As bloggers, how do we balance the needs and expectations of our readers who are fellow bloggers, with the needs and wants of our readers who are new bloggers and nonbloggers?
Ever since I built Dave Schoof’s Engaging the Disquiet, I’ve had this question. To date, most of his readers are not blog savvy. They’re prospective clients who want to know more about what Dave can do for them. But often, they’re uncertain what to do with his blog. Interestingly enough, his page about How to Use RSS is among his most read posts. So I’ve been pondering this question for quite some time.
Then last week Wendy Piersall decided to ask if we’re all just members of huge blogging clique. Wendy’s posts asked the right questions so I jumped in with Bloggers, Are We Just Blogging To The Choir? We must have touched something, because for both of us these quickly became one of our most read and commented on posts. Wendy even followed up with The Risks of Growing a Blog Too Big, writing about what she calls a ‘welcome mat:’
Lay Out the Welcome Mat on your Blog
- Set up a section with top posts, a site introduction, and a VERY basic intro to how to navigate and comment on a blog
- Occasionally write a â€œWelcome New Commentersâ€ post
- Always respond to the really thoughtful comments – somehow!
- Write posts in an â€œapproachable voiceâ€, inviting participation from everyone
Soon, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger was writing about The Balancing Act of Where to Pitch Your Content (Darren’s got some greater beginner content, by the way). Mike, who commented on ProBlogger, followed up with his own idea of creating beginner and advanced content.
The conversation this started is great. And some really good ideas were spawned like Wendy’s ‘welcome mat.’ or Darren’s idea of beginner and advanced feed content.
I’m also intrigued with Alex Shalman’s homepage. Check it out. When you get to his homepage, he has a quick, couple of paragraph introduction, followed by the five major sections of his site and then a brief intro to RSS. It’s very clean and his content is very well written. I’m curious, though, what type of effect that has on his traffic flow. And one thing I don’t see are any services he’s offering. I’ve asked Alex for a little feedback.
But what do you think? Do you like the ‘introductory home page?’ Or maybe Wendy’s ‘welcome mat?’ How do you think we should best meet new and non bloggers to our sites?
Even better, have you found a method for educating inexperienced readers about what your blog can do for them? Please share.ï¿½