3 Questions Your Blog Must Answer or Be Doomed to Wither and Die

3 Questions Your Blog Must Answer or Be Doomed to Wither and Die

You’re doing everything you’ve been told.

You’re publishing great content, you’re staying on top of SEO, and you’re all over social media.

You even keep in contact with other bloggers in the hope they’ll get behind your blog.

But your readership still isn’t where you want it to be.

And your dream of working from home, reaching financial freedom, and changing the world in the process seems to be as far away as the day you wrote your first post.

So what gives?

The problem is, even though you’re getting some traffic to your blog, people aren’t subscribing to it.

And if they don’t subscribe, they don’t come back.

When this is the case, no matter how hard you work to get more traffic, the situation can’t change.

Unless you shift your mindset.

So you need to stop worrying about traffic, and start focusing on something else instead.

Why Traffic Is a Distraction Until You Fix This Basic Problem

If your blog isn’t attracting subscribers, focusing on traffic is an amateur mistake. It’s like pouring water into a leaking bucket.

Instead, you need to focus on how well your blog converts visitors to subscribers.

But that’s where you hit a mental roadblock. Because everything you’ve read about conversion optimization seems terrifyingly technical and requires an army of experts.

Don’t worry – you can relax.

You don’t need to set up a single “multivariate test” or “behavioral targeting rule” (or even have a clue what those terms mean) to grow your subscriber list many times faster.

You just need to focus on addressing three simple questions that visitors subconsciously ask themselves when they land on an unfamiliar blog.

If you can get people to answer “yes” to those questions in the right order, they will want to subscribe to your blog.

But even a single “no” makes visitors leave – perhaps forever.

Most bloggers don’t know what questions they need to answer. And that means conversion optimization becomes an impossibly complicated mess.

So you probably want to know the questions, right? 🙂

Let’s get into them one at a time.

Question #1: “Is This Relevant to Me?”

People automatically (and often unconsciously) ask and answer this question within three seconds of landing on your site. That’s not a lot of time.

And a key part of deciding whether your blog is relevant to them is working out what it’s about.

If people don’t immediately understand what a blog is about, they click the “back” button.

They have tons of websites to choose from, so why would they waste time trying to figure out yours?

Then, if they can figure out what your blog is about, they quickly decide if it feels relevant to them. If they don’t feel it is, want to guess what they do? That’s right, they leave.

You might think this part is easy. Right now you might be thinking, “It’s totally clear what my blog is about, and obviously the right people will feel it’s relevant.”

But in reality, most blogs don’t accomplish either the clarity or the relevance they need.

The most common mistake bloggers make is to be too vague.

Often visitors can see the general topic of the blog (e.g., marketing or self-improvement) but they can’t quickly determine what it’s about specifically (e.g., marketing for authors, self-improvement for married women).

That’s also why you should be so careful when you pick your blog topic. If you don’t choose something specific enough, you’re in big trouble because you won’t stand out from the hundreds of similar blogs out there.

Take for example, Boost Blog Traffic. The name gives a clear idea of the blog’s topic and the prominent offer at the top of the page, “A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts That Go Viral,” is consistent with that.

Together, those elements are enough to make visitors immediately understand what the blog is about.

And if they’re bloggers who want more traffic, the site should feel strongly relevant.

Here are four things you can check when making sure your blog answers this first question:

  1. Does your blog’s name help people understand what it’s about? I’m not saying your blog name always has to relate to what you do (I use my own name, and “Peter Sandeen” doesn’t really scream “marketing messaging,” “value propositions,” or “conversion optimization”), but a descriptive name is helpful. So if you’re still choosing your blog’s name, picking something that’s clearly related to its topic should be at the top of your list.
  2. Does your blog’s tagline clearly explain the topic? If not, change it. There’s a time and a place for catchy taglines that only hint at the topic, but those are rare exceptions. It’s a smart choice to go with something clearly descriptive. For example, “Passion for Golfing” is vague, but “Practical Golf Tips for Amateurs” is quite clear.
  3. Are your blog posts obviously related to your blog’s specific topic? Ideally, when people read any one of your posts, it should clearly relate to what your blog as a whole is about. You might want to write the occasional post that doesn’t fit perfectly within the confines of the topic – but consider whether it’s worth the confusion you’ll create.
  4. Do other elements clarify your topic or confuse it? For instance, is the content in your sidebar consistent with your topic, neutral, or potentially confusing? Display advertisements, for example, are often only marginally relevant to the topic, so they usually create confusion about exactly what your blog is about.

