Entries Tagged 'Blogs' ↓

Why You’re Losing Your Blog Subscribers (and what to do to keep them)

Last week I did a major clean-out of my blogroll, mostly because I am losing Google Reader this summer.

Honestly, though, this has needed to happen for a while. I spend very little time on Google Reader anymore anyway, and most blogs have other ways for me to consume their content now, rather than RSS feeds.

A whole bunch of the blogs in my Google Reader didn’t make the cut. If yours was one of them, here’s why.

losingsubs
1. You don’t update regularly.

This is the numero uno reason why I unsubscribe from blogs. If you’re not going to update your blog on a regular basis (even if that regular basis is once a month), I’m not going to keep following it.

2. Your blog is boring.

That sounds harsh, I know, and I don’t necessarily mean that your blog is boring to everyone. It’s possible that it’s just boring to me because I don’t understand it or it doesn’t apply to me.

On the other hand, it’s possible that your blog is boring to everyone. Check on that.

3. You have no option to subscribe via email.

I used to make fun of people for demanding a subscribe-by-email option. “Come on, you luddite. Get on the train and learn to use RSS.” Well, I take it back. You need a subscribe-by-email option. You just do.

Why?

Do you know what I’m replacing Google Reader with? Nothing. That’s right. I’m not going to read blogs via RSS anymore. I’m getting the ones I care about enough that I don’t want to miss anything delivered straight to my inbox via email subscription. The rest of them I will catch when my friends post links to Facebook or Twitter or whatever.

There were a few blogs that I would have gladly given my email address to and let them into my inbox on a daily basis, but there was no option for me to give it to them. This makes my marketing brain asplode. It’s not hard, people. You can do it through free services like WordPress and Feedburner. Even better, you can own your email list if you use something like Mailchimp (free up to a certain number of subscribers) or Aweber (not free, but worth some money if you’re serious about email).

Let me give you my email address. If you don’t, it’s like I walked into your store and begged you to let me give you my money so that I could purchase your thing, and you refused.

4. You don’t have a subscribe button.

All that stuff about email said, you still need RSS. And, for the love of Pete, stick a Subscribe button up somewhere so I don’t have to guess what your feed address is.

5. Your tagline sucks. (Or you don’t have a tagline at all.)

Here’s a scenario: I am going through my subscriptions deciding which ones to keep and I click through to your blog. I see a mish-mash of posts on your site, but none of them are things that speak to me, and I wonder why I subscribed to you in the first place. Oh, and the title of your blog is your name.

I need a tagline. Your tagline should tell me what your blog is about so that I remember why I subscribed. By the way, your tagline should not be, “Just daily musings on my life, lol,” because that tells me nothing. What do you write about most commonly? What can I expect to find? Don’t make me hunt for your intro blog post or About page. Make a tagline and stick it somewhere prominent.

6. I don’t know about your blog.

I love blogs. I follow lots of them. But if I don’t know about your blog, I can’t subscribe to it, can I? That means you need to tell me about it. You can tell me in person. You can post it on your Facebook profile or Twitter. You can email me. You can leave a comment on this post if you want. Whatever. Just make sure I know about it.

And that goes for other people, too. If you want people to read your blog, you have to tell them about it. Post your links when you write a new post. If your blog is new, say, “Hey I have a new blog, in case you want to subscribe.” Easy, but lots and lots of people don’t do it and then get all butthurt when no one reads their blog.

So, this whole post is a little tongue-in-cheek, guys, and none of these things are deal-breakers, but if you want my advice (which you should, because I am awesome), spruce up your blog a little with the above tips and hold on to those subscribers.

Give Your Site Some Google Juice

Google Juice // goo . gel . jooce
The magical and mysterious value Google gives to your site, based on links from good sites, unique content, and the age of your site. The more juice, the higher your site’s ranking in Google searches.

So how do you get some? Here are some tips:

  1. If you are on WordPress, install the All in One SEO Pack. If you’re a beginner, it even works right out of the box, easy as pie.
  2. Write a great summary. Your website (even if you’re not on WordPress using the All in One SEO pack) probably has a place for you to put in a summary. Write a great, to-the-point, 145-155 character summary of your site, using the keywords you really want to target.
  3. Use descriptive titles. Again, think about your keywords when you’re writing your titles. How do you want people to be able to find you?
  4. Create content! If you have a blog, churn out the content. I’m not sure if Google recognizes this, but people do, and you get more links if you churn out more content– and I know Google recognizes more links.

My Sonja Foust, Romance Author site currently ranks very well when searching for the phrase “romance author” on Google. It’s because I’ve been around a while, I use the All in One SEO Pack, I title my pages and posts descriptively, and I’ve used “romance author” in the title for my page and in my summary. So give it a try, and get yourself some Google Juice!

Generating Post Ideas

One of the most common problems with writing a blog is generating enough content to keep on blogging! Even if you’re a daily journal type blogger (like me), sometimes there just isn’t anything new to say. So what do you do? Well, I think blogging is a pretty personal thing, and you’ll have to come up with your own solution, ultimately, but I can tell you what I do.

1. Always remember What Not to Post. This can be hard, especially if the only things you have to post about are on your personal list of Things I Will Not Post About. But do not stray. You’ll regret it in the long run.

A hand-drawn mind map
Image via Wikipedia

2. Brainstorm some post ideas. At first, especially if you’re writing a topical blog, the ideas will be fast and furious. Capture as many of them as you can, maybe in a Word Doc, maybe as a draft post, but don’t use them all right away. Schedule them for regular intervals. After the first round dries up, you’ll have to practice some other techniques for generating post ideas. One of my favorites is mind mapping. Pro Blogger takes you through the mind mapping process for generating blog post ideas.

3. Make an editorial schedule. You’ll probably want to do this first, before you’ve even launched your blog, but if you have an established blog, it’s never too late to implement. My schedule is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I have a list of blog ideas covering as many weeks in advance as possible. I’m not completely tied to the list, in case something cool happens that I have to blog about instead, but at least I avoid blogger’s block completely, and always have something to write about! I use an Excel spreadsheet to do this, but you could use anything you like: calendaring software, Word doc, or even just draft posts in your blog platform.

How about you? How do you keep on keepin’ on with your blogging? Give me some more ideas in the comments!