You love writing, but have you ever struggled with how to get people to read your blog? Most bloggers do. For this last post in the 2016 byte-size series, I’ll present some creative and easy ideas for getting people to read your blog. I’m not including all the standard advice given to bloggers, so you should also check out the two articles in the NOTES to learn the best practices every blogger should know (write often, use photos, et cetera). I’m writing instead in this post on some less obvious, and creative, ideas for you.
How to Get People to Read Your Blog
Check Your Stats
Take a look at your stats and ask yourself what you might learn from them. The above screenshot from 2016 stats for eQuipping for eMinistry (e4e) shows me:
- Over 10,000 of this year’s 17,000 visitors (to-date) were from the United States.
- Most of my top countries are predominately English-speaking.
- More than half of those visiting the site came in from Google searches, almost 9,000.
- My top posts were “how-to” posts (the top post this year being How to Open Apple’s “Pages” Documents on Your PC with 2,625 views).
Because it seems a lot of my visitors are coming in from “how to” searches on Google, I should make sure that any posts of that nature have “how to” in the title and in the first sentence of the post, at minimum. I should also pay regular attention to the types of Google searches that are bringing people to my site.
What Search Terms Bring Visitors to Your Blog?
To investigate what search phrases brought visitors to your site, use the stats in WordPress, click on “years” to the right of the “insights” tab. Click on this current year. Under the map, you’ll also see a box for search terms. Click on “view all.” This brings up the top searches for the year, which would look similar to my list (above).
For this past year, the top search on e4e was “where is the print screen button” at 13 searches, but if you also add the variations on that, like “print screen button on laptop” then the number is actually almost 50. These searches took visitors to a post of mine, Screenshots, from June of 2011. This old and simple post has been read almost every day, totaling over 2,900 visits!
Knowing that people are finding eQuipping for eMinistry with “how to” searches, a better title for Screenshots might be How to Use Your Print Screen Button, which uses words from the 50 searches. I just tried a Google search and that phrase brought up 8.5 million hits. “How to make a screenshot” has 13 million hits, which is more, but no one used that phrase to find my post.
You and I have the problem, of course, of our post being one of millions, so in addition to matching your title to searches coming into your blog, you need to take other steps, too, such as:
- Matching the title of your blog post to your URL,
- Restate that title in the first sentence of the blog,
- Restate it in the first heading,
- And other recommendations for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
It’ll be worthwhile for me to re-write and replace this old post soon and see if I can bring in more visitors through what I’ve learned. I’ll take the same steps I just recommended to you and also re-write the new post with a “how to” title. The post will likely get more hits with a more recent post date as well. I’ll also include an alt-tag for the image (learn more about photo tags from Yoast). This is a new step for me to begin doing for my photos. I’ll learn about this in the next few months and write more next year.
You will always want to match the title of your post to your URL in every case, but I realize the steps I suggested may not work as well with a devotional or inspirational post, so some of these next ideas in this article may be more suited for your writing style.
Last year, I explained how to create foreign language tags for your posts to draw visitors from other countries who don’t have English characters on their keyboards. This tip may bring in visitors from other countries. (The image at the top of this post shows the countries of the visitors to my The Sovereign blog where I use this idea extensively.)
If you look at your stats, what do you learn and what would you do differently next year? Try these ideas with some of your older posts that still get a lot of visitors.
Put out a Welcome Mat for Your Visitors
Now that visitors have come to your site, do you have any content, or links to content, to help them spiritually? Linking out from your post increases your SEO, so why not also make these links of eternal value to your visitors? (Links coming in help as well, but you can’t control that).
Add Hyperlinks to Your Content
You don’t know what the most popular posts will be at the time you write them, obviously, so, for example, after I knew our photo of a Space Shuttle launch on our family site, MikeandSus.org, was very popular, I went back and added a link in the post to a testimony of two Christian rocket scientists. (This post had 3,600 visitors at the time.) On another popular post with a photo of a butterfly, I added a link to why butterflies could not have evolved.
All three of my blogs have evangelistic and pre-evangelistic links sprinkled throughout, so, hopefully, even the most random visitor could find a gospel presentation. Since I have a lot of links to Bible verses in my blogs, I’m praying that visitors will even find their way to a Bible translation in their language by visiting the site. (Bible Gateway has over fifty languages available.)
It’s still amazing to me that I have visitors from every continent to my three blogs. One of my popular blogs, The Sovereign, is written for post-Rapture readers and has had over 107,000 visitors since February of 2007. This blog averages roughly 10,000 visitors annually for six years now. Also, eQuipping for eMinistry has had over 157,000 visitors, averaging 20,000 visitors annually for six years. Together, that’s 30,000 people annually, more than half the size of my hometown!
Consider using stats to find out about your blogs’ visitors and then to tailor hyperlinks to share the gospel with them.
If you’re serious about blogging, you will need to start incorporating these tips:
Why not check out more posts in the 2016 Byte-size series for some easy-to-do tech ideas for ministry?
The Byte-size Series:
Each byte-size series post is meant to be easy for you to do.
- Priority Inbox for Gmail and using lists in Facebook
- Your web presence and your online MO
- Email subject lines
- Google Apps and search tips
- You could afford a tablet
- 5 Easy Tech Ideas You Didn’t Know You Needed
- Saving Facebook Posts… for Bloggers, Too
- Painting a Bigger Picture for Your Ministry Partners
- Easy Tips for Cropping Photos with Paint.net
- Your eTools for Your Myers-Briggs Type
- Facebook Live Is an Easy Ministry Tool
- Creative Ideas on How to Get People to Read Your Blog