What to Do about Losing Readers

blogger-thinking-computerEverybody knows a blogger without an audience isn’t worth much. Building readership is pretty much Blogging 101—but do you know how to do it?

What’s more, once you do draw an audience, do you know how to keep it? What should you do when your metrics reveal readership is down? How do you win readers back?

To help answer those questions, let’s consider the reasons readers leave and then look at what to do about them.

With proper planning, you can better retain readership and move your site towards growth.

Reasons Readers Leave

The fact is, bloggers often lose readers because they are, unintentionally, doing things to turn them away. Could this be the case with your site? Ask yourself what you’ve recently changed or expanded. How might those changes be alienating readers? Ask yourself what you’re posting. How might that content be disappointing to your audience? To help you discern the problem, consider some of the most common reasons readers leave:

  • Boring Titles: The title is your first chance to draw in a reader, whether he or she sees the title in a search result or an RSS feed. If your titles are consistently boring, you lose your audience.
  • No Stories: Humans love stories. Even if you write about auto parts or financial planning, you have opportunities to incorporate stories into what you post. When you ignore the value of narrative, however, you send the message that your subject matter is less relatable and more archaic. Readers have fewer reasons to stick around.
  • Infrequent Posting: Readers like regular content. When you go from consistent biweekly posting to posting once a month or less, you have set up expectations that you no longer meet. Readers come looking for new content, find nothing, and eventually stop coming around.
  • Lack of Engagement from Blogger: Generally speaking, commenters expect you to respond to their questions. If you’re a celebrity blogger with thousands of comments, you might be off the hook; if you’re a small personal blogger with two to three comments on a post to which you never respond, you come across as snobby. This not only discourages readers from interacting with you, but also discourages them from visiting in the first place.

How to Retain Readers

Understanding some of the main reasons readers leave is only a first step towards retaining them. Next, you must practice basic blogging principles that pull in readers. By implementing the habits outlined below, you make your site worth following.

  • Craft Clear, Clever Titles: Knowing the title is your first impression to readers, take the time to write creative ones. Aim for titles that clearly communicate what their corresponding posts reveal, and hint at some value to be delivered to the reader (i.e., “the secret to X,” “the best X advice,” “how to X”). Make it hard for readers to resist clicking through to your blog.
  • Use Story: Because readers love story, it’s in your best interest to find ways to incorporate narrative into your posts. Whether you share customer experiences or behind-the-scenes details, you make your content more interesting and relatable.
  • Set Expectations & Deliver: One of the biggest benefits of regular posting is that it builds trust with your readers. Decide how often you want to post, and stick to that schedule. As readers recognize your posting frequency, they come to expect new content on your usual posting days. The more you fulfill that expectation, the better.
  • Respond to Readers: Make it a habit to respond to reader comments and questions, whether on the blog, on social media, or by email. When readers know you’re paying attention to them, you have given them another reason to pay attention to you.

Your Thoughts

Does the dilemma of losing readers feel familiar to you? Have you noticed that readers are unsubscribing from your RSS feed or that traffic is going down? If so, take the advice in this post to heart—with a little intentionality and discipline, you can bring your readers back.

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a writer for www.straightnorth.com, a Chicago Web development company that provides SEO, Web development and other online marketing services to B2B clients.

Comments

  1. Nice suggestions Shanna !
    As a new writer it can be difficult to write a post that fills all the criteria that you’ve mentioned .As the time goes by a newbie’s post starts improving and full fills the criteria of a good post .Apart from the blog posts , i agree that whether a person is a newbie or not , he should never ignore the visitors comments and respond to them as soon as possible.

    -Pramod

  2. I find this most interesting, Shanna. It comes at a time when I\’ve opened my blog more to other bloggers. It will make me re-think my decision, for sure! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Excellent post Shanna, I side with Shamod ;) Create clever, enticing titles to draw in more readers quickly. Tell stories and most of all, get to the point. Some bloggers think long posts are the way to go; not so. Informative, non-wordy posts are the way to go, meaning get to the point or risk boring your readers.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  4. Hey Shanna
    Nice Post
    well we should use interesting and clever titles for our post for sure…that attracts audience no doubt
    but being a blogger what i think is that the more realistic language and topic we will concern the maximum attention we can grab…..all we need to do is to connect with the audience
    Well quite informative and nice post
    Thanks for sharing

    Keep posting

  5. Some really crucial points Shanna,

    I think adding stories in your blog posts make them more interesting and reader finds them attached to it. I know there are number of niches which are quite boring but its the responsibility of the blogger to make it interesting only then he/she can stand out in the industry, and you can get special attention from audience.

  6. Strong opinions have always worked well for my blogs as they increase the number of shares, comments and readers.

    A recent article that I wrote was about why I thought Peter Capaldi was a poor choice as the 21th Doctor. We have had an insane number of hits, comments shares etc. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Facebook groups and to keep the conversation flowing there as well.

  7. Good thoughts Shanna, I would like to add this – including use of images, graphics, videos and other multimedia.
    Today the audiences have a short attention span and anything that stands out as amusing and interactive definitely gets noticed and lessens boredom/routine.

