you’ve written epic shit, they won’t want to forget you – they’ll want a way to remember to come back and read more of your awesome stuff.
That’s when you put an opt-in form in front of their face.
Look at my blog. If it’s your first time, there’s a link to opt in at the top of the post. There’s a form over on the right. There’s another one at the bottom of every single post. There’s one at the top of the entire blog in the Hello Bar. And there’s another one that pops up occasionally to take you by surprise.
Because I want people to join my email list.
And when they join my email list, I can let them know when there’s more awesome stuff here on the blog, and they can come back to read it over and over. I can talk to them, I can send them cool things, and I can build a relationship. That’s what blogging’s about for me.
Anyhoo — Email list = More return visitors.
Yes, social media is awesome and fun and sexy. (Not like that boring, stodgy SEO dude – what a wet blanket that guy is!) When someone reads something great on your blog, they may like you enough to decide to follow you on social media, and that’s excellent.
It’s not as good as email, though – which is why you won’t see any buttons on my blog asking people to follow me on social media. I take that back – there’s a Facebook widget at the bottom, but that’s about social proof more than getting followers; that’s why I put it all the way at the bottom.
Because social media is cool and all, but the truth is, I’d rather have people sign up for my email list than follow me on Facebook. When I post something on Facebook, about 5% of the people who are fans of my page see it. When I send an email out to my subscribers, about 20-25% of you are opening them up and reading them. (And I am so grateful to you all for that – I hope I never let you down!)
So, social media will bring people back to your blog, but the return on your effort isn’t as good as the return you get from an active email subscriber list. That’s why I really recommend that you spend more time working on building an email list than you do worrying social media.
Be Consistent with Your Posting
Imagine that someone comes to your blog and reads an amazing post. They liked it so much, that they come back a couple days later to see if you’ve got something new up.
What do you think happens if there’s nothing new there? What if they see that you’ve posted 3 things in one week, then nothing for 2 weeks? They get tired of never knowing what you’re up to and they stop coming back, that’s what happens.
If you can only blog once a week, blog once a week consistently. If you can only blog twice a month, then blog twice a month consistently. Show your readers that you are committed to giving them great content on a consistent basis, and they’ll be consistent about coming back for the new stuff.
Make Commenting Fun and Easy
If commenting on a blog requires me to sign up for something or fill in forms, I leave. If people liked filling out forms, we’d all love doing our taxes. Commenting on your blog should be as close to effortless as possible – and I’m sorry, but if you’ve got them jumping through hoops and reading captchas, it’s just ain’t easy.
People LOVE sharing their opinion, so make it easy for them! Commenting helps create a community on your blog pages, so respond to them. Make your readers feel important and appreciated by thanking them for their comments.
One of my biggest turnoffs is to see a bunch of comments on a blog, and realize that the blog owner hasn’t responded to any of them. So, so wrong. Seth Godin is one of the best and brightest bloggers on the planet, and I hate his blog because he won’t let me comment. But Seth can get away with it, because he’s already famous. Until you’re as famous as Seth Godin, you should be talking to people in your blog comments. It gives them a reason to come back.
Do a Series of Posts on a Specific Topic
This is a really awesome way to encourage return traffic. Do a series of blog posts on a topic; I did a series on mindset training called Developing Your Strengths that helped me grow my blog pretty quickly at the start because people came back for each post in the series.
Or if a series on a set topic isn’t your thing, you could have a feature on a certain day – I see some foodie blogs that will have a Meatless Monday post; some bloggers do a Wordless Wednesday. I’ve done “Feel Good Fridays” here – the ideas are limitless! And apparently, alliteration is awesome. (Haha.. see what I did there?)
Another thing I did was the Blog Workshop with Jackie Lee from Zen Wahm. A lot of people came by every Monday to catch the latest episode over the months we were doing it. Running a weekly or monthly series like that can be a great way to encourage return visitors to you blog.
Have a Tool or Piece of Content That People Will Use Over and Over
Depending on your niche, there are things you can have on your blog that will get people to come back time and time again because it’s handy, helpful or useful. And when they come back for that thing, they will, of course, be exposed to your new content.
For example, I tend to go back over and over to a couple of blog posts that have headline writing prompts, because sometimes I’m a little thick headed when it comes to crafting a decent headline. I go to another blog and download social media scheduling charts.
If you do crafts, you may have some tutorials or printables that people will want to use more than once.
In fact, if you didn’t get my email this week, that’s what it was about – a tool to install on food blogs that does cooking conversions (like tablespoons to ounces). A tool like that is an awesome way to bring people back to your blog ALL the time. I know I’m constantly using tools online to convert metric to standard (because I live in a metric country, but have a standard brain!!). If you’re a foodie blogger and missed the email earlier – you should check out the conversion tool here (affiliate link).
You know, it really comes down to the basics – right back to something I said on my very first post on this blog. If you want to create a successful blog, you need to find your tribe and connect with them, then help them solve their problems. When you do that, you won’t ever have a problem turning visitors into raving fans.