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3 Alternatives to Promoting Your Blogs Homepage That Convert First Time Readers to Loyal Ones

Posted By Darren Rowse 2nd of November 2008 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

When you have an opportunity to promote your blog what part of your blog do you promote?

In 99% of the promotion that I see bloggers doing they promote their blog’s homepage URL. This is a reasonably good way to go – but perhaps there are a few other ways to approach promoting you blog that could potentially be more effective at converting new readers.

You see a blog’s front page is not always a great place to send people for a number of reasons:

  1. it can be overwhelming – a blog’s front page usually has multiple articles on it. A reader hitting that page cold could be a little overwhelmed by the choice of what to read.
  2. content is not always relevant – a blog’s front page is generally always changing. Most bloggers cover a variety of topic, some more serious and ‘on topic’ than others. Send readers to it on the wrong day and they can come away with the wrong impression of you.
  3. no strong calls to action – when you’re promoting your blog you want to convert people into loyal readers. While most blogs have a subscription options in their sidebars they generally don’t have strong calls to action on them (or at least not as strong as some of the other options below).

So what other options are there for you when you’re promoting your blog? Let me explore three:

1. Purpose Built Landing Page

One of the most effective ways to convert new readers to your blog is to have them arrive on a page that is purpose built for new readers and attempts to convert them.

The idea of ‘landing pages’ is one that comes from the advertising world. When a company runs an advertising campaign online they generally will not send people to their site’s front page – they generally will design a page specifically for the campaign that appeals to those the campaign is aiming to convert and which has a strong call to action.

Bloggers can develop landing pages also. This is useful when promoting your blog via advertising but also in other contexts. For example when promoting your blog on social media sites or profiles you could develop a page that you send people to that appeals to social media users.

Further Reading – read more about how to do them at – The Importance of Landing Pages of Blogs.

2. Individual Posts

Another option is to send people to specific posts that you’ve written instead of your home page.

This is a technique that I use particularly when I’m doing an interview or a guest post on someone else’s blog. The key is to pick one of your best posts and make sure that it is on a topic is relevant to the context that you’re promoting yourself in and the audience you’re attempting to attract.

In this way you direct people to a post that is likely to hit the spot with them. You can also tweak the post you’re promoting with a call to action at the end.

3. RSS Feed

This is another technique that I’ve used numerous times with significant success. I wouldn’t recommend doing it all of the time or even doing it in isolation but it’s a great secondary promotion technique.

What I mean by that is to include your RSS feed’s link along side another link when you’re promoting your blog.

For example – if you’re promoting your blog in forums in your signature – why not include a link to your blog AND an invitation to subscribe to it all in the signature. In the same way – if you’re doing a guest post on someone’s blog – don’t just link to your blog, include a way for people to subscribe in your byline.

In effect you’re including a call to action right in your promotion. The cool thing is that it works – when I’ve done this I’ve seen noticeable increases in subscriber numbers.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. You know Darren, I could see how this would be particularly effective for something like your Twitter profile (as in building a Landing Page specifically for your twitter followers).

  2. I think I’ll spend part of today working on that landing page.

  3. Finally, I got you through Twitter! I am always late here so I am glad to be early bird this time. Your posts always comes late to my email.

    Anyway, this is another great reminder, Darren. Actually, I am usually doing this when I leave a comments to blogs. For the subscription invitation, I have one of one at the end of each post.

    I am an active member of some top forums like DP and Sitepoint, but I never thought of doing this as I always use my homepage. I think that’s a nice approach. I will try that one time.

    Thanks for continuously guiding us.

  4. Hello Problogger,

    been following you for a while on Twitter now, and reading your blogposts. I intend to start a blog pretty soon and this is again a very helpful post. Smart!

    If you like you can follow me on Twitter (Sekoja).

    Best wishes.

  5. im using my post url not my home url to promote in other sites. using this method i think all my posts will be indexed in search engine database

  6. I think the idea of sending people to individual posts is a really important one.

    People tend to enjoy heading with a site specifically to view the content. In fact that is why most people click on a link. If you can promote your direct link in a forum, or other website then it will most likely be something people will click on.

    If you just promote your website homepage the click rate is significantly reduced.

  7. Great stuff Darren!

    Already I can see people in the comments section doing that…

  8. I agree with point #2 and with Kristofor. I know when I click on a link and I’m taken to an actual page, I stop for a moment and see what it has to say. Searching the blog index for an interesting article takes too much effort at certain times, haha. I’ve found that my visitor rates go up (and bounce rates down) when I do some “specific linking.”

    I never really thought about promoting my blog’s rss feed, but now I have to give that a try! I wonder what kind of results it will generate?

  9. Darren:

    I too like the idea of creating a landing page designed to convert readers. Do you or any of the commenters here have examples of good blog landing pages?

    John Easton
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeaston1

  10. Hi John Easton,

    I think you can try mine. As I have mentioned earlier, I am frequently doing this. Just hope you find it good, based on your criteria. It’s about blogging, anyway.

