The goal of this post is to help you increase visitor activity on your blog. First let me define the term “activity” as anything your visitor does to interact with your blog. An activity can be a variety of things, but the ones I want to focus on (which are also the most important ones) are: clicking on advertisements, donating to your cause, subscribing to your blog, sharing/voting for your blog posts, commenting, and navigating deeper into your blog. To increase these activities, I to use the following 3 guidelines:
- Make it easy (and obvious) to interact.
- Ask them to interact.
- Do not nag.
So without further ado, here are some strategies on increasing visitor activity on your blog.
Make sure you place these advertisements in “hot” areas of your page before the fold (area that the visitor first sees without scrolling). I am sure you have seen this ad placement heat map from Google before. Follow it!
Ask for it when it makes sense. For example, you should ask for donations after each one of your blog posts. The reader will not even think about donating before they know what they are donating for. Another good place to put donation links are next to your freeware download links.
Give the visitor a concrete example of what their donation goes to so they are more likely to donate. For example, my donate link says, “If you like this post, please consider buying me a cup of coffee.”
Also to not keep nagging your readers, I recommend using Ozh’s Who Sees Ads plugin to only display this section to semi-new visitors only.
Getting subscribers is one of the most important things to a blogger. Make sure you place an eye-catching “Subscribe to this blog” section before the fold. I have implemented this strategy on my sidebar above the fold.
Also you should have a little section visible above the fold that explains what your blog is all about. Since you do not want to display this to people who come to your site regularly, I also recommend using Ozh’s Who Sees Ads plugin here again to only display this section to new visitors only.
Last but definitely not least. I recommend using my own WP Greet Box plugin to greet visitors (and ask them to subscribe, share, or vote) based on the referring URL.
Sharing and Voting
At the end of your post, you should give the reader the option to rate, comment, and share your post. This is a no brainer way of getting free marketing that takes zero effort on your behalf. Use it!
For sharing/voting on posts on different social network sites, I recommend using the ShareThis widget because it takes up very little room for what it does. It’s also good to supply a way to share to Twitter (or another major microblog network) since microblogging is the new hot thing nowadays. As you can see, I use TwitThis for this purpose.
You want the comments section to be a fun and beneficial place to hang out. Here are some ways to do that.
- Enable Gravatars so people can easily identify commenters by their avatar.
- Support a universal comment profile service such as SezWho or DISQUS.
- Dofollow your comments
- Install CommentLuv plugin
- Install KeywordLuv plugin
- Install Subscribe to Comments plugin to get visitors to return whenever there is a new comment on the thread.
When readers finish reading your post, nudge them to explore and read more of your other posts by supplying a “related posts” section after your post. I use Yet Another Related Posts Plugin to do this.
It is also useful to add a “popular posts” section in your sidebar where readers can easily find more interesting posts to read. I use Popularity Contest to do this.
These tips might seem like they are obvious, but you would be surprised how many people are not implementing even one of these tips. Please feel free to share any other tips you have in the comments section. Happy tweaking!