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How to Increase Subscribers and Reader Engagement

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of October 2008 Blog Design, Blog Promotion, RSS 0 Comments

Last week I decided to find some quality Australian blogs to subscribe to. I used a newly compiled list of Australian Marketing Blogs that Julian Cole put together as the basis for my search.

I was excited by the quality of some of the blogs on that list – but it struck me as I surfed through the list that there were three frustrations that I had with quite a few of the blogs on the list (definitely not all of them, but enough for me to notice).

None of these problems are issues that just Australian bloggers or Marketing bloggers face – I see them every day around the web (although I did find it ironic that a list of ‘Marketing’ blogs would have some of these problems).

1. Hidden Subscription Options

I was on a mission to subscribe to great blogs – but one disappointing thing that I noticed was that quite a few of the bloggers didn’t make this easy for me simply because they ‘hid’ their subscription methods way down the page (and a couple didn’t even show them at all). Most browsers these days give those who use them the ability to subscribe by clicking the RSS icon in their address bar – but many web users don’t know that they can do this (or are using old browsers).

If one of your goals as a blogger is to grow your readership then one great way to capture first time readers is to get them to subscribe (whether that be to an RSS feed, an RSS to Email service or a newsletter. If you hide or obscure these options you’re not likely to get the conversions.

My own approach with getting subscribers is to place these subscription options prominently in a sidebar and then under posts on single post pages (usually below the fold). This means that whether a new reader is above or below the fold they are invited to subscribe.

Further Reading11 Ways to Get New RSS Subscribers for your Blog

2. No Way to Contact the Blogger

There were a number of blogs on the list that I was really impressed with – so much so that I wanted to contact the blogger and congratulate them on their blogs. The only problem was that on a couple of occasions I found it difficult to find any way to contact the blogger other than to leave a public comment.

I understand some bloggers desires to have privacy or to cut down the admin of their blogs by keeping themselves difficult to contact but in doing so you not only filter the loonies approaches but also legitimate opportunities, potential partnerships etc

Contact options don’t necessarily have to be giving out your email address – you could have a contact form, give Twitter details, have an IM option or give other social networking profiles (the key is to give ones that you actually check).

Further ReadingWhy Your Blog’s Readers Should be Able to Contact You

3. No About Page

This one is probably more my personal preference and less essential than the first two points – but when I find a blog that I’m interested in one of the first things that I like to do to help me decide whether to subscribe to it is to search for more information about the blog and who writes it.

Some kind of an ‘About Page’ is a great way to satisfy and draw in curious potential readers (like me) and to deepen the connection with them.

Your About page is a wonderful opportunity to make a connection with new people to your blog, to sell yourself and give reasons why people should read you.

You can of course do this in other ways (an intro in your sidebar perhaps) but a page dedicated to sharing your information in this way can really work well.

Further Reading – Add an About Page to Your Blog, How to Write Your “About Me” Page and Conduct an About Page Audit

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.
  1. Maybe they feel more confidence by using nickname or some unique avatar ( like i did ) , we can not blame this kind of people as long as they show good attitude around it’s fine with me :)

  2. I keep my RSS Buttons at the top, and use an about me page with retaggr card and twitter information. I try to do this in as many places as possible.

  3. It’s hard to think that any blogger who is serious about their work and wants to be successful could overlook what I feel are simple things.

  4. I had this experience just today! I wanted to subscribe to one blog and contact the writer of another, but no go . . . so frustrating!

    As a naturally curious – some would say nosy – person, I thought writing an About page needed to be job one.

  5. Hidden subscriptions options and no way to contact blogger sounds like my website and I will be fixing. Thanks for the tips.

  6. It can be frustrating if there is no contact, because often I want to write something that is not relevant to a particular post, but still want to contact.

    It is interesting that so many people still do not get how to do the rss feed. Even though it is supposed to be simple, it really isn’t that friendly if you come to try it for the first time. Clicking on the feed link often just opens a page of html, which is baffling to a first timer.

  7. Darren Cronian says: 10/20/2008 at 12:53 am

    I enjoy reading posts like this because it makes me realise that I am on the right path, and it also helps identify areas where I need to improve.

  8. I have tried many time to contact few bloggers But they didn’t reply.
    But they should avoid things like.They should contact to blog readers.

  9. Oh my goodness. I missed out on both the Contact and About pages on my blog. Ah! Thanks for pointing them out.

  10. I think your right about pressing the issue of being contacted. Most people who read blogs and having questions feel that they are writing to the author or at least feel that they are. Blogs are suppose to be bloggers ideas along with interaction from the community. The more you make it harder for the community to get in touch with you the harder it is for the community to want to hear what you have to say.

  11. Well said! I think it’s important that all bloggers display their RSS or Email feed links clearly. Also, you should have mentioned the need for a privacy page.

  12. This is exactly why there are those of us who help others with their blogs.

    There are many people who just don’t have a clue. And it’s understandable. You didn’t know how to read until someone taught you.

    Same thing for new bloggers.

  13. Thanks..
    before this I only aware of number 1 only, never thought of another 2.. Will add them to my blogs later.. :)

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