When you have a blog you want people to see it and keep coming back.
But creating a return reader is something else entirely. In order to get your readers to return there are a few essential things you should be doing.
3 Ways to Create a Loyal Reader
- Write helpful and entertaining content
- Share your story
- Use great pictures
If you combine these three things you will grow a loyal following.
Writing Posts That Keep Them Coming Back
When someone lands on your blog, either from a Google search or a link someone shared with them, they won't come back unless they feel some kind of a connection to you. We've all landed on a post, read it and then never returned to that blog.
The content may have been good and we probably got what we were looking for, but we didn't feel motivated to go back. Why? More likely than not it was because we didn't feel a connection with the writer.
When we read sites like Wikipedia or About.com it's different. We don't expect to feel a connection, it's more about facts. But when it comes to a blog run by an individual, unless we feel connected with them we probably won't go back.
Here are the three keys you can begin to use today:
1) Writing Helpful / Entertaining Content
The backbone of any good blog is it's content, but if your content is not helpful or entertaining your readers will not be compelled to come back.
Finding a unique or interesting angle on your topic is important. If you can show the topic in a different light, or share a unique thought related to how your topic affects you or others, people will feel engaged and want to read more of what you have to say.
Another key to writing good content is thinking about how the post you are about to write could help someone. If your readers learn how to better themselves or how to avoid something that's potentially dangerous/frustrating, they will see the value of what you are sharing and want to come back for more.
Making your content entertaining by sharing something humorous, exciting, or dramatic, will keep people interested in what you have to say.
Keep your content interesting by using different types of posts. Some examples are lists, reviews, video and contrast posts.
Remember: if your facts are right, but your content is boring your readers probably will not come back.
(Make sure to add a newsletter to make it easier to share new content with your readers.)
2) Sharing Your Story – Putting Yourself In Your Posts
Why are sitcoms so popular? It's all about the people, right? We go back because we want to see what's happened to them.
And which movies are often the most touching? The ones based on a true life story. It's all about the people.
A blog is about it's author, not just the topic they are writing about. If you only share your personality on your about page, your blog will not be very compelling. You need to put yourself in your posts.
Putting yourself in your posts means sharing your feelings, your likes/dislikes, your triumphs/failures, your sense of humor, your sense of adventure, your fears/joys…
Some topics may more easily lend themselves to this. For example: a travel blog as compared to a tech blog. But this doesn't mean it can't be done in every topic.
A good example of a tech blogger who puts himself in his blog is Pat Flynn. When I see his blog, right away I see he's a happy dad (his profile pic is of him with his son) that's compelling. I see he knows what he's talking about and he enjoys it, he looks happy. I feel connected because I'm also a happy parent, and his blog looks reliable because of his obvious knowledge of the subject. He also does some fun stuff, like throwing a go-pro camera up in the air on his back deck and sharing the slow-mo video with his readers. That shows some personality. Sharing details of his family life in his posts adds interest and makes the reader feel more connect. His content is helpful and entertaining.
Putting yourself in your blog may come more easily for some than for others, depending on a persons personality.
If you find it difficult to share your personality on your blog it may be helpful to ask your mate or your best friend for some help. Ask them what it is about you that they like, what is it about your personality that attracts them to you. Then ask for pointers on how you may be able to highlight that (your unique personality) on your blog and throughout your posts.
3) Pictures Are Very Important
It may not be possible to share fun or interesting aspects of your personality in each and every post you write, that's why pictures are so important.
If you have a unique profile picture that tells people something interesting about your personality it will go a long way in helping your readers feel a connection to you. Pat Flynn's profile pic is of him and his son. Maybe that was just a coincidence because he loves his baby so much, but maybe it was also because he knows that a lot of people interested in his topic are also parents that want to work online so they can have more time with their kids. Whatever the case, it's much better than a boring head shot that tells us nothing about him.
So if you are writing about a less than thrilling topic, maybe you could use a profile pic mountain biking or snowboarding, or doing something else that shows an interesting side of your personality.
The other pictures people see when they land on your site are important as well. If you can add a photo slider at the top of your blog it could go a log way in helping people feel connected to you and your content.
Pictures on each post are very important as well. Attention to detail in this area could also make a difference to return traffic. Don't forget to pepper in pictures of yourself, your readers want to see them. Of course, you need to be careful not to only show pictures of yourself, that can become boring and come across as egotistical. 🙂
High quality stock images can help a lot (we use and recommend 123RF for great images under $1). Think about how you could use something fun or funny to highlight something that may be neither. Show your creativity through the pictures you use on your posts.
Putting it All Together
- If you can stay focused on making things helpful and entertaining for your readers, you will get return traffic.
- Putting yourself in your posts will help your readers feel connected to you and they will want to keep up with what is going on in your life.
- Using great pictures will also help spice things up for your readers.
If your focus shifts solely to making money, you probably won't get much return traffic.
“It's all about the people.”
(Don't forget about using social media like Facebook and Twitter to help readers find your compelling content.)
Does your blog get lots of return traffic? Please share what works for you by commenting on this post.