I’d just spent the past 8 hours of my life working on what I considered to be the best piece I’d ever written in my life.
It was a guest post for a massive blog and it was perfect by all guest blogging standards. It was interesting, relevant and chock full of useful information.
This post is by Liz Seda.
I was sure that this was going to be the post that would catapult me from B-list blogger to A-list influencer.
I went to bed full of hope and promise that by next week I would be dealing with crashing servers from the flood of traffic to my site and hiring an assistant to help me sort through the fan mail I’d receive from thousands of new subscribers.
If only it were that easy.
The Magic Post is a Myth. Get Over It.
The morning my magic guest post went live I diligently retrieved the customer support number off of Bluehost’s site and made sure I had a lot of coffee on hand. Today was a big day and I wanted to be prepared.
- 7:00AM – The post goes live. My entire body is tense and I keep refreshing the page to check for comments, tweets, and Facebook likes.
- 7:05AM – I get a few hits to my website from the site my guest post was published on. “And now it begins,” I thought to myself. I open Mailchimp to monitor new subscribers.
- 10:00AM – I’m getting a ton of traffic to my site, but no subscribers. I begin to feel nervous.
- 2:00PM – Still no subscribers. I consider calling Mailchimp to see what the problem is.
- 5:00PM – I get my first subscriber. I also have a horrible headache from staring at the computer screen.
By the end of the day, I’d gotten 3 subscribers. Total subscribers from that post added up to a whopping 5 as of January 2013.
For the record, I’d like to make it known that I appreciate and love every single one of my readers.
Nevertheless, I was mildly disappointed (aka devastated) that my perfect guest post wouldn’t have a lasting effect on the reach of my message.
Instead what I got was a temporary high. A wave of traffic in one day feels great. For that day.
Then your traffic immediately begins to plummet and you level off at a daily visitor number somewhere slightly higher than where it was.
There are exceptions where people gained a massive following after a single guest post, but this is not the rule and it’s highly unlikely to happen to you – especially if you’re counting on it.
If that’s what you’re waiting for, move on. There’s enough noise in the blogosphere without all of us having to contend with your vanity. The people who experience that kind of exponential growth actually have something to say and someone to say it to.
I’m ashamed to say that, on the day my infamous magic post went live, I was not one of these people.
Herein lies my problem.
You Have to Care About the People
I wrote a perfect guest post for a blog relevant to mine with the sole intention of inflating my subscriber number.
I wasn’t all that concerned about why they subscribed. I didn’t worry myself with the trivial task of giving them as much value and incentive as I could. I already had an awesome free ebook and I was far too busy preparing for rockstardom.
It was a game of numbers for me. If I could get X number of people to my site, then I should be able to get at least Y number of subscribers. The math was good enough for me.
As it turns out, my potential subscribers didn’t give two craps about the math. In my oversaturated niche, people don’t just subscribe for the ebook; they subscribe for the long term relationship. My readers are in it for the long haul and I wasn’t giving them a good enough reason to stick around.
I lost sight of why I started blogging in the first place: to help my readers live a live on their own terms. I expected them to do the heavy lifting for me, and that’s just not how it works.
After I crawled out from under the bed, got sober, and thought about it for a while, I decided that from now on I would roll out the red carpet for every single visitor to my site.
Once I shifted my focus from my readers at large, a nameless, shapeless mass that is supposed to convert at a certain rate, to my individual reader, a person above all else, everything started to change.
Treating Your Visitors Like Royalty
These days, instead of leaving my conversion rate up to the god of statistics, I take control of it by taking every measure I can to treat each visitor like royalty.
The most lucrative tactic I implemented was putting up custom landing pages for every single site I guest posted at.
That’s right, even this one. If you click on the link to my site, you’ll see that it was made just for you.
Once I started doing this, I saw a dramatic increase in how many subscribers I got per guest post, how much time people were spending on my site, and how many actions they were taking.
Most impressively, my conversion rate doubled by taking this one extra action. To prove this wasn’t just a fluke or a matter of writing an article on a subject more likely to attract subscribers, I’ve put together the data according to how relevant my site is to that particular audience.
For example, here’s the conversion rate for two guest posts that are very relevant to my message:
- Tiny Buddha: Overcoming Eating Disorders and Other Dangerous Addictions – Conversion rate without custom landing page – 13%
- My Super Charged Life: The Surprising Truth About Mind Control – Conversion rate with custom landing page – 24%
Now, here’s the conversion rate for two guest posts less related to my niche:
- Brazen Careerist: The Wannabe Entrepreneur’s Quiz: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Quitting Your Day Job – Conversion Rate without custom landing page – 7%
- Lifehack: How to Create Stunning Infographics in 30 Minutes or Less – Conversion Rate without custom landing page - 15%
As expected, the guest posts on Tiny Buddha and My Super Charged Life converted at a much higher rate than Brazen Careerist and Lifehack because their audience is similar to mine. However, in both cases, regardless of the kind of audience I was writing for, the conversion rate doubled when I added in a custom landing page!
The best part is it only took 5 minutes.
Note: I’ll need to give credit to one of my mastermind team members, Izzy from The 30 Year Old Ninja for helping me come up with the idea for creating custom landing pages.
Creating a Custom Landing Page Template
I’ve had the opportunity to test a few different landing page layouts, and this is the one that’s performed the best for me.
Customize the title of the page to reflect the audience you’ll be attracting as well as the tone of your blog. My blog is very personal and down to earth, so I start off with a casual hello and a big picture of me trying to hug them.
Tell them that you know exactly where they’re coming from and you’re familiar with that blog and it’s owner. Build some rapport with them if you can by piggy-backing off of the relationship you have with the owner of the blog they’re coming from.
Then let them know that you’ve gone through your archives for them and hand-picked articles you think they would like based on the blog they’re coming from and, if you have only one article on that blog, the name of the article they’d be clicking over from.
Also give them the opportunity to find out more about your site by including links to the about and start page.
To make the body short, I decided to leave out a sentence explaining what my blog is about, but if you have room, this is where you should put it. Once sentence should suffice since you’ve already hand-picked your best stuff for them to look at!
Include a call to action and try to customize that call to action for this audience. For example, in my opt-in box I ask people if they want to read about more powerful stories since that’s what I wrote about in my guest post at My Super Charged Life.
Once you’ve created an initial template, all you have to do is copy and paste it into a new page, editing the page title, list of articles, and the first paragraph to match the new blog you’re making the landing page for. If you have an archives page, this should take you, literally, only five minutes!
Maybe you’re in the position where 5 extra minutes for each guest post isn’t worth your time. However, if you were, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Your readers are worth the extra 5 minutes. The success of your blog is worth an extra 5 minutes.
And although you may not experience overnight stardom using this technique, it’s another way you’ll set yourself apart.
Every time you do more than expected, go further than necessary, or give more than your audience bargained for, you’ll be that much closer to your ultimate goal. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” Why don’t you join me there?