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Converting Visitors Into Subscribers

August 16, 2007

One of the biggest keys to creating a successful blog is gaining new subscribers (and of course retaining the ones you already have). Even a small increase in your conversion rate can really make a big difference. Here are 10 ways you can start increasing the number of readers that become subscribers.

1 – Write quality content

The best way to convert readers to subscribers is simply by providing content that they know they will want to read on a regular basis. Give them information that can’t find anywhere else and you’ll have no problem gaining new subscribers.

2 – Ask for the subscription

You may be surprised at how much you can increase your subscriber numbers by simply asking for the subscription.

3 – Make your subscription link prominent on every page

Visitors should easily see your subscription link as soon as they enter any of your pages. Many bloggers use the top of the sidebar for the placement of this link. Wherever it will attract your readers attention is where it should go.

4 – Remind readers at the bottom or the top of your posts to subscribe

Simply having the subscription option on the sidebar may not be enough. You can effectively gain more subscribers by including a brief request for subscriptions at the beginning or the end of your posts. WordPress users can do this by editing the single.php file. You can see an example of this at my blog.

5 – Display your subscriber numbers (unless it’s low)

Showing your readers that others are subscribing to your feed can be a good source of motivation for them to subscribe as well. There’s no exact number that you should start to display your subscriber count, so you’ll have to look at some other blogs in your niche and see what’s typical.

6 – Offer a free bonus for new subscribers

Giveaways can be used very effectively to draw new subscribers. In order for this to work you’ll need to offer something of value for free. Ebooks and other types of downloadable products are common giveaways.

7 – Have an about page

Many of your new readers will want to know a little bit more about you. Provide some background information on an about page and they’ll likely feel more connected to you once they become familiar with you.

8 – Offer an email subscription option

Some of your visitors will still prefer to use email instead of RSS. By not offering email subscriptions you could be losing subscribers. FeedBurner offers a free service for email subscriptions.

9 – Use buttons or widgets

Buttons and widgets can make it easier for your readers to subscribe to your feed with one click. Many readers won’t use them, but some will. You can get a free widget at AddThis.com.

10 – Use a pop-up window

This one is controversial, and personally I wouldn’t use one, but they do produce results for some bloggers. You run the risk of annoying your visitors.

Try some of these 10 tips today and see how it impacts your subscriber numbers.

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Comments

18 Responses to “Converting Visitors Into Subscribers”

  1. Tay on August 16th, 2007 3:39 pm

    Great post, Steven. One of the things I need to do is add a subscribe message to each post. It’s something I need to work on. Thanks for guest blogging! :)

  2. Webd360 on August 16th, 2007 4:14 pm

    Good tips, but I think using a pop up window may actually turn people off from subscribing because it makes you look more spammy.

    For number 5 (when to show your feed count) I think a good number to start showing it at is somewhere between 40-60 subscribers. I have found that that works well (I have also read posts by other bloggers and most of them start showing the counts in this range)

  3. StevenSnell on August 16th, 2007 4:39 pm

    Tay,
    Thanks for posting the article. I’m glad you liked it.

  4. List of Mortgage Companies on August 16th, 2007 4:59 pm

    I think popup windows annoy people and most people use popup blockers now anyways. I would stay away from any annoying popups myself.

  5. Tay on August 16th, 2007 5:37 pm

    If you ever want to guest blog again, feel free to submit another post. I’m also looking for a couple authors who I hope I can discover through this method of guest blogging. ;)

  6. StevenSnell on August 16th, 2007 5:59 pm

    I agree with you guys about pop up windows. I would not use one, but I included it on the list because some website owners have had very good success with them.

  7. Tay on August 16th, 2007 6:34 pm

    Having a pop-up window is something I wouldn’t do either, but I think it was necessary for Steven to add it to the list. It’s important to know all of your options, and even though it wouldn’t work for most people, some people can actually do very well with a pop-up.

  8. Eric S. on August 17th, 2007 11:50 am

    Thanks for the tips, Steven. Some of these are so simple and yet get overlooked by so many people. I think offering a free bonus is one of the most powerful tools I’ve found.

  9. Dustin on August 18th, 2007 6:33 am

    I think you have made some very good points, although I beg to differ on one point. Giveaways sometimes can make a person become a reader, for others its just a free giveaway that (as you said) has value.

    I really in my opinion wouldn’t suggest re-distributing something of value cause as I said, that’s just a way of a “free gift.” Its not guaranteeing the return of the reader to come back. Come to think of it, its considerably a “greed” attribute for someone to do that and it may sound harsh, but many people tend to be like that (not all, but some.)

    Other then that, great tips and especially a great read…

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  11. StevenSnell on August 19th, 2007 7:37 pm

    Dustin,
    Thanks for your feedback. Many bloggers have used giveaways as their number 1 method of successfully growing their subscriber base. Sure, some people won’t become regular readers, but many will. Giveaways are also great for getting attention and links from other bloggers. Yaro Starak’s gotten tons of links for the free e-book that he gives away. Ask him if a free giveaway works – I think I know what his answer will be.

    Tay, do you have an opinion on this?

  12. Tay on August 20th, 2007 12:25 am

    Steven, I agree with you. I think free giveaways would definitely be a way to success. There is no way to have everyone become a reader, but even if they don’t, they might pass on the word about your giveaway and give you some exposure from others, if not their own readership!

    You always have to weigh whether in the end if you’ll come out with more or less. Be sure that if you’re giving something valuable, it’ll for sure pay off in the end for what it’s worth. ;)

  13. StevenSnell on August 20th, 2007 5:15 pm

    Good advice to be sure it will off for what it’s worth.

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  15. Telling It Like It Is on September 9th, 2007 2:08 pm

    Hi Steven,

    I’ve really enjoyed your tips here. I really don’t like pop ups personally, but the pop unders really annoy me too. I like your other suggestions though and am working hard to implement as many of them as possible. Thanks for your great article here!

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