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How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog – Part I

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of February 2005 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

This is a 4 part series on how to keep first time readers on your blog (or how to make your blog sticky). This series of posts continues at part II, part III and part IV.

Wayne has a good post titled Previous posts still bring visitors which picks up on the importance of your old posts in blogging. He writes:

‘Blog posting on a regular and long term basis pays off in visitor traffic.

Older posts are like a good gift that keeps on giving.

Like a beautiful flowering apple tree, a blog continues to grow and bear fruit. It also provides sustenance from the past, like apples frozen for pies at a later date….’

How true Wayne’s words are. The way I like to think of it is that my blog’s archives are perhaps my blogs greatest asset. Each post I write has the potential not only to reach current readers – but readers for many years that surf in after finding it on search engines.

Of course writing witty, up to date, regular content each day is something that you’ll want to work on if you want to build a loyal readership – but in the case of most blogs the real activity in terms of traffic levels happens in the back end on your previously written posts.

Take for example my Digital Photography Blog – A quick look at it’s statistics reveal that at the time of writing this post – only 4 of the last 100 hits to that blog have come through the front page (click adjoining screen cap to see the breakdown of where people enter). Of course this doesn’t take into count 13% of entry pages which were unable to be tracked. But even at its highest – only 17% of visitors to my blog came through the front page – the rest hit either individual pages (single old posts) or category pages. This is the story on almost all of my blogs – individual, old pages are incredibly valuable entry points to your blog.

Ok – interesting information to know you might say – but so what? Well in my opinion this is not just an interesting fact to know – but rather something you should consider capitalizing upon. As Wayne writes:

‘Each new reader is a potential regular visitor, and perhaps someone who will link to your blog.’

How do you tap into this wonderful source of traffic and encourage these one off readers to your old posts to become regular, loyal visitors to your site? Of course the first step is to be writing useful, insightful, well written and engaging posts – if your reader likes what they read the first time they find your site they are more likely to come back. But how else can you hook them in?

Over the next few posts I’m going to give you 10 tips to help you keep first time readers to your blog. Stay tuned.

This series of posts continues at part II, part III and part IV – enjoy.

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.

  • Tim

    That is a heavy reliance on the search engines for traffic. What other marketing techniques do you use?

  • Post often – post relevantly. History is in the making.
    What if the Beatles blogged?

  • Darren, unlike many bloggers, you have a very high percentage of your visitor traffic arriving via the search engines. Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search are tremendous sources of new visitors, but as you say, they need a reason to return. Traffic retention, in combination with brand new readers, is vital for growth. As so often happens, we are approaching the same problem from different directions. The end result is a blending of ideas that we hope works for the benefit of all bloggers.

  • Tim – yes you’re right – its a high SE reliance. Am working on other marketing methods also – although the more i work on them the higher traffic I seem to get from SE’s. Go figure.

    Rick – wise words – very wise.

    Wayne – thanks for your original post – its got me thinking as per usual and I hope what I’m writing in this series is a useful extension of your own stream of thought. You’re right – I do have a higher level of traffic from SEs – but I didn’t use to. What I’m hoping to put together with this series are tips that will be useful for all bloggers, whether their traffic comes from SE’s, RSS, other blogs etc. Its about reader retention I guess.

    thanks for the comments Gents…

  • I believe that if you help someone find what they are looking for, you’re closer to having them come back. Those people that set up sites with AdSense and just enough info to get you to come to the page but not really help get no retention.

    But honestly, I may waaay more per new visitor than I do repeat visitor. So it’s a great balance. Regular readers help get you news, tips and links, but they don’t bring in much money.

  • I know email newsletters are much maligned but they are still worth using as a means of getting people back to your site. I use a simple free ebook connected to the subject I write about as a hook and once a week send out my newsletter which is a collection of the past week’s posts. I get a traffic spike on the day of delivery and often for the day after. I much prefer RSS myself but it is still not understood enough by the general public for me to drop my newsletter.

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  • An excellent topic to post on.

    I have been recently visiting as many SiteMeters as I can at successful blogs. I noticed early on that the blogs that had the most traffic had most of their traffic coming to older posts. Good to have that observation confirmed.

  • Just came across this web-site the other day and it has provided a lot of good information for me and links to other people doing the same thing. I just started this year and realize I have a long way to go, but it’s a lot of fun.

  • MM

    you are absolutely right. 70% of my traffic comes from search engines and the number is still growing.

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  • I’ve go so much reading to catch up on… 0_o

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  • I am new to the “blogosphere” and I just finished setting up my first blog. I am trying to learn as much as i can to develop my blog and entice people to keep on visiting. Thank you for your ideas.

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