Yep, without a loyal following, you will struggle to succeed as a 'ghost blogger', so you've got to build your tribe, you've got to grow your audience first.
But, here's the thing:
Not just any old audience will do, you need to build a targeted and active audience for your blog.
Before we dive deeper, let's define what a targeted and active audience is.
Targeted - Subscribers that are genuinely interested in your content, offers, products, and services.
Active - Readers that frequently consume your content and then engage with it by leaving comments and helping to promote your posts on social media.
There are many ways to build a targeted and active blog audience. Here are some of those ways:
By far the best way to build a loyal following for your blog is by building an email list.
Almost everybody will have an email address and access to the web.
Sending out timely email newsletters is the best way to promote your blog content, special offers, products, and services directly.
The other best way to grow your blog audience, in my opinion, is by enabling web push notifications.
Web push notifications have a 90% open rate, considerably higher than email, (depending on industry).
We won't dive too deep into web push notifications as I've already created a post here.
So now that you understand 'building an email list' is the way to go, at least to start with, how do you get the right kinda people onto your email list?
Great question, here's the answer:
Through your blog, of course.
Yes, I know that's pretty obvious advice - But let's just say that people are going to your blog right now, however, very few are actually subscribing. What do you do then?
Keep reading to find out.
I want you to go an check your Google Analytics if you use it.
You'll no doubt notice that your homepage is one of the most visited, if not the most visited page on your blog.
Hopefully, I'm right.
Now, if you don't know otherwise, the logical thing to do, as the majority of bloggers do, is to use the homepage to showcase your most recent blog posts, along with a nice sidebar filled with tons of other crap.
Smart bloggers, however, will use their homepage quite differently.
Savvy bloggers see their homepage as another opportunity to convert more visitors into subscribers.
You see, your homepage is essentially a glorified landing page.
However, in order for you to use your homepage to successfully converter visitors into subs, you've got to do two very important things -
Is the homepage really worth your time and energy, though?
Yes, 110%! If you don't believe me, that's OK, I'm cool with that. But, just take a look at what these top bloggers and entrepreneurs are doing on their homepage:
A) Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income Blog uses his homepage to display his message clearly, as well as offer an opt-in form to capture leads. See below.
Chris Ducker from ChrisDucker.com does exactly the same with his homepage. See image below.
Why don't I do this on my own website here at Magnet4Blogging?
Good question and the answer is because my goals are completely different.
Email list building is important to me, but my primary objective right now is to grow my audience in other ways, e.g. YouTube subscribers, and Push Notifications.
Bottom line is this:
If you want to convert more visitors into subscribers for your blog, you've got to let go of the old ways and embrace the new ways.
Create a custom homepage and add your marketing message and opt-in form, along with your compelling offer to get more sign-ups.
If you don't know how to turn your blog homepage into a custom homepage, then check out the video tutorial below.
Here's another powerful way to turn your blog visitors into subscribers:
Build a dedicated signup page, or, build several of them and test them against each other.
Now you're probably scratching your head and wondering -
"Well, it's not that simple to create a signup page in WordPress."
Well, it is, actually, and you don't need to hire a designer or developer to help you.
Check out this cool landing page builder tool for WordPress. This is the plugin I use to build my own landing pages.
So, what are the benefits of creating and using a dedicated email signup page?
Let's have a look:
The Thrive Architect plugin comes with many email landing page templates that you can use to save time.
Your about page is another potential landing page for you to capture signups, as this should be another frequently visited page on your blog. Check your analytics to confirm this is the case.
I recommend adding several opt-in forms in your about page, perhaps one in the middle and one at the end.
Don't forget to add an image of your compelling offer too. Perhaps an eBook, webinar, free course, etc.
Thrive Leads is a complete email opt-in form and list building plugin you can use to create in-content opt-in forms.
As I mentioned earlier, creating a dedicated opt-in landing page allows you to remove any distractions such as menus and sidebars that could hurt your conversions.
Generally, you should try and do the same with the rest of your blog design and layout.
For instance, a lot of bloggers fill their sidebars, headers, and footers with a lot of options and offers.
Things like ads, clickable banners, social media links, all contribute to lowering conversion rates.
My advice to you is to try and give your blog visitors fewer options and make one of those options to signup to your email list, because after all, your goal is to convert them into subscribers, right?
Why the heck should anyone signup to your blog anyway?
Make it clear to your visitors 'why' they should.
Again, your message has to clear and concise.
In addition to this, it's important to let people know exactly what they're signing up for. They'll be asking themselves -
Let them know 'why'.
It could be -
People love ease-of-use.
When it comes to filling in online forms, they don't like to have too many options, so try and keep things simple for them.
Create and use an attractive, clutter-free opt-in form. Usually, two or three entry fields are plenty enough, a 'name field' and an 'email field'.
Avoid adding too many options such as tick boxes and CAPTCHAS. Unless, of course, you need to make sure humans are signing up to your email list and not bots or aliens.
The only tick box you should have is a Privacy Checker.
Once again, there's a fantastic plugin for WordPress that will help you design, build, and deploy clean and attractive email opt-in forms called Thrive Leads. This is the plugin I use for building my email list.
Incentives can help you increase your opt-in conversion rate dramatically, especially if the offer is valuable, in-demand, and aligned with your niche.
Here are some examples of free incentives you could create to give away in exchange for email signups -
It is common knowledge that placing essential elements above the fold can help make offers more visible thus increasing conversions on a website.
Above the fold means everything that is visible in the window before a visitor has to scroll down to see the rest of a web page content.
Consider placing your most valuable conversion elements, such as your marketing message and your incentivized opt-in form above the fold.
This should apply to both your homepage and other lead capture landing pages.
That being said, don't be afraid to add the same conversion elements below the fold too, because people do scroll, despite any myths you may have read about people not scrolling. Check out this post.
If you don't ask your readers to take action, you can't expect them to know or even remember what to do after they've read through your content.
Use powerful 'action words' to get your readers motivated and to 'take action' to complete the signup form at the bottom of your blog posts, or anywhere else on your blog.
Make your action words inspiring too, don't just use basic words like 'Signup' or 'Join My Email List'. If you can, try out longer and more compelling words.
Content upgrades are NOT being used enough by bloggers.
Offering a content upgrade is essentially publishing a blog post on a topic, and then offering additional content and information on the same topic in the form of an upgrade.
To get access to the content upgrade, your reader must signup with their email address.
This is a very powerful way to literally explode your email list.
To learn more about content upgrades and how to create them correctly, check out this post.
Finally, if you have a footer section in your blog, make good use of it, don't let it go to waste.
Instead of just cluttering your footer with more advertisements, outbound links, and everything else, consider adding your signup form inside a small widget.
If you didn't want to make changes to your footer section, consider creating a sub-footer.
So there you have it, my top 11 tips for converting more of your blog visitors into loyal subscribers.
If you're not doing any of these, I highly recommend you get on the case and start implementing them right!
Enjoy and the very best of luck.
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