I’ve been reading a lot of your sites recently. Having a month without any travel for the first time in yonks has given me the opportunity to catch up on what my favourite bloggers are up to as well as discover some engaging new voices.
It never ceases to amaze me how many talented writers there are out there, sharing their words with the internet and building communities of like-minded people who enjoy the same topic – be it baking, parenting or even Burgers and Bruce Springsteen!
But there was something that struck me during my time as a reader and that’s that we, as bloggers, often put the focus on capturing or converting new readers above nurturing the ones who have already found us.
I mean no disrespect when I say this but on a lot of sites I landed on made me feel like a fish that the blogger was trying to haul into the boat. I’d come for the content, hooked by a good title, but then a box appears asking me to join a newsletter before I’d got through the article. Sometimes I didn’t even get to finish the first sentence.
On some gorgeous sites I was invited to like, share or download an ebook – all before I’d decided if I actually liked what I was reading.
It got me wondering at what point did we decide that readers couldn’t make their own decisions?
I’m all for making it easy for someone to connect with you. If I’ve read a good piece of content I quite naturally scroll to the top right of the side bar, hoping to find a little blurb about the author and the links so that I can follow them. (I know not everyone’s site should be a carbon copy but is it just me who checks this position?)
If you have an ebook or product by all means tell me about it. But maybe you can just gently refer to this in the content or pop a box in the side bar/footer – somewhere I can find it without feeling like I’m being force-fed?
I don’t know about you but if I like something I’ve read I quite naturally start clicking around to see where else I can find the author. I might sign up to the newsletter or follow them on bloglovin. And then once I feel like I know their style and like what they’re offering if they mention in their newsletter or excitedly in a blog post that they have a book, product, e-course etc, I’m all over it.
But this takes time. It happens a little into our relationship. Take me on a first date or two, woo me and generally I’m won over easily. But ask me to commit before we finish the first course at dinner and you’ll probably lose me. (Sorry about this strange analogy!)
Maybe it’s me who is being naïve here? Maybe these sort of strategies are so effective that causing the odd inconvenience to a whinger like me is vastly outweighed by the benefit? Maybe if my blog was a different sort of business and I had a product to sell I would feel a lot differently?
I read a post on Secret Bloggers’ Business recently, which made me think about some of the practises we bloggers use off-site too:
But most bloggers spend so much time and energy on getting just anyone and everyone in the door as quickly as they can, that they forget to actually spend the time creating, nurturing and providing value to the community around their blog.
Kate’s post focuses on how to gain loyal readers instead of chasing traffic and it’s really made me think about my blogging priorities as well as the feelings I had as a reader over the last few weeks.
So I’m opening up the floor. I’d love to know your thoughts on the subject? Do you have any bugbears when it comes to reading blogs? Am I committing some of them?
Should we as bloggers start thinking more like a reader?
Ps I don’t mean this to be some nasty rant on blogging, I’ve been guilty of the lot of the things I mention. I just thought we could have an open discussion. And then get back to championing each other – coz that’s one of the best things about blogging for me, the way we support each other. My words were not meant to offend anybody.
Image thanks to Laurent Peignault on Unsplash