You’ll go far simply by having a clear tagline (seriously, save your artistic talents for your posts) and sticking to post topics that clearly fit into the overall blog topic you chose.

So if you want to write a political rant but you blog about health, consider posting your rant on Facebook for your friends instead.

When visitors understand what your blog is about and feel it’s relevant to them, they move on to their next question.

Question #2: “Is This Valuable to Me?”

After the first few seconds simply weighing up your blog, most readers start to pay attention to your content.

More specifically, they look for content they think is valuable enough to be worth their time to read.

For example, if they’ve landed on a marketing blog, they may see a post entitled “How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business.” But if they’ve already read dozens of similar posts, they won’t value yet another one on that same topic.

That’s why covering specific topics others rarely write about is smart. But novelty alone isn’t enough to make people want your content.

Here are a few more ways to make your content irresistible:

  1. Go into more detail than other bloggers. Give your readers a deeper understanding of the topic than they could get elsewhere. Rich detail almost always makes something feel more valuable – that’s why an in-depth training program usually costs more than a basic course. If readers feel they get all the information they need from you they won’t feel the need to go to another blog.
  2. Focus on actionable advice. Resist the urge to write opinion posts and rants, and instead stick to advice that gives people tangible results. Include steps for readers to follow and remember that even if something is easy for you it won’t be for others. The more abstract the topic (e.g., “how to find your passion in life”), the more important it is that you give people something concrete to do. If your content looks likely to deliver results, it will seem more valuable.
  3. Show testimonials from subscribers. Testimonials aren’t useful only when you’re trying to sell a product or service. They’re just as useful when you’re selling people on an idea – like subscribing to your blog. For example, if you have an opt-in offer in your sidebar, put a testimonial under it from someone who found your freebie or content valuable. Also put testimonials on your About page – one of the most common places for readers to look when they’re “sizing up” your blog.
  4. Spell out the benefits. Bloggers are often far too modest about how valuable their content is. Do you plainly and clearly tell visitors what they can get from your content? Do you tell them the outcomes you can help them achieve? If not, consider adding a list of the benefits of reading your blog to your sidebar. Seriously, this is the antidote to unnecessary modesty ;-). Title it, “What you will get from [your blog’s name]?” and put a bullet-point list under it with 3–5 clear benefits people will get.
  5. Give people a reason to keep reading. For example, the opening section of this article points out several benefits of learning the three questions your visitors need to answer “yes” to. Some of the benefits aren’t direct promises, but only implied benefits. For example, “dream of working from home” is only mentioned as a goal, but the implication is that what you will learn from this article will help you get closer to that goal.

So are you ready for the final question?

Question #3: “Can I Trust This?”

People don’t automatically trust blogs – or most other online content. And for good reason.

Think for a moment of the general field your blog is in. How many other blogs are in the same field? Probably thousands.

And how many of those blogs are written by reputable experts? Maybe just a few dozen. Some blogs are written by smart people with knowledge of their topics, but many are written by individuals with little understanding of what they’re writing about.

So when people find a new blog, they wonder if they can trust the author.

And in most cases they don’t see a good enough reason to trust the information, so they leave.

Here’s a surprise – even formal credentials and experience aren’t always enough to establish trust.

For example, countless marketing professionals with MBAs and “10+ years of experience” are out there struggling to grow their blogs. And it’s partly because people don’t trust them sufficiently. After all, how can you know for certain their claims are true?

Education and experience might be enough to land you a job interview, but when it comes to making online readers trust you, you need to focus on other factors.

Because once a visitor has internally nodded “yes” to the first two questions, they’ll start wondering if they can trust you and your information.

They might head over to your About page, but they might not. And if they haven’t developed a sense that you can be trusted by the time they finish browsing your site, they’ll leave.

That’s why your About page shouldn’t be the only place where you demonstrate your credibility. Your entire blog should assert your authority on your topic.

