Keep ‘Em Hooked: 3 Tools To Keep Readers On Your Site
By: Taylor Davies

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I know you might find this hard to believe, but I actually don’t know everything about fashion blogging. Crazy, right? (Kidding, kidding…) I’ve been working at IFB for over a year, but I am constantly learning new things about out community, the Internet(z), and the business of blogging. Lately, I’ve become really interested in seeing how much I can do to make my own blog reflect all that I’m learning and trying to encourage within our community. I know you know, this, but it isn’t easy! With a busy life and so many things going on, it’s easy to lose track of the little things I’ve been meaning to do to improve my site.

This week, the task I’ve given myself is to tidy up my pages and widgets, and employ some tools to encourage readers to stick around longer on my site. There are a lot of creative ways you can do this, and you don’t necessarily need to use all of them at once. As with most tools and tricks in fashion blogging, it’s about trial and error.

editorial, blogging, content, tools, blogging

Use a “popular posts” widget on your sidebar.

Depending on your platform, you might use either a widget (Blogger) or plugin (WordPress) for this feature. This is especially useful for drawing new readers into your deeper posts and greatest hits, who may be visiting your site for the first time. As they scroll through your most current content, they will also have easy access on the side of your site to see what posts have been most successful, or what you’re “most known for,” if you will.

Install a “you might also like” widget that appears under each post.

This is something I have been meaning to add to my blog for, oh, I don’t know – years. Seriously, what’s my problem?! A quick Google search lead me to two oh-so-easy to install widgets: LinkWithin and OutBrain. Both function in the same way, using keywords and tags in your posts to aggregate “similar” content in thumbnail links below each post.

I chose OutBrain because as soon as you log in and give the tool a chance to crawl your site, you can monitor the success of your links with click-through rates and page-views through a dashboard, and adjust the settings.

This site has easy-to-follow installation directions for Blogger, but both LinkWithin and Outbrain have instructions for Blogger, WordPress, and Typepad on their homepages.

Create category pages along the top of your site.

I just recently expanded my “pages” tabs include the most popular types of posts I have on my blog: Personal Style, Music, Travel, and Reader Requests. (I already have About, Contact and Press pages.) I did this for two reasons, the first being that I wanted to encourage new readers to explore the different types of content my site has, and the second is to easily direct readers to the content they most want to see, and then stay a while to check it out.

I’ve created the same category pages for Eat, Sleep, Denim as well, to help readers find denim reviews, blogger denim style, and trend stories more easily. For both WordPress and Blogger, I created these pages by using categories (WordPress) and tags (Blogger). Go to a post that uses the tag or category that you want to use, and then click on it, opening up a URL that leads to all the posts with this tag or category. Next, create a new page on your site that redirects to that URL.

Using these widgets and tools isn’t about tricking your readers into staying on your site. Implementing these tools and widgets is way to make navigation of your site more fluid, and access to your best content and the kinds of content your readers will want more of – easier. Even during the week before Halloween we’re all about treats, not tricks!

Comments

  1. Avatar of Alyssa Tomasic

    This really helped! I can’t wait to tryout these ideas on my own blog. The “popular post” widget is a good idea.

    http://www.bellalurosa.com

  2. Miška says:

    I think those are really helpful ideas. I need to try it on my own blog. I wanted to do it a long time ago but I just totally forgot about it. Thanks for remanding

  3. These are great tips! Anything that keeps readers on the site (instead of bouncing) is wonderful. I’m already doing most of these, but I definitely need to re-organize my labels/categories.

  4. Candace says:

    Thank you for this post. I had no clue about OutBrain. Now, I just need to figure out how to get those thumbnails to work. :)

  5. Avatar of Rhythm and Ruffle

    Love it – great tips Taylor! xo

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

  6. Michelle says:

    If you’re using WordPress you can also try Related Posts Thumbnails, I’ve used this one and it’s similar to LinkWithin. One of the reasons I love it is b/c I like the fact that a woman created it {rare!}, it doesn’t have the widget/plugin branding in the bottom right corner of the thumbnail area and you can choose between having the images displayed based on tags, categories or both.

  7. Avatar of Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Just recently added the popular posts! Can’t wait to try the other 2!

    Glitzy Blues

  8. Great tips. I need to try them on my blog.

  9. I just got back into my blog (after moving overseas), and can’t believe I didn’t have the linkwithin widget already! Great suggestion, and huge oversight by me. Now I just have to get back into content development in order to populate the widget! Thanks for the tip :)

  10. Avatar of Onianwah
    Barbara says:

    I have linkwithin on my blog and I see a lot of click throughs from it. It sometimes does not categorise the posts in the same categories but I do like the fact that you see other posts when you get to the end of the current one being read.
    Barbara
    http://barbsiesmusings.blogspot.com/
    Lagos, Nigeria

  11. Carol says:

    Thanks for the info. I did wonder how other bloggers managed to get their popular posts to appear. Will go and find a widget for my wordpress petite blog.

