One of the issues I had as a newbie blogger starting out years ago was finding ways to keep readers on my blog. What I discovered in 2005 (yes- that was when I first started blogging and podcasting) is that an audience just wants to get to know the real person behind the screen.
**UPDATED with VIDEO***
“Who is on camera? Who is behind the microphone? Who is that behind the screen, clicking away on the keyboard? Can I trust that person to give me advice? Does that person really understand my needs?”
These are all the questions my audience was asking themselves. I found out quickly that the way to connection was through bridging the gap of distance between myself and my reader.
Here are a few tips for how I did just that and ended up with my first few thousand listeners on my very first podcast for Christian women back in 2005.
Also, if you just prefer video, here is a 10-minute recap of what it takes to keep readers on your blog.
Talk to the right people
First off, it helps to know who you’re talking to so that your audience really can trust you. Who are you showing up to serve and why do you wish to serve them? Make sure you’ve really narrowed down your niche so that you have the right tribe following you.
Getting the right readers on your blog is the first step to keeping readers on your blog.
Keep great content flowing
Once you have the right readers, you’ve got to just start cranking out that awesome content. So…if you don’t like writing you might want to reconsider blogging. In order to have a successful blog you really have to like talking (and writing) about what you love.
Keep the content flowing weekly. Daily, even at first. Here’s how I would do it: first, set up a plan of action and goals for your overall blogging vision. Ask yourself: “What do I plan to accomplish in a year, 6 months from now, 3 months from now, a month from now?” Then write down your answers in a special notebook. (I like to use a planner, a fancy journal, or my goal-planning worksheets like the one below that I created just for you!)
Pick up your goals worksheet here
Next, set up a checklist that will help you accomplish all of your blogging tasks each week. Again, use your favorite goal-planning system (a paper planner, digital planner like Trello, or checklist.)
Create sticky content
Sticky content is that stuff that sticks! It’s what your visitors want to read and keeps them coming back for more. This is the awesome sauce you want on your blog.
Here are a few ideas for creating sticky content:
Podcasting and Vlogging
My first podcast was in 2005 which I created as an outlet to encourage Christian women in their faith. I needed this podcast as much as my listeners said they did, because as a new stay at home mom to a toddler it was such an inspiring and motivating activity to wake up to each morning. Podcasting became my world. I needed this outlet and reaching out to women all over the globe via my bedroom in my humble home was simply life-changing.
It was then that I learned that it didn’t take much to make a difference in the world. It just took a few things like: motivation, a touch of inspiration and a desire to help others. (I also needed to learn the tech part of podcasting which was a bit trickier back then).
Nonetheless, all I needed really was the desire to connect and to be heard. Learning to podcast gave me that opportunity to blast my message nationwide and even worldwide without ever leaving my house.
Podcasting also served as a really “sticky” connection between me and my audience because now they had a voice to pin my picture to. I wasn’t just a fly-by-the-night online character nor was I hiding behind a logo. I was a real human being with a real picture and a real voice. To the early digital world (before social media) this was huge.
Later in 2012 I began my first vlog on YouTube with a different niche: this time in homeschooling. Again, there’s just something about connecting the voice and the face with your audience and letting them into your world.
Podcasting and vlogging are likely the easiest ways to create sticky content and keep your audience coming back for more.
Internal and external linking
When you link to other posts within your blog, it does exactly what you want it to: keeps readers on your blog longer! Make sure each of your posts has internal linking built in. Always make sure you have a running list of your post topics at hand so that you can easily cross-reference and link out to other relatable posts within your blog.
I would recommend you do the same for external linking. Find credible sources to link to (other blogs in your niche, for example) and link to some of their posts related to your topic. I typically keep a running list of blogs I love and comment on with my Feedly account. By upgrading you can search your subscriptions for relevant topics which can help you to link out to specific posts.
You can also use a related posts plugin that gives your readers a chance to select from a number of different posts on your blog to read…right at the end of that post. Giving your readers options to keep reading just makes your blog even stickier.
Here’s a video on how to display the related posts plugin on your WordPress blog.
Add a CTA (Call To Action)
What action do you want your readers to take after reading your blog post? Should they download a workbook? Follow you on social media? Join your challenge group?
Always include a call to action even if it’s just to invite your reader to keep on reading.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to keep readers on your blog. Check out some of my recent posts: