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Once upon a time there was a writer with a mission. She wanted to start a blog and get 1,000 subscribers after 12 months of blogging. After all, how hard could it be? She had 14 years of experience designing and writing for the Web plus 200 friends on her personal email mailing list. She figured if she couldn't do it no one could.
But she rushed into it and made every mistake in blogging history. First she didn't plan her blog properly. Then, because it was just an experiment, she threw the design together in 30 minutes. Next she changed topics as often as Lady Gaga changes her image and finally she switched domain names three times.
It wasn't just her who was confused, her readers were too so they didn't bother subscribing and looked else where for their regular blog reading fix.
It was depressing. But knowing that perseverance is the key to success our fearless writer carried on blogging, scouring the Internet daily for advice, ever determined to work out why her writing was failing to convert casual readers into loyal subscribers.
There was plenty of blog writing advice out there. She read that content is king, people love stories and writers need to have a voice so she wrote more, shared stories and bared her soul. It didn't help.
Although she wrote her heart out and updated her blog three times a week after six months of blogging she still only had 43 subscribers. Failure loomed.
Finally in a last desperate bid to succeed she resorted to doing what she knew best:
- Write about a topic she knew inside out.
- Give her readers information they were craving.
- Be confident and share from the heart.
She stopped thinking so much about her goals and started thinking more about her readers' goals. It worked. Check out the graph below and you'll see the upturn in subscribers. The graph doesn't show the whole story but slowly her subscriber numbers creeped up and she got 1,000 subscribers just in time to meet her self-imposed deadline.
Writing blog posts that get more readers
1. Focus on giving your readers value
Work out why your readers have come to your blog and give them your best information every time. Make your blogs posts clear, useful and actionable. Read the bit about focusing on giving your readers value again and make it your blogging mantra or write it down and stick it on the wall somewhere so you focus on it every time you write.
2. Just write as if you were speaking to your best friend
Use the kind of simple language you use in everyday life, don't confuse people with jargon or too many long words.
3. Give your readers clear instructions
They're blog readers not mind readers. If you have tips break them down into easy steps. If you have advice make sure they can understand it. If you want readers to subscribe ask them to. If you'd like them to share your posts on Twitter or Facebook suggest it to them and make it easy for them. If you want them to leave a comment tell them or leave them with a question to answer at the end of your post.
4. Keep it simple
Telling a story helps but to begin with just make sure your blog post has a beginning, a middle and an end. It's the information that people want more than anything, a story's just the icing on the cake.
Writing Static Blog Content That Gets More Readers
Writing useful blog posts that clearly give your readers value is key but to convert new readers into subscribers you also need to pay attention to the static content on your blog too, especially the about page.
Your about page is the single most important page on your blog. Most new readers who visit a blog and are thinking of subscribing will check the about page first before signing up. It's your big chance to convert blog visitors from casual readers into eager subscribers.
Abracadabra Your About Page
Make sure people who hit your about page can instantly read these four things without having to scroll down:
1. The benefits of reading or subscribing to your blog.
Remember your readers want to know that you can add value to their lives. They're not interested in your amazing social life or your exotic travel stories. They might get interested in those one day, but now they're after one thing: cold hard information and the solution to their nagging problem. If you've got the goods make sure blog readers know it right away by telling them what information they can find on your blog.
2. Your credibility
Readers don't want to invest precious time listening to any old charlatan who sets up a blog and calls themselves a guru. They want to know you have a proven track record of success. Qualifications and experience will go down well too, but don't talk about yourself in the third person – use the word ‘I' and write if you were talking to a friend.
3. Social Proof
Well anyone can say they're successful it helps to back that up with social proof. It's a brilliant way to let people know you're the real deal without talking yourself up. Slipping in name of companies you've worked with, testimonials from happy customers or other third-party accolades is the perfect way to back up your claims.
4. Calls to action
Don't forget to seal the deal. Hopefully they'll like what you read and if they do you want to make sure the don't slip off without subscribing and forget all about you. Time for another call to action telling them why they should subscribe and including the two words that make people click more than any others: free and now.
You probably guessed that writer whose blogging journey got off to a slow start was me. I finally bought the Get In the Hot Spot and started focusing on writing empowering tips for life and work then and soon realised that my readers were more interested in my web design and web writing tips than anything else. I surveyed my readers to find out what they wanted me to write about and they said writing. So that's what I'm doing. Readership grew and my readers asked me to help them with blogging too and eventually set up Successful Blogging to meet demand.
Today my blogs have thousands of subscribers and one of them is probably you. It's not a miracle, it's because I'm giving you the information you need and if you want to grow your blog you should do that for your readers too.
Blog Content Writing Practice
- Pick the topic you know most about and write your most useful blog post ever.
- Include calls to action at the beginning and end of your blog posts.
- Ask a question at the end of your posts to ask for comments.
- Rewrite your about page emphasizing the benefits people will get from reading your blog and why you're the best person for them to get it from.
- Make a nice image (here are some free image sites)
What's the first thing you're going to change on your blog now?
Take the Successful Blogging Blog Writing About Page Challenge
Paste the first three sentences of your existing about page into the comments then give yourself a mark out of ten for them. Be honest and remember this is your main chance to convince people that your blog has something valuable to offer them. Do your three sentences do that or do you need to change them?
If your about page needs then try rewriting those three first sentences right here in the comments so we can see your before and after versions. We'll help you workshop those three crucial sentences on your about page so they will convert readers into subscribers.
Update: I've closed the workshop now and might not be able to offer my thoughts. Sorry if you got here too late but I can see this post's had the desired effect: people are rethinking their about page, revising it and improving it which is brilliant. Well done everyone and thanks for participating.
If you want to add your old and new about page to the comments anyway please do. It's a great way for us to get to know each other.
Please tell your friends and followers by using the share buttons below or recommending this post in your favourite blog bookmarking site so we can grow the Successful Blogging Team. I look forward to seeing you here again soon. Thank you for reading and happy writing!