A few weeks ago, I watched this video from Tim Ferriss’s opening keynote “How to Build a High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself” at San Francisco Wordcamp, an event that focuses on everything WordPress.
I’ve been a Tim Ferriss fan since I read his wildly popular book “The 4-Hour Workweek” two years ago. In true Tim Ferriss fashion, this presentation doesn’t mess around & quickly shows some kick-ass, results-driven blog tactics that can help anyone with a blog.
Tim covered all kinds of things in his killer presentation (I encourage you to watch the 50-minute video here)–why he blogs, when he blogs, how often he blogs, select best practices, how to use data, how he handles comments & community building and much, much more.
But what I loved best about Tim’s presentation was the part about design changes he made, why he made them and how they impacted his blog.
There were 3 specific changes that he made that, when I heard about them, I literally wanted to slap myself in the head for not thinking of them. These are really “DUH-simple” design changes that make BIG impact on your blog or website success.
1. Reasons to Subscribe–do you have a subscription box somewhere on your site that says, ‘Sign Up’ for my blog posts, newsletter or free ebook? Do you ever wonder if people ask themselves WHY they should sign up for your blog posts, newsletter or ebook? Most people want to know what’s in it for them–I know I do–if they sign up and it’s up to YOU to tell them.
Tim Ferriss said he labeled his subscribe tab ‘7 Reasons to Subscribe’ and saw an immediate difference in subscriber numbers because he spelled it out for them about why they would want to subscribe.
I used to have a ‘Why Subscribe’ tab at the top of my blog and if you clicked on it, you’d see 5 reasons to subscribe to The Mogul Mom. So, I changed my tab to ‘5 Reasons to Subscribe’ (since I already had the reasons on there anyway!) and since I did that two weeks ago, my subscriber numbers have increased and the number of hits on that tab have jumped significantly.
So…spell it out for your readers or customers. WHY should they subscribe to your blog posts, newsletter or free ebook? What do you offer them? Exclusive products? Advance notice of sales? Discounts? A new eBook? Free shipping? Fresh content they can’t find anywhere else? Define the WHY and watch your numbers grow.
2. Popular Posts–do you have a popular posts section on your blog? Yep, so did I. And guess what? Those posts were popular–because people just kept reading them…because those were the posts listed in ‘Popular Posts’, so people kept reading them…
See where I’m going? If you have ‘Popular Posts’ listed in your sidebar, those same posts will always remain your popular posts because those are the ones readers keep clicking on. The ‘Popular Posts’ widget populates that spot with posts based on the number of people who read them–so, duh, of course those same posts are going to remain there because those reader numbers remain the same. Get rid of them. No, really.
Tim gives his readers a few options that keep them clicking around–he has a ‘Most Popular’ section on the righthand side and has four tabs labeled ‘Current Hits’, ‘All Time’, ‘Tim’s Faves’ & ‘Lifestyle 101′. Play around with your post options to see what works best for you.
If you want your readers to read all of your posts and not just those God forsaken ‘Popular Posts’, do what I did and eliminate them from your site. List a week’s worth of recent posts, a post archives and post categories (I call mine ‘Topics’) and give people the chance to click around and see all the great content you have to offer. Since I removed the Popular Posts widget, my pages per visit has increased from 2 per visit to 4.18 per visit.
3. Social Media Mass Exodus–don’t you just love all those cute little social media icons at the top of everyone’s site? I mean, c’mon, what’s cuter than the Twitter bird? And those tiny Facebook and LinkedIn icons? Adorable.
But WAIT…where’s everyone going??? Oh! To follow me on Twitter! Friend me on Facebook! Connect with me on LinkedIn! Ok, bye everyone!
Do YOU want your hard-earned readers and customers leaving your site?
So, to prevent a mass exodus from your site, either eliminate the social media icons — especially if you don’t regularly use your social media accounts — or move them way down. Don’t make them the first thing visitors see when they reach your site.
You’rve worked hard to GET people to your site, don’t lose them after the first 30 seconds they’re there.
Tim moved his Twitter link down to the bottom third of his sidebar and it’s so plain you might not even notice it.
I moved my ‘Connect With Me’ icons to about halfway down. My bounce rate has improved significantly. It’s now at 7%–ridiculously low.
Move your social media icons around and see what happens to your site stats.
I guarantee that if you try these 3 blogging tips from Tim Ferriss, you WILL see improved reader retention, page views per visit and subscriptions. Give them a try and tell me how they changed your blog.