The Fine Art of Leading Your Readers
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Some people start their blog in order to pursue some dream of becoming rich from the internet. Others write each article as a way of achieving a certain level of recognition. Some do it just to connect with other like-minded people.
In a recent article entitled 10 Killer Ways to Boost Your Site’s Usability, I introduced you to the idea of enhancing your readers interactions by simplifying their experience at your website.
As you work to put into practice the principles from that article and you develop your site’s usability, it’s important that you constantly refer back to the goals and objectives that inspired you to start your site in the first place.
Whichever category that you fall into, it’s important to realize that you are going to have to use different styles and techniques to achieve success than what your peers are using.
If you are blogging to make mega cash then you are going to position your advertisements in a different way than if you were blogging with the sole purpose of creating quality articles. In this way, your goals will direct the way that you set up your sites usability.
Consider the following three areas that you may wish to lead your readers toward. Be sure to stop on each point and assess whether or not it is an area that supports your objectives at your website. If it is then be sure to implement its usability principle at your site. If it isn’t something that is important to you then simply skip over to the next point.
Lead your readers towards your content
Your readers are at your site for one reason: content. They want to read your articles and discover more information about whatever topic you write on.
You need to make it as easy as possible for them to locate your best articles. There are several ways that you can do this. I recommend that you put a section in your blog’s sidebar that lists the most popular posts from the past month. You should also be sure to include related posts in the footer of each article. If your reader makes it to the end of your article then you should be able to lead them to other articles.
Lead Your Readers Towards Your Advertisements
If you are trying to make money on your site through advertising programs like Google’s Adsense or through personally sold ads then you need to make it very easy for your users to interact with them.
Ensure that they visually correspond with the layout and color scheme of your site. Place them in a prominent position near the top of the page while at the same time not placing them in such a way as to subtract from the quality of your content. By optimizing your advertisements you can lead your readers to generate profits for you on your site.
Lead Your Readers Towards Your Subscription Options
A growing trend among bloggers is to relate a person’s subscriber count with their credibility. If a blogger has hundreds or thousands of followers then they are considered to be well-established and reliable. Subscriptions are also the best way to get users to return to your site again and again.
Make it easy for your users to subscribe to your website. I recommend that you find a large RSS icon that matches the overall look of the site and that you place it on several parts of your website. You should place one in the header, one in the sidebar, and one in the footer of each post.
If you can prominently display your subscription options in a classy, non-overbearing way then your readers will be led to click through and subscribe to your feed.
Lead Your Readers Towards Your Personalized Goals
I’ve demonstrated three popular goals that bloggers desire to lead their readers toward: articles, advertisements, and subscription options. Your goals, however, may be different. The important thing to remember is that you can develop principles and practices on your blog that will lead your readers towards the accomplishment of your goals. Make the links clear and large. Place the information above the fold of the page.