First time blog visitors are loyal readers in waiting. They deserve a little special treatment, too, and it’s not hard to impress them if you make getting to know them a priority.
Some of these are more suited to blogs whose primary readers are bloggers, but the first two are suitable for all blogs.
1. Create a Custom Landing Page Just for Them
Nothing screams “Welcome!” better than a welcome mat that’s been personalized just for you. That’s what Stanford Smith of Pushing Social has done to welcome people who visit his blog by way of his guest post at Copyblogger. It’s very easy to do.
Just create a special page tailored to fit the readers of the blog you’re guest posting on, and then link to it instead of your home page in your bio. A quick, easy, and incredibly intelligent thing to do. Plus, it’s deep-linking from a (presumably) high-ranking, high-quality blog, which will increase the landing page’s page rank over time. That’s smart blogging!
Try creating ones for visitors from HubPages, Squidoo, EzineArticles, or any place else that sends you a good bit of traffic that is likely to convert to loyal readership.
2. Offer Something Totally Free
Just as a reminder, free means
- Free of obligation.
- Free of charge.
- Free of stealth marketing tactics.
- Free of hidden fees.
- Free of teaser copy, with real stuff hidden behind an obligation.
- Free of crap.
Does anybody give anything away free these days? Yes. Lots of people and companies do. It’s okay to charge something, such as an email address, sometimes, but every now and then you might want to throw something in there that is quite literally free.
3. Contact Them Personally Via Email, Twitter or Facebook
This only applies to people you know (or can safely assume) have visited your blog. Here are ways you can tell:
- They leave a comment on your blog.
- If they are bloggers, they link to your blog in one of their posts.
- If they are on Twitter, they share a link on Twitter and say something to go along with it.
Contacting people who do those things is a little step that can go a really long way. If you run a business blog and you have a community manager, this can be their job – to reach out and connect. Otherwise, it’s yours. If you don’t have to time to sit down and write a personal note to every new visitor, installing something like the Thank Me Later plugin for first time comments will work, also.
If someone links to your blog in a blog post, go visit that link and at the very least, say thank you. If their blog is new and they have a brand new community with little interaction, they will appreciate the gesture.
When someone retweets your posts, you can say thank you. Bundle it with other thank you’s, if you don’t want to bug the heck of people who are following you (no need for an individual ‘Thank you for your RT’ especially if you have 20 of them or something like that). Of course, you can’t thank everyone, but it’s something you can do every now and then.
People get annoyed at the Thank You’s, and to that I say: please take a muscle relaxer and chill out.
4. Visit Their Blog and Share Their Posts or Comment
If your visitors (and primarily your first time commentators) are bloggers, spend some time visiting their blogs and if the content is good, share it. Or, you could leave a comment if you feel like it. Again, these are little gestures but because they are so rare, doing them will make your more approachable and likable.
5. Keep Your Community Active
Engaging readers and allowing readers to engage with each other is the best way to breathe life into a blog community. Here are some easy things you can do:
- Install sharing icons so readers can share your post across social channels (I’m still shocked at the number of people who don’t do this)
- Use a threaded commenting system, so readers can reply to other people’s comments (Thesis theme has this by default, as well as DISQUS and Intense Debate systems. Otherwise, you can install a plugin for WordPress)
- Use polls from time to time
- Install a Recent Comments type of widget in your sidebar to show commenting activity
- Install Top Commentators to share premium link love with those who engage the most
- Respond to comments
- Publish weekly wrap-ups, focusing on your niche, or on your community of readers. Link out liberally.
Other Things that Impress
What else do you think impresses first time visitors? What impresses you, when you read a blog for the first time?
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