Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Getting More Traffic to Your Blog, Part Nine: Bookmarks, Feeds, and Subscriptions

Once you have garnered a following in blogging, you want to keep your readers and make it easier for new readers who stumble across your blog to find you again. This is especially important if you have a long URL for your blog, or if your blog's name is similar to other blogs. Because different readers prefer different ways of returning to your post, I suggest providing the following three avenues in a visible spot near the top of your blog (if you're reading this post from a feed reader, you may wish to view it from my blog site address so you can see my examples):

Many of you are familiar with bookmarks. You visit a favorite website or blog and using the "bookmark" or "favorites" menu or icon on your toolbar, you add the address to a list of favorite places to which you'd like to return. I use the Bookmark and Share button found for free at Add This to make it easier for my readers who prefer bookmarking to return to my blog.

If your readers use Google Reader, Bloglines, or have a RSS feed reader on their Google, Yahoo!, or MSN home page, they can add your blog feed directly to their reader. This allows them to view your latest post, along with the latest posts from all their other favorite blogs, at their favorite check-in place. Again, I use the RSS Feed Button found for free at Add This.

Another thing to consider: On your blog settings, choose Full or Short for your site feed. Choosing None allows your readers to see only the title in their feed reader, and if it's not an interesting title, they will skip reading your post, because they won't want to take the time to go to your blog to read the whole post. For Blogger platforms, choose Settings and then Site Feeds to get to the page where you can change this setting. I prefer Full over Short as both a blogger and a reader.

E-mail Updates
Some readers are more comfortable with e-mail than they are with a feed reader, but they still want to keep posted on your latest articles. FeedBlitz's free subscription service works well in this case. Go to their home page, sign up for a free account, click on the Subscriptions tab and create a new subscription for your blog. You'll be walked through the steps and can choose a sign-up form to add to the side bar of your blog. Notice on my sign-up form that I have changed the words from "subscribe" to "get updates via e-mail" because some people are thrown by the word "subscribe," thinking that they will have to pay for this service. FeedBlitz will send an email to your readers whenever you publish a new post, and it will contain all the content of that post, along with links, etc.

Using these three applications will help your current readers to easily find you, and will make it easier for new readers to return to your blog.

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Joan said...

Miriam, for someone like me, who is new to the jargon and doings of blogging, these self-help posts are so helpful. I will return to these time and again, as I get more competent and knowledgeable about the terms and functions. Thank you!

Joan said...

This set of posts is so helpful to someone like me, who is new to the jargon and doings of blogging. I will return time and again, as my competency increases. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Miriam!

This whole series has been very informative and helpful!

Ruth Stephens

Miriam Robbins said...

Joan and Ruth,

I'm glad to hear these posts have been helpful. I well remember how hard it was to get going in blogging, and although I don't have hundreds of visitors each day, I appreciate and want to keep each one of my loyal readers, as I'm sure you do.

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thank you, from me as well, for these good ideas. I've been blogging for a while, but just getting to the point where a following will be useful.

I like all your posts. Keep up the good work!

Bill ;-)


Miriam Robbins said...

You are welcome, Bill. The series will continue for a few more posts after the holidays, then I have another series topic I'll begin.

By the way, I love the name of your blog! ;-)