You already have your Pinterest profile optimized to drive traffic to your blog, but what happens when they get there? Sure, they’ll love the post they came to see – but what makes them stick around and become members of your community?
In this post, I’ll give you a few blogging tips for keeping the visitors you attract – not only through Pinterest, but from anywhere around the web.
Most of what I’ll be focusing on is in your sidebar. Know why? Because aside from your header, which is a fairly fixed part of your blog, your sidebar is what every visitor sees, on every page. Your sidebar is prime real estate, and it’s time to treat it like the powerful tool it can be.
1. Keep it Personal – Add a photo.
If there’s not a picture of you in your sidebar, there should be. People who are active Pinterest users see dozens of blogs every day and when they arrive at yours, they need to be able to connect a face with a blog. Why?
People don’t connect with blogs – they connect with people. [Tweet this]
Building readership for your blog is building a community. And while the content of your blog is at the center of the discourse, you’re at the center of your content.
The best blog builders are those that make a personal connection with their readers. This starts with adding your photo, so your visitors can see the face behind the voice.
2. Showcase your tutorials + best content
If the only post a Pinner is going to see on your blog is the one they clicked over for, you need to make sure you show them the very best of what you have to offer. Invite them to explore by giving them a guided tour!
Tag/category clouds were cool when they first came out, but I rarely click them anymore. Why would I click the words “homeschool” or “my kids” from a tag cloud, when I could click on this:
In fact, Kara from Rockin’ Granola has an amazing sidebar. She features a photograph of herself at the top (*check*) and gives me a dozen images to help me find more great content from her blog. You should check out her blog to see it in context. Truly professional.
3. Simplify your sidebar.
If you want people to stick around after reading a great post, you need to make their choices clear. Ditch the blog awards and the six different stats counters (one is fine. really.) and feature yourself.
- Do you want people to subscribe to your blog? Put that at the top.
- Have you written an eBook or are you promoting something you’ve created? Feature it!
- Do you want people to visit your sponsors? (of course.)
- Do you want people to explore your content and connect with you? Give image links to your best content. (Note: If you’re using the Genesis theme for WordPress, you can use the Genesis Featured Widget Amplified to generate these automatically – although custom designed ones may look cooler).
A word about sponsor ads
If you have an eye for growing your blog and have a dozen ads in your sidebar, you may want to think about scaling back on your sponsorship program. Now, hang with me here:
I attended a fantastic webinar the other night with Tsh Oxenreider, media maven at the Simple Mom network. She recommended that your sponsorship section be limited to four ads.
Because the more ads you have, the more you’re diluting your visitors’ attention. Any visitor that’s reading your blog can only click one thing at a time. If you’re building the readership of your blog, you want to both:
- Keep the focus on your blog, and
- Give your sponsors a great experience. (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post…)
Don’t send people AWAY from your blog and onto your sponsors’ sites before they’ve had a chance to get to know you and see why they should come back.
Simplify your sidebar to help your readers prioritize their next steps. Make it count.
4. Link to your best content from *everywhere*
Don’t just give links to your content from your sidebar. The most effective way to keep people browsing around your blog is to link within your posts. For example,
“When I tell people to start following influential pinners to grow their blogs, they sometimes question my logic. Why should you follow other people, to be followed yourself?”
People have an automatic desire to find out what you’re talking about, so capitalize on that by using links to your other content within your posts.
Don’t forget that prime “end of post” spot!
The reason WordPress plugins like Microkid’s Related Posts and Link Within are effective is that they engage your readers once they’ve finished reading your posts. If they had a great experience with the post they’ve just read, they’ll naturally want to read more.
By linking to your best content at the end of your posts, you’re giving them a chance to stay and enjoy themselves a little more, and hopefully decide your blog is worth coming back to.
Optimizing your blog for new visitors is hard – but it’s worth it.
If you’re serious about capitalizing on incoming traffic, you’ll have to do a little work to get your blog in order. The most important thing is to make a personal connection with your readers, then lead them by the hand and show them what else you have to offer.
Give your visitors a great experience, and they’ll stay.
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