A blog conversion is an action that readers take when they move from being a reader to being a customer or a subscriber. Think of conversion as super consumers because that is just what they are. The key words to consider are customer and subscriber. A conversion can be one or the other or even both. In fact, both is just exactly what your goal should be. Now that we understand what the topic of this article is all about, lets get into the details of how to convert readers to customers and or subscribers.
Tip 1: The First Impression
This is less of a tip about conversions as it is more of tip on how to keep readers on your page. Writers lose the opportunity to convert visitors to consumers or subscribers if the reader does not engage your writing. The first impression is critical, and as such, it is important that bloggers learn to make their blog reader friendly. Think about webpages that you might visit and then leave quickly. What is it about that page that makes you click the back button? Clearly, length of stay is important because Google Analytics tracks the amount of time a visitor spends on your site.
A first impression happens only once, and it is critical the bloggers learn to capitalize on each first impression that their site receives. Some tips to help keep readers are as follows:
Layout: The layout of your blog should explain the content of your blog in under ten seconds. This means that visitors should be able to ascertain from your title and subtitles what the subject of your blog is about.
Keep it simple: Avoid the very common mistake of adding too many objects to your blog. There are a few things that are important and those elements should be simple, easy to use, and easy to find.
The goal of a blogger is to make your reader feel comfortable and at home. There are so many articles and blogs out there on the Internet, that readers can get overwhelmed easily. As part of your first impression, show off a few accolades that demonstrate authority within your niche. Once that is accomplished leave a link that readers can follow to more accolades if they want to.
Tip 2: Make It Easy For Readers To Convert to Subscribers
The term “Opt-In-Form is something that is tossed about a bit. It simply means an area where readers can EASILY subscribe. Readers may subscribe to a newsletter, RSS feed, etc. The key is to make it easy. Many times the Opt-In-Form is found in the Feature box which is typically found between the blog content and the header of your blog/site. The location of your Opt-In-Form is up to you. Though be aware that there are areas of your blog/site that are more visible than are other areas. Some options for placing an Opt-In-Form are the sidebar, the bottom of your blog, or your footer. Think for a minute about being a reader. If you stay on the page and make it to bottom the article, then you are likely vested in a blog because you have read it. This adds a bit of power (of sorts) to the blog, and the bottom of your blog becomes an action area. Are you as a reader more likely to sign up for a newsletter before reading the blog or after? A very strong method that I use is a pop up style Opt-In-Form that is quite visual because it stops the reader and is more visual in the reader’s eyes and has better Opt-In rates compared to an Opt-In-Form in the right side bar. Keep in mind Its always good to split test and find what works for your website best.
Tip 3: To Sidebar or Not To Sidebar ?
The sidebar on a blog is much like a remote control for the television. This is usually where readers and visitors go to dial in the site to their liking. It is also a place where many types of reader actions can take place. Most blogs use a side bar to list or house their social networking buttons and Opt-In-Form. It is also a place where readers can sign up for stuff or find out about all of your services. It is helpful to list content that is relevant to your blog on the sidebar. Listing relevant content helps readers find other articles on your blog that may interest them. Again, it is important that whatever you contain within your sidebar be neat and organized. One of the strengths of using a sidebar is that readers who read your work will have a constant area to visit if they want more.
On some pages of your blog or even some sites altogether, the sidebar may be eliminated. This may seem like a contradiction of terms, but not every page of your blog needs to have a sidebar. In fact if your goal is merely conversions than a sidebar may deter readers from your goal. This brings us to the understanding of need. What is it that you need your readers to do? That question is important because how the blog or page is laid out is a critical part of how readers respond to your goals. If the sidebar does not support your goal then remove it.
Tip 4: Supporting Icons and Resources
Blogs that are selling services or items should always have a resource area that contains supporting icons or links. In many cases, it is better to link to other areas of your own blog or if you are an affiliate than to link to the host site with a referral link. Linking works well because you are able to build a solid case for whatever you are selling with supporting documents and blog work. Using your own past blogs as a resource keeps the reader on your site. This tip is not just for those blogs that sell, it works well for blogs that are new and have not built up a lot of content yet.
Tip 5: Stopping The Bounce
A percentage of all readers end up on blogs by accident. They were brought by a tag or a blog title through a search engine. Clearly these readers are looking for something, and one way to enhance your odds of keeping them is to provide them an easy to see, easy to use feature often called a topical navigation box. A topical navigation tool or box is merely a list of your related blogs listed by topic. The goal is to catch the visitors eye with something they may want to click on and investigate. This is one way to help keep accidental visitors on your site and even present you an opportunity to convert them to regular readers.
Tip 6: The Bio – for yourself and for your site
Readers are curious creatures. They want to know about who you are. That is why it is important to write an honest and compelling bio that talks about you, your skills, and why you matter. In short, your bio should confirm your authority on your topics. What makes you qualified to write your blogs? What make your qualified to recommend products or services? When you write your own bio ask other people read it, and be open to criticism. Remember that your bio is a tool of conversion.
Both your bio and the bio of your site should be housed on your About Page… though these pages are not specifically called the About Page any more. Maybe it is titled WHO AM I? The bio for your site should include some accolades, your sites achievements, and spell out a clear set of expectations of what readers can find on your site or blog. This is also a spot to place an Email Sign Up Form. In fact, many successful blogs have more than one Email Sign Up form on their About Page. Scatter the Email forms throughout the page so it is easy for readers to find.
Tip 7: The Boom Of Social Media
While social media is booming, many sites will display their share information with readers. Facebook likes, Googe +, Twitter, etc. all offer buttons that can display how many times a site, or a page has been shared. If your site has been shared 458 times, than that is a positive accolade and should be included. If your site has only been shared 10 times, that number can have a negative impact on your readers. Sometimes it is important not to share social media information. Really evaluate what those numbers say about your site and then make an informed decision about whether or not to post them. By all means, make those social media buttons available for readers to use just consider hiding the number of shares until that number is a positive for your site.
Tip 8: Cleaning House
Think about getting rid of blog features that are not used by readers. There are tools available that can help you track usage by readers. Analytics is one such tool. Another handy tool is heatmaps. Heatmaps allow the blog owner visually to see where readers are spending their time. They outline the movement of the mouse as a reader interact with the blog or site. The value that tools such as heat maps provide is that they not only show the blog owner what is used they show the owner what aspects of the blog or site is not being used. The three products that come to mind when talking heat maps are.
Identifying an area of your blog or site that is not used is a great opportunity to remove and replace those elements with applications that may add to conversions. This is a chore that should be done semi-annually.
Tip 9: Don’t Mess With The Training Of Your Readers
Did you know that your readers have been trained. We have all been trained to recognize the alternative coloration of links when they appear in text. For this reason, make text uniform in color and avoid messing with your readers training. Use bold and italics or bullet points to mark text as important. Leave the colored text for links. Remember that your goal is to increase conversions and if your reader is confused about what is a link and what is not a link you may miss opportunities to convert.
Tip 10: Write It, Own It
It pains me to have to write this, but the examples of why the following statement is needed are many. Write quality content and think about layout. Articles and blogs should be easy to look at, and readers should be able to find what they are looking for quickly. Consider using grammar checkers along with a spelling checkers before publishing anything. Pay close attention to common grammar errors such as wordy sentences. Say what you mean in a simplified manner. It does not sell products if your product description is vague or confusing. Convert readers by making it easy for them to understand what you are saying. Put definitions into your article so that readers are not confused. They will appreciate the extra work it takes.