We all want our blogs to be a success, we toil day after day to create unique content, participate in social media to help drive traffic to our sites, and do our best to make the RSS feed subscription button easy to see and click. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that helps people determine if their behaviour is appropriate. It is sometimes also know as the bandwagon effect. Little did you know that social proof might be playing a larger part in the success of your blog than you might realize.
Look at your blog, what forms of social proof do you use to show people that they should continue to visit and subscribe to your blog? One of the most noticeable items of social proof is the feed count. We love to display the number of loyal readers that we have reading our blog. Here at Epiblogger we choose not to display our feed count, but as of this writing our feed count sits at 86 subscribers. It has gone as high as 96. Displaying your feed count is a form of social proof. The theory goes if you have 20,000 subscribers certainly your blog must be worth reading and people are more likely to subscribe to your blog. The reverse is also true, if you only have 10 readers why would people bother to subscribe to your blog. There are many people that will argue that they don’t subscribe to blogs if they don’t like the content, but once you have a decent RSS subscriber count it can be worthwhile to display the number. It can lead to more subscribers on a regular basis.
Another form of social proof on a blog is the comments. Blogs that get more comments appear more lively and are more interesting to other readers. It encourages new readers to take part and creates more of a sense of community. As of writing this post Epiblogger has 97 posts and 382 comments. that is a comment to post ratio of 3.94 comments per post. Find ways to highlight your comments. Those conversations and activity help people to feel they have a place on your blog and can help draw people into your blog. Trackbacks and pingbacks are also an important part of the comments. It shows people what kind of conversations have been going on around the web because of your post.
MyBlogLog and BlogCatelog widgets and others like them are great social proof widgets on blogs. They should you the faces and sometimes the names of the people that have visited your blog. they also provide a way for people to join your blog community on those websites where people can see even more social proof of how popular your blog is. I think it is great that Epiblogger has 30 members at MyBlogLog. If that helps people to find us and keeps people reading then great.
Social media can provide another form of social proof on your blog. If you are active on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg or another social media community let people know on your blog. If you have hundreds of followers and take part in the communities it can help boost your blog profile. Many people don’t subscribe to RSS feeds but will follow you on the social media websites you participate in and come back again and again to read your posts.
What other forms of social proof do you use and see on blogs that help to draw people to be regular readers and visitors to your blog?
Photo by Kevin Briody