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How to Make Your Readers Keep Coming Back

Make sure readersA loyal audience is required for most ventures in today’s highly connected world to succeed. Otherwise, you’ll to be a one-hit wonder. As a blogger, you want your readers hanging on the edge of their seats as soon as you tease the topic of your next post. If your readership levels aren’t where you want them right now, even if your blog is good, we have some suggestions to make your blog a must-see.

Optimizing Your Blog and Content

If you care enough to make sure that everything you post is top quality, you’re already headed in the right direction. It’s just not doing anyone any good if they haven’t found it.

Have you put any thought into making yourself easier to find? Much of this has to do with the people you mention and the ones who mention you. The blogging world is basically one big conversation, of which you become a greater part as you engage in discussions with more of your fellow bloggers.

Don’t simply discuss how much you love a certain writer — give them a shout out by linking their site! Other bloggers in your niche have hordes of experience that you can trade. You can communicate through guest posts, referrals, blog roundups, friendly comment interaction, live chats, social media, and other venues.

Of course, if you link to others just because they have many readers and you hope they’ll return the favor, you’re probably wasting your time. Famous bloggers don’t have the leisure to review every blog that mentions them, nor to see if it’s quality enough to return the favor. Instead of wooing the big names, focus on building relationships at your current level.

Don’t stop at building relationships with bloggers! Make your post stand out enough that readers will go to your blog versus a competitor. Two unsung heroes that will get you far if you do them right are the timing of your posts and the design of your blog.

According to Marketing Tech, you’ll want to publish posts around 9:30 am on Mondays and Thursdays. It’s good to have some backup posts pre-written and ready to release on especially busy weeks, but timely posts about extremely recent/current events are ideal to write as often as your email newsletter subscriptions can.

In terms of design, an attractive, modern layout will get you far more engagement than one that’s hard to read, or that looks like it was coded in the early 2000s. Prominently featured (not obnoxious) social media links and calls to action for readers to subscribe are great for building interest. If your call to action is decisive and hints at the value you offer your readers, it’s more likely to get results — namely, email newsletter subscriptions. And, as you probably already know, posts with pictures do better than those without any visual elements.

Strategies and Tactics to Implement

You can’t go wrong when you’re writing about what you love. That in itself makes your blog entertaining since enthusiasm is contagious. Figuring out how to make your awesome content work for you is the next step.

While you should do what excites you first, your blog will see a drop in visits if it becomes too navel-gazing. Find out what your readers want to see, and write about that as well. This shouldn’t be difficult; your visitors are probably already interested in your specialty and want to see your take on it. A good way to get ideas is to visit similar blogs and see what kinds of comments recur — and on what posts. Is there a big issue or tricky question that a lot of people would want to be covered? Take a stab at addressing such topics yourself, listen to your readers’ feedback (which you already know to ask for at the end of your posts), revise, and repeat.

MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION FOR YOU  How DO You Write a Blog Post? The Ultimate Guide

A good way to get ideas is to visit similar blogs and see what kinds of comments recur — and on what posts. Is there a big issue or tricky question that a lot of people would want to be covered? Take a stab at addressing such topics yourself, listen to your readers’ feedback (which you already know to ask for at the end of your posts), revise, and repeat.

Posting consistently is another unmistakable tactic for retaining readers. People like some predictability in their lives; that’s why it’s so frustrating when the grocery store gets rearranged and your favorite peanut butter is no longer next to the salad dressings.

Releasing posts regularly and reliably trains your viewers to keep coming back at the same time, where they are always rewarded with another excellent read.

For more inspiration, check out this blog post (and anything else by Neil Patel) on the art of blogging.

Ensuring the Return of Loyal Readers

Building reader loyalty is a lot like building customer loyalty in retail: it’s all about treating your guests the best that you can. Are there any giveaways or reader features you could do to reward your most faithful visitors? Do you go beyond your blog itself to engage with those who reach out to your social media presence?

Find a brand-appropriate way to make your readers feel like VIPs since your blog is now part of your personal brand.

A huge way to keep readers coming back is to get them to sign up for your emails. We know, the last thing anyone wants is an even more cluttered inbox. But if you can write a smashing email that doesn’t feel like clutter to its signed-up recipients, everybody wins. Recipients get content that they want, and you get another guaranteed reader every time someone signs up.

