A guest post by Jamie Harrop of Blogging Zest
For most bloggers, building a base of active, engaging subscribers is what blogging is about. Sure, we may (eventually) want to make money from our blogs. Or we may just like to write. But at the core, what most of us want is subscribers. People who regularly read our content. People who want to engage and interact with us. And people who share our work. That’s what good subscribers are. Readers. Engagers. Conversationalists. Sharers.
People who comment on your blog posts tick the first three of those four boxes. They read. They engage. And they start conversation in the comments. It’s worrying, then, that 60% of commenters on my blogs are not subscribers.
Convert All Commenters to Subscribers
To try and improve this figure, to increase or maintain the number of comments but increase the percentage of commenters who are subscribers, I’ve decided to set out and try to convert every single commenter in to a subscriber.
The key to convincing people to subscribe, I believe, is in relationships. For a reader to become a subscriber, they must feel there is a relationship. It doesn’t matter whether that relationship is developed via ‘personal’ conversations in and outside your blog, or whether it is a formal relationship built on the expectation of future value (much like a relationship between a business owner and a customer). However the relationship is developed, it must exist for readers to subscribe.
Here are two WordPress plugins that have been valuable in my effort to get more commenters to subscribe.
This excellent plugin allows you to pitch your argument for subscription to every first time commenter. Rather than having WordPress refresh the page where your blog post is located after they have sent the comment, this plugin sends first time commenters to a custom WordPress page (of your choice). Here, you can thank them for their comment, and then remind them to subscribe.
After two weeks of using this plugin, I’ve seen a 35% conversion rate. That is, for every ten new commenters, almost four subscribe using the subscribe links on my “Thank You” page.
The feedback from users has also been positive. I initially had reservations as to whether or not users would be inconvenienced by the plugin, but many people have contacted me to say they were impressed with the plugin and asking how they could use it on their own blog. Download ‘Comment Redirect’
Meet Your Commenters
While it’s possible to build a relationship with your commenters via blog comments alone, it’s far easier (and far more beneficial) to extend the relationship outside the blog. Twitter, Facebook and email are all great ways to keep the conversation flowing with your potential subscribers.
I’ve lost count of the amount of hours I’ve spent reading comments from new commenters, then manually searching for their Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts. So when I came across the ‘Meet Your Commenters‘ plugin last week, I was amazed how much time it could potentially save me.
The plugin automatically displays a list of all the Web sites and social media profiles that it can find for your new commenters. Now there’s no need to spend five or ten minutes manually searching Twitter or Facebook. With this plugin, the task is reduced to checking the ‘Meet Your Commenters’ page in your WordPress admin panel and then clicking the links to your commenters social media profiles. Download ‘Meet Your Commenters’
Twitter as a Relationship Builder
I’m a huge fan of Twitter, both from a personal point of view and as a blogger. As a blogger, it’s recently brought me 700 visitors and 85 subscribers in nine days. But that’s only the start. The relationships I’ve been able to build with my subscribers and prospective subscribers are invaluable.
How many of your commenters are subscribers? Do you make any attempt to build relationships with your subscribers outside of your blog?
Enjoy more stuff by Jamie Harrop at Blogging Zest. With four years experience, Jamie recently took one blog from 0 to 100 subscribers in 11 days. Today, with posts such as How to Stand Out in a Blogging Crowd, he writes about blogging, social media and online communities.
Photo by James Justin