When you know a little bit more about blogging, technology and how those two worlds merge to make the blogging process much smoother and help reach a larger audience, sometimes you don’t notice that some people are still figuring some things out. For this reason, joining Facebook groups have been invaluable to me so far. People are so open about the issues they encounter blogging, but many others are also quick to respond with helpful information.
In the past week or two, it feels like I’ve answered so many questions regarding email service providers, email lists, and content upgrades. I’ve always known these were a thing for corporate and the startups I worked for, but didn’t know it was something that bloggers could take advantage of as well.
If you are still having issues on the tech side of content upgrades and email service providers, I filmed a series of video tutorials to help you with that. It will be the next post after this.
But first let’s chat about the little things that may be costing your blog’s growth!
Not having free incentives so that visitors can opt-in to your email list.
Quite honestly, before Talence I didn’t have an email list or any opt-in incentive for my previous blogs. This was for two reasons. While I know what content upgrades are, I always thought it was only relevant for larger companies. The digital marketing agency I worked at used content upgrades. In other words, I didn’t know it was useful for bloggers who wanted to grow their online presence. Secondly, I was under the impression that opt-in incentives were only important for b2b niches. In other words, as a lifestyle blogger, I didn’t feel like my audience would benefit a lot from content upgrades.
Well, those two reasons are totally myths. Creating free incentives and opt-in offers, like writing blog articles, are all about pin pointing your readers pain. Then offer something that will make their life easier. Content upgrades can come in the form of PDFs, checklists, cheatsheets, workbooks, or ebooks.
For example, the other day I was on a Facebook group and someone asked what kind of freebie she can offer her readers in the DIY niche. Frankly speaking, DIY-ing is my greatest weakness. One of my biggest frustrations of DIY-ing is having to go out and buy all the materials if I was a beginner. And I definitely don’t want to go out and buy a bunch of stuff that I can only use once. If the blogger offered a cheatsheet of basic materials that I can invest in that will help me complete several DIY projects, I will opt-in for the freebie.
Take Action: When creating content upgrades, try to think what a beginner would need. Not what you as an expert would need. Be a little empathetic and go back to the person you were when you started. What did you wish you had that would’ve made your life easier? If you find content upgrades intimidating or yourself procrastinating at doing them, please do yourself a favor, and start with something simple, short, and easy for yourself. My favorites are checklists and cheatsheets.
Not maximizing those opt-in forms around your site and promoting it like crazy.
Once you have your free incentive completed, it’s time to create your opt-in forms. Implement at least 5-7 forms all around your website. Weave some into blog posts, one on the sidebar, header, footer, etc. I find it effective to weave 2-3 opt-in forms into your blog posts in case readers miss it the first time. When readers see something again and again, they will feel the calling to subscribe. Also, as they get deeper into your blog article, they might find more value in your content upgrade. One thing though, make sure the content upgrade you weave into your blog post is related to the topic you are writing about.
The reason I tell you to add content upgrades in multiple places is because most people are going to skim through them once and forget about it. As a blogger and especially as an introvert, I find it hard to be promotional all the time. But the truth is, most people don’t notice all the promotions as much as we do. As readers, people usually only go seek what they look for and sometimes unless you reinforce something several times, it doesn’t click in people’s mind that they need that something.
I get people asking me if they should start their email list today because they won’t have a product to launch until one year later. Let me remind you that an engaged email list requires nurturing every week in order for them to turn into a potential customer. Start today so you have have someone primed for when the day comes.
Take action: I use the WordPress plugin, Magic Action Box (free), to create my opt-in forms in my blog posts. As for the opt-in forms on my header and sidebar (I took off my sidebar so it’s not there anymore), I embed them using my email service provider, Mailchimp (free). After creating and uploading your content upgrade, promote it in 5-7 places on and off your site
- Have it around a related blog post 2-3x, depending on the length of your article
- Post it in the sidebar
- Post it in the top bar so appears on every page so it will always appear when your reader scrolls
- Post it in your homepage’s header
- Grab a shortened-URL from your email service provider and post it to your Twitter and Pinterest bio
- Create a tweet and post and pin it to the top of your Twitter and Facebook profile
Not having share buttons that will make it convenient for your readers to share your content.
This is experience from my previous blogs because Talence hasn’t been around long enough for me to gather some insights on how effective share buttons are. Before using these free Sumo Me share buttons that you are seeing to the left sidebar, I use to have the ones that come with my WordPress template all the way at the bottom of my post.