To make people more comfortable giving you their email addresses, get your site verified by a security service. Also, include an easy-to-find pledge that you don’t sell (or give) any personal info to third parties — right next to your easy-to-find subscription box.

Know the essentials (good design, nice photos or illustrations, well-spaced paragraphs, clear line of thought) from the nonessential (impressive/overwhelming length, masterful command of arcane speech patterns, updates twice a day, recommendations from celebrities). No one expects you to be the blog version of Tolstoy, and you shouldn’t either.

Your readers won’t become loyal because your presentation is convincingly majestic; they’ll stick around if what you say is useful and they like how you say it. The best way to achieve this is to do what everyone told you from middle school up: “Just be yourself.”

What has your blogging journey been like so far? We’d love to hear about your experiences and lessons you’ve learned — leave us a comment below!

Katherine Halek is the lead advertising and print strategy advisor at Signazon and Easybanners.com, leading online printers that provide marketing collateral for thousands of publishers around the United States. Katherine enjoys writing about blogging, content marketing, and the ins and outs of freelancing. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+

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32 comments on “How to Make Your Readers Keep Coming Back”

  1. I love how you said that blogging is one big conversation. What a great thought. One of the things I've had to learn with blogging this time around is though I want my readers to return, I can't assume they are all regular readers. In other words, the way I word my posts needs to be friendly towards my older readers and new readers and not say things like, "Of course you knew I'd say that" or phrases that assume we already have a relationship. 🙂 If I do say things that refer to past posts, that's fine, I just link to them so everyone can be "in" on the conversation. 🙂

    Thanks for these tips!

  2. Thanks for the article Katherine. The strategy, which you mentioned, that has worked the best for me with getting repeat visits, is to focus on building an email list. With a good offer (bribe) a first-time visitor may subscribe instead of simply leaving the site, and then chances are good that they will continue to return to the site if you use the list actively.

  3. Loyal readers and followers are the key to success of any online business, blog or website. It is really necessary for any blog to make readers keep coming on their blog and offer what readers love to read. Thank you for sharing this valuable post.

  4. Thank you for the suggestions. Question: if you find another blog to particularly helpful to what you are writing, is it okay to quote or reference theirs and include the link? Still learning the etiquette rules. Thanks!! Jeanne

    1. Hi, Jeanne,

      Yes, "linking" to another blog in your post, or even multiple blogs, is just fine. You can quote them or mention them and, as long as you give them attribution, you are fine.

      Thanks for your questions!
      Sue

    2. What Sue Anne said! Linking to blogs is perfectly fine — and very flattering for the author. You may even want to consider reaching out to them and letting them know that they were a source in your latest blog post. Could bring attention to your blog!

  5. Hey Katherine! Great post. 🙂

    I like that you ended with "Just be yourself."

    This is a lesson I have to keep reminding myself of each time I write a new post. So, thanks for the reminder!

  6. To keep readers come back to your website, you must to have something to read and make sure it's useful articles, not useless and nothing interesting to read.

    Most users will remember how many categories and topics you have on your website and when they really need something related, they will visit your website and find it.

  7. Hi,

    as mentioned in this very useful post, being able to provide value is the key to retaining readers and real value involves meeting their needs. Trying to predict what people want to read is not easy and checking comments or similar blogs to see what people might expect is crucial. Another tactic which seems to work is to scan the Internet looking for questions asked by the target group in order to design blog posts with these findings in mind. One way is of course accessing forums, other blogs, Wiki and Q&A sites (such as Quora or Yahoo Answers.) We often try to collect all the questions we can find and incorporate the answers in existing or planned posts. Two other powerful tools which have been really helpful are also Twitter and Google. In Twitter you can filter tweets and isolate questions using the advanced search functionalities. And in Google, the best way to find out what a certain group of people is interested in knowing is just typing the firs part of a question and see the first ten suggestions (questions which have been asked more frequently.) It's sometimes really surprising to see what questions are popular!

    Do you also adopt similar strategies?

    Thanks Katherine,

    Thanks Sue!

