My previous nine posts focused primarily on how to drive traffic to your site. Once you have been blogging for several months and have built up a small following, the next step is to keep your readers coming back for more.
In my very limited experience, I have found there are several ways to accomplish this goal.
Find a Unique Voice
One way to generate compelling posts so that people return to your site is to find a unique voice.
What makes you different that anyone else who covers similar areas of interest?
For me, that unique voice is as a conservative who strongly believes in finding ways to reduce our society’s reliance on fossil fuel energy. I also am in alignment with the prevailing scientific view of climate change, which currently places me in the minority of American conservatives. That makes me different, and likely provides others with an alternative perspective from what they see or hear from other right-wing pundits. For that matter, it also distinguishes me from left-wing environmentalists.
Another way to generate interesting content is to tackle a topic that helps others. Readers are often interested in personal anecdotes about others’ experiences. For instance, if you just finished buying a house, write about the experience. What advice can you provide other home buyers? What if you just had a baby or started a business?
The bottom line is that material from your life can be help others navigate through similar challenges.
Even better is when you use these common experiences to showcase your unique talents. I believe that my “Should I Buy a Hybrid or an Electric Vehicle” series did just that.
Most people have to buy a car at some point. Many are interested in hybrids and electric vehicles, but do not know how to evaluate if the purchase makes economic sense. Since I have a background in clean tech and finance, I could help others while also showcasing my unique voice.
Be a One-Stop Shop
One of the secrets of the Drudge Report’s success is that it provides a one-stop shop for its readers. According to The New York Times, about 60% of the traffic on big news websites comes from people who go directly to the site. The other 40% comes from referrals. Google provides about 30% of these referrals. The second largest source is the Drudge Report.
The New York Times speculates the reason Drudge “is such an effective aggregator for both audiences and news sites is that he actually acts like one.” He provides a one-stop shop for his readers and they, therefore, rely on him to provide them with a filtered window on the world.
This, ultimately, is the veritable Holy Grail of blogging. If you can become your readers’ trusted sherpa, you will be successful.
I am not remotely there yet, but I can always dare to dream.
Write a Series
One problem I encountered early in my blogging experience was writing too much in any one particular post. Many people today are too time-starved to read anything on the internet that has more than 750 words, or simply do not have the attention span required (see “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”)
To rectify this problem, I began breaking these longer posts into multiple articles as part of a longer series.
This approach had several advantages.
First, people were more likely to read my entire post. Second, if they were interested in a particular series, they were more likely to come back for the next installment. Third, I could now use the material I had for one very long post for multiple articles. Fourth, I could schedule these posts to be published in the future during times when I knew I would be unable to blog.
In the end, generating great content is more art than science. However, having a plan is better than having none at all.