Here are some ways to make people trust you enough to subscribe:

  1. Show endorsements from other topic experts. How much more likely are you to trust someone if other experts you already trust are willing to vouch for them? One of the simplest ways to make sure every page on your blog gives people a reason to trust you is to add endorsements to your sidebar.
  2. Explain your experience. Yes, formal education isn’t enough to make people trust you, but it doesn’t hurt to know that you’ve worked as a doctor for 10 years if you  want me to trust your medical advice. Putting an “about the author” description in your sidebar or at the end of your posts lets you tell people why your experience means you can be trusted.
  3. Help people understand your unique “method.” Being knowledgeable about your topic is one thing, but if people can see you have a distinctive underlying method or approach to it, too, then that adds significant credibility. It takes time to develop a robust, repeatable approach that works time and again. For example, in the financial arena people want to understand the underlying method they’re entrusting their money to. It could be a specific stock market strategy, “flipping” property, or any number of other methods for increasing wealth. If you don’t have a signature “method,” try to come up with one.  This doesn’t just build trust, but also helps you create cohesive content, centered around your unique approach.

Do You Want Radically More Subscribers?

Chasing traffic is seductive.

But in reality, it’s also a terrible distraction – at least until your blog is turning visitors into subscribers.

What stands between you and a “conversion optimized” blog is not a bunch of complex tools and tests, but three simple questions:

  • Is This Relevant to Me?
  • Is This Valuable to Me?
  • Can I Trust This?

Vow to make some simple changes so that your visitors can easily answer “yes” to all three of these questions.

Do so and you’ll see huge increases in how many people subscribe – even if all you did was make a few tweaks.

It takes just seconds to change a tagline. Mere minutes to add an endorsement to your sidebar.

But even a small change can have an enormous effect.

And the sooner you get started, the sooner those dreams of yours will start coming true.

About the Author: Peter Sandeen dreams of sailing with his wife and dogs along the Finnish coast—unless he’s helping someone build a clear marketing message and strategy that creates sales consistently. Watch the short video that shows how you can instantly improve your conversion rates to get more subscribers and make more sales.

67 Comments

  1. Chelsea Baldwin
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 09:59:30

    Good points Peter.

    Beyond getting people to say “yes” to those three questions about your value, I’ve found that being a little more aggressive (but not too much) about promoting your mailing list opt-in can really help stop so much traffic from falling through the cracks.

    For example, I used Optin Monster to add a popup to one of my sites earlier this year, and I’ve been super pleased with how well it’s helped turn the traffic I work hard for into subscribers.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:24:34

      Hey Chelsea,

      You’re right. Many people don’t make the option of subscribing nearly clear enough. As long as you aren’t too pushy with it, it doesn’t annoy people—unlike many people seem to believe 😉

  2. Bill Achola
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 10:13:16

    Hey Peter

    Great tips. The first question i totally agree with you, relevancy plays a big role in blog performance.

  3. Kevin J. Duncan
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 10:16:42

    Hi Peter,

    Welcome back to Boost Blog Traffic! Good to see you again. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Peter. No doubt, focusing on converting the traffic you already have into subscribers is a far better use of time than breaking your back trying to get more traffic.

    As you said, it’s a distraction. Besides, even if you experience a rush of new traffic, if you haven’t addressed the reason(s) your site doesn’t convert it won’t matter. You’ll just find yourself confused and frustrated.

    I like the three questions you ask. For bloggers like myself who perform self audits periodically throughout the year, these are great questions to ask. The first two ensure I’m targeting my ideal readers – the readers who will find my writing relevant and valuable. The final question ensures I’m letting those ideal readers know my blog is the blog for them. Nicely done.

    I’ll be sure to tweet and share this shortly, Peter. Enjoy all the traffic and comments you’ll undoubtedly receive today. Have fun!

    -Kevin

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:26:15

      Hey Kevin,

      Yeah, lots of people focus way too much on traffic—when they actually have a conversion problem (not a traffic problem).

      Good idea to do “self audits.” Most people never look at what they’re doing objectively, and they stay stuck…

  4. Katharine Di Cerbo
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 10:30:41

    Hi Peter,

    I’ve only skimmed the post to date – will be reading it shortly! But I wanted to stop and say that this was one irresistibly clickable headline! I couldn’t stop myself from clicking in when I got the newsletter email even though I was deep in other work.

    ~Katharine

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:27:01

      Hey Katharine,

      Thanks, good to hear that. A big part of the credit on the final version of the headline goes to the editors, though 😉

  5. Leanne Regalla
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 10:54:03

    Peter, great post. I love this. Clear, practical and immediately useful. 🙂

  6. Clement Lim
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 10:55:35

    Brilliant article Peter.

