Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Battle for Getting People to Keep Reading Your Blog

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.

Keep reading your blog

Photo credit: Mo Riza (Creative Commons)

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)

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • I find commenting on other people’s blogs naturally draws them to yours. Having a base of followers where you mutually read eachother’s blog causes a dialogue in the comments section which also encourages others to respond to.

    I found this article very informative. Thanks 🙂

    • Jeff Goins

      Good call, Jessica. That’s a great technique, so long as you’re really engaging in dialogue and not spamming other blogs.

  • Good thoughts. Tried your technique of taking risks with your blog today. Think that worked pretty good. Ha.

  • The folks who stick around are the ones I connect with beyond my blog – through emails, chats, Skype talks and other communications. I’ve met the dearest people in this blogging world, folks who are now as close as family. I love it. 🙂

    • You know Krista, you bring up a good point… Every now and then, I go out of my way to visit people’s sites who take the time to comment on my blog. It’s my way of saying thank you and getting to know them a bit more. The way you’ve done (via emails, skype, etc). 

      Really, I think people need to spend more time doing those sorts of things. Engage with your audience beyond your blog!

  • It’s amazing how much good design matters. I realize I’m a bit of a design snob, but if your site is cluttered, difficult to navigate or hard on the eyes, I’m gone in 2.3 seconds. Your site has to be inviting for people to want to come back day after day. Of course, then the content has to deliver. People judge on looks first, then come back for the content, and keep tuned in for the engagement. 

    Good advice, friend.

    • It really is. Takes you a whole 2.3 seconds huh? You’re more gracious than I am.

      • TMZ

        Ha, you’ve gotta give a new site at LEAST 2.3 seconds. I usually go for 3.7.

  • I just recently switched from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress blog, and, as far as design, it was a fantastic decision. For not much money at all, I was able to create an entire website that I think looks professional and that I can build from. But my many Blogger fans have had trouble switching (aka refused to take the minute to do so, but I think they will) over to the new RSS feed. So keeping the same traffic has been a bit of a challenge.

    I’m finding that many of my loyal readers are relying on catching my new posts on Twitter. But I work during the day, so you can see how that is a challenge. But Twitter is a must to keep many readers informed and to attract new.

    Switching was not a mistake for the long-term. The two things that work with keeping people coming back is 1) great content always and 2) personal interaction on other sites.

    Jeff, I’ve really enjoyed reading through your archives lately. Glad I found your blog.

    • Thanks, Heather! You’ve got some good stuff here in this comment. Appreciate your sharing some of the complexities of changing platforms. Ultimately, I think it’s a good thing, though.

  • Getting them to your blog is the easy part?  Oh no!  I’m finding the easy part to be very difficult.  That said I am aware that my blogger blog looks like just another blogger blog.   I’m working on it but unfortunately I am “words” guy and less of a “design” guy.  If anyone wants to check out my blog I am open to constructive criticism and advice.  Thanks! 

  • Like Heather, I recently changed from Blogger to self-hosted WP. However, I wish I had had more honest forewarning about how technically challenging it would be. I am pleased with more traffic, although I doubt all my Google Friend Connect followers are still receiving my posts and I don’t know how to fix it. Also, I have a couple of design issues that I have not been able to figure out as well. (Like my type font is waaayyy too crowded.) Also like Heather, my time is limited because I homeschool my kids during the day. I have high hopes for this blog once I get the kinks worked out.

  • Anonymous

    You make a lot of really great points, here. 

    People often get caught up on optimizing everything for SEO and getting Google bots to check out their sites and search rankings and all that. I won’t deny that remembering those things is useful, but the focus should remain on your readers. 

    I’ve found that commenting (both on my blog and on other people’s blogs) is a great way to both build relationships and bring new readers in. I also spent a day redesigning my blog (I’m good with Photoshop, so that was a bit of a headache–but a free one at that) and it was probably one of the best things I’d done for my blog yet. It looks much more professional and I can smile proudly when I see it. 

    Next step is starting up a newsletter. I still have a lot of research to do to answer some basic questions (like how to create one and what should go in one), but I think it’s a really fantastic way to connect with your audience and, as you said, keep them coming back. 

  • I don’t use the word “hits” (feels kind of 90’s to me), but I’m curious — why do you hate it so much?

    • It’s irrelevant. It’s a ping on your site, not a person.

  • Mbetters

    I’m not a blogger, but I do know that keeping people interested in what you have to say is one of the hardest things to do in modern culture- virtually comparable with defying gravity.  There really is no secret recipe to gaining the ADHD modern human’s attention.  In my opinion, the best (but not guaranteed) way to get someone to listen to you is to first listen to them.

    There’s some good food for thought in this post, especially if I endeavor to start a blog someday.  So, I may refer back to this later.  Great post, Jeff!

  • TorConstantino

    Jeff, as always – outstanding insight and perspective! You’re the go-to-guy for all things writing these days! I’m blessed to know you man!

  • Great post Jeff- yet again!

    I couldn’t agree more to the points you made above, and I am also on the verge of switching over to WordPress from the present blogspot blogs that I have. And I totally agree with your point of keeping the readers coming back to your blog, as that is the most vital part. 

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I have been amazed at the success of my current 21-day blog challenge.  Before this little experiment, I’d been posting once a week.  But I decided to take on a post-a-day for 21 days and have been floored at the response!
    Turns out, people are interested in and want to embrace my topic (prayer).  Who knew?  This format has connected me with my readers, since I’m taking the challenge alongside them.

