Getting visitors to go through your blog and enjoy what you have written isn’t the easiest thing on the planet. It requires time, patience and a lot of practice. To see evidence of visitor engagement you should see signs of regular activity and so should the visitor.
Here is some simple advice which might help keep your visitors engaged with your site and encourage them to come back for more.
Your goals should be:
The real aim is to keep your content interesting and be proactive. Here are some tips for achieving these goals:
There are a number of ways of evoking a response in your posts. One useful tip to make your articles more engaging is to write as if you are speaking to the reader directly. Use ‘you’ or ‘your’ rather than ‘them’, ‘they’ or ‘it’. Simply asking questions throughout your blogpost can work wonders; particularly when the question is up for debate and/or it appeals to the reader emotionally. Posing a question in the title of your blogpost can also help to draw in visitors. If you have a successful post, defined as one which someone has read to the end, having a meaningful question or statement as the last point can motivate readers to comment on your post.
Long drawn out text can distract visitors; it can even make your visitors go somewhere else. Break text up into shorter paragraphs; it is easier on the eye and more digestible for readers. Take a look at the BBC’s news articles which are a prime example of breaking paragraphs into short bursts of sentences.
A meaningful chunk of grouped data goes down very well with those readers seeking information. Grouping paragraphs that are related to each other and giving them a relevant title helps users to know precisely what you are talking about. This is especially useful for people that scan the content, i.e. visitors quickly reading your post to find the parts which interest them. Also, for every 3-5 paragraphs, group the paragraphs together and give them a short subtitle that describes their content succinctly. Subtitles can invite users to delve deeper if they catch their eye. Breaking down items into bulleted lists also achieves this effect and helps legibility. Even bolding a relevant phrase or sentence can help divert the eye into reading certain sections of your post.
Relevant and, depending on your niche, funny pictures or videos can also help. Relevant pictures, diagrams, infographics, etc. can evoke readers’ interest and result in them reading more content. Remember to place media, especially if you have pictures, higher up in the document. Visually engaging your visitors using media “above the fold” can really help to draw them in.
Spelling errors and inaccuracies in your content can have people fleeing your website in droves. In fact, you are more likely to generate comments on how bad your English is or the inaccurate data that you are providing. Nobody is perfect but make an effort to keep errors to a minimum. Check your facts, use a spellcheck, even put your post through a word program to check for grammatical errors if you have to.
If you are lucky enough to have genuine comments on your post, have it tweeted by someone, or even blogged about, try to respond with a reply back as soon as possible. It shows you are active and that you are interested in the topic. It also shows that you care about your readers and their views. Some users will come back if they have something further to add. If the article is good enough, a chain effect can happen where users will comment on other comments that have been made.
When producing content there are other tactics which can increase activity on your posts, for instance, taking a cynical or slightly negative view on someone or something which is popular (although err on the side of caution with this technique as you might get detractors). Another idea is blogging about your top 10 list on a particular subject. This is an easy way to quickly generate new content.
You could also visit other blogs on similar topics and leave a comment. You could even answer with a link to your own post. Another idea is to contact an authority on your chosen topic and ask them what they think. You could tweet them or do it directly on their site. There’s nothing wrong with being proactive and you never know, it could be the start of a very beneficial relationship.
Ultimately, if you apply some of the simple rules above and you are producing interesting articles/posts you should see results; usually from both user activity and an increase in your rankings too. If you have any other useful tips, feel free to share them here.
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