Blog Visits: How To Make Every Second Count
Like blog visitors who are ready to leave at a second’s notice, the first thing my grandfather always did when my grandmother and he came to visit was to check the return train schedule.
Even though, they had barely stepped into the house and taken off their coats.
This allowed my grandmother sufficient time to enjoy her visit, fix her make up, and be ready to leave.
My mother always kidded, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”
As a blogger, you’re a lot like my grandmother who wanted to stay and savor her time with her grandchildren but was bound by the train schedule. You want to increase your blog visitors’ time on blog.
BUT you’ve got 10 to 20 seconds before your average blog visitor leaves.
The first 10 seconds of a visit determine whether a reader will stay or leave. New visitors continue to have a high possibility of leaving during the subsequent 20 seconds.
The curve doesn’t flatten out until after someone’s stayed the first 30 seconds. After that, they continue to leave but at a significantly lower rate than during the first 30 seconds.
For bloggers, this can be disheartening news. To put it in context, bounce rates or single page sessions are 70% to 98% for blogs. By contrast the bounce rate for content sites is 40% to 60%.
While homepages tend to be the highest viewed page, linking to deeper pages often results in higher bounce rates according to Jakob Nielsen. (BTW–here’s how to check if your blog is driving readers away.)
Although Nielsen doesn’t give a reason for higher bounce rates, it’s most likely attributable to the lack of context and core features that enable visitors to find the additional information they want.
Increasingly blog visitors enter your blog through a broad spectrum of different sources and devices. As a result, every page and article layout must provide visitors with relevant information without distracting them. You have to increase blog appeal!)
Remember your goal is to drive them further into your blog as well as to offer ways to connect with you again later.
Readers consume 20% of the text on the average page. (If they focus solely on reading, they’ll consume 28% of the words on a webpage.)
Bear in mind that most users are goal-oriented and look to meet their information needs efficiently. As a blogger, offer visitors appealing content and options to encourage them to spend more time on your blog.
10 Ways to increase time on blog
To extend time on blog, include these 10 elements on each blog page. Where possible, place these components above the fold because visitors seeking specific information may not scroll further if they don’t find it.
1. Speed up blog load times. Bear in mind that people have limited time and patience for your blog to load. BTW—Google also cares about your load speed.
2. Make your blog search box prominent. Allow visitors to refine what they’re looking for on your site. This is important if they’ve arrived via a social media link or search. If they don’t see what they want immediately, they’re gone. Bear in mind that visitors may use search as an alternative to your blog’s navigation.
3. Provide blog navigation that’s intuitive to new visitors. Not sure about this? Then ask your social media colleagues for input. Don’t forget to include alternative search methods like footer links, categories and date archives.
4. List your Top 5 or 10 posts. Guide readers to your best-loved articles. If other people liked them, it’s a good guess new visitors will. You can use your analytics or a blog plug-in.
5. Include a “New to this Site?” button. Instead of making newbies jump in the deep end of your blog content, help them start out. Pat Flynn not only has a tab on his navigation for newbies, he also has a big button in the middle of the page.
6. Enhance blog usability. Don’t scare visitors off before they ever read a word of your blog! Make your blog easy-to-read with a readable font and easy-on-the-eyes color. Also, chunk your information so that it’s not a massive, indigestible block.
7. Entice visitors to join your email list. Make them more than a once-and-gone visitor. Give them a reason to receive your information. Remember it has to have value to them. It often involves an ebook or other give-away. (BTW—I’d be thrilled if you’d sign up for our emails!!!)
8. Remove unnecessary elements. Get rid of anything that doesn’t get your reader closer to his goals and your goals. Less is more when it comes to blog presentation.
9. Let visitors contact you. Give customers multiple ways to get their questions answered, including “Contact Us” e-mail and chat, relevant phone numbers, and a physical address (if appropriate).
10. Encourage social media sharing and following. Get your visitors to share your content as well as to follow you on the relevant social media platforms. Don’t overlook email a friend!!!
BONUS: Make sure that links on every page work. While this seems obvious, nothing creates a worse user experience than a link that doesn’t work or leads to content that’s no longer available. If you provide links to time-sensitive material, consider making it open indefinitely from that communication.
Does this mean your blog doesn’t need a useful, attractive home page? No.
BUT understand that in today’s social media and mobile connected world, your blog home page may not be where most of the action is.
To better appreciate how your visitors move through your blog assess these 3 blog metrics.
- Monitor sites or URLs visitors come from and the ones they go to when they leave your site. Based on this information you can better tailor your blog articles and landing pages to meet their needs.
- Track the pages your visitors use to enter your blog. Analyze the type of content that attracts new readers in terms of the subject matter, author, and format.
- Assess visitors’ on-site activities for your business to determine which resonate with your customers. This enables you to connect your blog content with lead and sales generation.
With expanded ways to attract an audience for your blog, provide prospective visitors with multiple ways to get more information and to refine their requests regardless of how they entered your blog. Your goal is to keep them on your blog longer.
Don’t assume they’ll remember to return. Therefore, provide a way for them to connect with you again!!!
How do you improve your blog visits to make every second count?
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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