According to Bounce Exchange, 70% of visitors that leave your website will never return, with this staggering figure in mind bloggers and marketers need to be maximising their efforts to ensure that as many of these visitors come back to the site otherwise it is a waste of resources. As Mark Schaefer said in his Content Shock piece, you are paying people to read your content, whether you wrote the content on your site yourself or paid someone else to do it, your time and money was used for someone to read that content and if you don’t manage to convert them into a repeat visitor or customer then you are making a loss.
So what are some of the ways that we can get these people to return? Forms are probably the best method, however how you use these forms and present them to your readers is very important in capturing their information.
What Makes A Good Form?
Using a form to get visitor details may seem simple to setup but getting the right balance along with the tone of the copy is crucial as you will often have just a few seconds of the visitors attention when they view the form. There are some rules of thumb to follow when creating a website form, Formulate came up with what they call the four C’s of a good form which are:
- Clear – the person filling in the form should be able to do so quickly and with minimal effort and no confusion
- Concise – Longer does not mean better but also questions and text in a form should not be too short
- Clever – Directing the user to the next field to complete is the simplest way of using a ‘clever’ form
- Cooperative – Do not frustrate the user, make sure the form is bug-free and stable, confirm before submission to avoid errors
Keep your forms simple depending on what you are using them for. Hubspot analysed over 40,000 forms and found that the less fields there were to fill in the more likely a user is to complete it.
When was the last time you actively looked for a subscribing option on a website? Many users will be more than happy to come back to your site, remember if they are on a page on your site it is more than likely that they came there looking for something so make sure your form is visible to them and don’t be afraid of using a pop-up form.
Keep the layout of the page in mind when creating your form as well as the natural way that people read content on the web. A study in 2006 by Nielsen Norman Group shows that people read web pages from left to right, in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe.
What Does Not Make Good Form?
There are also some guidelines that need to be followed
Spamming the visitor – if they don’t wish to sign-up then don’t bother them again or for a period of time. Many tools such as SumoMe have options to not show the form to that same visitor for another 30 days.
Use a sidebar form – Some people will disagree with me here but honestly I don’t think this is the way to go especially if your site is new and doesn’t have much traffic. You need to be pushing harder for those sign-ups and conversions and many website visitors these days have come so accustomed to seeing ads banners in the sidebar that they just tune it out. Check out this case study by VideoFruit.com when they ditched their sidebar.
Make the form overly complex – If the form is for making a purchase then you will obviously need to obtain a lot of information from the user, for anything else though the less fields to fill in the better. There are still many websites asking for ZIP & postal codes, country of residence and telephone numbers and will often not let the form to be completed until those fields have been filled in.
Not keeping mobile in mind – With mobile traffic being on par with desktop traffic for many sites these days you need to have a form that works on smaller screens too, if your site consists of mainly mobile traffic then you may want to keep your form as simple as possible too with just a name and email field, forms are not easy to fill in with just a thumb!
Creating Your Own Forms
If you are using WordPress then there is a basic contact form that comes with the installation, if you are looking to setup a basic contact page then this may suffice but WordPress do not recommend this for collecting secure details for payments. There are also other free forms such as Contact Form 7 but beginners may find the interface not very intuitive. There are premium options available such as 123ContactForm.com which offer pre-built form templates as well as a real-time form editor where no code skills are required.
If you are looking for a simple solution then here is a quick tutorial on how to setup the built-in contact form on a WordPress site and for those of you with some PHP & coding skills then you may want to check out this guide on Sitepoint on how to build your own form 🙂
Are You Trying to Rank or Help People?
Check the intent behind your blogging actions. What are your drivers? Some bloggers desperately want to rank, to place articles on page 1 of Google, to drive sweet, passive search engine traffic. Good luck with that. Nobody succeeds ranking until you give virtually all of your attention and energy to helping people with your blogging efforts. The rank comes after the generous help and that generous help often spans years of your life because developing page 1 Google skills is no joke. If it were easy, everybody would rank on page 1, right?
But you would be surprised by how many folks struggle blogging because the focus on rank over help dominates their minds. I never fell afflicted to this common limiting belief because I give scant attention to ranking on Google. Most of me could care less. I help people through my guest posts, blog posts, course and eBooks. My intent is to help people not to try to get traffic and money through manipulating things. Be honest about the big difference between the two because making this shift will improve your life tremendously, along with positioning you to experience increasing blogging success.
Focus heavily on people and little on things to discover the secret of blogging success. Bloggers succeed by generously helping human beings for sustained periods of time. Imagine some blogger who appears to be all over their blogging niche. Study this individual. Guaranteed, this bloggers generously helped people for years, hours daily, through multiple methods of helping people. Imagine guest posting, blogging, broadcasting live on Facebook and podcasting. See how the top bloggers always seem to be assisting people from a generous, genuine energy? Be that person. The tops never obsess over ranking because doing so attaches you to outcomes. Attach to outcomes. Feel fear. Attachment is fear. Any time you blog from a vibe of fear, you will struggle, fail and quit eventually. Top bloggers feel fears but release the energies versus panicking and bailing on generously helping readers. Everybody else panics, bails and tries to manipulate things to get traffic and money, failing horribly over the long haul.
Nobody gets ahead trying to manipulate things because money flows through humans mainly, then, through things which act as receiving channels. Imagine if I sell a copy of my blogging course. Generously helping human beings instills trust in the person who bought my course. Money flows from them to me through Selz, and my bank account, from their credit card or bank account. The things – Selz, bank accounts – are receiving channels, facilitating the sending and receiving of money, but generous service and trust put the financial transaction into action.
