Do You Want More Blog Subscribers?

Nov 17, 2011   //   by Ty Banfield   //   SEO Blog  //  16 Comments

When someone takes the time to subscribe to your blog, it’s a pretty clear indication that they’re interested in what you have to say. What’s great about having people who are interested in what you’re writing is not only are they ideal future leads, but they can also do marketing for you.

If you look at some of the biggest blogs across multiple niches, you’ll discover that many were able to reach the top because of their passionate audiences. While there’s only so much one blogger can do, a blogger with an audience of readers who are constantly telling other people to go to that blog has a much bigger reach.

Although just about every blogger wants this type of situation, many believe that it’s never going to be possible for them. Since they don’t even have a few dozen subscribers, they can’t imagine having tens of thousands. If this is how you feel, it’s important to understand that you don’t have to make this huge jump overnight. Instead, the success of most blogs comes from gradual momentum that builds over time. As a blog’s audience slowly gets larger, it eventually grows to that ideal point where the audience starts acting as marketers for the blog.

Since it doesn’t take tons of subscribers to see a noticeable improvement, your goal should be to maximize the number of new visitors you convert into subscribers. Here are some of the keys to accomplishing this goal:

It’s Not Just RSS: A big reason why many bloggers are unhappy with the number of subscribers they have is because the only subscription option they have on their blog is an orange RSS button. While this is fine for people who use RSS readers, if you’re in a niche that’s outside of technology, most of your audience probably doesn’t use RSS. Even if they have a vague understanding of what that term means, it doesn’t mean they have an active RSS reader.

Instead, they use email. As a result, you want to make sure that you set up an email subscription for your blog. Once you do, that’s the option you will want to promote throughout your blog.

Consider a Free Giveaway: Many bloggers have found that they can significantly increase signups by offering visitors a free piece of content. Whether it’s a report or an interview, the key is coming up with something that’s going to provide value to visitors. *Read Derek Blandford’s reply in the comments below for a great suggestion about how to come with the ideal type of content to give away.

If you decide that you do want to give away a piece of content, you can put it together and then create a nice signup box that makes it easy for visitors to claim what you’re giving away.

Where to Put Your Signup Box: Don’t limit your signup box to the sidebar. Two areas where bloggers have reported increases in signups is below their posts and on their resource pages. For example, if you have a great About page, you can capture interested visitors by putting a signup box near the bottom of it. You can see an example of this on the About page of Social Triggers:

About Page Signup Box

What makes you want to subscribe to a blog?

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Ty Banfield

Ty Banfield is a freelance writer. Over the past five years, he's written on almost every topic under the sun. While variety is the spice of writing life, marketing and fitness are the two topics he never grows tired of exploring. He also provides business website development, marketing and conversion consulting that helps businesses attract more customers.

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Comment Policy

  • Nik
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Ty,

    I have all the points covered except “where to put the sign up box” which I will sort out over the weekend. Thanks for bring it up. I’ll kick my butt into action.

    Nik

  • Adi Gaskell
    Twitter:
    says:

    Interesting article Ty. How well have these approaches worked for you?

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    Ty,

    It’s interesting you mention the signup box at the end of the post. Just as I have the “Ask Gerald” signup box at the end of each post.

    Just goes to show you that great minds think alike! :-)

    Something to add for those who aren’t sure how to offer an RSS by email option, as I have in the top right sidebar. That is easily setup with Feed Burner and I say it’s an absolute must for any blog.

    I remember when I first heard of RSS and even when someone first explained it to me I was like. Hmmmm RSS sounds confusing. You can bet that the majority of people (as you stated) not in a tech or Internet marketing/blogging type related field, most likely have no idea what RSS is. On the other hand everyone understands what email is.

    Offering a simple option for the non-tech/RSS folks is the way to go for sure.

  • Ann Smarty
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great one to use as motivation. I am guilty of not having enough time for optimizing sign-up process for my blog. Thanks for inspiration!

  • satrap
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great tips Ty. I really like the idea of using the “about’ page as a way to capture more subscribers. I think I will give it a try. Thanks.

  • ericS says:

    Hey Ty,
    As a reader same time a blogger, it is really our delight if our subscription would go on it’s higher traffic. Been searching for more ways and tips on how to increase the blog subscription and I am so glad to encounter this article of yours. Got loads of ideas.

  • Hey Ty,

    I think a free giveaway is a great strategy for getting more subscribers. The trick is figuring out what people want so you can create the right piece of content.

    I think many people create what they “think” their audience wants, but they don’t really know. I’ve always found it better to ask. Ask your readers what they want. Then give it to them. Pretty simple, but people still don’t do it.

    Run a poll for a while and get feedback straight from the people you want to reach.

  • Ray says:

    Just out of curiosity is feedburner the most common form of email subscriptions? I have had a feedburner account for a long time, but for some reason I just never set up the subscriptions part. It appears easy enough to configure, but a little limited. I tried mailchimp, but that one was so confusing. I gave up after wasting about an hour of time. If there is something with a few more features then feedburner yet fairly simple and easy to get the hang of that would be great.

    • Gerald Weber
      Twitter:
      says:

      Ray,

      Yes feedburner is basically the industry standard for RSS via email. Actually feedburner has a lot of great features that allows you to see all kinds of cool data about your RSS subscribers. This is not possible (as far as I know) just using the default RSS that comes with WordPress.

      Bear in mind feedburner is not an email application like mail chimp. The idea here with feedburner is you are giving people that don’t really understand RSS an easy way that they can understand to subscribe to your RSS (not your email list), but it’s not the same thing as building an email marketing list.

      I have never personally tried mail chimp but a good service for building a list and email marketing is Aweber.com which I personally use.

  • Jon Cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great post Ty!

    I think there’s one untapped source for gaining subscribers – your about page. If people are going to it, then they want to learn more about you and your blog. At this point, they’re much more willing to click an orange button or give out a personal email. Consider adding a few different opt-ins on your about page to make sure they have multiple chances to get on your list.

    Hope this helps :D

  • Tim Ryan says:

    Free giveaways and regular promotions are a sure way to promote a blog and gain more readers. Readers are more interested when they know the benefits of reading a blog and when they feel valued.

  • Shadab
    Twitter:
    says:

    I am using the subscription box on the right top side which generate my subscriber in the decent way, but you have listed the most powerful way here.

    Best Regards!

  • [...] Aweber Communications (a popular email marketing company) published a comprehensive article on this topic on their blog. A curated email campaign creates ‘loyal subscribers’. Let’s find out how you can use this powerful technique to make your email campaigns come alive and keep your subscribers happy. [...]

  • Jamy Hoster
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thank you for this information as I was using at bottom of the site as I wanted to read completely about my site and then went to subscribe me but I think its good to put the box at top. Your blog is changed my mind for this.