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Catch New Readers Up On The Basics of Your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 22nd of August 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Sometimes after you’ve been blogging on your blog for a while it’s easy to forget that not all of your readers have been reading your blog since you started. While you’re familiar with every aspect of your blog and how to use it – your more recent loyal readers may not.

One way to catch new readers up on what your blog is all about and how to use it most effectively is simply to write a post telling them.

So what should you tell them?

Really it’s up to you – but here are a few suggestions:

  • Why Did You Start Your Blog? – the story of how, when and why you started the blog can help readers connect with and own your blog.
  • How is it designed to be Used? – while more and more people understand what a blog is and how it operates – some readers may not – particularly non tech savvy audiences. Explain concepts like comments, categories and any features that you’ve installed that might take a little explanation.
  • How Can Users Connect/Subscribe? – explain how to use RSS or subscribe via email. It’s amazing how many people don’t understand this – educate them.
  • How Can Readers Get More Involved? – if you have forums or a reader community area for readers to get more involved highlight them.
  • Where Should Readers Start? – point new readers to some starting points to read (use the Sneeze Page idea that we talked about a few days ago).

You don’t need to do all of the above in the one post – in fact picking just one or two might get your readers attention better and not overwhelm them.

What about Your Regular Readers?

Worried about what your regular long term readers might think of these types of posts? I was too when I first did them – so I decided to invite them to participate in the process to help new readers.

What I did was to ask long term readers to tell the story of how they found my blog and how they use it. In doing this I not only got them involved and distracted from the fact that I might be writing about something that they already know – but I got them participating and enthusiastically explaining to new readers how they love and use the blog.

I also found that a few long term readers told me that they learned something new about the blog that they’d overlooked for a long time.

Want an Example?

Last time I did this at DPS it was with this post – How to Connect with Digital Photography School. Feel free to share your own examples and experiences of this in comments below.

This post is part of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. I always try to at least hint at past writings if I’m on a similar subject. I also try to keep my tone the same so although the topics will differ here and there, it helps if you don’t write “outside the scope” of your blog.

  2. May I answer your question of how did I find your blog here? I found it via google search, when I was starting to blog a bit more than two months ago. And now? I come back almost daily.

  3. I found this blog because almost everything I read on other blogs about starting a new blog mentioned this blog, so I checked it out one day and subscribed and have been reading ever since.
    I have been trying to figure out how to link users to old archives, and your sneeze page post and this post answered my questions. Thanks for all the hard work you put in to help new bloggers!

  4. Great idea Darren, with both of my blogs just passing the 1 year mark, this is the time to do this type of post. Thanks!

  5. I generally always post a link back to an initial tutorial. That first tutorial generally contains links to a progressive set of old posts. But I will likly try a post like this down the road that brings it up more specefically. Also as you mentioned in one of your other blogging tips, you can create a series page. It would help this in the way of having a “beginners” series which again, would take people back to earlier content.

  6. Really great ideas, Darren. Thanks.

  7. Darren,

    Great ideas – but really you need a decent readership to be able to do this. Otherwise you are just speaking to thin air and people who don’t really care :)

  8. Hi Darren. The whole challenge has been great. I’m finishing for the moment as I’m off on holiday, and will return after your challenge has finished. I’ll catch up then.
    Just to say a big thank you for all the useful tips and for all your readers too posting their thoughts and contributions!
    Thanks again!

  9. Good tips… well…. maybe we can also ask… what more they would like to see on the blog?

  10. This is a great idea for those with blogs that have been around for a while. I think it’s too soon for me to do a post like this, having only been up and running for a couple of months. However, I will file this idea away, so that I can revisit it around the one-year anniversary.

    Thanks, Darren!

  11. Good post, I think a lot of people forget to do this.. even though new bloggers find our blogs like everyday!

  12. Asking readers how they first found you and why they decided to subscribe not only keeps them involved, but can provide you with some valuable marketing data.

  13. Probably most of my readers are not tech-savvy. That is, able to use a computer, but not too aware of what a blog is. One thing I did do was use a WordPress plugin called Faq-tastic. http://knowledgeconstructs.com/wordpress-plugins/faq-tastic/
    It seamlesly integrates with your theme and allows you to build a FAQ page, with allowing for reader questions if you desire. Also, you can choose a paged FAQ or simple FAQ. I’ve tried to use it to answer questions like how do I comment, are you going to spam me, etc. As I think of more questions that may be asked (even if they haven’t), I can arrange them to suit. I highly recommend it.

  14. Very useful ideas.. Thanks Darren

  15. How do you know how long you should leave a blog up for review and should you make archives available?

  16. Jim B – I’m not completely sure what you mean. But I’d do this type of post every few months (3-6). And yes I’d make archives available.

  17. Having read this, I might consider creating a ‘New Here?’ page which explains what Skelliewag is and how it can be used. Thanks!

  18. One thing to remember… Not all of our readers are “tech savvy”. These types of posts help to encourage people to subscribe who might not ordinarily do so… My dad, for instance, has no idea what an “RSS Feed” is, but he likes to read several blogs about woodworking. So, when one of them offered a feed via Email, my dad jumped at the chance to sign-up. Now, he gets a daily dose from 2 or 3 of his favorite woodworking blogs (and ignores the ones that don’t offer this feature…)

  19. Thanks for the info. I want to implement this tips inside my blog. This questions suddenly pop in my head… What do you expect from this blog. But this might need us to work harder to fulfill the answers given. (^_^)

  20. I liked your blog, well explained topics and will link it to my fresh blog which is 1cliick.blogspot.com I’ve seen that it has all the informations someone needs to improve blog quality. I don’t kow how to do everything yet but will improve it little by little and will come back to check more informations for sure.

  21. Great Idea. I really i have posted good things previously that i want to my new visitors to also read. i was thinking of leaving links pointing to the best ones. for a post introducing what my blog is, is kinda hard. honestly im at a point in really thinking what this blog is all about and what the purpose is. soon, i’ll soon find out!

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