Stop trying to rank before all else because dealing with things solely – SEO and Google – moves you out of the realm of reality, into thing-ality. Bloggers who succeed keep helping folks generously and keep promoting themselves, realizing the things are just tools humans use to connect with each other, to help each other and to prosper each other. Focus on helping humans, not trying to rank on page 1 of Google, to uncover the secret to successful blogging….and to uncover the secret of ranking on page 1 of Google.
Why Blogging Jealousy Is a Damaging Emotion
I spent today enjoying lunch and a hike through the forest with my wife. But like the past goodness knows how many years, I will work 6-8 hours daily….or more. I put in an hour or so this morning. Now I get to work a bit before 5 PM. People love my travel photos. Folks often tell me how jealous they feel, envying our life. We are so lucky! We are blessed. We are aligned. All that jazz. But the same folks NEVER feel jealous or envious of the fact that I worked 6 hours daily for the past goodness known how many years of my life. I tell folks about my workload sometimes; most look at me like I have 3 heads, people proclaiming themselves lazy and definitely, believing I can have this workload because working long and persistently is not for them.
Before you envy my movie-worthy life, envy my movie-worthy workload. Before you jealously bust my chops about my photos in Fiji and Bali, be just as envious and flat out jealous of the 20,000 hours I have blogged over the past decade of my life. You cannot have the sweet fruit unless you patiently water the seed and allow for it to thrive, during growing season. Likewise, you cannot have blogging success unless you patiently, persistently and generously work, to succeed.
Jealousy and Damage
Most bloggers never realize the intense jealousy that damages their blogging campaign. Why does jealousy hurt you and your blog? Delusion, that’s why. Take my Fiji or New Zealand or Costa Rica pictures. Most people who see the pictures envy my life because most folks CHOOSE to work a 9-5 job and CHOOSE not to travel. In the same breath, after expressing intense jealousy at me living a cool life of travel, I advise the person to begin blogging, to engineer a similar life for self and family. In an instant, most bloggers complain about having no time, no time, and no drive to design such a life of fun and freedom. Why? Being jealous of bloggers immediately places you in a “they have it, but I cannot have it,” type victim, non-empowered, weakling energy. If you believe only I can live this life, and envy me, and you foolishly believe you cannot life this life, you make endless excuses to cling to your belief system. Said excuses guarantee your unhappiness and comfort.
If you envy my life of travel, envy the 6 to 10 hours or more I have worked every single day of my life over the years. Do you envy working 8 hours every Saturday and Sunday? Are you SOOOO jealous that I will work 6-7 or more hours today, after being out of the house for about 6 hours, hustling into the evening? Nope. I did not think so. Few human beings envy someone who works generously, diligently and persistently because most people hate doing the very thing that sets them free. Why? Doing the thing that sets you free forces you outside of your comfort zone, to face deep, pulsating fears. Facing these fears seems highly unpleasant. Nobody enjoys facing fears, but you need to face fears in order to grow, to succeed, and to live a life of movie-worthy levels, you being the object of blogger envy.
Stop being jealous. Get to work, admire industrious bloggers who live their dreams, and you too will live your dreams.
Do you need to face deep fears on your blogging journey?
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How to Ride out Traffic Swings
Traffic swings occur for every single blogger who ever blogged.
Literally, nobody is immune from seeing traffic stats swing high, low, back, medium and all over, in between. How do you ride out these swings? Blog for the love of blogging and see traffic as an extra, a bonus, or some add on to your blogging campaign. Make the blogging work, the reward. See all else as extra, or a bonus, and you become totally chill in response to inevitable traffic swings. Way too many bloggers become obsessed with traffic stats. Even more make the foolish mistake of obsessing over traffic stats on a daily basis. Guys; this is nuts. How can you focus on daily traffic swings when you know all good, lasting things take time, energy and a willingness to have a vision? Relax. Slow down. Calm down. Trust in yourself. Trust in the blogging process. Good things take time and generous service.
Imagine if Jeff Bezos panicked over day to day traffic and sales numbers on founding Amazon over 2 decades ago? Imagine how doing so would have crippled his campaign? Everybody experiences swings – usually, wild swings – as a newbie entrepreneur and blogger because no growth is perfectly linear. Over time, with generous effort and a blanket trusting in the blogging process, you traffic increases month over month. But day to day analysis is a silly way to assess how you are doing. How in the heck can you honestly make a blanket assessment of your blog over a 24 hour period? It’s only 24 hours! We measure success in thousands and tens of thousands of hours…..not 24 hours. Come back down to earth. Get your head out of the clouds. Nothing of meaning, of lasting value, unfolds in 24 hours. Please be gentle with yourself and be even more gentle with your silly mind because the mind wants fast results but your heart knows; successful blogging is a long term gig.
Check Stats Infrequently
Do you have an absolute blast checking stats? If so, check stats monthly. Allow momentum to gain by generously helping people daily, over a monthly period. Observe your traffic stats to iron out any kinks and to not be swayed by the day to day fluctuations leveling most bloggers, creating a roller coaster wave of emotions in mind. I barely check metrics because if I love what I do, trust in the process and trust myself, the more generous service I put into blogging, the more blogging generously serves me. Simple equation here. Why in the heck would I assess my success based on 24 hour increments? Blogging success hinges on thousands of hours of generous service, not 24 hour blogs of work, right?
Pump your breaks guys. Get uber busy helping your readers by creating as much quality content as humanly possible. Be generous. Focus heavily on giving, not getting, to allow your daily stat checking obsession to dissolve just a wee bit. Blogging become uncomfortable here and there but does get easier and easier the more often you give freely of your time and talents. The challenge is not to panic when you resist checking stats for a few weeks as most folks go bonkers mad, ready to explode, once they try to detach from frequent stat checking.
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