What’s the one stat that most bloggers care about the most? Is it page views, visitor location, referring sites or subscribers? I know for me and most other bloggers out there, getting more subscribers is a priority that is pretty high up on the list.
Why? Subscribers are people who have said they want to read or hear what you have to say. They want to stay in touch, probably because you provide value that improves their lives in one form or another. Subscribers are your constant traffic source when you aren’t being flooded with social media traffic and your Google rankings aren’t that great.
In this post, I want to look at a simple method I used to increase my subscribers that you can implement today. More importantly, this is something that is going to continue working for you for years to come if you lay the foundations properly.
Before you think you’ve heard it all before, bear with me. Keyword research can be time consuming, boring and often result in finding high traffic keywords with a lot of competition. That isn’t what I’m going to share with you today. In fact, this is all about finding keywords with ‘decent’ traffic and minimal competition so that you can easily start to rank in the top 20 results.
First of all, I want you to take a look at the most popular pages of Wikihow. These are the most popular ‘How to’ pages on the whole of the site and can be a great aid for inspiration.
What you should be looking for is “How To’s” that are related to your niche. I most regularly blog on the subject of personal development and self improvement, so I looked for things that could improve peoples’ lives in general. Whatever it is you write about, see if you can find any how to content that relates to your topic. You’ll notice that in the first few hundred results, most articles have hundreds of thousands of views. What this means is that although these articles may have had a traffic spike from the likes of Digg or Stumbleupon, to get that much traffic they are probably getting a lot of search engine referrals.
The best thing about search engine referrals is that they are constant and once you’ve put in the work to get them then the visitors are likely to keep coming for a long time. A particular page I found for example was ‘How to Make Friends’ which is perfect for my niche and also a topic I have some knowledge on due to frequent traveling and moving.
Now, once you have some ideas from the list, put your keywords into the Google External Keyword tool. You could of course just search for ‘how to’ but hopefully this exercise has given you some inspiration for niche-relevant phrases that you can use later in this blog post. Make sure when using this tool that you use the exact match feature so you can get a more realistic count for search volume.
Once you’ve found a keyword that is related to your niche, and a phrase that gets 1,000+ exact match queries per month then you are ready for the next part. As a side note, do a quick search on Google to check out the competition, or in other words, see how difficult it would be to rank for this phrase. What you are looking for is:
- How many sites in the top results have your phrase in the title
- How ‘strong’ the domains in the rankings are – i.e. about.com is very strong
- How many backlinks pages in the 6-10 positions have
It should be easy to tell with this criteria whether a phrase relating to your niche and ‘how to’ is going to be easy to rank for or not.
Creating an Ebook (Writing Time!)
Once you have your keyword you need to provide a solution, an answer. Most search queries out there are people looking for solutions to their problems or queries and they’ll often do quite a lot to get an answer.
In my case I decided to spend most of a day (Saturday to be specific) and write up an eBook on how people could solve what they were looking for, how to make friends. My eBook is 24 pages, although yours doesn’t have to be that long. The reason that I mentioned this should be relevant to your niche earlier is because you should have some knowledge on the subject as you are the one who is going to have to solve the problem.
I used Open Office (free) to create the eBook which has an export to PDF creator built in. It also keeps all backlinks which most PDF creators don’t, so I highly recommend it.
Setting Up Your Landing Page
I mentioned that I was going to help you increase your RSS subscribers and this is exactly what I’m highlighting now. First of all, you want to make sure that your landing page, whether it is a static html page or blog post is optimized well for on-site SEO. When I set up my ‘How to Make Friends’ page I made my URL http://www.pluginid.com/how-to-make-friends/ and the title only included those keywords.
One other thing I did on the landing page was create a simple graphic of the eBook for download to help people visualize what they would be getting. You can pay $20 on Digitalpoint Forums to get one of these made or if you have Photoshop do a quick search for eBook actionscript on Google and you’ll find some nice solutions. I actually made mine myself.
So, what I did here is put together a simple landing page showing off the new eBook, with its graphic and an email subscription box in order to receive it for free. This subscription box was linked directly to my feedburner email sign-up. I also mentioned on the page that this would sign people up for my regular updates but that they would not be spammed and could unsubscribe at any time (because this is true).
Getting Links & My Results
There are hundreds if not thousands of articles on how to get links so I’m not going to be going into detail here. Basically, for those with no SEO knowledge, links are one of the most important factors in getting a page to rank in the search engines. In theory you want to get as many relevant links as you can pointing to your page with the anchor text being the same as the title of your page ‘how to ….’.
Once you’ve done this, within a few weeks you should start to be getting traffic and feed subscribers. For me, the results were a lot more sudden so you could experience the same result. First of all, within a week of setting up the page I had already received hundreds of targeted visitors to the page:
(Over 2,000 now)
Bear in mind that most of this traffic came from ranking on the second page of Google. I’ve recently moved up to position 8 on the first page of results.
This traffic also led to an increase in feed subscribers. Remember that within 5 months of the site launching I had managed to grow to around 500 subscribers, not an amazing achievement but not bad either. Since implementing this however, I gained over 100 subscribers in just over a week, and it brings me new subscribers on a continual basis.
Now, don’t just read this and procrastinate; actually get out there and do it, and start creating your own results rather than being a spectator to the results of others. There is so much potential in this and I actually have another one lined up. The day I spent writing the eBook should benefit me for years to come.