    • TMZ

      That’s awesome! Keep it up. People love solid reading material on a daily basis.

    • awesome! consistency is important.

    • Congrats to you on your success! 21 days to build a good habit, after that, keep it comin’ 🙂 

  • This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. I have noticed the engagement on my blog start to drop, and I’ve been at a loss to understand why. Some of your tips here help! Thanks Jeff!

    • When that happens for me, I have one real strategy: GET BETTER.

  • Jessica K. Sullivan

    Jeff, your posts are so helpful! I am frustrated with my blog because I am not engaging readers to have a conversation. Same is true on my Facebook. I feel like I am not wording the questions right or people just aren’t interested . I would love to get feedback about my blog. I would appreciate anyone who would like to take a look, and let me know their thoughts about the content, layout and whatever else they think. Thank you!  I will happily do the same:)
    https://photographybysullivan.blogspot.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/SullivansPhotography
    Thank you Jeff!

  • I find that it takes a bit of work.  You have to make yourself known.  Read other’s blogs and comment; Tweet; Facebook; Triberr; Google+.  You need to let people know you blog, put yourself out there so that they know you post.  For me, that means cultivating my Twitter followers.  I hooked up with a bunch of really good bloggers on Google+.  I’m getting a bunch of bloggers posts in my inbox and reading each post that comes, and commenting on some of them.  Build relationships.  It’s been fun!

    • Good call, Sandy. Relationships are so important.

  • Deb Hamilton

    Yesterday, I spent some time reading your blogging advice and, based upon what I read, I decided to begin directing my readers to other related posts on my blogsite.  I did this by simply adding an “if you liked this, then you might like these” statement at the bottom of some of my newer posts.  I just checked Google Analytics and I could not believe the results that this simple change has given me!  The time that the average visitor spends on my site QUADRUPLED yesterday.  I experienced immediate success!  Thanks for the good advice.

  • Andrea Lawrence

    I just realized my blog is REALLY hard to read with two columns – type to get to the drawing board. Great timing to read this! You seem to know just what I need to hear. Your encouragement and tips are priceless. : )

  • Re: “Getting people to your blog is the easy part; keeping them there is the real challenge.”

    I can definitely agree with that. 

    How do you keep them engaged? Talk about things that matter to them. Listen/respond when they take the time to connect with you. Show up each and every single day.

  • Jessica K. Sullivan

    I am so glad this post arrived in my email yesterday Jeff. It helped me articulate my blog post, https://photographybysullivan.blogspot.com/2011/09/be-big-thinker-ii.html,  and helped me express myself the way I wanted to. TY!

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  • Matt

    I appreciate that you reply to my comments 🙂 That makes me want to come back.

    Cheers!

    Matt

  • Anonymous

    guys please check on my blog. Please tell what you think, thanks!
    musicians-youtube.blogspot.com

  • Mark Patchett

    17 point font, i love it! I am put off by small print, badly spaced blogs that i often don’t bother. Your post was a breeze to read!

  • Hi,
    My friend and I have a blog that aims to bring science into everyone’s lives by writing in a style that (we think) makes it more accessible. However, while we have had some promising results, judging by our engagement there is still much room for improvement.
    For a topic that many people might associate with blandness or complexity such as science, how would you recommend trying to engage readers that are new to the idea?

    The website is at https://othersideofscience.com and we would appreciate feedback from anyone with an opinion!

    Many thanks.

    • It’s only boring if you’re bored.

  • This is a great article! Thanks. Could you give me some advice on my blog please? https://magnetised.wordpress.com

  • Danny

    Hi my name is Danny
    I recently wrote a gay fairy tale, decided to finally post it online to share with everyone, it’s not directed just toward gay people, but the main character is gay. Feel free to read it, share it online etc.. At the bottom of the page there is a rating scale were you can rate the story from 1 to 5, or leave any comments. I would appreciate any good or negative feedback. Here is the link to the page and a 2nd link to another page which is a poem I also wrote about time. Just copy and paste the url’s
    https://princelogan.wordpress.com/thesleepingprince/
    Overpowertime.wordpress.com

  • Myla Upshaw

    Thanks for this post, Jeff. In my case, I realized that many of my readers are too shy (?) to post their comments on my blog, but they do communicate with me either by private messages (mostly on Facebook) or they mention me on Twitter. I think the thought of that somehow comforted me that just because they don’t leave comments on the blog post doesn’t always mean they didn’t read it or they weren’t interested. I do hope they would someday be willing to post comments though. So thanks again. I learned a lot and I think I will be able to apply some of what you wrote right away. 🙂

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  • simon james

    My problem is building a community. I have slowly built traffic up and now get a decent number of visitors, but they almost never come back to the site. I think my problem is just that I’m not niche enough, there are other communities out there on bigger sites that make more sense.

    https://www.takeitinyourstride.co.uk

  • Petcu Olga

    Thank you so much for your advice! I will surely try to put some of it in practice as I am, too, struggling with keeping readers on my blog and building a community.

  • Beth Mauder

    Hey Jeff! Great post, I really enjoyed the information you had to offer. I look forward to implementing these tips into my own blogging. I love interacting with others and look to do that through blogs in the future.

  • Living Free

    Perhaps you can write an article on how to build a community?

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