A guide to hobby & social media – Blog Network Click Throughs (Part 6.1)
This article is partly my thoughts, but its also asking you as a blogger or reader of hobby content online your thoughts, it was born out of a discussion on a post of mine on Effective Blog Networks. This post won’t form part of my social media guide for hobbyists as its rather niche and not necessarily linked to hobby content. Although who knows – lets see where we get to.
The discussion centred around;
What can a blog network that links out to other blogs do to increase clicks to those blogs?
Essentially the question asks what can a blog network do to help out the blogs it links to by increasing the traffic to those blogs. There are a lot of factors at play here and I am going to give a run down of my thoughts on the subject. I am not greatly qualified to make sweeping statements about how one runs a blog network but I’ve come this far with my social media guide so lets give it a go.
I am a web developer with 10 years experience so am partly qualified to talk about what works online, what doesn’t, whats good and whats bad. There are others whose whole jobs are to do with user experience and their opinions will be much better than mine – you know who you are, chip in please!
Most importantly I think its going to be great to hear from you; from bloggers who use blog networks to give them traffic and from readers who use blog networks to find new and exciting content from a variety of blogs across the hobby scene. So speak up people – today we will make the internet a better place.
My Thoughts on Blog Networks
These are my own thoughts and ideas with regards to blog networks increasing the amount of traffic they can send to their network members.
The biggest factor in driving more traffic to blogs in your network is going to be the traffic you get to your site. If you wish to send 1,000 visitors a month to other blogs but your site only gets 500 visitors then you’re going to be disappointed. By driving up traffic to your own blog you can hope to then pass that traffic onto your network members.
This all goes without saying so lets move on. But I have an SEO article planned for this series – watch this space.
If your site is about a specific game system and you’re including blogs in your network from a whole host of game systems then your site readers may not be interested in the plethora of blogs you’re linking to. Keep the blogs you have in your network on topic and relevant to your site’s content to ensure its actually of interest to your readers.
To flip this on its head; if your site is about a lot of game systems and because of that you therefore have a great variety of blogs in your blog network then some readers will be interested in some of the blogs you link to, but not all. In this case you want to do as much as possible to hep your readers. Consider categorising your blog members into game systems so that your readers can quickly see all the content for 40K, Warmachine and Blood Bowl without needing to scan a sea of links. You could also only place blog links for 40K on 40K pages on your site, rather than all blog links on all pages. By doing this you’re placing more relevant content in front of the reader without the need for them to think. This is good!
You should consider using imagery where possible from the blogs you’re linking to, or using larger imagery. This will give readers a quicker indication of the game system the member blog is talking about. Of course this relies on the member blog using relevant imagery – but its a good start.
Design / User Experience
This leads on nicely from the previous point about relevance. The above point explains how its a poor user experience to be shown a lot of irrelevant content, it boils down to low user interaction and therefore fewer (or zero) clicks to blog members. The more you can do to get relevant content in-front of a user the more likely they are to click that content and go exploring.
Things to consider;
- Image size – us hobbyists are suckers for imagery. Great imagery gets clicked, liked, tweeted and shared a lot more than written content. Increasing image size from blog networks will help users click that eye candy.
- Number of links – if you’re displaying hundreds of links to your blog members then a huge percentage will never be seen or clicked and will only add to a poor user experience.
- Categorise – Split up your links so that only relevant blogs appear on certain articles. Warmachine content on your site should only contain links to Warmchine blogs. If you do this you can reduce to number of links and then maximise the space with imagery or larger text/links so everything becomes clearer and easier for your readers.
People Love You
Readers may not click through to other content if they are only interested in your content. Perhaps they come for only your site’s content are not invested in spreading the love and linking out to other people’s blogs too. Its possible and may be especially true if people view your content via RSS Readers such as Feedly and therefore only get the main content and nothing else from your site – such as sidebar content.
This is something I have started but have not been on top of as much as I should have been. This involves highlighting certain blogs within your main site to make your readership more aware of what else is out there and the types of blogs you link to.
Perhaps someone has used a blog network link in the past but didn’t get have a nice experience because the blog was poor or perhaps your readers don’t know what the blog networks links are for. An exercise like this educates your readership about the blog network and why its there. It also shows your members that you’re active in helping them obtain more traffic.