Every time I visit any blog I step back and see what attracts my attention. If I visit more than once I start asking myself why I’m coming back. And if I actually subscribe then I really want to know what hooked me. It takes a lot these days to get me to subscribe because I already follow so many. So if I’m hooked on a blog, I want to know why so I can apply it to my own.
The Voice – I read a couple of blogs not because I’m particularly interested in the content, but because I like the voices of the bloggers. I like their writing styles. Not only are these bloggers entertaining, but just “hearing” their voices often helps me overcome blogger’s block.
The Design – Your blog design is important no matter what niche you’re in. In some niches, a clean, sleek appearance is important, and in others color and images play a bigger role. For example, here at Dukeo I have a clean, uncluttered design because it presents more of a professional, business-type image, but if this were a cupcake blog then my readers would probably like a more colorful, whimsical design.
Useful Advice – I like blogs that have a good mix of information and useful tips and advice. And I think you make a stronger connection – which encourages subscriptions – when you offer lots of useful tips. It lets the reader know that you understand their needs. If I know I’m going to get at least one good blogging tip from you every week you can count me as a subscriber.
Activity Levels – I know it makes me sound like a snob but I rarely subscribe to a blog that doesn’t have comments. I also don’t subscribe if there’s no consistency in the posting frequency. In my mind, these are not serious bloggers and they’ll probably disappear soon. They don’t have to post every day and they don’t have to have dozens of comments on every post, but if there’s a good amount of activity, I’m hooked.
Social Proof – I’m talking about visible evidence of RSS subscribers and sharing numbers here. If I see thousands of followers and thousands of shares and likes then it’s a good indication to me that there’s something here that’s hooking in the traffic, and I’m hooked, too.
Every element on your blog is a potential hook to draw in more readers. Every time you visit another blog, take a second to look around and identify the hooks. If you just landed on the page, why are you still here? If you’ve been here before, why did you come back? Pay particular attention to your competitor’s blogs to find out how they’re hooking in readers and try applying some of those elements to your own blog.