After I finish reading a post on your blog, you optimally want me to do at least one of the following:
- Subscribe to your RSS feed.
- Submit your post to a social bookmarking site.
- Leave a comment.
- Read another post.
It’s most likely that I won’t subscribe to your feed unless I find more than one good post on your site. Just reading one post isn’t going to get me to subscribe. I may Digg or Stumble the current post if it’s good, but you’ll have to shove more posts in my face if you want to get a new RSS subscriber.
That’s where “related posts” come in. Using a plug-in like Similar Posts, you can show a few links to posts that (the plugin thinks) are related to the one I finished reading. That solves the problem of convincing me to subscribe.
Now you need to make it easy for me to subscribe. Unless there’s a button visible without having to scroll back up to the top of the page, I’ll have to hunt for one…and you don’t want that. If I can’t subscribe without expending effort, I may give up and go somewhere else. Just put a link to your feed at the end of every post (in your Single Post template, of course).
Don’t forget about social bookmarking services! I should be able to easily Digg or Stumble your post…but don’t clutter your template up with icons. I suggest using the ShareThis Classic plugin for WordPress, which adds a slick pop-up menu that hides the social bookmarking icons until they’re needed.
By now your permalink pages could be looking pretty cluttered. You’ve been putting all of these things in your Single Post template, and the space between your posts and their comments is starting to become a mishmash of unrelated stuff. You’ll get nowhere fast if you keep up like that. If there’s too much between the content and the comments some people will leave before they even get to them. Find a way to style the things you put there. Here are a few examples, for inspiration:
What are you waiting for? Go tweak your blog’s template…but before you go, subscribe to my RSS feed and Digg this post.