    On my blog I’ve certainly found that the more value I provide the more engagement I receive. As you say in your article, its all about going into great detail and providing actionable advice.

    In terms of trust, testimonials are great but I think blog comments can also help. I make sure I give well thought out responses to all my commentors. It can only help enhance my credibility.

    Clement

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:28:24

      Hi Clement,

      Yep, comments can boost your credibility. And thoughtful responses do that, too. I didn’t list it in the article because “get more comments” isn’t as actionable as I’d like it to be 😉

  7. Ramona
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 11:08:45

    Great ideas, Peter.

    I started out without a niche, then making it way to wide. Now I am getting more focused and have also started promoting my list as I should. Some results are already showing.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:29:28

      Hi Ramona,

      I’m not at all surprised you’re starting to see more results 🙂 When you’re focused on a specific topic, people can much more easily feel that your content is relevant for them.

  8. Peter Banerjea
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 11:11:37

    Hey Peter,
    For the past month, we have been thinking about question 1 and have taken a lot of action in terms of changing our name and redefining our audience! Great to see a post talking about this. Love it!
    Cheers!
    Peter

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:30:03

      Hey Peter,

      Sounds great 🙂 I hope you get great results!

  9. Kimberly
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 11:25:57

    I could not agree more, Peter! This is a topic I’m super-passionate about, and it just so happens that I’ve been obsessing about messaging and relevancy lately.

    Your three questions are brilliant for getting to the heart of what makes a blog sticky and attractive to the “right” people. I tell people I work with that until they get their messaging clear — and the process you’ve laid it out here is the perfect way to go about doing that — it doesn’t matter how many hours they spend on social media or how many ads they buy, etc. It’s like building a house on a sinkhole.

    And I speak from experience, because for the whole first year of my blogging journey, I was publishing quality content consistently, sending newsletters, interacting and adding value on social media, and even guest posting, but it just wasn’t getting me the results I wanted. That’s because I hadn’t gone through the process of figuring out who I was really trying to serve and answering the relevancy question.

    And then I asked myself questions similar to the ones you’ve shared here, implemented some changes, and things vastly improved. There’s still much work to be done, but I’ve been growing my readership more quickly since I made the changes, and my message is resonating with more of my ideal readers and clients.

    Thanks for such an in-depth and implementable article! I’m saving it to my ever-burgeoning “messaging resources” folder. 🙂

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:31:43

      Hey Kimberly,

      Messaging (or “value propositions”) is my main focus. So, we share the interest in that 😉

      Glad to hear you’re seeing better results. That’s what happens when you communicate a better message with your marketing…

  10. Alexander
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 11:33:07

    Hello Peter,

    spot on! I can confirm the same principles from marketing my own freelance business. Basically the same concepts apply offline.

    Only when I went online, I did not fully translate all those principles in full effect, and then, you know, some lonely bytes on a deserted server somewhere in the dark…

    I might add to the second question, is it valuable enough for me that I am willing to exchange some of money for it?

    Love the part about the rants. This is where it took me (and some friends) about 5 years to discipline myself. Well, when Alex Jones rants, it is part of his brand…

    Many bloggers occasionally veer off to sideline topics, and it probably does more good than harm when the blog is already established, has a trusting readership and ins generally on topic. Before that, sideline topics are an effective repellant, agreed.

    One way of building trust that I am trying at the moment is to get very competent, excellent guest authors. Got 3 good ones so far, but they are hard to find.

    Off now to sharing this on my Facebook.

    btw, does anyone know why my picture no longer appears with my latest comments?

    thanks again
    Alexander

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:34:55

      Hi Alexander,

      Yep, all the marketing principles apply to online and offline. The application just might be so different that people rarely notice the similarity.

      I agree with your addition. If people aren’t willing to pay for something, they don’t get it. In this context, they pay with their email address—originally I had that point in the article, but it seemed unnecessary in the end. Maybe it should’ve stayed…

  11. Nabtron
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 13:21:20

    How can we show authority? Are there any design specifications that give such an impression?

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:35:21

      The third point of the article is about trust/authority. Maybe I didn’t understand your question?

  12. Andrew
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 13:29:47

    Hey Peter,

    Really great post here.

    It’s really interesting how much people focus on traffic in the beginning. That was my main driver till I realized that all the traffic I was getting wasn’t getting my subscribers.

    Focusing on getting subscribers is much more important than traffic … Especially in the early stages.

