How To Keep People On Your Blog For Longer

I had an excellent response from my newsletter request for questions (to sign up just use the form on the right or below), some of which I’ve responded to personally and some that I thought more could benefit. Two very smart people asked me the same question, essentially what are quick and easy ways to keep people on my blog longer?

“Quick and Easy” is the holy grail of course, and plugins always come to mind, so there are a few things a blogger can do.

Check your stats

If you have a stats/analytics program installed (like the excellent free Google Analytics) you will be able to see some very useful information. Relevant for this question are:

Venus flytrap
  • Bounce rate. This is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. We can use this to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.
  • Time spent on site. This is simply the amount of time spent on your site divided by the number of visitors. A low tie on site may mean people aren’t finding relevant content, or it’s not interesting enough.
  • Where visitors are coming from. A high proportion of visitors from search engine traffic usually means a higher bounce rate and less time on site.
  • Search keywords. What words are users searching for that are finding your site. Are they relevant to your site’s content?

These all link into our next point.

Write Relevant Content

You’re probably sick of people telling you to write good unique content. Well it’s still good advice, but it’s also good advice to write articles on the same topic. If a user comes to your site from a search for foreign coins, but finds the rest of your site is about handbags, they’ll not likely to hang around long.

Landing Pages Plugin

This plugin will recognise when a visitor has arrived from a search engine, and suggest other articles on your site based on the term they searched for. This can be downloaded from the Landing Sites plugin page →.

Related Posts Plugin

Similar to the above, but puts related posts at the end of each post, this gives a reader somewhere to go once they have finished reading your post. Related Posts plugin →.

What Would Seth Godin Do? Plugin

Seth Godin is an internet SEO guru who advocates using cookies to distinguish between new and returning visitors to your site. This plugin displays a small box above each post to new visitors containing the words “If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!” After 3 visits the message disappears. What Would Seth Godin Do Plugin →.

If you have any more questions please let me know. For more tips, sign up for my free weekly newsletter, by filling in the form below.

Two Minutes On WordPress SEO

Quick WordPress SEO notes:

Basics
– One topic per post, be specific. “What is…”, Top ten posts, best of posts, “How to…” and so on.
– Text in posts should contain keywords, but not keyword stuffing. Bold and italics help a little. Must be natural for the reader!
– Write unique content that’s useful!

WordPress specific
– Custom permalinks (your URL): as these are automatically generated (though you can change them using the Post Slug function) it makes you post title even more important, see later.
– Category names: broad categories.
– Tag keywords: specific words.
– Post and page titles: usually 5 -7 words containing your keywords. These will appear in either H1 or H2 tags, which show search engines they’re important.
– Image ALT tags (the description section of image upload): make these descriptive and relevant to the picture and article.
– Also sign up for Google Webmaster tools and opt-in to Google Advanced Images Search.
All-in-one-SEO plugin
XML Sitemap plugin

That was a very quick overview of what can be a complex topic, so please contact me for any further questions.

Content Suggestion For WordPress

Just a quick note, if you use Firefox, there is a new release of a content suggestion plugin for the Write screen in WordPress (and Typepad and Blogger). Note that this is a plugin for Firefox and NOT a WordPress plugin, but does add functionality to WordPress. More info can be found at Zemanta.

It’s an Alpha release which means it is early testing code, but if you want to give it a try, then here’s a demo video below. If you do try it, please let me know what you think!

[Via: Weblog Tools Collection]

How To Add A Caption To Your Photos In WordPress

It’s been at least, oh I don’t know, maybe three people who have asked me how this can be done.

First, I find it best to resize the image to the size you want it before uploading then it’s easier to work with.

Then to add a caption I usually like to add a CSS class and wrap a div around the photo to style it. If that sounds like gibberish then you could just try something like the following code in the HTML part tab of the visual editor:

test code

After each photo. This makes the text 90% of the standard size, in italics and grey/gray.

If you wanted to do this the CSS way, you would add something like this to your themes style.css

.photocaption {
font-size: 90%;
font-style: italic;
color: #999999;
}

Then in a post would write this:

Caption text here

The text would then be styled as before. Notice the “hard return” before the caption text i.e. it starts on a new line, otherwise the caption text would start next to the photo and not below it. It is possible to automatically wrap text at a certain width, but let’s not confuse matters.

You could of course also set a background colour, float the image right or left and many other things.

Hope that hasn’t confused you too much!

4 Simple Ways To Improve Your Blog

After working on so many people’s blogs it has become apparent that whilst there are many, many things that can be improved (including on my own) there are a few basics:

1. Don’t monetize too early. Do you see any adverts on my blog? No. Why? Because I don’t have enough traffic to make much money anyway, I don’t want people to be put off by a lot of adverts, it looks more professional and it looks neater. Which leads me onto…

2. Reduce clutter. I’m guilty of this myself, but reducing the number of images (and adverts) and animation on a homepage can make a site look more attractive, and professional.

Wordpress logo

3. Give someone somewhere to subscribe to your RSS feed via email. Again, I don’t do this on this site (I just offer the RSS at the moment), but I will when I get around to it. Feedburner currently only offers a daily email (though once the Google integration is finished they promise to offer more options), Feedblitz can be configured to be hourly, daily, weekly or monthly for free (ad-supported), and Aweber can also manage this along with other nice email management features for a fee.

4. Write more content. I receive emails all the time asking me “How can I make more money?” and I look at their site that is full of adverts and has a post once every 8 or 9 days. If you blog is aimed at making money by simply being a blog (unlike one like this which is alongside a business), then you need to get more traffic in order to make more money. It’s called the “magazine model” – you make more money the more people who visit you site. In order to get this traffic you need to post quality articles, often. For more information, check out Yaro Starak’s free Blog Profits Blueprint eBook.

There are obviously countless more examples that can be done to improve a website. If you’d like a professional review of your blog or website, please contact me and we can have a chat.

How To Change Your WordPress Comments Wording

Quite a few people have asked for help recently on changing the default setup of WordPress that says “no comments” under a post (or above a post on this site).

Well, it’s easy! If you open index.php (and single.php if you have one) in your particular theme (wp-content/themes/your_theme), there will be a line similar to this:

Wordpress Comments Code

There may be some differences depending on what your theme likes to do with the wording. There are three “states” the comments can be in:

1. No Comments. Here this is displayed with the words Comments (0)
2. One comment. Here this is displayed with the words Comments (1)
3. More than one comment. Here it is Comments (%) where the % will be the number of comments over 1.

You can change these sections to whatever you like, just remember to make a copy of the file you are changing first as a backup. For example:

Updated WordPress Comments Code

Simple hey?

All I’ve done is change:

1. Comments (0) to → We love comments, want to make one?
2. Comments (1) to → 1 comment left. Want to make another?
3. Comments (%) to → % Comments left. Want to make another?

Any questions please give me shout.