“Double your pleasure, double your fun.”
– Doublemint commercial
The secret to doubling your readership (and making more money)
This year I’ve been lazy. My posts have been infrequent and there really hasn’t been a schedule for when I publish them. Despite this I’ve gotten twice as much traffic as I did last year and I’ve doubled my site’s income. This violates almost all the conventional blogging advice.
The reason that I was able to get more visitors while producing less content was due to several factors. Below I’ve listed just a handful of them. Feel free to look these over and use them for your own blogs and businesses:
When you write for the web you must have good headlines in order to get attention. How the worst pizza in the universe made one man rich is a title that catches your eye. Readers see a title like that and want to know more. If I had just written a headline like Pizzeria does well, no one would have clicked. It’s too dull.
A captivating headline is great, but you need to make sure that it relates to your post. Writing Sexually frustrated ostrich terrorizes petting zoo for the title of an article about lamps is going to make readers feel slighted and upset. They were promised one thing, but tricked into reading something completely different.
Headline cheat-sheet: Here are, from my experience, the best types of headlines. When I’ve used these there has been a surge in readership. “How to _______,” “Are you _____?,” “5 things that ______,” “Does ______ work?,” “Increase your _____ with _____.” All of these let the reader know what the post is going to be about while also providing a hook to draw them in.
Later this month I’m going to write an article about toothpaste and you’re going to find it incredibly interesting. Seriously. There are a lot of great writers who’ve turned seemingly boring subjects into fascinating topics. Mike from Danger & Play is the king of this. Articles about juicing vegetables, investing money, law, and even walking have all been turned into captivating posts that will blow your mind. I check the site everyday and have never once been let down by it.
There are also a lot of writers who are sitting on solid gold, yet believe that no one is interested in reading about the subject matter. There is no such thing as a boring subject. There are just uninterested writers who are too lazy to wow their audience.
Content cheat-sheet: Find some sort of unique angle for whatever it is you are discussing. If you’re writing an article about the world’s most powerful kitchen appliances, which a lazy writer would consider “boring,” mention all the insane stuff that has been shredded up in Blendtec blenders. There’s always some cool feature that you can find and demonstrate to your readers.
Easy to read content.
I love a tough read with beautiful prose. Visualizing the “jagged kerfs” of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian was a real treat for me. Yesterday I wrote about what I learned from reading Henry Miller’s books. While both of these authors are wonderful wordsmiths, their style isn’t really suited for blogging.
Imagine if I wrote an article about lifting weights and decided to use descriptions like “lower the metallic apparatus downward until it grazes your thrapple.” It would be weird and confusing. A lot of bloggers make the rookie mistake of trying to sound smart. They end up coming off as try-hards.
Writing cheat-sheet: Pretend that you are at a party and have to socialize by talking about whatever subject you are going to write about. If you’re a pretentious bore people are going to walk away or make fun of you. As such, you need to deliver the information in a fun and conversational manner.
When people come to your site they want something. To be entertained, to learn a skill, or to solve a problem. And they expect you to deliver on this. While there’s nothing wrong with telling a personal story, only talking about yourself will eventually turn readers off. Imagine if this post was a 1,000 story about how I went grocery shopping. You’d get bored and leave before ever reaching the end.
I would also advise against making “me too!” posts. These are articles where you take something someone else wrote and then give your opinion on it. Posts like this are okay every now and then, but making too many of them will drive readers away. If you’re just a critic who comments on some larger blogger’s thoughts why would anyone want to read you? Get creative and come up with your own material.
Usefulness cheat-sheet: The entire formula for providing useful content can be summarized in one sentence: “Here is something I did, here is how it can benefit you.” That’s it. Readers don’t show up to validate your existence or line your pockets. They show up because they have a need that must be met.
Do you know why I didn’t start writing book about making money online early? It was because I was still living at home while I established my business. I would have felt shady and fraudulent for me to have sold a product “guaranteeing financial success” while my mom was doing laundry for me.
You can’t really brag about being some super successful entrepreneur when your staying at someone else’s house. If you want to succeed you have to be trustworthy and know what you’re talking about.
Expertise cheat-sheet: Write what you know. It always cracks me up when dudes boast online about how they are Super Alpha Playboys™ only to have a meltdown later when their mom forbids them from going to some anime convention. If you’re going to write online you’re going to have to be honest. People are going to figure the truth out eventually anyway. You can save yourself a lot of embarrassment by being open from the start.
“The sales formula.”
Selling things is a science. You don’t have to be pushing a product to be a salesman either. Just getting people to read your content or visit your site again takes some persuasive powers. The easiest way to do this is by offering something that seems to be worth more than what they are investing. Reading for 10 minutes in order to learn about building muscle, signing up for a newsletter in order to get a free eBook, or paying $5 for a guide that could potentially double your income are all things that seem like small investments with huge returns. And they are. Getting a free eBook just for filling out a form is a great value.
If you wrote a book, gave it away for free, and only one reader signed up for future emails, the reader would have gotten more value from the transaction than you did. If you wrote a book, gave it away for free, and 10,000 people signed up for future emails, you came out ahead. Everything you do should be more beneficial for the individual reader than it is for you.
For example, if it took you $500 worth of time to make an eBook, you can’t charge each customer for the full labor cost plus a profit. A $700 book is going to have a very limited market value. Spending $500 to make a book and then charging $10 a copy provides the customer with a product worth $500 that they were able to get at a fraction of the price. They save a lot of money this way and you recover your expenses as more and more people buy the book.
Sales cheat-sheet: There is a time-tested method for getting people to do what you want: Give them something that is worth more than what they give you. You’ll recuperate your losses over time as more and more people request your product or service.
Even though I haven’t spent a lot of time on 30 Days To X this year, I have made it more successful than it ever was before. Over the past few months I’ve managed to expand the readership, increase profits (which I’ll be reinvesting into this site), and get more attention from other blogs and social media outlets. In addition to this, my work as a copywriter and freelancer has allowed me to see just how effective a lot of marketing tools are.
As much as people, myself included, like to scoff at things like vivid headlines, they do work. During this month’s 30 day challenge, which I’ll be unveiling tomorrow, you’ll end up seeing exactly how potent stuff like “clickbait” can really be. I’m also going to be exposing some major writing secrets that cost me a lot of time and money to figure out.
Finally, I’ll be making a few tweaks to the site and reporting on them so that you can see exactly how powerful they are. This way you’ll know what you can do to make your own blog more popular.
Oh, and I’m going to be paying you to read this site. But that’s a story for some other time…