Here are several excerpts from an excellent post by Rich Page that I found on ProBlogger’s Blog, 5 Ways To Optimize Your Blog and Capture More Repeat Visitors:
Here are 5 great ways to help optimize and improve your website, and inspire new visitors to become repeat visitors:
1: Track your Internal Search Results
One of the easiest ways to gain insight into your blog and improve it is to track your internal search results. You can easily do this using Google Analytics, (learn how to track this), or use this cool WordPress plugin. It’s very important to identify your top searched keywords – it helps you identify what’s popular with your visitors (write more content relating to these), and also, just as importantly, what visitors are failing to find on your blog (look for keyword searches that have zero results and create a post about them – as long as you can make it relevant to your blog). The more relevant internal search results the user finds, then the more chances of them signing up to your feed and coming back for more!
2: Reduce the Bounce Rate of your Articles
The best way to stop someone from leaving immediately after reading your blog articles (i.e. bouncing) is to expose them to as much of your blog’s great content as possible, or by getting them to sign up to your feed. And what is the best way to do this? Immediately after the visitor is done reading the blog entry they arrived at (and remember, most visitors don’t arrive at your homepage – they get deep linked in from search engines or other blogs), at the bottom of the article place prominent text links to subscribe and links to read related content.
3: Survey and Learn from Your Website Visitors
What’s another great way to improve your blog? This one is simple, yet many blog owners don’t do it – you need gain feedback from your visitors! Simply sign up for a free survey tool (like 4Q) and get to know your visitors better. It allows you to ask your visitors questions in the form of a non-obtrusive pop-up survey.
4: Build a Community into your Blog
Want to get as many repeat visits as possible, without having to rely on RSS feeds to pull visitors back? Then build a community for your blog, and engage not only yourself with your readers, but allow your readers to engage with each other. This is particularly a great idea if you are niche blogger and you have a small but captive audience. There are a number of ways to create this community for your blog – the basic way is to setup and install MyBlogLog or BuddyPress as a widget on your blog. The more advanced way to build a community is to create a social network around your blog using Ning or KickApps. Both of these are free and allow you to fully customize, brand and create your own community, and use your own blog feed as a main ingredient of the community. Win-win situation for you and your readers!
5: Setup Goals and Begin Testing to Improve Them
Lastly, one of the most important things to remember for blogging success is to set goals and try and beat them. And for blogs, your goal is likely to get as many readers as possible. But be more specific and actionable. For example set a weekly goal for new readers, i.e. 100 new subscribers per week. Then, test elements of your website (using Google Website Optimizer) to try and improve your subscribers and reach your goals.