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.

The Fine Art of Leading Your Reader

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.

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16 Lively Comments

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  1. May 20, 2011

    Abdul Wajid CK said:

    Hey Nick,
    You are the king of Awesome articles in my favorite niche. It is must to drive visiters to each and every aspects, such as Subscription, Related posts and Clicking Ads. I started my blog to build some reputation online and to each some penny.
    Like you told, you are displaying Elegant themes Ad, Share buttons, Related posts and Stay-up-to-date will make your readers to share, click and subscribe to your posts.

  2. May 20, 2011

    Jane Sheeba said:

    Leadership is not a quality that everyone is blessed with. But leading online is totally different and even a person who is zero at leadership, can lead their blog readers as they evolve with blogging. You have highlighted some important aspects here.


  3. May 20, 2011

    paul Crowe said:

    Another great post, enjoyed it.

  4. May 20, 2011

    Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing said:

    While I’ve seen the content many times, never has it been laid out so clearly, concisely.

    Very well done, Nick. 😉

  5. May 21, 2011

    Shree said:

    Hi Nicholas,
    I just wanted to know is it possible to place the RSS icon more than once in a website? Won’t that cause any harm?

  6. May 21, 2011

    Christian Rosenvold said:

    Great post Nick! Extremely useful 😀 I’m definitely going to post related articles at the bottom of my posts.

  7. May 21, 2011

    Simon Aulin said:

    Hey! Intresting reading, are about to start brand-bloging for a new company and this is surly going to be a blog to follow to get some more tips.
    Keep up the good work!

  8. May 22, 2011

    Jeff Evans said:

    I think the structure of a site has a lot to do with where you’re leading your readers. I mean for instance, it seems like you’re building a mailing list so the first thing that popped up was a box asking for my name and e-mail. That’s genius. Good it.

  9. May 22, 2011

    Vitaly Tennant said:

    Great post, I agree, it’s all about the user experience. If you have a right layout then you’re bound to receive a great response.

  10. May 23, 2011

    Walter Allred said:

    Great post!

    I just recently started my own blog and sketch 101 has been a great resource. I appreciate your honesty and clear vision.

    One thing I am having difficulty with is coming up with fresh post ideas. Is there some pointers you could throw out or possibly a post discussing this topic?

    It would also be really cool if you could swing by my site and let me know if you see a more clear direction I could take. I would love feedback from a seasoned pro and also a friend in the game.

    Anything at all would be much appreciated.

    Thanks again!

  11. May 25, 2011

    [email protected] said:

    This is really a helpful post you got there, it really helped how I construct my blog. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  12. May 29, 2011

    ah hong said:

    Can’t agree more with Nick that above the fold is the key to lead the reader to the advertisement in example. Based on the click heat maps research, the reader tends to read and click on the upper left hand side of our page. So try to focus your goal personalized goal on the upper left hand side.

  13. June 1, 2011

    Hawk @ Flash Website Templates said:

    Writing a blog is not an easy task and to before making blog every blogger have different goals to achieve so make the plan of action and try to achieve the results.

  14. June 5, 2011

    Brad Harmon said:

    I like the way you termed this, Nick. We hear so much about the call to action when it comes to these topics, but it’s always seemed like such a clinical, marketing term to me. I like the idea of leading our readers to an action much better.

    Yes, I suppose it’s just a matter of semantics; however, I’ve found that the words we use often shape our attitude towards something. Call to action reminds me of a battle cry that, when shouted, leaves the onus on the reader to act. Leading your readers to an action puts much more of the onus on the blogger to be there with them along each step.

  15. September 13, 2011

    Printing Frisco said:

    Informative Blog! Got so much new to read about and knowing it. Thank you for your valuable sharing.

  16. September 22, 2011

    Ana @ Deceased Estate Sales said:

    Excellent tips. I also very strongly agree with Brad there. Leading instead calling for action may just be words, but words are sculpting our attitude, so this is very good writing in those terms as well.

    I like the elegant solutions that you offer without being too pushy with the readers.