You write blog posts to drive traffic, right? Wrong. That is like saying you cook in order to finish cooking a meal.
The truth is that you cook in order to EAT the meal, not just to finish cooking it. And with your blog, you write blog posts to eventually make money from people who visit your site, not merely to drive traffic.
Step 5 is what helps you to get one step closer to actually earning money from the traffic that comes to your website. In step 5, we take the casual window-shoppers at your blog, and turn them into subscribers of your website–fans.
How Funnels Work
You write a blog about animals, including a particularly enthralling piece on the mating rituals of the European Alpaca. John loves nothing more than studying the mating rituals of the European Alpaca, and one day while doing research, stumbles upon your post after a targeted Google search.
Great, right? You have TRAFFIC!
Wrong. John will read your post to the end, and then he’ll see something like this at the bottom of the screen:
Writing a blog post and then simply ending the blog post is like writing “Return to Sender” on your web traffic and sending them directly to their back button, where they will go back to Google and continue their search.
The only action this website visitor is left to take is to write a comment. The truth is that even the most engaging posts I have ever written only get about 1 comment per 1,000 visitors. Not to mention the fact that the comment is a dead end. When the comment is submitted, that too is a “Return to Sender.”
Now look at that same blog post, ended differently.
In this second example of the same dull post, John is invited with a large button to read more about Alpacas on the website, he is presented with images and headlines from 5 other posts similar to his search, and also given quick access to social media buttons which enable him to share his new-found Alpaca wisdom.
In short, this second post welcomes him into the fold, rather than returning him to sender (AKA Google via the back button). While you may prefer to have more or fewer calls to action at the end of your posts, the point is that you need to invite your visitors to take the next step of engagement with your brand.
Four Ways to Stop Returning Traffic to Sender
- Include an email opt-in. Every single website needs an email opt-in. You’ll see in the months to come that most of your sales will come from your email list, and fewer will come from social media.You can put an email opt-in on your site by getting a Mad Mimi account or some other email list provider and using the code they will give you to put an email subscribe form on your website, or it can be more sophisticated like using Optin Monster together with Mad Mimi to show a subscribe form only if it notices that users are rapidly scrolling to the top of the page to leave the site.For this step, you will need to use an email provider like Mad Mimi or some other, because you want people to be able to subscribe from your site, and you’ll be sending hundreds or thousands of emails to customers, so using your Gmail or Hotmail account won’t work.
- Include a related posts section under each blog post. I have written about this before and mentioned that it netted me a 20% longer visit duration. Read this post to see the plugin I use to generate this section of the site, as well as how well it worked for my site.
- Create a long-form tutorial. I have seen tremendous results by including long-form multi-page content on my websites. In fact, you’re reading an example of that right now!Create a “Start here” page on your website and explain the basics of whatever you write about. This type of content can get a visitor to engage with your site for up to 30 minutes if they read the entire tutorial, which would make them very likely to subscribe when they reach the end.
- Include a specific call to action. One simple way to get users to take the leap to the next layer of engagement is to simply ask them to. At the end of your blog post, you could simply write something like, “If you want to get more of my posts on Alpacas, simply like my Facebook page.” And then give them a link to the page.
If you fail to stop returning traffic to sender before you launch your website, you will simply waste your traffic. Implement the tactics above, and then you’ll be ready to start getting traffic in the next step.