Seven easy ways to get return visitors to your blog

Obviously, converting every short term blog visitor into a regular user of your site is virtually impossible. But there are a few things you can do to make a few more people become repeat visitors or at least check out the rest of your site. Add a visible RSS feed Getting your site in people's feed readers will prompt them to read your articles and may generate repeat visits. Make the RSS button easy to spot; if people have to hunt around for it, they are likely to just give up. You could also prompt users to subscribe at the bottom of each article. There is also the question of offering a full or partial RSS feed. While offering a partial feed may prompt more people to click on your site, offering a full feed may get more people reading your posts and help you to build an audience over time. Get people involved Make sure people are able to leave comments on your articles, getting visitors involved in debates on your site will hook them in and get them coming back to check for updates. To achieve this, your comments policy needs to allow the debate to flow easily. This means that comments should be post-moderated, if they have to wait 30 minutes to see their comment appear, they will quickly lose interest. Email updates If users leave a comment, giving them the option to sign up for email updates so they can see if someone has responded to their views. Get newsletter signups Like RSS feeds, newsletters are a good way to get your site's content in front of people and have them coming back for more. It's important not to overdo and send too many emails out, but a weekly newsletter which displays some of your best articles will have people clicking onto your site to read more. Unique, compelling content People will only want to return to your site if you have some content that interests them, so make sure you have something to say that will interest people. See Patrick Oak's post from last month on how to create compelling content. Link to related content If someone has come to your site to read an article about email marketing, and you have plenty of related content that they may be interested in, then make it easy for them to find it. Include links to such content in the body of the article, and display related articles at the bottom of the post so they can explore further if they want to. If you have a Wordpress blog, there are some useful plugins that will help you organise your content in this way. Usability Make your blog design and layout easy for visitors to navigate, visitors will make a judgement in seconds based on the look of your site, so avoid anything that may put deter them. If I click on a blog that is plastered with AdSense and other ads, this will have me reaching for the back button. Likewise, if a page is slow to load, or has a confusing colour scheme, visitors will be reluctant to return.

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