Experts’ Hive #6: 11 tips for improving your blog readers engagement

If you work on your website marketing, you’ve probably made great efforts to bring visitors (and potential customers) to your website. Keeping them engaged is crucial for moving them further down the marketing funnel. 

In this article, I’ll give you a few tips on how to better engage with your visitors once they land on your blog post and how to reduce your bounce rate. 

Content is king!

Yes, they say so. And it’s true. Writing valuable and educational content is the genuine way to promote your website no matter if that’s a personal blog or an enterprise marketing website. Search engines love unique and engaging content and will rank your website high when they get the right signals about it. 

Quality is expensive

On the other hand, bloggers and website owners spend enormous amounts of time and money to create quality content for their website. We have to face it – Quality is expensive! It takes a serious investment to create a single post on your website if you want it to be comprehensive around your chosen topic. 

The folks at classic gaming destination at Solitaired, understood the importance of high quality content. They hired a historian and author who specialized in the history of card games to research the origins of solitaire now. Now, on their site, they have unique content about the background of solitaire that you can’t find anywhere on the internet. As a result, it’s driving more users to their site.

Getting attention is no less important 

Once you have created your awesome piece of content, comes the challenge of bringing readers to it. You will definitely want to share it on your social channels, maybe you can even spend some bucks on PPC to streamline some traffic to it (depending on what your goals are with that post). You may spend some good amount of time and money to optimize your page for the search engines. Eventually, it will rank well on Google and you’ll start getting organic traffic to your content masterpiece. 

The Problem

And then comes a surprise – your visitors leave the page too soon, your bounce rate is extremely high. Why? You’ve done everything right!

Reasons could be many but one problem that we often underestimate is the readability of your content, i.e. how easy it is to perceive and digest the information. Many times I’ve seen amazing content served in a way that makes me want to leave that page immediately. This is why you must make sure your blog post is presented in a way that people will not struggle to read it. 

Tips for increasing your blog readers engagement

Here are some tips to help your visitors not only finish reading your post but stay on your website and read more or hopefully convert to customers.

Font size matters

A common mistake many bloggers do is to produce tons of copy in a small amount of space. It just gets overwhelming for the reader. 

Make your paragraph font size big enough so that the eyes of your readers don’t bleed. A good number is 18px or more. This just makes things easier to read.  

Set bigger line height 

Line height and generally vertical white space give you some ‘breathing space’. Condensed lines are hard to read, you just want to quickly move on. 

Keep paragraph rows narrow

This, together with the other 2 above is all about helping your reader absorb the information more easily. A good number of characters per row would be up to 100. Keeping rows narrow, together with proper font sizes and line height helps your readers stay focused on what they are reading. 

Keep paragraphs short

Where possible, keep paragraphs short so that your readers comprehend the information step by step. Large chunks of the copy are sometimes scary and they can simply skip them. Where possible, please break down long paragraphs to shorter ones, like this one. 

Add subtitles 

Another way to divide and organize your content is to add subtitles. Note that you must keep the correct hierarchy of your titles starting with an H1 for your title and H2, H3, etc for your subtitles.

Use images to divide large portions of copy 

Images that divide the text vertically can also help but be careful not to overuse them. Inserting large images may break the natural reading flow. 

Keep your sidebar clean

Ideally, you do not need any distractions around your main content. Many websites add colorful sidebars, blinking ads and images that may be distracting or annoying while reading. You want your reader to be fully focused on your awesome content. 

Use table of contents

You can put a table of contents at the beginning of your post. If possible, add anchor links to each subtitle so that users can quickly jump to that section. Just a handy one, and good for SEO as well. 

Pro tips for better blog readability

Internal links

This one is not really a design one but definitely a great way to keep readers more and more engaged. Add internal links to other blog posts or pages of your website when they are relevant to your content. It will make people read more and more as they may find out that you have much more to tell them, outside this current post. If using WordPress there are some great plugins to quickly identify suitable pages to link to. 

Use reading progress bar where possible

If possible, add a reading progress bar to your blog so that users can see how much is left. It’s not a must, just a nice touch if the website allows it. 

Include sharing buttons

If there is one element to add next to your content, that should be a sharing widget that is fixed on scroll. It does not help for better readability but is a great way to bring more users to your website. 

A few good examples that follow many or all of those tips:

Agile Digital Blog

The 9 Steps For Successful HTML Email Templates post ticks most of the above points. The table of content here has anchor links to the corresponding sections of the post for easier navigation. The post has proper font size, line height and paragraph length, plus clean sidebar and hierarchy of subtitles. 

HubSpot Blog

Here is an example by HubSpot that follows the good practice. They use an 18px font size paragraph text, enough vertical spacing, narrow rows, short paragraphs, proper use of subtitles. They also utilize the table of contents, fixed social sharing widget and reading progress bar. 

Karl Sakas Blog

Karl Sakas generates wonderful content for digital agencies and his blog is so easy to read. Rows are slightly wider but he compensates with even larger font size – 22 px and a lot of vertical white space. His super-strength is the excellent use of internal linking that just keeps me hooked to his educational content. 

That’s it. Always remember to optimize your content from a readability perspective following those tips. Your posts will become more engaging and will bring more conversions if they are easy to read and understand. This is when the reader will fully comprehend your message and your chances to start building trust with them are real. Good luck!

Guest post by Simeon Prokopov, Agile Digital Agency

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