Getting people to read your blog is hard.
It takes work, diligence, and perseverance.
It begins with showing interest in others and providing quality content that people want to read. It requires you to care more about others than yourself and to show up to do the work.
But that's just the beginning. And in light of everything, it's the easy part.
How, then, do you get people to keep reading your blog?
That, Hamlet, is the real question.
Getting People to Stay at Your Blog
In a capricious online world wrought with attention deficit disorder, it's hard to hold people's attention for long.
In many ways, social media has trained us to have shorter attention spans.
So, once you get people to read your blog (and not just scan it), you have to fight to keep them. It's a battle, and if you're not aware of it, you're probably losing.
Here are a few tips that might help:
Give your blog a brand and good design
It's worth your time to sit down and figure out the brand of your blog. Once you do that, you'll need a good-looking design to make it memorable. (Note: this doesn't mean “expensive.”)
The good news it that this is cheap, if not free. There is not reason why you can't get a unique, good-looking design for your blog. And that very thing will be a major factor in keeping people at your blog once they click a link.
Many software companies have free themes available (as does WordPress, Blogger, and other content management systems), if you're just getting started and want to save some cash.
My recommendation is to use something unique that you like.
This blog runs on a theme that has a really nice free version and is easy to customize.
If you need help with finding a design/brand that works, leave a comment on this post, and I'm sure we can get someone to help you.
Be available to your readers
Most successes in life are contingent on some form of relationship.
It's not always what you know, but who you know, that matters.
In other words, content is not enough. If you're not building a community on your blog, people may grow detached from you and your content.
You need to do more than provide people with useful information. You need to make an emotional connection with them.
Make sure humans are reading your blog
In this crazy age of robots and cyborgs, who knows who (or what) is actually reading your blog. (Okay, maybe not cyborgs… yet.)
Don't trust your stats. (And don't you dare use the word “hits” around me… ever.)
Trust your engagement. That's what you really care about, right? Your tribe, what you're actually changing? I hope so.
An easy way to see if what you're sharing is making a difference is to call people to action. See who responds. This is a way to vet your audience — to see if they're really serious and if you're really having the impact you think you are.
When in doubt, write for humans (not search engines). Your words are for people. When you serve them first, the search engines (and cyborgs) will take notice.
Create a strategy
You need a plan to attract people to your blog and to keep them coming back. This strategy should include positioning, quality content, and incentives to continue reading.
In the case of my blog, I chose a particular voice and topic and tried to deliver the best articles possible on a daily basis. I also use my free eBook to capture your email to keep you engaged with my weekly newsletter. It's a great way to attract initial readers and begin a relationship with them.
Whatever you do, you need to be intentional. Call it a plan or a rough strategy; just know where you're going and why.
The bottom line: Getting people to your blog is the easy part; keeping them there is the real challenge. So do what you must (as long as you have permission); just don't expect people to keep coming back.
It doesn't work like that. You'll need to help them understand why and what's in it for them.
By the way if you're enjoying this post, please consider subscribing to my blog. It's free and awesome, and you don't want to miss a single article.
How you get people to keep reading your blog? Share in the comments.
*Photo credit: Mo Riza (Creative Commons)