When you build up a regular blog following it can be vary rewarding. It also makes it easier to choose topics and select targets when you have feedback from real people. It is also an easy way to increase sales of your products or services.
Check out these 7 simple ways to increase your blog subscribers:
1. Lower your bounce rate – here is how: Cameron Chapman explained in a post on the Kissmetrics blog how he kept the bounce rate under 2% on his blog. His first tip is simple navigation:
The big thing here is that there’s no fancy, complicated navigation. No assisted search. No mega drop-down menus. It’s no more complicated than it absolutely has to be.
Another tip Cameron had is to only publish excerpts from your blog posts on your home page, which is something a lot of blogs do extremely well. Some great ones to see do this are Copyblogger, the KISSmetrics blog homepage or 99U. This means that if your visitors want to keep reading a post, they’ll need to click through to the post’s own page. Cameron said the trick to this was in the content your readers see before clicking through:
Make the first couple of paragraphs of your posts interesting and engaging. Avoid copy that tries too hard or goes for the hard sell. The goal is to get your visitors to click through to more of your content.
2. Use a pop-up to catch email addresses (it won’t hurt!): Social media scientist Dan Zarrella did some data exploration on his own site, to see how well his email capture pop-up worked, and how it affected his bounce rate. The data Dan found is really interesting, because his bounce rate was barely affected when he had the pop-up enabled. In fact, it only rose by 0.5% when the pop-up was turned on for new visitors. The email subscriber rate, however, dropped dramatically when Dan turned off the pop-up:
I found that during that period my signup rate dropped dramatically. I was collecting far fewer emails from visitors. Also during that time, there was no noticeable change in bounce rates. Viewers didn’t seem to mind the popup at all.
3. Optimize your loading time – 1 sec loading means 7% drop-off: Sean Work from Kissmetrics collected some interesting stats about loading times. One fact that surprised me the most was this: A one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. I don’t know about you, but 7% less conversions based on a one-second delay seems like a lot to me. That’s not something I’d want to risk if I had the choice.
In fact, slow loading times can even lead to your site being penalized in search rankings by Google, so it’s definitely something to pay attention to.
4. Offer exclusive content for your subscribers – the 10x increase example: Giving away a free gift or exclusive content to subscribers can be the extra little push your readers need to sign up. Plus, if your email newsletter often includes exclusive content or freebies, it makes sense to start out by offering something similar when readers first subscribe. Especially testing different copywriting tips on the headlines can be a big driver for extra signups here.
5. Add sign up forms – the more the better: If you only have one place on your site where readers can subscribe to your blog, you might lose lots of reader who never see that form. This is something else that Chris Spooner tried. He found that his subscribers increased when he added more places for people to sign up. In addition to his existing header link to a sign up page, Chris added sign up forms to his side bar, his About page and at the bottom of each blog post:
One of the forms that has proved really effective on my sites is the placement at the end of every post. New visitors who have stumbled across your content and made it all the way to the end of the article have a high potential of wanting to stick around for more, so it makes sense to prompt them with the option of subscribing with a conveniently placed signup form.
I love what Chris has to say about adding a sign up option to his About page, since I would never have thought of that:
A strategically placed signup form slap bang in the middle of your bio is really effective to recruit those interested to receive more of your content. Despite having much lower display rates, my about page signup forms have amazing conversion figures (30x higher than the other forms!).
6. Change your wording choice: Something else that worked for Chris was testing different wording choice on his subscribe buttons. Because he was giving away a free downloadable gift to every new subscriber, Chris tested a “Download Now” button as well as his standard “Get Email Updates” button. The results helped him choose which one to keep:
The split test was run for around 40,000 impressions and during that time the “Download now!” button achieved 3 times more signups than the words “Get email updates”.
Willy Franzen wrote about a similar experiment on Copyblogger, where he changed the wording on his subscribe button from “Subscribe by E-mail” to “Get Jobs by E-mail,” with some pretty stellar results:
My subscription rate has increased 254% since I made the change, and 66% of the new subscribers are e-mail subscribers.
7. Use a feature box: If you’re not a fan of the lightbox pop-up, you could try the feature box instead, which also seems to convert well. Derek Halpern explains at DIYthemes how adding a feature box alone boosted subscriber rates by 51.7% overnight:
Literally overnight, our daily new subscribers to the Thesis blog shot up by 51.7%, and has stayed that way ever since.
What tiny revisions have you made in the past that made a huge difference in your email subscriber numbers?