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Increase blog visitor engagement.
Not as simple as it sounds.
Guest author Ahmad Imran is here to tell you how to do just that.
Before Ahmad takes it away, an important note: These tips are based on the presumption that you have a website.
After all, you can’t increase blog visitor engagement without a blog.
If you need a website, check out these website builder suggestions.
3 Harsh Truths About Your Blog Visitors [and How to Increase Their Engagement]
by Ahmad Imran
Depending on how long you have been blogging or writing online, you will have a range of readers and visitors who like to explore and engage with your content.
Some might be loyal and regular visitors because they have known you for a long time and they have built a trust factor with you and your blog.
Some might not be so loyal. Perhaps you are in a process of building that trust.
But then there is a third type as well. A huge number in many cases.
Or even if they are repeat visitors, they have not built any trust or relationship with your blog yet. They need more convincing. They need more time. You need to earn their engagement.
An asset which you need to pay more attention to.
I have been blogging for 3 years now and over 85% of my traffic still comes from Google as new visitors. They are fresh to my blog and generally, the visit starts by clicking on my blog post through Google search result.
My article must have ranked well for their search query and the headline was catchy enough for them to click.
But what next?
How can you make sure that your blog visitor engagement is good?
How can you keep them on your blog longer and gain their trust?
This article is going to answer these questions precisely.
There are 3 typical characteristics of these visitors which will help you to understand them better. Once you know their psychology and appreciate their needs, only then can you do something about it.
Let us dive in.
1 – Your Blog Visitor is in a Hurry
Face and accept the fact that attention spans are decreasing.
Life is generally fast paced and your blog visitor is no different.
He is in a hurry.
He has not got enough time to give your article the level of detail and attention with which you perhaps wrote it for him. There is a disproportionate ratio between hours of your work and minutes (or seconds) of his skimming.
Now let me get this right and repeat again. I am talking about the majority here, not individual cases. I am referring to the most of your blog traffic which comes from Google and are in search of their required information in a quick manner.
So you as a blogger have a difficult task managing this short attention span of your reader and decreasing engagement.
It is not enough to write a bland and texty 3000-word article on its own. You need to have enough attraction in it for people to appreciate, use, and engage with your content.
So what can you do about it?
Help your reader.
Tell him clearly and upfront that there is an (authentic) answer to this question in your blog post.
Give him every opportunity and reason to spend time on your blog post and get the most out of it. It is your job as a blogger to keep his attention focused on your blog post (and brand in general).
Create a feeling in his mind that every time he visits your blog, your articles have something waiting for him. In other words, hook him (in a positive way) to gain his genuine trust.
Think long-term and plan your blog post accordingly.
Here are a few specific steps you can do to achieve better blog visitor engagement.
1 – Make your introduction to-the-point, focused and engaging
Tell him precisely what is the issue you are going to cover and how at the end of this article he will benefit from it. Don’t delay this part and be as generous as possible while being truthful and genuine.
2 – Use an index or table of contents
Straight after the introduction, give him a chance to scan the sub-headings or key parts/sections of your blog post. “Table of Contents” (TOC) is a great way to achieve this. I have been an advocate of this strategy for a long time now and many other successful bloggers do the same.
A good TOC is a list of all headings and sub-headings (and sub-sub-headings) in one place so it is an open and honest invitation to the reader to choose and pick what he wants to know about. You respect your reader’s time, it will pay you back.
3 – Sub-headings and their content are crucial
Make each section in your sub-headings (and sub-sub-headings) clear, focused and having its own purpose and message. Don’t let your blog reader read your waffle and time-wasting filler kind of material.
Gary Korisko wrote this ultimate guide to writing irresistible sub-heads for SmartBlogger. A highly recommended read to improve the body and its content of your blog post.
4 – Finish with a punchy ending
Keep your conclusion clear, punchy and focused. End your blog post with a powerful message that leaves him thinking and feeling good about you and your blog.
I am not going to tell you exactly what you need to include but I can tell you that many of your blog visitors are keen to know exactly your viewpoint in a concise manner in your concluding remarks. So give them that.
5 – Keep your blog design simple and attractive
It is a big topic and I am not going to cover it all today. The key is to make sure that your overall blog layout, font, styling, and structure is such that it does not hinder or make the reading difficult for your blog visitor.
The harsh fact is that many of your new readers and visitors will judge you on your appearance – I mean, your blog appearance.
6 – Keep your site loading speed in check
Your blog should load fast. You must have read frequently that people tend to create a negative impression of blogs which are slow to load. Here are a few tricks to implement today on your blog and see if it gives you an extra couple of seconds of site speed improvement.
2 – Your Blog Visitor Does Not Care for You
Remember, we are talking about that specific group of your blog visitors who have not built the trust and loyalty yet with you and your blog.