  8. Nice article. Have to give a thought on your points which you have shared.

    Yes, it is true as there is lots of competition online and there is a better blog created day by day. So to retain our readers, we should not bore them and give them what they need. WE should keep them engaged and satisfied with our high quality contents.

  9. Well i think i need to mold my content into more attractive titles and stories :P
    Thanks mate

  10. Ohh thanks, yes one can really help himself or herself, if loses readers and fan following.

  11. Writing interesting and intriguing titles is one of the most important factors when trying to attract readers, new readers more specifically. However, when you’re trying to retain your current readers the two most important things are: 1) posting frequently 2) posting material that is engaging your audience

  12. Thanks Shanna for this great post. Blogging does seem an easy thing but every 101 blogging would say “blogging requires commitment”. We only realize what it means when we are facing a white page with nothing to say or when we wrote something on the go and no one reads it…
    It is important to remember that not every single post will be a hit, so keep moving forward!

  13. nice suggestions shanna, you must be clever enough to engage your reader with your article, your article should also be a quality one so that people can find something useful into your blog. Content is the king for any website to live long, so better concentrate on the content & avoid losing your loyal readers.

  14. nice tips shanna, you are sharing a good article with us. everybody should know about this before blogging. because binding with visitors is quite necessary in blogging field. people can teach much more from this article..moreover its great option to attract visitors . it will help everyone to build their traffic.
    thanks for sharing..

  15. The best thing to let your readers hold on your blog is to post consistently and have something new in the post. They should not look stale. Every post has something unique.
    Responding to reader’s query and suggestions is the best way to keep in touch with them which makes them keep coming on your blog. :)

  16. As you rightly said, established bloggers may not have to respond to all if not any comments as their blog are filled with dozens and probably somehow difficult to respond to them all.
    But, if one is just starting out, is important to reply to all legitimate commenter and give them the sense of belonging to the community. And above all, always update regularly.
    Thanks for sharing Shanna.

  17. unless you are very big blogger, consistency is the key of success in blogging arena, and when come inconsistent blogging, you should know that you are going to penalized with loss of readers and blog traffic and should not cry over losing blog traffic and so on.

  18. Nice article good information we all can for what ever reason lose readers fall into a slump and need to know some key to recover from this problem .

  19. Hi Shanna,

    I agree with engagement, stories and frequent posting. Now, I have something to say about the rest:

    1. Craft clear, clever titles
    This titles / headlines part is very complex. This method of writing titles like “the secret to x” or “the best X advice” has been abused. Whenever I see a title like this, I have a very bad feeling. Usually, I avoid such titles.
    You must communicate, clearly what is inside the post. This is the most important thing. What is the use of a magnetic headline when the content behind sucks? Too many abuses were made with those templates so now they induce negative feelings. When I see a title, I am never interested in how well crafted this title is. The only thing I want to know is the message.

    2. The boredom problem
    It seems the internet and the blogosphere is packed full with articles on this topic. The attention span of the present readers/visitors is shorter now than it was in the past. You need to write short, sweet and to the point otherwise your readers will be bored and leave. So they say. Now, here’s my answer:

    I agree that maybe 90% of the internet users are lazy and bored. They don’t like long articles, long videos, long headlines, long rows of text etc. The question is: Do you really need those readers?
    Do you really need those readers that are so lazy and so bored that they surf the net only for entertainment?

    It is kind of a crazy mindset that puts a huge pressure on the poor blogger. When he or she is just a beginner this pressure can really be lethal.
    Hey!! Write short, be concise, be sweet, be to the point, use images, make short videos, shorten your rows, don’t use too many prepositions, don’t use the passive voice, be interesting, be nice, be wise be PERFECT. OMG you can really make a heart attack from this.

    You cannot be perfect and you cannot do all the above. At least, you cannot do them at once. You need a lot of time in order to become a writing master and create near perfection posts.

    Let that poor blogger exist. Let him or her be. A blog is a tool of expressing ones’ soul and not a business machine. WOW!

    The only think you need to be very careful is your niche. Find the correct niche, the one that is really suitable for you and learn the problems that people in that niche have. Then just write about them. You will get 10% of the visitors or maybe less but these visitors are the only ones that matter

    Have a nice day

  20. Great post, I’m losing readers, but thanks to this, I will try to keep them reading and make them feel much better.

    Thanks again for the nice read.

  21. Really like the tips Shanna. I agree with your point about including stories especially. These are what make your blog posts unique to you. And it’s the difference between your blog having some personality or none at all. All the blogs I read regularly have someone interesting behind them, and it’s all because of the stories they tell.

  22. Great tips! I’ve been working on my blog’s content and I do constantly fear if my posts can keep my readers coming back. I’m glad I stumbled upon this post. I can keep these tips in mind for the next time I’m updating my blogs.

  23. Totally agree with you Shanna, Title is a main thing. spend 50% time to write content and 50% time to make Title. Make a attractive and strange title which capable to attract readers.

  24. Responding and keeping a connection with your readers is so important but also so hard.

  25. well… If i talk about myself then i get attracted towards the posts, having attractive title…. So its must to have a very much attractive and different title….
    nice post indeed… thanks for sharing…

Speak Your Mind

*

RSS and Marketing Services