When it comes to keeping new visitors on your blog, one of the primary metrics Google Analytics makes us aware of is bounce rate. This refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your website from the page they landed on. Ideally, you want a low bounce rate and you also want a high number of pages per session, which indicates how many pages a visitor browses before the leaving the domain.
So, how do you accomplish this? Here’s a detailed list I’ve put together of things that you should do to keep visitors on your blog or website.
1. Related posts widget
A visitor to your blog is likely on the prowl for a specific piece of information. One of the best ways to keep people on your blog for longer is to offer links to other, related posts. So if they don’t find what they’re looking for, well hey, here are some other posts to scope out. Every CMS will have some kind of widget for this.
2. Divvy up content
If you have a really, really long post, it might behoove you to cut it up into separate pieces, and interlink them. Then again, this can get annoying for readers so try to avoid it as best you can.
3. Snag some emails
One of the principle tasks of the web marketer is to collect e-mails. It has been shown that those who subscribe by email are more likely to convert or become loyal readers. Just offer a PDF download in exchange for e-mails!
4. Write personally
Your blog posts will be a lot more readable if you write in a personal style. Use a lot of interrogatives and “you” and “I”. I’m not doing a great job at that right now, but you catch my drift, yeah? Internet blog writing is always more like talking than writing.
5. Promote your more popular posts
Figure out which posts have the best bounce rate and pages per session metrics, and promote these.
6. Be helpful to readers
Answer questions in a timely manner, and create blog posts that you think will benefit your readership. For example, I think this article is really helpful if you want to keep visitors on your blog for longer. Do you?
7. Engage readership
It’s a given that you should regularly respond to comments, emails, and concerns. Go above and beyond to make sure you’re engaging your audience on your blog and its social media derivatives.
8. Interlink posts
Alright, so you won’t want to abuse this one, since too much hypertext is disorienting, but interlinking posts will get people curious and keep them around longer. Haven’t you ever lost a few hours to Wikipedia?
9. Avoid popups
Popups are a great way to scare readers away. Instead, if you must use pop-ups for e-mail collection, then check out some exit-intent pop-up plugins.
10. External links in a new window
See that link I just shared? It’ll take you to an external website. But I want you to stay here, too. So, it opens in a new window, leaving this one open.
11. Social media links
If readers do click away, then perhaps at least they’ll click to one of your social networks, where they will further read about engaging with your blog.
12. Good host for increase load time
The loading time of your blog is a deciding factor in whether visitors keep on reading or not. It all starts with a fast server, then a good CMS theme, and optimization plugins.
13. Plugins for increased load time
Yup! Browser and page-caching plugins work great, as do CSS and java minify scripts, and make sure that your images are lightweight.
14. Use a slider on the homepage
The homepage is your prime lot. This is where you present your stuff and convince readers to stick around. A visually-enchanting slider will help keep visitors on your blog.
15. Creative titles
Be original and unique, and you’ll be rewarded with a decreased bounce rate!
16. Use excerpts with read more
When presenting blog posts on search query pages or on the homepage, definitely do not display the full text. A photo is nice, but readers want an excerpt as a preview.
17. Mobile site/responsive design
Increasingly we’re seeing a lot more users accessing internet from mobile devices. It’s imperative that your site either has a dedicated mobile site or that it’s responsive. If not, bye-bye visitors.
18. Intuitive design and an easy UX
Keeping visitors on your blog means creating an attractive and easy-to-use website. Use a large font, measure and include sufficient white space, use big headlines, incorporate lists on posts (case in point), establish a smart color branding strategy, and use quality images.
19. Search box
If you don’t offer users a good way to search your website, they’ll get frustrated and leave.
20. Correct SEO to bring in the right visitors
This strategy is paramount. Visitors who find your blog somehow but are wholly uninterested in its content won’t stay no matter what. So, from the get-go, make sure your internet marketing is targeting the right people!
After implementing these strategies, you’re sure to see that bounce rate drop. And, on top of that, your number of page sessions will climb. Both of these tend to correlate with a third metric, the “time on page”. With all three, you’re golden.