Sometimes you spend hours researching, writing and publishing a blog post, but still it falls flat and doesn’t perform as you expected. This probably happens because you don’t know how to engage your readers’ brains with your content. Hence, understanding what your readers like as important as writing high-quality content.
Actually, the problem often is not with your content but is with the user engagement optimization strategy used on your blog, which fails to gain the attention of your target audience. This blog post is written with the intention of showing you twelve proven ways, using which you can boost reader engagement on your blog to a large extent.
Let’s dive in!
First things first, you need to understand who your target audience is, what they expect from you and how you can help them. Without determining your ideal audience, you can’t write a great blog post and make a strong connection with your readers. Since your audience is the foundation of your blog, you must define it correctly so that you could match your content with their needs perfectly. So instead of writing for everyone, create content appropriate to your specific audience.
Headline is certainly the most important but most neglected part of a blog post and therefore needs to be written very carefully. It attracts users first because it gives them a clear idea of what your content actually delivers. To write stunning must-click headlines, it would be better for you to analyze what kind of content performs better on various social media platforms. This will not only give you an idea about what users want to learn but also will aid you create attractive headlines that really entice readers.
When it comes to increasing user engagement on a blog, the old proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words” proves to be quite true. Strictly speaking, a blog post without compelling images is just like body without soul. According to Jeff Bullas, articles with relevant images get 94% more total views than articles with no images. This demonstrates how crucial it is to use attention grabbing images related to your content on your blog. For better results, use at least one image per every 350 words.
Don’t limit yourself only to publishing text-based blog posts. Instead, try different types of content – like Videos, Graphs, Podcasts and Infographics — on your blog to give users a break from boring text. According to a study done by HubSpot, 90% of the information that comes to human brain is visual that is processed sixty thousand times faster than text. That means if you’re not including any visual content in your blog posts, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to get more likes, comments, and shares.
Do you write your blog posts in an academic style? If so, you’re doing absolutely wrong. People don’t want to be lectured and hate content full of jargon, euphemism and mumbo jumbo. Since they want to feel like you’re talking with them, you need to write your content in a down-to-earth conversational tone. Even if your content is technical, try to make it as engaging as possible. Write the way you talk, people will surely love the way you write!
Internal linking is not only great from an SEO point of view but also plays a vital role in decreasing the bounce rate of you blog. By allowing your visitors to easily navigate from one page to another, it generates more page views per visitor. So it’s always a good practice to link to relevant blog posts using anchor text. However, the overuse of this tactic (more than twice/thrice per post, depending on the article length) may annoy your visitors. So be careful about how many internal links you use in a blog post.
As you may have noticed already, conducting blog interviews is a new emerging trend in Blogosphere. Interviewing experts in your niche is a great way to excite and engage your blog readers who often get bored with the same content day after day. Hence, consider interviewing with someone in your field who is known for not giving interviews. Also, if you’re in a strong relationship with some of your customers/readers, host a series of their interviews on your blog, just like what MyThemeShop has done.
This is possibly one of the best ways to invoke readers’ interest in your blog articles. Most of the people often eager to give their opinion regardless of whether others are agree or disagree with them. Where a well written question title proves quite helpful to pique users’ curiosity in reading your blog post till the end to find out the right answer, on the other hand, asking structured questions at end of a blog post encourage your readers to discuss their opinions via comments.
If someone is highly impressed with your blog post and feels compelled to reply to it immediately via commenting, make it easy for them to do so. Don’t annoy your readers with tedious things like a lengthy signup form or an image with distorted letters. Otherwise, they will not even think about leaving a comment on your blog. You can embed Disqus or Facebook commenting system to let users easily comment on your content. Also, use social media buttons to make it easy for readers to share your content.
Statistics show that more and more users today are accessing Internet from mobile and tablet devices than desktop ones. This means, if you’ve not optimized your blog for mobile devices yet, you’re missing out on a huge amount of traffic that is supposed to come from a variety of mobile devices. Since less traffic leads to less user engagement, you must make your blog mobile friendly. Not only this will improve your blog’s ranking in search engines but also increase reader engagement on your blog.
Running polls, quizzes, surveys and contests related to your niche is another great and effective way to grab users’ attention and drive new traffic to your blog. This not only makes visitors feel that they are an integral part of your online community but also helps you know what they actually think. You can use their thinking to decide what kind of content you should publish in future. Furthermore, you can make your blog more interactive by sharing interesting facts and stats collected through your readers.
People really love free stuff, so offer them something like a downloadable eBook or report for absolutely nothing. This will help you reach new audiences, draw your existing readers in and dramatically boost your blog’s traffic. And if your free stuff is of high-quality, users will surely love to share it with others and also come back to your blog. So give away some of your best stuff for free. The more good stuff you give away, the more reader engagement you’ll have on your blog.
[image source: flickr.com/photos/andycastro]