Today I want to talk about one of the top mistakes I see bloggers make.
They don’t ask people to follow their blogs and they don’t make it easy for people to follow their blogs.
As bloggers, we tend to think that if we stick a “subscribers widget” on the side of our blog, and then we get traffic, people will subscribe. Trust me. They won’t. I mean, traffic is important, yes. Without it, you won’t get subscribers either. But you need people to come back for future posts, too.
If you want people to follow your blog after they read your awesome posts, you have to ask them to follow and you have to make it easy for them to do so.
Let’s look at Single Dad Laughing.
When I started the blog, I started it on Blogger and I put the standard Google/Blogger followers box in my sidebar. This led to almost no return traffic. After some internet research, I came to the conclusion that the vast majority of people couldn’t care less about that platform and don’t use it. So, I signed-up for a Facebook page and a twitter page and put the Facebook widget up instead.
I saw an immediate jump in the number of people that were signing-on to follow SDL. Why? Because, more people use Facebook than any other platform. But it still wasn’t a very big percentage of people following, so I also gave them an easy way to follow via RSS and Email as well. Once again, the numbers jumped.
But the numbers didn’t jump anywhere near as fast as when I asked people to follow along for “daily awesomeness” at the bottom of every blog post and gave them a quick “like button” for Facebook along with easy share buttons.
Here’s a screenshot from the footer of my most recent post. This has evolved a little bit over time, but essentially is the same that it’s been since I first put it onto my site.
You’ll notice as you look at my site, that I’ve really built my following up in Facebook more than anything else. I made the conscious decision to do this because more people are on Facebook than any other platform. But Facebook isn’t the only platform, so I’ve put secondary emphasis on other forms of subscribing as well.
At the top of every page on my site, you’ll see this header. Notice what is on the upper left.
I’ve put, in the number one most valuable space on my blog, big, aesthetically pleasing buttons for people to subscribe. And look at what those buttons are.
RSS. Email. Facebook. Twitter. And Pinterest.
These are the five most popular ways that people like to follow blogs. And so, I’m going to make it as easy as possible for people to do so.
But now look just below the second ad (in the fourth most valuable space on my blog). Another button for people to quickly like SDL on Facebook.
And if you go to my blog and scroll down even further, you’ll find even more links to subscribe in the sidebar, this time with links to my other brand new blogs as well.
In other words, no matter where people’s eyes are when they’re visiting my blog for the first time, they’re going to realize that they can subscribe. And that’s what every blogger wants (I hope).
But for some reason people think they’ll come off as too self-aggrandizing, too desperate, or too whatever if they blatantly ask people to follow.
I promise, you won’t. Not to the people that like what they read on your blog, anyway. People appreciate convenience and if you lay out your blog correctly, they’ll never think twice about where you put things.
As a former executive sales trainer, I can promise you this… If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. At least not very often.
So below every post, ask your readers to follow your blog, and give them easy ways to do it. In your sidebar, do the same. And if you have room up top, do it again. Return visitors are way more important to the success of your blog than cutsie little widgets that are fun but serve no real purpose.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. Are you following this blog? I had to create a new Facebook page for it so you might not be! Click like here to like My Big Blog Secrets on Facebook.
Also, be sure to tune into the next post when I discuss how to wiggle extended following invitations to your current readers into your everyday blog posts.