The hardest part of blogging is getting people to your site. But once they’ve found you, how are you keeping them coming back?
You’ll come across many sites that have a newsletter pop-up as soon as you arrive. To me, that’s too much too soon. A casual surfer who stumbled across your site on Google isn’t going to subscribe to your newsletter within 15 seconds of landing on your site, because he doesn’t know anything about the site yet. The key is to hook the reader, and have them read a few stories on that first visit.
The easiest way to do that? Install a related-posts plugin. These types of plugins displays a link block at the bottom of your post, suggesting other stories on your blog that might be of interest to your reader. We tried this on one of our sites, and saw a 267% increase in pageviews. And that was with a clunky plugin that didn’t meet our needs 100%. We’re currently in the process of testing out some other plugins that we’ve heard good things about.
The main issue we’ve found is that some of these plugins are REALLY database intensive, and on a site with 5-10K posts this poses a real problem. If you’re on a shared host, the CPU usage could go high enough to get your site disabled. If you’re on a cloud server like us, your bill could skyrocket if you’re not careful. So test, test, and then test some more!
That said, once you find a good related posts plugin, you should be golden. If you can setup a subscription box pop-over to be displayed after someone reads their 3rd post, then your success rate should be very favorable, as the person has shown that he’s genuinely interested in what you’re writing about.