If you plan on making blogging your full-time job (which I hope you are) then you need to understand how important it is to keep readers on your site.
When a reader comes to your site, and leaves that’s called a bounce. The longer a reader stays on your blog the higher your chances of making an income. Lower bounce rates also improve your seo score with Uncle G (Google). This tells Google what you have to offer is worth showing to more people.
On the other hand, if people are coming and leaving, Google see’s your site as less important and will drop your ranking, showing your content to less people.
I’d like to help you keep your reader longer and have them coming back to your blog. Just follow these simple steps to get started.
Target the right audience
Everything starts here. Your blog can’t speak to everyone. You need to know who you are writing for and target them. If you fail to target the right audience, your bounce rate will be high no matter what.
If I want to learn how to lose weight, a DIY craft blog will not interest me. I have no reason to stick. It offers little value to me because I am looking to lose weight.
Create catchy headlines
Everything starts with a great headline. If your headline fails to capture reader attention, even if they are on your post they will not read it.
Back then, you had to be a great copy writer to pull that off, but no worries, with a great tool like co-schedule you can create a great headline. As great as co-schedule is, it does not always work, rather than just guessing which headline will attract more readers, you can now A/B test two or more headlines against one another with thrives headline optimizer. Let your readers decide and stop speculating
Write quality content
I know you were expecting this. and as simple as it is, a lot of bloggers don’t do it. Having content that provides quality will keep a reader on your site and turn them into a returning one.
To achieve this, never write posts shorter than 800 words. The longer the better, but 800 is the minimum. I’ve seen bloggers who do 400-600 and I am not impressed. What value can you provide to someone looking for answers with 400 words. And yes, this helps with seo. It’s proven that longer content does way better in search than shorter ones.
Avoid content blocks
You must understand that people are lazy. You have to make it easy for them to want to stick around. Be mindful and understand that your blog is not the only one people are reading, so time is precious.
A great way to make it easier on your readers is to break down paragraphs. This makes it easier to digest. You’ll notice I break my paragraphs every 2-5 lines. No one wants to read a block of text. It hurts the eyes and strains the brain.
keep it simple.
How do you make your content easy to read?
- Break paragraphs into 2-5 lines.
- Use headings and sub-headings to make the content scannable.
- use bulleted list
Have a user-friendly design
Nothing like an ugly website to piss me off. Have you ever had that experience of visiting a site and bam! ugly fonts, pop ups, and a horrible design that contradicts itself right in your face.
I hope this is not you. This can usually be solved with a good theme that comes pre-user friendly and is easy to work with. A theme that does a great job of this is Elegant Themes. Everything is pre-ready and easy to tweak.
Add related posts
This plays two parts. What you want to do is add a list of related posts that go with what your current post is about. You can add this at the end of the post, which a lot of themes do automatically, and you could also at this within your post.
Having a small list of related posts sends the reader to other pages to read more information, keeping them on your site longer. Having related posts also passes link juice to other posts which helps strengthen your sites authority, putting you in good with uncle G (Google).
Add internal linking
This is what I mentioned when I was talking about related posts. With internal linking, you generally want to add it in with the text where necessary. As I said, this helps retain readers and also strengthen your site.
Here’s a quick trick: Link from multiple posts to the article you consider most valuable. Google will look at it as so, and you’ll get more readers to it if It’s optimized properly.
Open external links in new tabs
It’s important to not only do internal linking but to also link externally to quality sites. But I see a lot of people making the mistake of not setting that link to open in a new tab.
If your link does not open on a new tab when a reader clicks on it, they are not coming back. why would they, you sent them off to a better site and closed your own page.
Make sure when you add external links you hit the open in new window button if you wish to keep your readers
Improve your site speed
This is really important. If your site takes forever to load people won’t stick around. Understand we are in the era of speed. Fast internet, fast everything; people are expecting things to be fast. if your blog fails to do so they will find another resource rather than wait.
Have a most popular post area
As I said with the trick I told you about with linking to one post from multiple others, you should add a popular posts area on your sidebar. Maximum five posts shown, any more than that and it’s too much.
These are the posts that show off what your blog is all about. Having them on the sidebar will get them seen whenever a reader visits your site.
Add blog categories
It’s smart to make it easy to navigate your site, and what better way to do that then by adding a categories area. This allows readers to find what they are looking for a lot easier.
The best place to add this, is at the top, and at the footer to catch readers that scroll that far before they leave the page.
Add a search bar
Not everyone is the same. You want your blog optimized for all readers and having a search bar is something you need to have. It’s a small detail, but important.
I for example, know what I am looking for when I go to a site, so the first thing I look for is the search bar. Easiest way to find something on a blog I am not familiar with. Not everyone wants to go to the categories area to find what they are looking for.
Remember, make it easy.
I hate to say this because so many others are saying it, but email is important, I have temporally stopped using email to run some experiments and my traffic is not the same when a new post goes live.
What you must understand is that people who sign up to your email list are your ideal readers. They are already interested in what you have to say, want to stick around and are easier to sell to. They are the first to show up when you put out new content and either share, or buy what you have to offer.
Note: a great way to capture readers that don’t stick is by using an exit intent popup. It’s when the reader is about to leave, and you offer them something to sign up for your newsletter.
The best tool that is easy to use and that does a great job of this is Thrive Leads. When managing your newsletter, you can use mail chimp to start and shift to Convertkit when you are ready to get serious.
Take it easy with the ads
It’s a good idea to monetize your blog, but don’t be blinded by greed or you will push readers away.
If you look at my site for example, you’ll see I use ads, but I use one or two max per page and make sure they aren’t in your face.
I hate it when I visit a blog and ads are everywhere that it distracts me from what I am trying to read.
When that happens I either leave, because I can easily find the same information somewhere else, or if I can’t and what the person is saying is that valuable, I block their ads.
I understand ads are a way to keep a site running, so I do not block them for no reason. Yes, you are trying to make a profit, but be mindful of how you display ads and how many you have on one page.
Ask questions (CTA)
It’s human nature to want to answer a question once it is asked.
You should aim have a call to action at the end of your posts or ask a question. It’s not necessary all the time, but it’s good practice. If I ask you how was your knowledge of bounce rates before reading this post, you’ll be more likely to want to leave a comment.
You could also ask your readers to share the post if they found it helpful. Just because you have a share button does not mean they will.
By the way, be sure to share this post if you found it valuable, you never know who needs to hear this.