Keeping Readers on Your Blog Longer is Easier than You Think!

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Bloggers put in a lot of effort into writing articles that they think their readers will enjoy and give them creative titles to entice the reader to click over and read them.  But that effort is all for nothing if the reader clicks away from the page a few seconds after clicking on it.  So, what can you do to keep on your blog longer?  Here are some things to keep in mind and some pointers. 

keeping readers on your blog longer

Examine Your Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a fancy term that means how quickly the reader clicked away from a site.  High bounce rates are bad as it means that readers clicked away from the site very quickly, while low bounce rates mean that the reader found a reason to stay on the site for longer. 

With any website, the goal is to keep the bounce rate as low as possible.  Not only does this mean that the page contains information that the audience wants, but it also means that the site’s ranking will be higher than a site with a high bounce rate.  Google, for example, rewards low bounce rates with a higher site ranking, which results in the site showing up higher in the search results. Your bounce rate shows if you are doing a good job of keeping readers on your blog longer so examine it carefully.

Why do readers bounce?

If you have a site with a high bounce rate, you need to determine why, before you spend any money on marketing.  According to James Scherer, two main reasons for high bounce rates are either because the page was bad, or that it was not giving the reader a reason to stay. 

Bad pages could be the result of being too in your face, or it could be because it is visually unappealing.  There are many examples out there of sites that are covered in ads and flashing graphics.  These pages can be hard to read or navigate through, as they are too distracting.  If readers cannot read the content because of all the distractions, they are going to look somewhere else for the information.

High bounce rates can also occur when a reader is promised something that was not delivered.  This could be the result of the article not providing enough in-depth information, the article was poorly written, or that there was something which prohibited the reader from continuing, such as requiring information from the reader before they can have access to the article.  All these things can result in the reader going somewhere else to find what they are looking for. 

What can you do to fix these issues?  Here are some tips:

It’s All About the Looks

The way your site looks like is indicative of whether you will be able to keep readers on your blog longer. The moment someone clicks on a site they begin evaluating the site’s aesthetics and content.  Now, if it takes them longer than a few seconds to see the site, they are going to bounce to a different site that loads faster.   If your site takes a long time to load, find what is slowing it down and get rid of it.  If it is preventing people from landing on your site, it is not worth being on the site.

Also, take a moment to evaluate the layout of the site.  Can a reader easily find the article, or are there too many ads and pop-ups blocking their way?  If the site is the latter, try starting fresh with the layout and focus on having the article center-staged.  Once the layout is reader-friendly and the content is center-stage, a couple of additional features can be introduced. 

Make People Want to Read It

Start with headlines and subtitles that are easy to read and intriguing.  If the reader is very interested in the proposed topic, they will stay on the page longer to see if it provides useful information to them.   

Explaining the obvious in the article should also be avoided to keep the reader from being bored.  If the article is geared towards an audience with some background knowledge, beginner concepts do not need to be dwelled on.  This is because if the content is too basic, the reader may feel like that they are beyond the information presented and will move on to other sites. 

Capture their Attention

Now that the reader has landed on the site, they need to be given a reason to stay. 

Embedded videos are a great way to keep a reader on the site.  Recent video statistics show that readers spend approximately 2.6 times longer on a page with a video than on a page that does not.  This makes sense, as readers spend time watching the video to see if it adds to their experience.  As readers watch the video, they are spending longer on the site, thereby reducing the bounce rate.  The same study also found that if video is included on a landing page, it can increase the page’s conversion rate by up to 80%.  So embedding a video onto a site can be quite advantageous.

Another way to capture the reader’s attention is to write a post that can be referred to and referenced time and time again.  These posts should be longer and include at least 1 to 2 relevant external links to give the post authority.  When provided a valuable informational resource, readers will bookmark it and refer to it time and time again, thereby increasing the site’s credibility. 

Help them find related content

To build a rapport with the reader, and to keep them engaged with the site, related informational posts should be provided.   One way to keep a reader engaged is to use internal links to articles previously written.  By linking the current article to a related older article, it not only keeps the reader engaged, it also keeps old posts alive.

A second way to let the reader know that there are related posts is to advertise this fact in either a sidebar ad or footer ad.  This can be achieved by installing a related post WordPress plugin.  There are many plugins that are available and by installing it, the site’s internal traffic can be increased. 

A third way to keep the reader engaged is to change the site’s layout to include a menu bar that breaks down posts into categories.  This will allow the reader to search through post categories on their own to find articles they find interesting. 

A final way to offer readers related content is to add a search bar to the site.  This will allow the user to search either for topics or keywords that they are interested in. 

Keeping readers on your blog longer

In conclusion, the best way to keep readers on your blog longer is give the reader information that they would find useful and present it in a way that is visually appealing, easy to read and not too distracting.  In doing this, bloggers will decrease their bounce rate and build a loyal audience in the process. 

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