As a blogger, one thing you probably have noticed is the difference in numbers between the people who visit your blog, participate on your blog and actually subscribe to your blog. If you consider commenters and subscribers as “converted hits” on your blog, then you may find the conversion rate extremely frustrating.
Visitors vs. Readers
First off, how do you know if you are getting more readers vs. just hit and run visitors? If you have an analytic program such as Google Analytics installed on your blog, you will have an insight into this trend. Instead of just being fascinated by the number of visits, take a look at the New Visits percentage. Clicking on this statistic will show you the amount of new visitors vs. returning visitors during a specific time frame.
Next, how do you know if people are staying on your site and actually reading? Check out the Bounce Rate percentage, Pages Per Visit and Time on Site. The Bounce Rate tells you how many people are entering your blog on one page, and exiting without going anywhere else. Pages Per Visit, going along with Bounce Rate, gives you the average amount of pages that people visit while on your site. Time on Site tells you how long people are staying on your website.
If you want to know what content is important on your site, simply use the look at the Content menu > Top Content. Select an article, and then analyze the amount of time people spent on that article and the percent of people that continued on to other pages on your blog or ultimately exited after reading that page. This tells you if the content was enriching enough to keep visitors on your site longer, and if you found was to entice them to check out more of your site.
Extending Visitors Stay
Once you know what type of content keeps people on your site, you will want to ensure that visitors continue to more of your site. This can be done by including links in your article’s content and at the end to related posts. Just be sure that the posts are as related as possible – someone reading an article about Twitter will be more likely to click on other Twitter articles than a random article about photography.
So now that you have found readers, how do you get them to comment? There are several ways to turn your readers into active commentators, including:
- Leaving an article somewhat “incomplete” so readers will want to add their input to complete the information.
- Asking your readers questions, so they know that their opinion is valuable to you as well.
- Offering incentives, such as creating a Top Commenter list on your homepage, offering dofollow links, holding contests where commenters get a prize for leaving their opinion on a particular article, etc.
This is by far the most difficult conversion, from visitor to subscriber. While you can do things such as offer a free item in exchange for someone subscribing to your blog by email, sometimes you will find that people will subscribe, get their free item, and then unsubscribe. If you want subscribers that are going to stick with you, you have to get them to subscribe based on your content. Make sure that you make it easy for people to subscribe by explaining the basics of RSS, the benefits of RSS subscriptions and having the option to subscribe via RSS reader and email in various parts of your blog. You don’t want someone to reach the decision that they want to subscribe, and then have to hunt down the link to your feed. Then, your goal after that point is to make sure that every article sent to their RSS feed or email box is informative, entertaining and useful.
Also, don’t get frustrated just because you don’t have a high subscriber count. Remember that some people prefer other methods of being notified of your new posts over RSS subscriptions. For example, I find that I don’t subscribe to some blogs because those bloggers have found other ways to direct me to their new posts, such as sharing (but not over-sharing) them with me on StumbleUpon. Your readers may have many different favorite social networks of choice, so be sure to promote your articles on multiple social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. Although it sounds like a time consuming task, it doesn’t have to be if you develop a plan and have the right tools to simplify the social submission process.
As a blogger, what do you find most important? Getting hits, readers, commenters or subscribers? What methods do you use and find successful in converting hits to repeat visitors and active participants on your site?