First, the WP share buttons were much smaller, but the most important factor is that readers can only share once they get to the bottom of the post. What if they don’t make it to the button of the post?
The sidebar buttons allow them to share it with friends on many social channels at any time they wish while they’re reading your post.
Take action: There is free version for Sumo Me and the share buttons are part of the free version.
- Install “Sumo Me” from your WordPress plugins
- Sign up for an account and login
- Turn on “Share”
- (Optional) You can customize the size and colors of your buttons to suit your brand, but I find it most effective to have the social media networks in their original colors
Not having a “Related Posts” widget at the end of your posts.
This is ultimately free advertising for your other posts. For my previous blogs, most of my traffic came through SEO and search engines so first time visitors may not know what else I offer or have to offer. But a “related posts” widget tells them just that at the end. The widget automatically curates related topics for your audience so it’s automatically a “set it and forget it tool.” You’ll want first time readers to click around your site if they resonated with you after the first article they read of yours.
In the past, I had a sidebar where I would have a list of “trending topics” readers can click on. But over time, I liked the look of having a cleaner layout and one where the reader can focus on just that article alone. I didn’t want them to be distracted. If you prefer the sidebar, that’s also another option.
Take Action: I use Disqus, a modern and convenient commenting system, that also has a “related posts” widget to it. I know WP has something similar, but I love how quick and easy Disqus is to integrate with my blog. Since many bloggers have Disqus on their blogs, it makes commenting so much easier.
You simply sign in with your name and password on my computer, save it, and you’re logged in FOREVER!
Frankly speaking, I usually don’t leave comments on blogs that don’t use Disqus because having to fill out all the fields again and again is so tedious. Not to mention, Disqus sends you notifications if someone responds to your comment. In other manual commenting platforms, you’ll have to check back manually everyday to see if someone replied. And if you visited 5-10 blogs and left comments that day, would you really want to go back and check? As a millennial and in this case, I really only have an attention span of a rat.
- Sign up for a Disqus account
- Install WordPress Disqus plugin
- Login with your Disqus account on WordPress
- It will lead you to Disqus to complete the integration process
Not joining and being active on online communities.
I only starting joining Facebook groups for a month or so, but I’m already very excited about my experience and results I’ve gotten with them! And the main reason is because they can be so interactive, fun, helpful and moves fast if you are in the right group! When I first joined FB groups, I thought it’ll be a good way to understand people’s pain points and how my blog can help them with their problems related to blogging. Quickly I realized that I can get a lot of support and advice from people that are more advanced than me. It’s a win-win whether you are the one helping someone else or you’re the one needing help. There are people who are much farther than you in blogging, but there are also people who are much greener than you.
It makes me feel good that people are giving back to groups that have once helped them.
I’d admit that not all groups have super active members though. I love it when pretty much anything moves fast (Remember my attention span of a rat?) so unless I was getting immediate feedback and advice, I probably won’t be that invested and go back to the group. I love groups that have multiple new threads that I can contribute to each day. Also, FB groups serve well for people looking for mastermind groups as well. Since anyone in the group can jump in, it’s very free-flowing. In addition to that, it’s a great place to find collaborators that you won’t be able to meet unless you search them out one-by-one.
FB groups have probably been the best surprise I discovered about myself since starting Talence. If you identify or know an INTJ, you know we prefer and do well alone because we like efficiency and accomplishment. We like to collaborate too, but we’re more selective about it. Therefore, raving about FB groups isn’t something I expected to do. So that only means it’s really amazing!
- Run a Google search of groups related or somewhat related to your niche. Think in terms of what you’ll like to get out of from joining.
- These groups are usually closed so you have to request to join. They are free to join, but sometimes people want you to subscribe to their email list as a pre-requisite.
- Join a few at once and be active (otherwise the experience isn’t the same!) to see which ones are most beneficial to you.
- Don’t just join 1-2 because you really want to test out which groups you can get and be of value quickly.
You can be so focused on the bigger ways to grow your blog’s audience that you forget to do the little things that can make a difference. It’s true that SEO contributes to the majority of my consistent traffic in previous blogs, but like everyone says, SEO takes months to build up. And if you’re in an saturated niche, perhaps even longer. While you can’t control, influence, or speed up time, what you can do, is to implement and find other outlets that make you more influential in your niche.
That way by the time your blog’s SEO-optimization rolls around, your blog is optimized to convert visitors into subscribers.
Which of these ways do you find feasible for your blog? What are some of the little things that you have done that had a ripple effect on your blog’s growth? Do share your insights!