Tuesday 24 July 2007

11 Techniques to Increase Page Views on Your Blog

11 Techniques to Increase Page Views on Your Blog

Yesterday my brief study into page view statistics revealed that the average blog reader views around 1.7 pages every time they visit a blog.

I finished the post by indicating that I’d post more on how to increase your blog’s page views.

Of course more page views may or may not be what you want from your blog. At least one commenter on the previous post noted that they are happy with a low page view count because it could mean people are leaving their blog by clicking on an advertisement and thereby earning them money. While there could be some truth in this observation and I’m not adverse to this happening on my blogs - I’m also interested in building blogs that people find interesting and useful and one of the many measures of this can be page views. Of course to get back to the money thing again - those of you running impression based ads will be interested in increased page views also.

Having said that - IF you’re interested in increasing the number of pages that your average reader reads, here are a few suggestions that might help:

1. Highlight Related Posts - one of the more common practices of bloggers to encourage readers to read multiple pages on their blogs is to to highlight related posts at the end of your article. You’ll notice that i presently have a list of 5 posts at the end of each individual page that suggests other posts that readers might find useful This list is generated by a WordPress PlugIn. Those of you using other blog platforms might find similar plugins for your own system or might like to manually suggest related articles at the end of your posts.

2. Interlink within Posts - a similar but perhaps more effective technique is to highlight relevant posts within the content of your posts. If you’re writing a post that mentions something similar to what you’ve written before simply link to your previous post from within your article. For example I’ve written about this technique previously in a post on increasing the longevity of key posts.

3. Highlight Key Posts and Categories in your Blog’s Hotspots - I’ve often mentioned that the hottest posts on this blog are those highlighted in my top three menus. Specifically it is those in the top left hand box at the top of this page that are always at the top of my most read post statistics. Depending upon the goals of your blog - you may wish to fill your blog’s hotspots with ads or affiliate programs - or you may want to highlight key posts that are central to your blog and which will hook readers into what your blog is about (thereby increasing page views). Highlighting your category pages is also another similarly useful technique to encourage your readers to find more posts on the same topic. To explicitly name what your category is can also be useful. ie rather than just having the category name at the end of the post - try something like ‘read more posts like this in our ((insert category name)) category’ or ‘filed under ((insert category name))’ etc.

4. Compilation Pages - Extending the previous idea about highlighting key posts you may wish to use posts in these positions that sneeze readers not just to one post on your blog but many. The best example of this on ProBlogger is my Top 20 Posts at ProBlogger post which is in my top left hand menu. This post, as the name suggests, suggests 20 posts on my blog that readers might like to read. I know that this is a post with immense power on this blog and that many first time readers use it to bounce into all corners of my blog. One or two new readers have fed back to me that this page and the pages that it linked to was the reason that they became hooked on ProBlogger. Every post they read added to the chances that they would become loyal readers.

5. Series - While you need to be a bit careful with writing series of posts over periods of time, they are a great way to keep readers coming back and once they are complete to have them surf through multiple pages on your blog. The most popular series on this blog is my Adsense for Bloggers series which leads readers through 8 posts. I know many readers progress through this series because I occasionally get a series of comments from a reader who is obviously progressing through it - 8 comments over 30 minutes or so as they comment on each post. Don’t just do a series for the sake of increasing page views of course - this can really frustrate readers but use them on longer posts or when you’re genuinely wanting to interact with a larger topic over time.

6. Excerpts on Front Pages - I know there are a segment of ProBlogger readers that detest seeing excerpts (extended entry feature) on blog front pages and are very cynical that it’s just a ploy to get more page views. While I personally like using excerpts on front pages it is not about page views for me (although I guess it is a side benefit of it). Personally using excerpts in this way is more about keeping my front page manageable and highlighting multiple posts on the front page. ie if a reader can come to my blog and see not only the last post but the title of the second and maybe even the third post then they are more likely to explore more than just the last thing you’ve written. I tend to only use the extended entry feature on longer articles and allow shorter ones of a paragraph or two go up on the main page - unless I either forget or see the post as an important one.

7. Excerpts in RSS - Once again there is always debate over this topic of full or partial RSS feeds. I know some bloggers main purpose in partial feeds is to get bloggers directly onto their blog - thereby increasing their impression/page view count. While this is certainly a benefit of partial feeds it is not my own reason for using them. Rather I use them for copyright protection and to stop people scraping my full content onto their site’s via RSS. Whatever reason you choose to use partial/excerpt feeds - you should also realize that doing so will cause some readers to unsubscribe to your blog completely. I know in going only with partial feeds that there are some other bloggers who refuse to visit my blog - this is a cost/benefit scenario that individual bloggers need to weigh up.

8. Enable links in RSS Feeds - Another way that I know a couple of bloggers use to get RSS readers to actually surf to their blogs is to enable the ability to post html/links in their RSS and then using links to previous posts in their blog, especially in the first paragraph or two of their posts. This is not a technique I’ve tried but I know of one blogger who swears by it and says it significantly impacted the number of visitors to his blog from RSS as well as the number of pages that they viewed.

9. Search Function - most blog blog platforms have the ability to use a search feature on your blog which enables users to search your blog for keywords. This feature obviously helps your readers to locate other posts on your site and as a result increases the potential for a multiple page view visit.

10. Build an Interactive Blog - one way to get readers coming back to your blog many times over a day is to have a blog that people want to interact with. I know some ProBlogger readers visit this site at least 10 times per day just so that they can engage in the conversation that happens in comments. Since I added the ’subscribe to comments’ feature on this blog I’ve noticed some readers coming even more than normal - this can only be increasing page view levels as people return throughout the day. I’ve written (some time ago now) a few ideas on interactive blogging here and here.

11. Quality Content -This should go without saying but needs to be reinforced. Obviously if you write quality content your readers will want more of the same. Useful, original and interesting content should leave your readers hungering for more. Work on the quality of your blog and you’ll find that things like traffic levels and the numbers of pages being read should look after themselves and be on the rise.

There are no doubt other techniques for increasing page views. I’ve heard bloggers who swear by writing loads of posts per day to encourage readers to come back numerous times per day as one such technique - but I’d love to hear your experiences in comments below.

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