So I am not saying that none of your blog visitors care for you.
Of course, some do, but many don’t.
You have heard it frequently: think about your reader. Help them out. Your blog is not about you, it is about your reader.
This is strictly true – but we tend to forget it as bloggers.
The law of reciprocity kicks in our minds and we as bloggers think that if we have spent hours and hours to create a useful article for the readers, they will think the same, appreciate our efforts and reciprocate.
This is easier said than done.
In real life, there is plenty of information so easily available (even the good ones) that your reader has a mentality of being selfish and taking your efforts for granted. He only expects good quality information for free (generally) when it comes to blogs.
Remember, most of your visitors only care for themselves. Not you.
What can you do about it?
There are two key strategies you need to consider to counter this situation.
1 – Be massively interesting and useful and tell people about it
This is content marketing.
This is good and smart blogging.
You need to devote time, learn, execute, refine and re-execute. It is not something you will master in days, it takes months and years.
There is a plenty of advice available on the internet and other sources to create content which is super-useful and engaging.
All I would say is that pick your aspirations and sources of your learning and information-gathering carefully. You want to learn from those who have already been there and have a proven success record.
Here are the three good blogs on content marketing which I follow (and have subscribed to) and have learnt from them tremendously. Get yourself on their email list today.
Neil Patel (Neil Patel)
Copyblogger (Brian Clarke)
Smartblogger (Jon Morrow)
2 – Do it again – and again – and be persistent
Then comes the second part, grit.
Stubbornness and resolve.
It doesn’t matter if your blog visitor does not care much for you today. If you are persistent in your vision, one day he will.
You need to have a greater vision of yourself as a blogger. There should be something bigger than your day-to-day creation of content and writing blog posts. You need to dream and visualize yourself as a great blogger. Only then it will keep you fuelled up (motivated) to be persistent.
You need to create this habit of persistence.
Create a tagline for yourself. To keep you going.
Mine is “there is no exit door for me in this game of blogging. I am in until I win it”.
No other way.
3 – Your Blog Visitor Has Many Options
And I am not talking about the cheap and inferior (than yours) options.
I am referring to good and better options.
You are not the only source of information for him. Clicking on the back button will take him back to the search engine and perhaps there is a list of another 5 articles waiting for him on a similar topic.
Some of the brands and writers are bigger and better than you.
And he knows that.
We as human beings like “authority”. We tend to go to someone who we think and feel has the right thing to say that we can trust. There can be brands and blogs out there who are having years of additional experience and authority compared to yours.
You are in a difficult situation.
How can you overcome this situation?
Well, 2 things again.
1 – Be unique with your own voice and generous in your help.
Uniqueness and personality are important in blogging.
Your blogging is actually a representation of your own character, personality, and enterprise. The better you are as a person, the better you will write and blog. And your reader will pick it up.
Then you need to be smart as well with your blogging in terms of focus.
Know your target reader really well. This is not a quick exercise. Plan the activities to know your audience and only write for them. Make it as specific as you can and you will see that over the period of time, it will attract the kind of readers you want to write for and engage with.
Research, authenticity, data, science, and numbers all help. Most of the information on the internet does not stretch to this extra mile. You can bring yourself to near the top of the game if you put this extra work and effort into your blogging.
Finally, be generous and do the extra work. The road for this extra mile is generally not too crowded. You can give yourself an advantage over the thin and superficial content straight away.
Your reader knows how to filter through the pile and pick up the right and good quality information. Don’t underestimate his abilities and never try to cut corners and be just another blogger.
Be different. Be more authentic. Be extra.
2 – Be patient and gritty.
Keep doing this repetitively.
You need to have an obsession with quality and usefulness but at the same time have the patience and perverseness to go through the mill to achieve this excellence.
Good quality, excellence, and authority do not come overnight or by accident. It comes with vision, execution, improvement, and repetition.
And again. And again.
Leave Your Blog Visitor Touched and Influenced Before He Leaves Your Blog
We mostly do things based on our feelings and emotions.
Strange, but the heart does frequently rule the brain.
It is how your site visitor feels after reading your blog post that matters massively. You should have touched his heart through your words, influenced his thought process and educated him to make a better decision for himself.
It is this philosophy which will help you to gain his trust and loyalty in the long run.
I hope that I have outlined a few harsh but true facts about the majority of your readers on your blog. By thinking about these points more strategically will help you to cater for those readers and earn their engagement.
A better audience and a better brand building.
This is what we bloggers crave.
Time now to seek your views about how you think and feel about your blog visitors. Do you think they are hard-work?
Perhaps, completely different?
Share your views and tell us any other interesting aspect of your blog visitors that you have gathered through your blogging experience.