    Thanks!

    By the way Darren, I just changed my forum signature and hope it will work out…thanks!

  11. Landing page is a new idea to me. I’ll work on that. Thanks for the idea.

  12. Thank you. I’ve often thought about someone coming to my site to see what it’s all about and landing on a wordless wednesday picture and not feeling as though they want anyting to do with the blog….I’m going to work on this right away.

  13. Great tips darren.thnks..

  14. I like the idea of promoting your blog and including an RSS link, great idea! We often send people to individual posts too, especially when individual posts are more relevant to the situation.

    For example, here is a recent post about several $10 Walmart gift cards we’re giving away:

    http://www.engineeradebtfreelife.com/2008/10/remodeling-in-process.html

    You can get an entry to win by commenting on the blog, and another entry by subscribing to our feed!

    Enjoy!

    Momma
    feature blogger at Engineer a Debt Free Life
    subscribe to feed here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/EngineerADebtFreeLife

    P.S. How’s that for following your suggestions? Got 2 out of 3 right here! :)

  15. I like the idea of creating a landing page quite a bit, I’ve just been slow to implement it.

  16. It’s easy in the rush of trying to market, market, market for folks to take the direct approach. Sometimes you need to just put on the brakes and try and decide exactly what you want to accomplish.

    These three tips I think can serve as reminders that there are many ways to skin this cat. I’m sure there are others and I’d be curious to see what else other folks are doing.

    Cheers

    George

  17. I do use some blog posts to link too every now and then, but most of the time do link right to the home page. I might create a few landing pages this weekend and do some split testing. I never though of creating landing pages to be honest for the the blog.

  18. Great idea about linking to the RSS feed in guest posts! I like it alot.

  19. I just wrote a post on this today (at 7am West Coast time)

    “Purpose Driven Blogging”

    You can check it out on my blog for Venture Capitalists, Tech and Wine!

    http://scottdig.com/2008/11/02/purpose-driven-blogging/

  20. While blogs do often have a constantly changing front page, I’m finding that being more creative with it, by use of a theme such as the excellent “Revolution” and “Revolution 2” series by Brian Gardner, plus some coding to enable “sticky” posts and the like, can still make the front page a good landing, as it provides an overview of a large number of posts, including evergreen and recent, at a glance. In fact, whereas when I started blogging the front page and individual article pages looked very similar (the only real difference being the number of articles displayed), now on two of my blogs they’re very distinct.

    That means I’m quite happy to send people to my front pages.

  21. I also feel that the homepage is important part of any blog. Also landing pages are important too. Thanks, I should build a good landing page since i lack one.

  22. This is something people should really listen to. I’ve been online and marketing for a long time now and this strategy works. In fact, it doesn’t have to only lead to a blog landing page, but instead could lead to what you ultimately want people to do on your site.

    For example, clicking on my name won’t take you to my blog, it’ll take you to our WordPress Web Hosting Service. The idea is many blog readers probably have free accounts (always bad) and if they click on my name they might find what they are looking for.

    On the flip side though, one positive thing about leaving links to your home page (or one page in particular) more times than not is SEO.

    Search engines love indexing your top level domain (www.your-site.com) and the more links that point to it, the higher your PageRank will become.

    By scattering your links to many articles you will significantly slow down building a large number of links to one page (even if they are nofollow).

    But we have to remember, ultimately, it’s humans we are selling to, not Googlebot.

  23. Great advice as usual +_+

    I like the idea of landing pages…

  24. You are right. I did try to send visitor to more relevant landing page, it seems very helpful in converting them to my loyal subscriber! Thanks for the tips!

  25. It is a nice idea about the RSS Feed you have mentioned. It is a great idea. We can surely increase the subscrption. The other point of yours, I used to try the same that works and it has muiltple advantages.

  26. A landing page is a good idea but, in my opinion, often the landing page looks so cluttered on many blogs as well. Maybe I see this wrong because I am not a pro blogger.

    If I would build a landing page, I would put the focus purely on: setting expectations for my visitors and outlining a win-win situation between my readers and myself. Most likely, I would not place an ad on the landing page but maybe this is being considered a big mistake in the eyes of other bloggers. If so, let me know…

  27. Hi Dareen,
    What if we drive reader to Home page instead of post page?

  28. I particularly like the idea of promoting you RSS feed in your signature lines. I hadn’t thought of that.

    As for sending people to another page other than the home page, I do that a lot. In the tight niche of book blogs whenever I leave a comment of a book I’ve already reviewed I usually leave the direct URL of that review in the website field box. I know others just leave the link with the comment but I think it looks less spammy. If someone follows me to my blog then they see relevant content to the page they just came from.

  29. I always submit indivdual posts when I Stumble my own blog.
    Hopefully, this will hook readers.

  30. I should work more on our blog promotion to het subscribers. I have not done it at all, but again, who would want to subscribe to a shed blog?

  31. Fred Thompson says: 11/03/2008 at 4:10 am

    Sounds like a good idea. I will be building a landing page.

