Whether you know it now or not, having a way for visitors to sign up for a newsletter and then being able to e-mail them, letting them know of new article postings and other information, is one of the best ways to get visitors to come back. Good newsletters get a high response rate in return visitors. Similar to a well-known E-commerce site, e-mail can account for 90% of traffic and is critical for your Blog. If the list becomes big enough, it is a source of advertising revenue, expertly recommended affiliate links as well as product, service & consultancy promotion. By all accounts, the Blog is where the content is, but the newsletter fans the traffic fire.
So, what is the best way to start one? Well, most of the Blogging platforms out there have some form of email newsletter system built in, either as a standard feature or plug-in postonmagazine.com . If you find that these are not acceptable, you may want to try others like one of the most popular called Aweber. It’s low-cost and has rich features.
No matter what you use, the important thing is to get people to join. That doesn’t happen simply because you ask them to. Some Blog newsletters get about 5-10% of their visitors to join while others have as high as a 90% membership success rate. The difference in your long-term traffic will be enormous. So, how do we get nearly everyone to subscribe? We utilize the magic of “an offer they can’t refuse.” Some of the best are “Top 10 Reports” or “A Secret Case Study” or “Free use of a very special Internet tool.” No matter what it is, make it worth every second. Anything less will ruin your credibiity.
An excellent example of this is if your Blog was about Internet video production, and you had a tool (had you thought of it first!) that easily converted YouTube FLV videos to a format people could download and watch, or send to others. Such tools already exist nowadays, and the sites that have them get a huge amount of traffic. These sites normally use Google AdSense to make revenue. My suggestion, if they are reading this, is to run forced, non changeable 30-second video advertisements prior to the free conversions. This is the latest thing and many news and other sites do this now, including the NFL and Fox News. Although adding a great tool for newsletter bait would be a worthy weapon in getting visitors to subscribe to a newsletter, it is really in the realm of SEO (link-baiting) which will be discussed further in the book.
No matter how you do it, once you have a very good reason to get visitors to join you want to create a signature (SIG) file for all your emails (not just Blog mail) but all of them, even personal. The SIG (e-mail signature file) should include the standard stuff like name, business and web address, but should also include your golden carrot. In other words, a special report or video that can be linked to in all your e-mail correspondence like below:
Controversy is a great way to solicit comments from your users. The moment you present a counter point, or take a mocking tone, your readers have a reaction. Remember that a good writer chooses every word that he or she uses, so take time to use language that may have an antagonizing effect.
You don’t want to bad mouth or slander people or issues; however a colorful and argumentative approach is a great way to engage the reader. Challenge their beliefs and they will defend them.
Readers often won’t just “take your word for it.” This is why you should take time to cite your sources. When you are constructing your article, look for other articles covering the same or similar topics. Other writer’s can provide fuel for your article if you know where to look. Remember that when you link your users, make sure you set the link to open in a new window. When you give the reader background, you challenge them to finish reading your article and ultimately comment with their own opinion.
The hardest part of any blog is to get that first comment. People rarely want to be the first to do anything, so if you can get one, you can get a million. It takes time and a well constructed, provocative article. Remember to engage the reader on as many levels as you can, visually, argumentatively, and controversially. As you spread your link around, you can literally watch your comments grow!