As part of my ongoing efforts to transform Dubsat to an Inbound Marketing approach, we will soon be launching the Dubsat blog and a number of targeted eBooks which we have been working on for the past few months.
One of my main roles in this launch is designing and developing the blog itself and I’ve recently spent a bit of time going back through all my Pocket articles and pulling out all the little tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the past few years and ensuring we incorporated them in the design.
Considering these tips & tricks were spread over multiple articles and some were just learnings I’ve personally had, I thought it might be cool to consolidate them all into one post of actionable ideas and growth hacks for increasing the effectiveness of your blog. Here goes:
1. Add a subscribe to newsletter opt-in to the comments section
According to blogging experts like Neil Patel and Derek Halpern, the best source of traffic to your blog is your email list so it is critical to do all you can to capture people’s email address and subscribe them to your blog updates.
One clever little hack I noticed the guys over at WP-Beginner are using to increase email subscribers is to add an opt-in checkbox to the comments section. Most comment forms already collect the readers name and email address anyway, so adding a tickbox to opt them into your mailing list is both easy for the user and effective for you.
There are a number of WordPress plugins which can help you achieve this include or if you’re got some coding capabilities, you can edit WordPress’s default commenting functionality and use the API’s of your chosen email service provider (in our case HubSpot) to feed the new subscribers into your blog email list.
2. Manipulate your ‘Most Popular Posts’ widget
The Most Popular Posts widget on your blog can often be one of the most clicked elements on the page, as several studies have shown social proof (found in the ‘Most popular’ part) is one of the key factors in persuasion.
Instead of driving all this traffic to your most popular posts however, use your analytics system to find the articles that actually convert the highest and then fake your ‘most popular posts’ widget to drive traffic to those posts.
Neil Patel does this on his Quicksprout blog, and puts uses his highest converting posts in the ‘all time’ section to help increase the number of enquiries he receives.
If you’re using WordPress, this is actually pretty easy to implement. Instead of using a ‘recent posts’ widget or something of the sort, simply create a new menu with the posts you want in it and then use the default ‘Custom Menu’ widget to display it in your blog’s sidebar.
If you’ve got the capabilities, I’d recommend enhancing the functionality and design to pull in the posts featured image and really sell it as if it’s one of those standard ‘most popular posts’ widgets you see on thousands of sites around the web (familiarity breeds usability remember).
3. Remove some of your social media sharing options
Most people try to add as many social sharing options to their blogs as possible, with the impression that the more social networks that readers can share their posts on the more sharing activity there will be.
The problem with this is when faced with an overwhelming amount of choices, people suffer from choice overload and usually end up taking no action at all.
On the Quicksprout blog, there are only 3 options displayed to readers for social media sharing; Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. When blog owner Neil Patel tested adding LinkedIn and Pinterest sharing icons, the amount of overall sharing activity decreased by 29%.
Use your analytics tools to find out what social networks are driving you the best traffic in terms of conversions and site goals and test culling your social sharing options down to just those networks. You might find sharing activity actually increases and you start getting more high-quality traffic.
4. Use a scrolling CTA
Thinking about all the SaaS and marketing blogs I read religiously, I’d guess probably 80+ percent of them include a CTA for their product or a lead generation offer in their sidebar. However, eye tracking studies done by the New York Times show that the sidebar is some of the least noticed real estate on the page as readers have learnt to ignore it as it usually contains advertisements.
One way to increase the effectiveness of this CTA though is to actually make it fixed position so that it scrolls down the page with reader, like what we implemented at InVision. The movement of the CTA combined with it’s graphical nature will draw the attention of the user and promote click-throughs.
When Neil Patel implemented this hack on his Quicksprout blog, he saw a 150% increase on the clickthrough rate of that specific CTA and it quickly became the most popular conversion point on his website.
5. Add a subscribe to newsletter checkbox on landing pages
If you offer eBooks, courses, kits or other downloadable content in exchange for a persons details, consider adding a ‘Subscribe to our blog’ checkbox to the lead generation form.
HubSpot recently added this to their landing pages and saw a 128% increase in blog subscribers in just 3 months.
Depending on what you use to create your landing pages and forms, this should be pretty easy. If you are using HubSpot like we are, it is a simple case of adding a checkbox and setting up a workflow to enrol those people in your subscriber list.
6. Create and promote a blog subscription landing page
Imagine you wanted to promote your email subscription to your social media followers, or create some call to action buttons (say in a scrolling CTA) that promote the blog subscription. Where would you send these people too? You can’t just link them through to your blog homepage and hope they find the subscribe box hidden in the sidebar.
Instead, create a landing page specifically for your blog subscription. Use the real estate to tell the reader the kind of content they are going to receive and how often they will receive it (perhaps give them option for daily or weekly newsletters) and certainly don’t forget to use social proof on your landing page to increase conversions.
If you have a large amount of subscribers to your newsletter then display that number prominently, or if you
some influencers on there try to ascertain a quote from them about why they love your blog and newsletters so much.
What other little tricks and hacks have you used to increase the effectiveness of your blog? Share them in the comments below…