    Ready Freddy
    http://www.isnrblog.com

  32. Hi Darren

    Great ideas. I often just promote my homepage, and I never thought it coud be overwhelming. Makes sense to promote one certain post, will keep that in mind.

    Thanks as always
    Tressa

  33. Great article. I am writing more for ehow because my blog doesn’t pay much. So I have had to incorporate that idea of linking to something more pertinent. for example I used my link in your box there for my article on sales and marketing process -because I figured that it is more pertinent to this forum than my articles on cleaning a pool or how to deal with plagiarism.

    What I am confused on is how to incorporate an RSS feed and how that would benefit as the subject does not change ;except edits or poster comments.

    At any rate I would like to create a landing page for my ehow articles. Feel free to email me anyone with suggestions!

    I liked this article THANKS PRO BLOGGER for another great thought provoking subject!
    ALRADY

  34. My preferred landing pages are my homepage for general forums, blog comments, etc…

    I used specific posts when participating in forums, as long as I have a relevant one, which is now more and more frequent.

    After reading your post, I started testing by leaving links to my archives page, which is a really good place to start reading about all my favorite topics.

  35. I’m currently in the process of getting ready to transfer my blog between hosts and am redesigning the blog.
    I had never contemplated a landing page but it’s on the to-do list.
    My blog is for members and guests of a Ski Lodge so a landing page would be great for first timers so I can direct them around the site and make the experience more user friendly. Then, when they become regular readers, they can delve deeper and find what they want to read.
    Thanks for the suggestion and tips.

  36. Personaly, when i go to a new blog, i like seeing the homepage as a CMS style instead of the traditional blogs.

    i like your homepage because your faced with a video, a featured post, links to recent posts and a section for best post of the month ect.

    When i go to a blog i like to see links so i can choose what interests me instead of being faced with HEAPS of boring text.

    If i could only give 1 tip to bloggers, i would suggest investing into a CMS style homepage.

  37. Individual posts is great advice. I’ll try in the short time.

  38. When promoting my blog the tactic I use most is to send people to a specific post that is relevant to the message or ad or whatever attracted them. Having them read a relevant post with the option to subscribe via RSS .

    Darren another great post to get us thinking about what ere doing and why. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

    Gary McElwain

  39. Darren,

    I really enjoyed reading the 3 alternatives to posting your blog homepage. Thanks for such useful info. I am working on transferring my blog to another host and I will definitely use landing pages for my social media sites.

    Using individual posts to promote my blog is a really good idea and a reminder that I need to include right away. While I usually promote my homepage, It is my individual archive posts that are showing up in the search engines from third parties. It can only get better if I actively promote my individual posts myself.

  40. Great advice, I have always used my main page in links, But I will start to use the links to Individual Posts. Thanks

  41. Very good advice! This is the biggest challenge my blog faces: Turning first-time readers into regular visitors. I have always just linked to my blog’s homepage. But now I might try to customize the links a little more depending on where the link is being placed!

    Thanks Darren!

  42. This post came in good time. I was going to set out to research this topic but happened to check Google Reader and found a good starting point. I myself have to start linking to individual posts especially since my site has a broad range of topics. I just never felt sending first time visitors to the home page was enough to capture them. I must play around and see what I can do.

  43. Yes, I totally agree with your listed tips, I think loyal ones are much better than one-time readers.T

  44. Since it doesn’t look like anyone else has mentioned it, using the plugin CommentLuv for WordPress blogs basically gives you the opportunity to select from your last 10 blog posts to highlight the post you feel is most appropriate on another person’s blog who also has CommentLuv if you’ve signed up for the program, or if they have it and you don’t then it’ll show your last post. That takes care of your #2 just fine.

  45. Your tips are good. Especially the purpose built Landing page.
    I have had a good made up with free gifts. Individual posts are great for social bookmarking.

    David

  46. I’ve seen landing pages for blogs before.

    I found them a bit irritating, because my way of appreciating a new blog – I usually would look if it has ‘top posts’ or ‘suggested reading’ box, and if it doesn’t I try to get a general feel for the blog from the front page, comments, archives. In this case a landing page is just another something that stands in my way.

    Nevertheless, I think that a well built landing page that showcases the essence of the blog could be very useful.

    Cheers,
    Alex

  47. Because most people come through the home page, I have tested static page with powerful copy in the home page. I think I like the flow better than by displaying recent posts on the home page.

    It gives me more control too…

    WordPress allows this to be done easily.

  48. Great post. A great to promote your blogs on other peoples blogs is to make a comment that links an article that you’ve written on your blog, that is relevant to the topic at hand. I find that much more engaging than just posing your homepage.

  49. Timely post, as always! I’m working on tweaking my Welcome page, meant for new readers. Right now it’s mostly just an orientation, but I’ve been thinking about adding more content. I’d like my welcome page to perhaps become a Landing Page, so thanks for the advice.

  50. Very nice and useful landing page guide.

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