How long do readers stay on your blog? A minute? Two or three? Your site meter will tell you. It doesn't take long to read a blog post. And it's not the length of time that matters, it's what they do while they're there.
Do they read more than one post, more than one page? Do they check out your bio, easily find related info? Do they see your subscription form and sign up to get email updates to your blog?
Greet visitors to your blog as if they were visiting your home, welcome them in, offer them a comfortable chair, a cup of coffee, and ask them to stay a while. Ask them questions, ask them what they need.
Or do your blog readers whip through your site like they were at a 7-11 store just buying coffee? Here's a few tips for making your readers feel at home so they wanna curl up, stay awhile and keep coming back.
- Looks matter. Go easy on the eyes. Blog design doesn't have to be hired out to an expert, although you can't go wrong if you do. While looking good is a matter of personal tastes, be wise. Don't clutter up your blog home with unnecessary stuff that distracts and confuses people.
- Use photos to illustrate posts. You'll notice I make use of great photos and illustrations for every post, thanks to services like Shutterstock. A good photo says a lot, and makes your posts more compelling. It only takes a couple of extra minutes to find a good illustration for even the most abstract concepts. The reason this is important is that long blocks of text are daunting. You need to draw readers in with compelling photos that make the reader curious to find out more.
- Start and finish your posts with questions. This puts the focus on the reader, what's in it for them. It will also help you get right to the point. No "I've been thinking about xyz…" Ask the reader what they've been doing about xyz.
- Edit your posts before you publish to clean up errors in typing and grammar, and while you're doing this, link keywords to other related posts you've written about, link to other people and sites on the web, and include a few links to your website products pages, like your "how to hire me" page.
- Vary the length of your blog posts. Sometimes give short snippets of information, with links to read more, other times, give readers an in-depth examination of a problem they have.
- Use categories well, 2-3 for each post, no more. Make it easy for readers to find a specific subtopic of their choice.
- Suggest related posts. Before you finish your post with a question or several questions to get them to think and leave a comment, give them a list of 2-3 related posts to read more on the topic.
- Use bulleted lists and bolded subtitles to break up longer posts. Make it easy for readers to scan. Even though you want them to stay, give them information that's easy and quick to read.
- Remind them how they can get more of you. You can suggest they read your bio, your how to hire you page, use your subscription form, refer to your other web pages. Just like a visitor to your home, you'll want to make sure they want to come back and stay for dinner sometime soon.
What else can you do to make readers feel at home? Last week I talked about creating a "here's my typical client, is this you?" page. Make it easy for readers to know they're in the right place, among people just like themselves.
Oh! Almost forgot tip #10, most important:
10. Get personal. You don't have to reveal much about your personal life, but people do business with other people, not with brands, not with companies. So you'll need to add the right amount of really authentic YOU into the mix. Just like a conversation. Some personal stories about how you can relate to the problems and challenges of your visitors/readers/people…
I'm writing daily on this blog about how to use your blog for quality content marketing, so be sure to use the subscription form in the upper right hand corner to get email updates.
Related Post: How to Make Your Readers Feel at Home