Your blog is designed to inform and provide value to prospects who have questions related to your products or services. They likely Googled a common issue you have written about or saw an article you published on Facebook or Twitter and found it interesting.
But that initial interest doesn’t always translate to long term sales success. The industry standard for session duration on a website is 2-3 minutes. If you find visitors leaving your blog in under a minute with a bounce rate higher than 70%, what can you do to capture and hold their attention for longer?
Let’s look at six of the most effective ways to build content and a user experience that better engages visitors from the moment they land on your website.
What’s the single most important part of your blog post? What will people care about once they read it? This should be the focal point of that content when they land on the page. A well-structured article gets to the point quickly and then builds on it to provide depth and added value.
Business Insider does this exceptionally well in its stories. Every article has a detailed lede, 3-5 bullet points that emphasize the key points of the article (often with links), and a relevant image attached. The combination of these three things means everyone who lands there gets exactly what they need in just a few seconds, and can then dig deeper into the website to learn more.
Similar to the first point, keep your content concise. A long blog post can be immensely valuable, but it should be because you provide in-depth details, not because you’re trying to hit a magical word count that will generate more traffic.
Keep paragraphs short (four lines or less). Eliminate unnecessary verbiage. Use subheadings and bullet points liberally. Help users read your content quicker, especially on mobile devices (where 52% of all web traffic is recorded).
Make it as easy as possible for visitors to leave comments and subscribe to your blog. Have you ever seen a blog subscription form that asked for more than two fields (first name and email)? If so, it probably didn’t work.
The same holds true for comments. You can moderate initial comments, but avoid extraneous barriers like required form fields, logins, or CAPTCHAs that require any more than the click of a button.
Also, make sure your blog is quick to load. A blog that suffers from WordPress performance issues won’t grow as well as a fast-loading blog.
If someone spends 4-6 minutes reading your blog post, what next? Internet users are notoriously fickle. They bounce from page to page, often looking for a single nugget of information – a hook that will catch them and keep them in place for long enough to get what they need.
For those who do engage with your content, offer them the next step. Include targeted calls to action that guide them in the right direction. These can be lead magnets that offer more in-depth discussion on the blog post’s topic.
They can be links to other pages or blog posts that are related to the article. They can be simple contact buttons for people who want to ask you a question or book a meeting. But every single blog post should have at least one call to action.
A blog post should never just be a blog post. It should be the first step to obtaining substantial value from your website. Some of the additional things you can do with it include:
- Offer downloadable versions of your longest blog posts that can be easily printed and shared.
- Include links to relevant videos, downloads, and blog posts on your thank you page after someone subscribes or downloads something.
- Visualize content and make it easy for people to share those images with a quick tweet or pin buttons for social media.
- Include video wherever possible. Even if you didn’t produce the video, remember that more than half of web users would rather watch a video than read an article.
Your blog content should be concise and well-written, but keep in mind that the average time someone spends reading content is less than 10 seconds. They are looking for solutions. Provide different ways for them to get those solutions.
Kissmetrics did a study on page-load times and found that a 1-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% drop off in conversions. People are incredibly impatient and slow loading times can kill your retention rates. For a blog, in particular, that means small image sizes, a well-designed layout, and frequent updates to ensure it loads quickly for everyone.
The rest of your website should be similarly up to spec – not only loading quickly, but working seamlessly on all device types with no visible issues on tablets, smartphones, or other sizes.
A blog is an extension of your brand. As such, it should evoke the same sense of customer care that a phone call with you would. Slow websites with minimal graphics, large blocks of text, and no calls to action are hard to use and lack significant value.
With the right combination of quality content, an ever-present next step for users looking for answers, and regular updates to keep your website and content user-friendly, you can significantly increase how long someone spends on your site.