Do you ever look at your site’s stats and wonder why visitors come and go so quickly? Why do they read just one post and then bail out? You may have great content, but they just aren’t sticking around to read it. Here are some ideas for keeping visitors on your site longer, and for turning “visitors” into “readers”:
by Randa Clay, RandaClay.com
1. Tell them what to do next
When someone gets to the end of one of your posts, they have a decision to make. Are they going to push the Back button and go on browsing around the web, or are they going to stay on your site and read more? It is critical that at this point of decision, you tell them what they should read next. If you don’t already have it on your site, a related posts plugin like NRelate, is a great tool for moving visitors on to a new article. While some plugins just generate a text list of related posts, this kind of plugin is better because it also uses an image. NRelate and other similar plugins dynamically generate post options based on the content of the current one, so consider as you’re writing whether you might also want to include a recommendation for further reading as you close out the post. For example, if you have a how-to article on making a mosaic of Elvis’s head from painted beans, suggest that they check out another time-consuming nostalgic project.
2. Use internal links generously
Throughout your posts, include links to other content on your site. This is not only good for SEO, but also for keeping visitors clicking deeper into your site. Obviously you could go overboard with this, but one link per paragraph is a good balance.
3. Highlight your best content
This is the biggest mistake many of us make. We have great content on our sites, but newer visitors to your site have no idea what’s buried in there. Find ways to shout your best stuff from your sidebar. A “popular posts” section in your sidebar is fine, but will be easily missed by someone skimming quickly through a post. Instead, consider creating eye-catching graphic ads for your own content. If you don’t have a graphics program like Photoshop or Elements, there is an excellent online program called Pixlr with many of the same features.
Are you still working on creating your best content? Be sure to get this free ebook called Creating Killer Flagship Content by Chris Garrett. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever read on the subject. The idea of flagship content is that you write posts with the goal in mind to become the “go-to” site for your niche. Flagship content takes longer to create but it pays big dividends in establishing authority, keeping visitors on your site longer and becoming regular readers.
4. Make sure your site is visually appealing and looks organized
Finally, you may have great content, but if your site is too busy or is visually unappealing, especially in creative niches, you’ll have a harder time retaining visitors for long. The first thing you need is an attractive site design. There are some great free themes out there, but there are also some really nice and reasonably priced premium themes available that are worth the price. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a nice design. For example, on my site, DivaThemes, all the themes are under $35.
Secondly, over filling your sidebar with graphic buttons can draw focus away from your best content. If you do have multiple graphics, keeping them all the same size, or grouping similar sizes together can help give a sense of organization.
Do you have other ideas for keeping visitors on your site longer? Please share in the comments!