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

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Reposting old content
    ProBlogger: Helping Bloggers Earn Money » How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog – Part I: “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 …

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. Keeping New Readers
    Problogger has a short series of posts with tips on how to keep readers who have stumbled across your site via a search engine hit or some other method. Interesting stuff, though nothing groundbreaking, and as it turns out, I do most of what he recomme…

  12. Keep ‘Em Coming Back, Part I
    A fellow blogger recently pointed me to a series of posts on ProBlogger focused on how to keep readers coming back to your blo

  13. […] blog isn’t into advertising anything except itself :o) but regardless the advice on keeping first time readers to your blog and inc […]

  14. […] shares a few tips on developing stickyness on a blog – read more on keeping first time readers on a blog in my previous series on the […]

  15. […] are lots of ways to get first time readers to become loyal to your blog but today Aaron compiled a nice little list of four WordPress plugins that can definitely […]

  16. […] 严格说起来,Darren Rowse这篇文章,只是推荐一篇名为Intelligent Design and Stickiness的贴子——不过,Darren Rowse在文中恰当地嵌入了自己之前的内容:How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog,这种提高博客重点内容曝光度的作法事实上便是有效地提高博客粘度的手段——该文介绍合理的博客设计及合适的plugin能够有效地增强博客粘度,其中,有助于博客粘度的WordPress插件包括: […]

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

  18. […] Stickify Your Blog How to Keep First Time Readers to Your Blog […]

  19. […] and final post in this series on making first time readers loyal readers. Read previous parts at part I, part II and part […]

  20. 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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