    Nice tips you shared here. Congrats on being back on here. You did a great job.

    – Andrew

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:37:14

      Hey Andrew,

      I think it’s because “traffic is sexy.” It’s fun to see that tens of thousands of people have visited your site. Thinking of conversions etc. just doesn’t interest most people because it can seem so daunting (e.g., “a/b testing,” “tracking,” etc. aren’t the most approachable terms ;-).

  13. Tom Watts
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 14:32:40

    Thanks for sharing, Peter. I think the last one is really the most important. You can write whatever you want, but no one will take it seriously unless they think they can trust you. I know that I know what I’m talking about, but it can often be hard to convey that to new, sceptical readers. That’s definitely my next focus – gaining people’s trust through well placed indicators on my site. Thanks for the tips, look forward to putting them into action!

    Tom

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:42:54

      Hey Tom,

      I think they’re all equally important because they’re all essential (get any of them wrong and just about no one subscribes ;-). But I get your idea—you’ve probably already done the first two so well that they seem like “non-issues” by now.

  14. Beat Schindler
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 16:29:47

    You’re spot on I think. As a potential subscriber the first thing I want to know about a website: What WILL it DO – FOR ME? All else is a distraction, at least initially. A website might show me the years’ most beautiful new bicycle designs, or save me $1,000 a day, same thing – as long as does anything, for me, I might click. I’ll always be the POP (pocket of people) for someone, but they won’t know unless they know me.

    Looking at it this way, I feel it all comes down to the quality of your avatar. I bypassed avatars in the beginning. Lots of work and other excuses. Costly mistake. But avatars – like real people, not cast in concrete – are a key-strategic piece in the marketing puzzle. Am continuously working on mine, testing, adding, trimming and refining.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:43:59

      Hi Beat,

      Yep, if you don’t understand what kind of people you’re targeting (and what matters to them), you can’t make your marketing create good results 🙂

  15. Polly J Matthews
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 18:33:54

    Peter, this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I registered my domain name a few days ago, and I’m working on my bio and tagline. The tagline I had was cute, and maybe even a little clever, but for a word most people have never heard of before — polymath — it wasn’t specific enough. Back to the drawing board I go.

    I have a lot of work to do on my bio, too. It just didn’t seem right to me, and now I know why. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:50:05

      Hey Polly,

      Glad to hear this helped 🙂

  16. Sherman Smith
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 23:21:25

    Hey Peter,

    Sometimes we got to go back to basics. Instead of focusing on traffic you want to figure out why people would come to your blog, stay and read your posts, subscribe to your list and become a loyal follower.

    With the three questions you came up with this can change your mindset so that you can prepare your blog for your potential audience. These questions will definitely help me stay focused!

    Thanks for sharing Peter! Have a great weekend!

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:51:04

      Hey Sherman,

      Yeah, most people almost never go back to look at the basics—and their results are unfortunately nowhere near as good as they could be.

      Have a great weekend!

  17. Tina Davidson
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 23:47:36

    Thanks for sharing these important tips.

    I see some areas of my blog I need to focus on and I’ve been inspired to make some changes to it. Recently, I had an opinion piece published in my local newspaper and it drove a lot of traffic to my blog, but I only received one new subscriber from the article’s buzz–time to make some changes.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:52:22

      Hi Tina,

      Good that you’ve got to write for a newspaper. That alone speaks volumes of your ability to write interesting content. So, yeah, just create a better connection from the article to what your site is about, and more people will subscribe 🙂

  18. Rajkaran Singh
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 23:57:20

    Hi Peter
    Awesome tips. Yes, most of the new bloggers are so focused on traffic that they ignore the most crucial elements you suggested.
    And, I am not an exception. Shall
    have to change my tagline first.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:52:49

      Hi Rajkaran,

      I’m glad this helped 🙂

  19. Naren Srem
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 03:04:32

    Fantastic sharing! That’s gonna change my blog

  20. Vukasin
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 05:15:46

    Wow, a great piece of content Peter. Quite useful, and I can easily say that I agree with the points you have made!

    I always point out number 3, can I actually trust the source? Highly important question for any blog out there!

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:54:00

      Hey Vukasin,

      Yep, it’s essential. But many people don’t remember to show/explain/prove that they can be trusted. I guess it’s because they themselves know that they can be trusted, so it never occurs to them that other people might not feel the same way.

