20 Tips Guaranteed to Increase Your Blog Following

The Biggest Challenge Bloggers Have

How to build your followingBuilding a solid blog following is critical to achieving your blog goals. This requires multiple sources of blog readership. To this end, the biggest challenge most bloggers have is getting new visitors to become repeat visitors.

About 3 out of 4 blog visitors are new.


Between 70% and 80% of blog visitors on established blogs are new. As defined by Google Analytics, new visitors are those that haven’t accessed the site within the previous 30 days.

Show me the proof!

Here’s the New Versus Return Visitor breakout for my blog, HeidiCohen.com for the last two years. It’s about 75% new visitors. 

Here’s the New Visitor Trend for Jay Baer’s blog over four years. About 70% of his visitors are new. While these results only represent two established blogs rather than compiled research across a range of blogs, the findings are in line with well-established direct marketing practices where the goal is to to grow profitable future revenues by converting prospects from third party sources to the house file.

What a higher repeat visitor rate means for bloggers?

By converting new visitors into repeat visitors, bloggers achieve the following three critical objectives.

  1. Reduces the need to flog every blog post to maximize readership. A small increase in reader loyalty translates to higher readership without incremental marketing investment in the form of time and money.
  2. Keeps your content top of mind. “Out of sight, out of mind” as the saying goes. With increased content vying for reader attention, getting new visitors to sign up for email (or feeds) helps keep your blog on their radar.
  3. Achieves blog goals. If you’re using your blog to achieve business goals such as building your brand, generating leads, closing sales, and establishing thought leadership, it’s important to have a means to regularly communicate with readers and prospects.

20 tips guaranteed to increase your blog following

The secret to building your blog following is “Don’t make your prospects think about taking action.” To this end, provide readers with an easy-to-act options to get your emailings (or feeds).

To build your blog following, here are twenty tips guaranteed to turn new visitors into loyal readers without having to work at getting them to return each time.

  1. Use an effective call-to-action to get readers to sign up for your email (or feeds). Don’t make your readers guess what you want them to do. Just ask them in a contextually relevant way.
  2. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Give prospective readers something they perceive has value. For example, HeidiCohen.com offers a free e-book.
  3. Limit options. Show readers too many choices and they won’t do anything because they have to think about it. This is an established axiom of direct marketing.
  4. Minimize information requested. Keep the number of pieces of input as small as possible to maximize your list size. One client of mine had a list growing at a great rate until their sales department decided they could make more money by increasing the amount of information they had on each subscriber. After the fields were added, list growth screeched to a trickle.
  5. Ask more than once. When it comes to email and feed registration, once is NOT enough. Don’t feel you can only use an email opt-in once. Again, direct marketers have learned from extensive testing that it’s more effective to make more than one request for action.
  6. Incorporate email registration into your navigation. The benefit is that every visitor sees your email registration.  
  7. Include a call-to-action for email registration on your About pageIf people are examining your About page, they’re looking to get to know you better. Give them an opportunity via your blog’s emailing.
  8. Put your email request at the top of your blog. Use a tool such as Hellobar, a small plug-in strip across the top of your blog that includes text and a call-to-action.
  9. Place an email registration form at the top of your blog’s sidebar Make your email request obvious and above the fold so that it’s easy to find. 
  10. Add an email sign up at the end of every blog post. Make it easy for readers to register after they’ve read your content. The benefit of this placement is that it reaches everyone who sees your column regardless of its context. 
  11. Use a pop-up registration screen. While many visitors find pop-ups for registration annoying, they’re still effective. To reduce the annoyance factor, you can delay when the pop-up appears and a cookie can be added so that it’s only shown once a month.
  12. Add an email option to your blog’s social sharing icon. Email is the most frequently chosen option for sharing information. It’s particularly effective if you include an email registration in the email that’s sent. (Here’s the data on email in social sharing. It’ll surprise you!)
  13. Provide an email option in the footer of your website. Give readers another way to find your email registration.
  14. Include an email registration button or ad in your emailings. When your article gets forwarded to others, make it easy for the recipients to register for their own copy. Also, include the option in the email’s footer.
  15. Add a Forward-to-a-Friend button to your emailings. While these buttons tend to get a very small amount of usage, they do remind readers to do this.
  16. Include an email registration in your email signature. This is a no brainer. If you’re part of a larger organization, get everyone to include this link.
  17. Link to your email registration in your guest blog post bio on other sites. Enhance the power of your guest bio by getting prospects to register for your email newsletter. Instead of using a link to your website, as many guest bloggers do, link to your email registration or incorporate an email sign up form on the landing page you choose.
  18. Incorporate an email registration link to landing pages from your conference bios. Continue the scent from the conference and make attendees a non-promotional offer.
  19. Add a feature box at the top of your blog’s homepage. (Hat tip to Derek Halpern for this email generator.) The goal is to give visitors an overview of your blog without having to dive deeper into your content. It can help qualify your traffic, which in turn reduces list churn. 
  20. Include a feed button. This enables readers to get your content as soon as it’s published. Feeds tend to reach people who’ve been reading blogs for a while and have an established habit. They’re not as effective for future marketing. (See point 9 image.)

You need to convert onetime visitors to repeat visitors so they don’t have to think about looking for your content. Delivering it to them on a regular basis either via email or RSS feed provides enhanced capabilities for future marketing.

What do you recommend for converting first time visitors to repeat visitors and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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