If you’re looking to learn how to keep people on a blog longer, then you first need to understand what happens the moment when a visitor clicks in to your site.
In a modern world with computers and smartphones, you’ve basically got your entire life beneath your fingertip.
Social life, finances, planning, organizing… it can all be taken care of with your cellphone.
So it’s no wonder that as technology improves with time, our attention spans simultaneously decline.
We get less patient. We crave more information in less time.
As a result, we generally spend less time on each website we visit.
So… I want you to reflect for a moment:
Imagine that every new person you meet, you can talk to for only 10 seconds. That’s the only brief moment you get to make a connection and somehow make them remember you. After that you’ll never see them again. What would you say?
10 seconds isn’t long. But the hard reality is that it’s about all the time you have to grab the attention of new visitors on your blog.
If they – for whichever reason – decide that they don’t like your blog, they leave and are most likely gone forever!
So what can you do? How do you make your blog more attractive to your readers and make them stay on for longer?
Well, keep reading and you’ll know!
Table of Contents
Reduce Page Load Time
There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a link and then having to wait for the site to load. The fact is that the longer a page takes to load, the higher your bounce rate will be.
Reducing your page load time is one of the most hands-on actions you can take in order to keep your visitors from leaving your blog.
I personally use GTmetrix to measure my blog’s speed, and try correct at least the most crucial errors displayed. Compressing images and minifying your code are often two of the most significant changes you can make on your blog in order to improve the load time dramatically.
Get Rid Of Clutter
Your blog should provide a clear path of where the reader should look upon entering the page. The design should “guide” your users through the page with gradually less eye-catching elements. For example:
- Beginning with the logo – the most eye-catching.
- The featured post image – slightly less eye-catching.
- Then the headline – yet even less eye-catching.
- And least, the call to action – the least eye-catching.
This can greatly reduce the risk of confusing your visitors as they enter your page. A busy page can quickly overwhelm a user, and make them leave prematurely.
Personally, I try to get rid of as many distractions I can on my blog. Some of the actions include:
- Avoid backgrounds with images or busy patterns. Solid color or gradients usually work best.
- Remove tag clouds.
- Get rid of unnecessary social media widgets.
- Reduce the number of social media networks in my sharing plugin to around max 3-4.
- Keep the number of ads down.
- Only keep the most important items in the navigation menus.
There are more ways to get rid of distractions, but the absolutely best thing for you would be to have a look at each element on your blog and think through whether it really needs to be there, or if it’s just a distraction for the user.
Make It Easy To Read
Providing a good user experience is extremely important to keep your readers on your blog longer.
Small text is very hard to read, so get your font up to a good size. Don’t exaggerate, though. A good rule of thumb is that if you can read the text when you squint your eyes, it’s big enough.
Also make sure that your paragraphs aren’t too long. 2-3 sentences per paragraph is usually enough and makes your content a lot more digestible for the readers.
Split up your content by using headings and subheadings, and don’t be afraid to add a little white space between paragraphs and headings. This makes sure that your post doesn’t turn into a “wall of text” that nobody will read.
When somebody reads your post all the way through – to the end – chances are that they’re interested in reading even more. Providing links to related posts gives the reader a chance to delve deeper into and learn more about your niche.
It’s crucial that the posts you link to really are related to the one they’re currently reading, though. Use detailed tags and categories for your posts to make it easier for scripts be able to link to truly related articles – links that people will click.
Additionally, getting people to click through to more articles reduces the bounce rate on your blog, so there’s no reason to not provide them with related articles.
About & Start Here Page
As your blog grows, the amount of articles will increase as well. Having an “About” or “Start Here” page – where the user can click in to find the most relevant or important posts on your blog – is a good way to get them to begin reading your content where intended.
This also gives you a chance to redirect your visitors to the most profitable posts you currently have. However, just make sure that these posts are actually helpful for them.
Additionally, the “About” or “Start Here” pages give you the chance to properly introduce yourself to the visitor. Make them get to know you and start building trust, which is so darn important in the online marketing space nowadays.
Deliver On Your Headline’s Promise
Take a look at the title of this post. It describes exactly what this post is about, right? It’s quite obvious that this post will try to show you how to keep people on a blog longer.
So as a reader, you naturally expect to find that kind of content as you start reading the post. The content delivers what the headline promises.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but there are so many posts out there that state something in the headline and then don’t follow through in the content.
Please, don’t be one of these bloggers. Provide the value you promise to deliver, and you’ll be having satisfied visitors.
Engage With Your Readers
There’s only one way to truly find out what your readers want with your blog.
How? Ask them!
There are several ways you can go about with this:
- Start connecting with your visitors and ask them to provide feedback on your posts.
- Set up a “Contact” page, from which they’ll always be able to shoot you a message.
- Chat with users in your comments area. If new visitors see there’s some activity going on in your comments, chances are they’ll join in too!
- Connect with them through your favorite social media network.
The best thing would be if you could implement all of these strategies in your blogging efforts. Show your readers that you’re really there to take on their questions and address their concerns!
Start Building A List
As a user comes to the end of their visit on your blog, they’re hopefully satisfied with the valuable information you’ve provided them with. If this is the case – GOOD! – they might want to come back some day.
Now, you’re left with a choice. You can choose one of the following two scenarios:
- Rely on your visitors to bookmark your blog, or memorize the address for future visits.
- Collect their e-mail address so that you can send them a link when you want them to come back.
Which option do you think would be more likely to get your visitors back to your blog?
Personally, I’d go with the 2nd alternative. This way, I’d be able to control the flow to my blog and make sure my blog won’t be forgotten.
And to be honest, I rarely bookmark any websites anymore. In fact, I don’t even know which sites I have bookmarked. Without looking – do you know which bookmarks you have?
I recommend that you start building an e-mail list for marketing in the future. Build a relationship with your readers and keep posting quality content, and your open rates will be awesome!
NOTE: While this technically doesn’t keep the users on your blog, it’s still worth a mention as it’s such a simple – but powerful – strategy to make them come back and read more of your content.
So, have you given those initial 10 seconds that people spend on your blog any thought yet? Do you understand how important that first impression is for the very survival of your blog?
By being aware of how a lousy first impression affects your users, and knowing how to avoid it, you’ve got a huge advantage over your competition.
When your blog looks inviting and satisfying, a greater number of visitors will start reading your content and actually digest what it is you’re trying to tell them.
A distraction-free blog design lets your readers get to where you want them without much effort. Keep your content free from clutter and easy to read, and you’ll avoid frustrating or confusing them.
Furthermore, you should give your visitors what they want. If they finish reading your post, make sure there are related posts at the bottom of it, so that people can delve deeper into – and gather more knowledge about – your niche.
Use headlines that correlates with your content. Your articles should always deliver on the promise made in their headlines!
Also make sure to engage with your readers. The blog’s commenting area is a superb meeting spot for you and your visitors. Answer their questions, give them advice and just be present to give your blog more life.
Finally, perhaps the most important takeaway from this post is that you should start building your e-mail list if you aren’t already. Focus hard on it, because a big list can bring you an insane amount of targeted traffic on demand. This is ultimately what you want, as targeted visitors tend to stay on your blog the longest. They’re also a lot easier to convert into sales.
So what tricks are you personally using to keep people on your blog longer? Is there anything you think I should add in this post? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!