[This article was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]
Getting a steady stream of readers to your blog can be a challenge. This means that once you get a reader, you want to do everything possible to get readers stay longer on your blog and then entice them to come back for more.
You started a blog for yourself, you post high-quality content regularly, and you’re tracking analytics rigorously. But for some reason, readers’ time spent on your blog is low while bounce rates are high.
Studies show that 55% of visitors only read articles for 15 seconds or less. This means that if you’re only looking at your visitor count, you’re only getting a glimpse of the whole picture and not focusing enough on what makes a blog really successful: reader engagement.
Improving readers to stay longer on your blog is very important to the success of your blog. Yet, it’s also one of the most challenging metrics for content creators to succeed. If you’re noticing that your readers don’t seem to be very engaged with your content, you are not alone.
Here are some blogging tips you can use to turn that around in a big way.
Interlinking to your own content
Do you publish multiple blog posts on a similar topic?
Make sure you include a link to other relevant posts. For example, you can write ‘If you enjoyed this post, you may also like ____”, “you might like:”.
This is not only great for an SEO practice but also provides a better user experience for your visitors, increases your page views, and keeps readers staying longer on your blog. While we are talking about linking, you should always refer to other articles that underline your points, especially if they reside on high-quality websites.
However, in order not to send away your hard-earned traffic, make sure when creating the link, you tick the ‘open in a new window/tab.’ That way your readers can look at whatever you recommended in the article but do not automatically leave your site in doing so.
Include a related posts plugin
If you have a WordPress site, install a plugin like WordPress Related Posts. It will add a related posts box at the end of your posts that will suggest other content on your site. This is a great way to increase page views and get readers stay longer on your blog.
There are a ton of Related Posts plugins out there and I wouldn’t be surprised if your theme can with a suggestion for one. This plugin will usually automatically pull posts that have similar keywords or tags or some will even let you decide which posts you want to always include!
Insert the most popular blog in your sidebar
You can add the ‘Popular Post’ widget in your sidebar. I have one also for the ‘Popular Post’ widget if you look to your right and up a bit, BAM … they’re there!
This widget gives your readers a really good idea of what your blog is about overall and makes it easy for them to find new content that gets readers stay longer on your blog. You can also use this as a chance to promote your posts as well or your offer. These posts are clearly already popular so the chance that the reader on your blog is interested in that topic is pretty high!
Frequently publish new content
If you want your readers stay longer and keep checking back, you absolutely must regularly add new content. And it’s no longer enough just to add short 400 words posts to your blog. The key now is to write longer, more in-depth posts that tackle issues your readers really care about.
Repurpose your old content
Once you have built a trusting audience, they may see links and assume they have already read that post. Update your old posts with new information and re-publish them. Then you can also mention that the post you linking to has been recently updated.
That’s a sure way to keep readers stay longer on your blog. Just make sure you actually did add new content or value or they might be disappointed you wasted their time!
Write longer blog posts
I’ve noticed that some bloggers don’t write over 1,000 words because it depends on the topic they’re covering and their target audience. The good people over at Google will like you that much better and rank your posts better in searches if they include more content. It also takes a reader a longer amount of time to read through a longer post.
So, make sure you’re writing high-quality content that does a great job of covering a unique angle on your topic. Don’t just rehash the same stuff over and over again if you want readers stay longer on your blog.
If people get to your site to read a post and it looks like dozen of words all crammed together in one large paragraph, chances are they are out before they even start reading. I will choose the same too! No one wants to read a giant wall of text.
It’s important to make them readable by using:
- break down your content into short 3-4 sentences
- use sub-headings for different topics
- use bulleted lists (like this one)
- emphasis on important words/sentences
- check your spelling or grammar mistakes
Think of it like you are speaking with someone. If you start rambling on and on without taking a breath, chances are the person listening will tune out pretty fast. The same thing happens with reading.
On top of that, the majority of readers these days scan posts rather than them reading them fully, so it’s important to make your posts as reader-friendly and scannable as you can.
Make your content visually appealing
Even if you break up your paragraphs, sometimes too much text can still be overwhelming for your readers. This is especially true if you’re giving your reader a lot of technical information like me. No matter how you deliver it, the information would still seem dull to someone outside of the field.
I’ve seen that many bloggers use 1-2 photos for their content and some use more than 5 infographics to make their content more appealing. Visual content generates up to 94% more views on a blog post. Using charts, graphs, or even screen captures can help to illustrate your ideas and make things more readable. Just keep in mind that you should avoid stuffing stock images into your post just for the sake of it.
Have you done any of these tips during your blogging journey? Let me know below if you have more ways to keep readers stay longer on your blog.