  21. dileo burgin
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 06:40:44

    What is a good frequency to update content? What happens if you run out of quality content?

  22. Iqbal
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 07:25:17

    Hi Peter,

    Great post!
    About question number 2, I think Brian Dean really nailed it with his Skyscraper technique to create better content.
    As for question number 3, do you think there should be a number of minimum posts we should publish before we start gaining trusts?
    Anyway, keep up your great work!

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:56:40

      Hi Iqbal,

      No, there’s no certain number of posts you’d need. As long as people who come to the site see a reason to trust you (within seconds of landing there), that’s enough. And you don’t need lots of posts to do that. For example, expert endorsements or other testimonials are much more effective at building trust 😉

  23. Annette Vaillancourt, PH.D.
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 13:55:39

    Thank you for giving very specific, actionable points. I’ve already made several changes to my blog which you recommended!

  24. Elna Cain
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 16:05:02

    Peter,

    Good questions for bloggers to ask. I never really thought about my blog in this way, but I guess I must instinctively know this because my site fits everything you mentioned.

    It’s very niched and my opt-in is specifically for bloggers or wannabe writers. It’s doing well!

    It is important to make sure your blog answers the questions your target audience wants to know.

    Great post!

    • Beat Schindler
      Oct 16, 2015 @ 17:16:52

      Hi Elna. I visited your website. Easy to see why it’s doing well. Beautifully written and designed. Super-niched, concise, clear. Your instincts serve you well, possibly because you have the wisdom and courage to not just have them, but to follow them :-] (PS. I’ve subscribed and tweeted)

      • Elna Cain
        Oct 16, 2015 @ 21:34:23

        Hey Beat,

        Glad you liked my site. Yes, indeed it’s super-niched for those that want to learn how to write and get paid for it!

        Super stoked you signed up to my free mini course! I hope you like and find it useful.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:58:21

      Hi Elna,

      As Beat, I can see why your site is doing well 🙂 The minimalism works well when you still get the important ideas across.

  25. James L. Casale
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 17:05:33

    Great advice. I’ve been on the wrong track, but now I am creating a new blog and will start smarter.

  26. Ruth
    Oct 16, 2015 @ 17:52:58

    Hi Peter,
    This is super helpful to me. As a newbie, it’s very tempting and sometimes overwhelming to think of all the traffic that must come and help you attain that glorious goal: 1000 subscribers. Lol.
    What this brings to mind is a picture of someone like trying to fetch water from the ocean with a basket. Effort in futility.
    For the no 3 question, I think that guest posting can also help in earning the trust of readers. Having a display of “As Seen on …” can go a long way.
    Bookmarked already for further reflections, and I’m off to share this now. This might just make someone’s day.
    Cheers.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 17, 2015 @ 12:00:07

      Hi Ruth,

      Yep, it can seem daunting. But if you first make your site get visitors to subscribe at a high rate, you don’t need that many people to visit. Depending on how you go about it, you can get 1,000 subscribers with 2,000 overall visitors 😉 And yes, if you do it effectively, guest blogging can be extremely beneficial (not just for credibility, but for growing your subscriber base quickly).

  27. Devendra
    Oct 18, 2015 @ 23:20:39

    Actually I could not able to figure out what do I really want to write about, That’s why I do multi-niche at quickfever(dot)com ( Even after reading that 21 type of posts)

    Anyway great piece again.

  28. Heather
    Oct 19, 2015 @ 07:23:27

    Hi Peter,
    Great post – I love your simple approach. In fact, I read it and thought ‘why the hell am I not doing this stuff?!’ I get completely lost in all of the matrix/measuring that you mention, so it’s refreshing to read a post that’s so straightforward (practical is good). I particularly like the idea of putting the benefits in the sidebar – nice tip.

    Will be sharing this post.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 20, 2015 @ 12:39:43

      Hi Heather,

      Glad to hear that 🙂 This was really meant to show that improving conversions doesn’t need to be complicated. It only becomes complicated if you use complex methods…

  29. Courtney
    Oct 19, 2015 @ 12:27:28

    Wow this is a great post thank you Peter! Your points are so smart and seem so obvious once I’ve read them like duh I should have thought of this! I’ve already made a to-do list to make sure I’m addressing these questions. I don’t think I’m showing my authority on my topic or any endorsements that I have, and I need a tagline to succinctly show the relevancy and value that’s already on my About page. This is all to say, thanks so much for this practical wisdom I think it will make a big difference for me and a lot of bloggers!

