Marketing your blog to pull in traffic is only half the quest, once you get a visitor to your blog you need to make them feel welcome and at home.
I can best relate this to entertaining guests in my home. Most women are fanatical about having their homes in perfect condition before inviting guests over. We clean, organize, cook, and even think about the aromas that make guests feel welcome. When we open our front door to greet our guests we are inviting them to see into who we really are.
Your Blog Is Your Home
When your visitors open your home page what are they greeted with? Do you take the same care to welcome your visitors that you would guests in your home?
Just as with your real home, there are several things to keep in mind to make your guests feel welcome. Do a walk through on your blog and see things through your visitors eyes.
Get Rid Of Clutter
When your page loads are your visitors overwhelmed with banners, highlighted links, advertisements or blinking lights? Both in your posts and on the site itself you should avoid going wild with too many links or advertisements.
It’s like taking hours to prepare a meal for your guests then having them walk into your home to see newspapers, socks and underwear all over your floor. They are immediately distracted and put off. If you’re that unorganized and messy, how can they trust what you are feeding them?
You want your blog to project an image of professionalism and order but still express your personality. Less is usually better and allows you to point the focus to your topic of choice rather than everything thrown at the wall.
Make The Little Repairs
How embarrassing is it to have a guest use your bathroom only to find the toilet won’t flush? You had been meaning to fix that and now the unthinkable has happened. It’s not only embarassing for you, but your guest now has to point out that it’s broken. Think of those things around your blog that you’ve been meaning to fix.
Do you have broken links, typos you found after publishing your posts, RSS issues unresolved? When posting links on your blog test them to be sure they work and that they direct your blog reader to the location you intended. An occasional ‘faulty’ link is acceptable but if it becomes a consistent pattern many readers will get frustrated and leave.
There is a great plugin I use called Broken Link Checker that automatically alerts you when a link is not working so you can fix it fast. Check out this post on Plugins for the Non-Techy for other ideas to help.
Offer Your Visitors Convenience
When your guests come to your home you try to make everything as convenient for them as possible. You may organize your drinks, glasses and cocktail napkins together, place fingertip towels next to your sink, or completely cater to your guests by serving them. They never have to ask you where something they need is because you’ve already thought of it.
Think about what your blog visitors may be looking for and make it obvious and convenient. Make a RSS button readily available You can have it in a prominent position towards the top of the page or at the bottom of each post, or both. Making visitors search for it will likely frustrate them resulting in their giving up and leaving the page.
You should also place an email sign-up form on your page. I use one of Aweber’s new web form templates that make the sign-up easy to find and handles my autoresponders. It’s never too early to start building an email list! This is my affiliate link for Aweber that you can use if you choose to: http://marketlikeachick.aweber.com
Tell A Story About Yourself
When your guests come to your home the chances are that they will see several pictures, family photos and home decor that all tell a story about who you are. Without realizing it, your guests are immediately registering different levels of energy from what you have displayed throughout your home. Pictures are worth a thousand words, remember?
What images do you have on your blog and what are they saying about you? Do you have an About Me page that tells a little story about you? I prefer to read an about me page that gives me a glimpse into the life of the Author more than I do a pasted copy of their resume. Yes, do your bragging but keep it conversational and welcoming as well. Allow your guests to identify with you.
Catering to your visitors (who hopefully will turn into subscribers) is just as important to attracting traffic to the blog itself. Blog building is an ongoing process that evolves as the site ages and the readers’ preferences change and this is something we need to recognize. Remember to do a walk-through on your blog regularly to remain in touch with your visitors.
What sort of hostess or host are you? Can you think of any other blog tips that are like entertaining guests in your home? Have you ever been embarrassed when guests had to point out something that was broken? Have I forgotten to make something convenient for you on my blog? Share your tips below in the comments.
To Your Success,