  12. Avatar of
    Ariana Graham says:

    Great ideas! I am happy to know that I am doing some of these thing already! But there are few things I will implement.

    Ariana
    http://shopaholicundercover.com

  13. Fabulous advice. I have all three of these tips active on my blog. I especially like Outbrain because the clicks that it gives show up on my Google Analytics. I can tell roughly what percentage of readers are clicking through to other hat posts.

  14. Avatar of Bree
    Bree says:

    I have all of these and I do think they’ve really improved the look and interest in my blog. I do think it makes my website much easier to navigate and for readers to find specific posts that interest them!
    http://www.theurbanumbrella.com

  15. Avatar of Karina
    Karina says:

    I’ve been wanting to do the “you might also like” widget forever but was too lazy to look up how to actually do it. Thanks, Taylor, I’ll do it right now!!

  16. Gracias, thanks, really good! Now to get it on the blog and put it to good use!

  17. Amy says:

    IFB, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you’re a mind-reader! I’ve been looking for candid suggestions and this takes the cake. Any thoughts on social media buttons & widgets?

    Lovely blogs, fellow commentors :)

  18. Avatar of Sheryl Blasnik

    I am using NRelate for related posts. They offer the option of using a fourth thumbnail for affiliate marketing. Every click puts money in your account.

    Sheryl Blasnik
    Fashion Development Group

  19. Ana says:

    I love the ‘Related Posts’ widget – I discovered so many genius articles on my favourite sites through it :D !

  20. Avatar of Elena
    Elena says:

    I agree, there are so many ways to attract readers to your blog and make them to come back! I like LinkWithin plugin-very helpful tool! Great article!
    Thanks a lot for sharing!
    Best
    Elena
    http://dcinstyle.com/blog/

  21. Avatar of Ren Ohayon
    Ren Ohayon says:

    I just want to say thanks for the article, it is really helpful, I joined the links you sent, and I really hope that my blog will help develop better…

    I would like to read more articles of you.. where I can find?

    Ren
    http://typeofashopaholic.blogspot.co.il/

  22. Heather says:

    I’ve had linkwithin for ages, and it is consistently onw of the top referers on my site. There are some things I don’t love about it though. It seems to just show three random posts, and I can’t block old posts that I don’t really want showing up. I think I’ll check out the related post thumbnail plugin for WordPress as it sounds more customizable.

    These are all very good suggestions. I’ve implemented most of them in some way or another on my blog and I do think they improve bounce rate. It drives me nuts when I discover a new blog, find it interesting, but can’t search the content or find any useful links!

  23. Avatar of Karen Ussene
    Karen Ussene says:

    Good tips, I actually use LinkWithin but sometimes it can be a win or a miss, sometimes it appear related post, whether is clothes, music, food etc but other time it puts post that are nothing related. So I’m gonna take a look on OutBrain and see if it works better.
    K.

  24. Nina says:

    This is great! Except for when I went to add either Outbrain or LinkWithin both said that they’re only for the installed version of WordPress (wordpress.org). :/ Does anyone know of an alternative that WordPress.com bloggers can use?

  25. Burcu says:

    thank you for the info!
    linkwithin was missing in my blog, now I have all 3 of those :)
    http://www.girlielittlethings.blogspot.com/
    best,
    Burcu, Istanbul

  26. Avatar of Jalie Chichi
    Jalie Chichi says:

    thanks! this is so helpful! I just created a few pages using tags (labels) for my beauty/fashion blog.
    xoxo,
    Jalie,

    http://www.glossyandglamorousbyjalie.blogspot.com

  27. Avatar of Carmen Brillianwati

    Thanks for the tips, helpful for a beginner like me:D I’ve always loved the “You Might Also Like” widget, guess I’m gonna try it!

    Xx
    http://www.quirkygirlwithlatte.blogspot.com

  28. Moving to Outbrain for the widget, Thanks mate!

  29. Nice Post, Keep Your Work Up. Hope You Will More Post More Helpful Contents In Future.

  30. maddie says:

    Amazing stuff, can’t wait to add the popular widget! X

    modaputtana.blogspot.co.uk

  31. WJ says:

    Can’t wait to try a few new things.
    Watch my website for updates.

  32. FiFi Qin says:

    This is a very urgent reminder for me because I don’t use these widgets at all. Gotta redesign my webpage NOW!

  33. Faye Curato says:

    Thanks for the info! I will definitely try to do this on my blog. :-)

  34. Emma says:

    I love the ‘Related Posts’ widget – I discovered so many genius articles on my favourite sites through it. thanks for sharing.

    http://www.eyeviewoptical.com

  35. Avatar of Iman
    Iman says:

    I launched literally 2 days ago and I’ve already noticed the efficiency of “You may also like” widgets. It’s true that when I’m on a blog myself, finish a post, and am offered to read a new one without having to browse and scroll, I most often just do it.

    I need to implement this popular post trick as soon as I have more content !

    http://www.manigazer.com

  36. These are all great tips! Ty! :)

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