If your blog went viral it is likely that your ears are ringing since readers are talking about it to those within their circle of influence who are then spreading the word even further. Perhaps you posted an article or series of articles that caught fire in the blogosphere. What you don’t want is for this to be a one-time occurrence but how do you keep up the momentum so that readers will keep coming back and develop loyalty? Below are give strategies for keeping readers and engaged and coming back for more.
Strategy 1: Mix up the content
Rather than focus your blog on one style of writing (e.g. “how-to”, advice, opinion) mix-up the writing style so that your readers are attracted by the range of topics provided. For example:
v Use one posting to discuss various aspects of Web design. e.g., the cost vs. benefits of using templates.
v Post comments regarding industry trends, such as incorporating a shopping cart on ecommerce sites or the use of multimedia and how it affects downloading speed of content.
v Write a series of posts on one topic such as designing a Web site for a multicultural audience.
v Ask for comments from your readers, such as their favourite Web sites and why
v Expand on the topic of an article prepared by one of your competitors or provide an alternative perspective
Strategy 2: Use Videos
Videos extend the amount of time readers spend on your blog. Videos may be instructional in nature (e.g. how to keep costs low when building a Web site), provide an introduction to your services, or replay a speech you have given on Web design (and this last will do much to boost your rep!)
Strategy 3: Link your blog in email
Do you use email lists? If so, try and see if this might increase reader loyalty. In trying to generate email addresses a good idea is to embed the “sign-up” form in a prominent position on the page, such as the top of your blog page or right sidebar (so that readers see it when they finish each sentence. It is well known in the sales world that it takes a minimum of seven “touches” for a prospect to take action. With this in mind, the more times readers see the email sign-up form the greater the likelihood they will input their name.
Another suggestion is to offer a give-away for signing-up. This may be a free mini-eBook or some other promotional item. To build motivation, you might include a deadline with the offer.
Strategy 4: Use an RSS feed
Not all blog readers like to access content in the same way. Some prefer to receive messages via email, others on their social media profile, while still others prefer an RSS Feed. To reach the most people, it is a good idea to use each of these venues since you don’t know which method each reader prefers. Install a big RSS feed link on your blog, perhaps next to your email sign-up form.
Strategy 5: Get the Picture!
People get the most fun out of two things on the Net: videos and images. As a Web designer you have no shortage of images in terms of your portfolio pieces. You can also have some fun posting the images of your own favourite Web sites with an explanation of why you like them. Your image gallery should contain about 20 to 30 pictures and include a variety of design styles. Not only will this show the range of your skill but will provide a fun experience for your readers. However, to keep their interest it will be necessary to change the pictures on a regular basis.
As you can see from the above, there are several methods you can use to develop reader retention. Although they may have first visited your site because of the buzz one of your postings generated, you can keep these readers by using some creative imagination—and for a Web designer that is precisely your domain—pun intended!
Ashyia Hill is a small business blogger at CreditDonkey, where she helps web designers and bloggers find business credit card deals for their online business.