    • Peter Sandeen
      Oct 20, 2015 @ 12:40:14

      Hi Courtney,

      Glad to hear this helped 🙂

  30. Charles Been
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 05:58:59

    And booom, You are killing it with this post. really awesome to read. specially with those two questions.. “Is This Relevant to Me?” and “Is This Valuable to Me?” Amazing writing.. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Tim Gray
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 13:29:54

    Good stuff. And I’d add a point about design to question 3. Do the visuals of your site make you look caring, capable and authentic? If visitors pick up on a slapdash approach to layout (or lots of writing mistakes), or the feel of the site is at odds with what you say you’re about (eg a meditation site all in red), that’s another thing that breaks trust.

  32. Laurie Stone
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 14:11:20

    Thanks Peter, real helpful advice. I think finding your voice (and therefore your audience) is the hardest part. Because I write personal posts, I’m learning to blend the intimate with the universal which is always a fascinating challenge. There’s always so much to learn… which makes blogging fun.

  33. tommy
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 16:22:08

    Great ideas, Peter.

    I started out without a niche, then making it way to wide. Now I am getting more focused and have also started promoting my list as I should. Some results are already showing.

  34. Kim Willis
    Oct 22, 2015 @ 05:54:18

    Hi Peter,

    Great post and 3 great questions

    Traffic is vital but without the conversions we’re going to be spinning our wheels – and going broke!

    Apart from crafting content that is relevant and (hopefully) valuable for my audience, engaging in blog commenting activities has definitely helped in recent times.

    Getting people to opt in to my list is the main objective, so I try and make it easy for people to do it, whilst at the same time giving them a sound reason to take action now.

    Thanks again, Peter

  35. Keith Lunt
    Oct 23, 2015 @ 07:43:46

    Hi Peter,

    As a developer I’ve come across your point on trust many times. I’ve had customers giving me content for websites where they claim to have loads of experience and talk as though they are a multi national corporation with hundreds of employees, when in actual fact they came up with the idea last week and it’s just them alone.

    However, I think this works in the favour of the blogger. Who reads one source and believes it? It’s so easy to do a quick search and check loads of sites that the initial traffic is shared. That’s when your advice for converting to subscribers really becomes a must!

  36. Lore Digital
    Oct 27, 2015 @ 07:23:33

    Very informative and interesting article. Bloggers only think about traffic. Writing relevant and valuable content that engages readers is very tough job. The content should be that much capable to bring people on your blog again. People always look for unique and relevant content which is more useful to them. Also, your title, tagline and headline should be attractive so that people click on it.
    Thank You.

  37. Abhishek Jain
    Oct 28, 2015 @ 04:16:48

    Trust factor is very important for your readers. They are attracted towards a real author rather than hidden brands. I will relish if a real world guy reply back to my comment.
    thanks!

  38. DNN
    Nov 05, 2015 @ 14:33:31

    Blogging and meaningful relationship building will continue to be a quality means of getting stable blog traffic and sales only IF and IF the blogger stays on point with writing “lots and lots of content,” and focused on “doing the transformation work.”

  39. Brian OShea
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 10:33:25

    Caught your site randomly, of course searching for answers. This week made the decision to extend my blog for one more year, I mean almost to the last hour of renewal before making the call to renew hosting. I am going to examine my site with an eye to answering your questions, and make some changes to hopefully get more interaction with readers.
    Thanks for making me think.

  40. solanki kajal
    Nov 09, 2015 @ 00:29:07

    How can we show authority? Are there any design specifications that give such an impression?

  41. Baselo
    Nov 09, 2015 @ 22:07:02

    OMG You’re right!!!! Inspiring post. Thanks dude

  42. Joep van der Poel
    Nov 14, 2015 @ 22:45:54

    Peter,

    Very useful tips you give here. Personally I also focus too much on traffic, while actually my conversion is where the problem is. I did not immediately start with focussing on email subscribers, a decision I regretted later on.

    I will put your advise to action and create a clearer message and incentive on my site.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Joep

  43. Jennifer Nini
    Nov 28, 2015 @ 09:03:15

    Great post, particularly because it is so relevant to me at this point in time as I have just launched my business and planning my digital strategy for 2016. I have only just stumbled across this site and promptly subscribed. Thanks for the post!