    Emily

    1. Predicting readers wants and needs in your blog's content IS crucial, I agree! I have a few tactics I implement when I write. I namely use tools to let me know what content is trending, what blogs are receiving attention on social media, and things of that nature. Google Trends is a good example of one of these tools, but there are several out there that are worth experimenting with. I LOVE your suggestion about searching through Quora and Yahoo Answers. If people out there are asking about it, it probably is because there isn't a good article or blog post that covers it!

      Sometimes data isn't enough. For one site I wrote for, I studied their content and wrote similar posts, but they didn't receive that much attention. I found my success only when I branched out and wrote about an unpopular niche topic (print). So, keep in mind of topics that people aren't covering. Just because it isn't discussed doesn't mean people don't want to read about it!

      1. Katherine,

        thanks a lot for taking time to reply! Your experience with such a niche topic is really precious...it probably took courage because your decision was not based on any data that would support your assumptions, and yet the strategy paid off. Risky, especially if you're working on a site which is not your own blog and you somehow need to deliver some good results.

        Intuition and passion are sometimes much better proxies than analytic tools! Thanks a lot for sharing this great story and tip 🙂

  8. Hello Sue and Katherine,

    This is one remarkable post, and I'm truly impressed that you emphasized on consistency. Indeed, blogging is a game of patience and persistence. Without these factors, you need to be sure that you're going nowhere! Failure only comes to those who quit, and success is only for those that choose to endure.

    Any new blogger will tend to be confused, especially if someone somewhere told them that blogging is easy...There's nothing good in this world that comes easy, so you have to brace yourself for a rough road throughout your blogging journey. If it's not about followers, it will be something to do with Goolgle updating its algorithm, and so on.

    Anyway, some manage to succeed in less time but that actually depends on your approach. The right strategies will always make you stay ahead of the pack.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi, Enock,

      You are so right - consistency and focus are my key words every year that I blog.

      I appreciate your comment on Katherine's post!
      Sue

  9. Hi Sue,

    I enjoyed thoroughly reading this post, best part of this article is trying to promote same level people bloggers to help them in their success by linking their articles because they will return to help us, if you link famous and well-known persons, then chances of getting help is very rare because they are too busy to favour us.

    Thank you very much for sharing this point, till now I referred links to expert bloggers articles, from now onwards I will try to refer links to same level bloggers who are written value content on their blogs.

  10. Hi Katherine Halek & Sue Anne,

    Thank you both for such type of post.

    You have well defined the strategy to get returning reader and also get loyal readers.

    In my view getting returning traffic is not a tough task, but getting loyal reader is a tough task, so for getting loyal reader on any blog we should make strategy, as you mentioned above. And Quality also matter. Great post indeed. I learn a lot from this post.

    Thanks! Have a nice day!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment today, Nisha!

      I totally agree that getting loyal readers is the key.

      Sue

  11. I hadn't thought about analyzing recurring comments on other blogs. I'll have to give that some thought as I continue to read other blogs. Also, I'd been arbitrarily posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'll make sure to change my posting schedule to Mondays and Thursdays now. Thanks for all these wonderful helpful tips!

  12. For any blogger the trust of readers are the most important factor and it can not be achieved with a good content if your blog have a good content then it will definitely attract audience and the people will also re-visit the blog again and again by the ways ita good article and helpful for newbie as well as pro

  13. Hi Katherine & Sue,

    Great points! I think creating a blog is to build relationship and connection to your readers. Without aiming to gain more traffic but to give your readers the best content to read, and because they trusted and love your work, they will surely promote it without asking them and that's the best thing to happen.

    You got a tweet from me!

  14. Hi Sue,
    A good list. Pretty much straight forward what a blogger needs to do regularly. Better make these as your routine if you want to be a professional blogger. Thanks for this valuable post.

  15. Keeping readers coming back is the main key to success.... You have listed some great strategies here. Well, the strategy I use is sending mails to my readers to know what they are struggling with and also tell me what they'll want me to write about. So they keep coming back over and over again to see if I have published them. But note, don't promise and fail to deliver or they will leave without looking back....

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post.....

  16. Hey,

    These are great strategies. I believe that taking readers feedback and understanding their needs and addressing them can be very useful. This will help you gain readers trust and they will keep coming back for more information.

    Thanks for sharing this article,

    Cheers.

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