Most bloggers like to know that their content is being read. However, it can be even more gratifying knowing that readers are enjoying your content and that they’re actively returning in search of more content.
To build these kinds of readers, you need to understand what makes a blog consistently engaging. How can you hook in readers and keep them hooked?
Here are just a few tips that could help you to achieve a loyal readership.
Know your audience
First, you need to understand what it is that readers want from your blog. Popular posts can be a good indication of good content (positive comments, likes and shares may show that your content isn’t just click-worthy, but that people actually enjoy it too).
Once you discover which content people enjoy, you should aim to create more content that is similar to this. Obviously, you don’t want to rewrite the same post over and over again, however by targeting a similar topic you can help to appeal to the same readers.
It’s important that your blog has some kind of overall theme. Some people argue that a blog should only cover two niches max – however the reality is that you can target multiple niches. The key is to not go too crazy and start covering everything from business to music to golf to babies to horses to gardening to gaming, as not every reader is going to be interested in all these topics.
The only exception may be if you have a consistent writing style that’s entertaining and unique enough to keep people hooked, no matter what topic you’re writing about (this is a lot harder to pull off!).
You might also want to be a lifestyle blogger and that’s fine. You and your interests are your niche and for most of us, we only have a few interests and not hundreds, so we can still keep our blogs to a few niche and relevant topics even if it’s not just one.
And of course, it’s best if you are passionate about all the topics you are writing about. Don’t just write for the sake of writing. Figure out what your favourite topics are and what your audience enjoys the most and then focus on those. You’ll enjoy blogging a lot more for it and may even find yourself more motivated to blog once you are focussed.
It’s also important to post content on a regular basis. If you go weeks or even months without posting new content, readers may forget about your blog or assume you’ve stopped blogging altogether. By posting at least once a week, you’ll keep your readers’ attention.
Some bloggers like to keep a schedule so that their readers know exactly when to expect new content. This may keep your readers loyal and it could prompt you to publish content consistently, however some bloggers may find this a little too regimented.
I tend to blog almost every day, but I have four blogs I write. Sometimes I blog more than once per day on just one of my blogs. I don’t have a schedule, but I do keep a list of blog title ideas on the Notes app on my iPhone so I never run out of content ideas.
Keep a list of titles or content ideas and remember to add to it whenever something pops into your head. It’s too easy to think up loads of ideas whilst having a shower in the morning, for example, only to forget them all by the evening when you’re ready to write! Make a note of them ASAP and you’ll always have an idea.
You should also make sure that your content is easy to read. If readers get through your whole post, they’re more likely to read other posts on your blog. You can do this by breaking up text and by not using too much technical language.
Breaking up text could include using regular paragraph breaks and headers so that it’s not just a wall of text. Most people find walls of texts intimidating and may not be able to get through more than three lines.
I used to write quite big paragraphs as I was always writing for a desktop screen, but now more people than ever are online on their smartphones, so I’m trying to get into the habit of even shorter paragraphs to improve readability on mobiles too.
As for technical language, try to stick to layman’s terms when describing complicated topics. Unless your readers are likely to be experts, they won’t have a clue what you’re on about if you’re using too many technical terms.
There are other tips to improve your content readability that could be worth reading into. By improving readability, you can keep readers on your blog longer and encourage them to check out more content.
Choose your paid content wisely
Some bloggers sacrifice engaging content in exchange for profitable content. In other words, they start to care more about earning money from their blog than earning loyal readers.
It’s possible to create content that is engaging and profitable, but it’s no easy feat.
It involves only selected sponsored content that readers are genuinely going to be interested in and ensuring that you keep the same tone of voice throughout as the rest of your blog.
If you’re usually quite critical, it could be quite difficult to write a sponsored review that is wholly positive. All in all, you may just have to accept that personal content takes priority over sponsored content if you want to stay authentic.
Besides, if you get enough readers, you may eventually reach a stage in which you can make enough money off ad revenue alone without accepting sponsored posts.
And, of course, many bloggers like me do rely on sponsored content as an income so if that’s the case then just be picky about what you choose or don’t be afraid of asking if you can re-write the content to make it more personal to you.
We’ve all had bills to pay and had a tight month where we’ve had to accept something irrelevant, or were perhaps starting out in the world of monetising without much direction, but just try to keep your content on point most of the time to avoid becoming a junk blog.
Set up a mailing list
A mailing list can be a great way of encouraging loyal readers by keeping them updated via email every time you post new content. This can be done using a bulk email tool that readers subscribe to.
There are lots of ways to get people to join your blog’s mailing list. One of the most popular methods is to use a pop-up – whilst fairly invasive, it gets people to notice that you have a mailing list.
Another option meanwhile could be to add a mailing address sign-up box in the sidebar that allows people to simply enter their email address to join.
Personally, I prefer to use a MailMunch bar at the top of my website so it doesn’t cover or interfere with the rest of the content on my blog. I find them less annoying than traditional pop-up forms.
If you’re on Wordpress then you can simply set up a widget in your sidebar that will collect email addresses and send out your new blog posts automatically to subscribers.
Share your content on social media
You can also encourage loyal readers by getting involved on social media. By creating social media pages for your blog and then sharing new content to these pages, you can easily build loyal readers who are then able to follow your page and see new posts on their feed.
It’s worth adding a plug-in to your blog that allows people to easily follow you on social media channels. There are also plug-ins that can automatically share any new content you create on social media.
If you’re overwhelmed by the number of social media platforms then just choose a couple to get started. Work on building these up and integrate them with your website. Add buttons so people can follow you on social media directly from your blog, but also add share buttons to each blog post to get your content out there easily.
Interact with your readers
Interacting with readers can help to turn your blog into a community. It allows people to ask questions and forms debates surrounding your content. This helps to generate loyal readers by putting power into your readers’ hands, allowing them to have their say.
You can enable comments on most blogging platforms. Meanwhile, social media provides the perfect platform to like and comment. Try to reply to comments to encourage discussion. You can also use your social media pages to ask your readers’ questions and to create polls. You may also be able to share other content such as memes and other people’s posts.
You may notice I don’t have comments on this blog as I had to turn them off on this blog for technical reasons, but you can easily find and interact with me via Twitter or Instagram!
Create a useful course for your readers
Blogs are great to read as they're usually pretty short and easy to digest, but if your readers want to learn a lot about a topic or put it into action, then a course is a great way for them to get all the information they need in one place. There are lots of guides on how to build and sell a profitable course online or you can set up a short course as a freebie for your loyal readers. Many bloggers set up a paid-for course as another means of passive income, but make sure it is providing value to your readers if you are going to charge. A free course is a good idea too as it will increase readership and offer great value to your readers. If your course is received well then it will no doubt turn the participants into loyal followers.
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