Your blog is the product of your passion and creative imagination. However, with hundreds of blogs created everyday your hard work will be futile if only the search engine spiders will notice your new blog. Yeah, you can optimize your website and do link building to drive traffic to your blog from search engines and other websites, but what’s the use of this sudden flow of visitors if you can’t keep them on your site? Is there a reason that your first time visitors stay or keep returning to your blog? Will they value your blog just by seeing it for the first time? Whatever your response is, your goal is the same as mine – to make your first time visitors return to your blog. So what shall we do then?
1. Be the first to blog something different in your niche
In my niche, two blogs just started in January 2007, and December 2006. I believe the bloggers are not even familiar with Search Engine Optimization but their blogs now having thousands of visitors everyday. Their secret? They are the first blogs to offer something new for the readers in our niche — a blog that specifically offers English episode summaries of dramas currently airing on Korean channels, and an updated Korean entertainment blog in English.
There are actually fans posting episode summaries in forums, and there are official Korean entertainment-news websites, but blogging these topics offers a different experience for the fans. Lately, I have seen a few blogs offering episode summaries like Dramabeans.com but they have a weak readership. Dramabeans is the first to blog on this topic.
So if you want to own a number of returning visitors in your blog, offer something new and different. Be the leader in your niche. Create a buzz. Being a leader will not be hard if you are really passionate about that something you want to blog about. Observe forums, and if you will find resources. Just remember the times when you were searching for a certain topic online and you got frustrated because you didn’t find the thing you wanted. Just be the first to blog about that topic, and you will surely get a community of returning readers.
2. If there is an existing blog on a subject create a new category or be the opposite
Don’t attempt to compete with existing bloggers in your niche by just trying to copy them and be “better” because readers will likely prefer the blogs they have loved first. Instead, be the opposite, the alternative, or be the first in a new category.
Since dramabeans.com is focused on summarizing dramas that are currently airing, a good category to be the first in could be making episode summaries of old dramas. For sure, there are fans out there who will be interested, especially if they can’t afford to buy old Korean drama DVD’s now, or just want to have ideas on what old drama to watch next.
Also there are existing sites and blogs that offer Romanized Original Soundtrack lyrics, just as mine blog, but I am the first to post lyrics with youtube videos. Visitors will stay longer on my site because they can sing while the music plays in the videos, or just watch the videos.
3. Use a catchy domain name, title and tagline
Why do you need a catchy domain name? If your first time visitors like your site, your domain name and blog title may be one of first things they look for, followed by your tagline. If your domain name and title are catchy, it can become a well known brand name in your niche. Try to make your domain name and title simple yet creative. The words in your tagline will be the back up if visitors can’t remember your domain name on their next visit. You will be surprise how many returning visitors start typing your domain name or blog title together with the topic they are looking for in the search engines in order to find your site again. Also, a tagline will make you and your visitors one because they can associate their selves to you. If it is a professional blog, sound professional, too. Just be sure that your domain name and tagline doesn’t sound the same as existing blogs. It happened to me, and I changed my tagline immediately. Good thing too, because as a result I have coined a word – the K-Addicts, referring to Korean Addicts.
Stand out in your niche!
4. Make effective and search engine friendly headlines for your posts
Well, what’s the use of being the first to blog something different, and having a catchy domain name, title and tagline if you are not visible in the search engines? You still need to exert more effort to get some search traffic. After submitting your url to directories and getting link through other methods, next thing is to make sure that the titles of your posts describe clearly what your posts is all about, put keywords in it – keywords that readers in your niche use. This is not a personal blog. Your blog is about your readers, your visitors.
5. Make sure your blog can be navigated easily
Personally, when I visit a site that does not offer me to view their previous posts, I often just leave the blog even though I like the post I first saw on the blog. Since I don’t want my visitors to have that same experience, I make sure my blog has a simple navigation.
Aside from putting the widgets for Top Posts, and Recent Posts, I created a tabed menu of categorized list pages of my posts. Each tab is a list of related posts. So, I have a tab for lyrics posts, for drama related posts, for movie related posts, etc. Doing this, I am sure that posts that are rarely viewed now have the chance to be noticed by visitors staying on my blog longer. Be sure to update the category pages once there is a new post for a certain list.
If you cannot simply categorized your posts or are lazy to update such list, then offer a search box in your blog.
6. Update your blog regularly
Update not just for the search engines but also for your visitors. Once first time visitors like your site, bookmark it, or subscribe to your feed, this means that they want to read more posts from you. I’m sure you’ll never run out of topics to blog about if what your blogging about is really your interest. If you cannot update your blog daily, twice or thrice a week will work. Just make sure you have new posts on a at least semi-regular basis.
There are some blogs that need to be updated almost daily, though. This is because they have to be committed to what their returning visitors expect from them.
Dramabeans.com really requires a daily update since the summary episodes are the current shows in Korea. It is like watching an episode everyday on TV. Popseoul.com, on the other hand is about the latest news about Korean celebrities.
So, also update according to what you offer in your blog, and be faithful to your tagline especially if you claim to be the latest.
7. Be visible! Stay connected.
Respond to comments and requests. Don’t be snobbish. Let your visitors feel they are important to you. If someone asks you a question, respond to it as soon as you can. If you can’t answer their requests, just say no, and tell them your reason.
Offer an e-mail where your readers can contact you aside from your blog, or add you in social networking sites. Visitors who are adding you in their friends list in Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, Multiply, etc. can be your future contacts in your niche. You might need them someday.