Driving users to a website can be difficult. But keeping the users engaged and getting them to interact with a website is even more daunting. Publishers and bloggers constantly make efforts to create high-quality content. They also give away free resources to keep the users hooked. All of these efforts are meant to achieve one goalーimprove user engagement.
Thus, we can say that the user engagement metric matters a lot to publishers and bloggers; especially in the context of ad monetization and revenue generation. The more time users spend on their website, the more they are likely to earn.
To give publishers and bloggers a sense of direction, here are 12 industry-experts sharing their learning on how to improve user engagement, based on their own real-life experiences as bloggers.
1. Ryan Robinson
Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster, and side project aficionado that teaches 400,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and grow a profitable side business. Ryan also works as a consultant with high-growth startups and brands to help them create & promote content that grows audience.
Today, there’s a race to the top of the mountain in terms of who’s willing to give as much free value as possible to online readers—making it more competitive than ever, in terms of attracting new readers and actually keeping them engaged. The most successful web publishers are now delivering high-impact value to their readers in a variety of formats beyond just the traditional long-form blog post.
Now, I’m seeing in-depth content that also includes embedded tutorial videos, custom infographics, audio recordings for readers who’d rather listen to an article, free downloadable resources and more. Over time, those diverse pieces of content that do a phenomenal job of solving reader problems in a variety of formats, are the ones that’ll rise to the top and stay there.
2. Spencer Haws
Spencer is a blogger, podcaster, and software entrepreneur at NichePursuits. He recently created a WordPress plugin to internal linking smarter and faster at LinkWhisper. When Spencer isn’t blogging or starting a new software project, he enjoys running marathons and spending time with his wife and 4 children.
User engagement is critical to having a blog that readers truly love and follow. There are lots of “tactics” like adding well placed buttons and calls to action. However, a critical activity that many bloggers miss is trying to develop a true personal connection with their readers. This involves sharing personal stories and sharing failures right along with successes.
I’ve personally done four public case studies where I’ve shared many things that went terrible with my projects. However, when I share my successes, my readers truly know that I’ve had to work for those successes and they relate to that and feel a connection. As a result, I have higher engagement on my website, social media pages, and other pages that a standard “business blog” might.
3. Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of success in the world of online marketing and business. In addition to running his own content sites and business, Zac also loves teaching others how to find success and grow their online businesses as well.
When it comes to user engagement, there are plenty of things publishers and bloggers can do. The most important thing is to have end user value and call to actions in place. This should ultimately be the most important thing you are striving for. Without the end user finding any immediate attention or value in your content, they are going to leave right away. Some of the best ways to relate with your audience and provide immediate value, is to do so through the use of visuals, custom images/charts/infographics, and incorporating animated GIFs of video into your content.
From the call to action aspect, this is something you should always be leading up to through the content on your site. This can be done through multiple quick and easy call to actions within your content, or having long form content that keeps the end user engaged and when they hit the final call to action at the bottom of the page, they are more likely to convert.
Lastly, if you are going to try and convert your audience into a lead with your content, there are multiple ways to get more aggressive about this. The first would be to have an exit-intent popup, which either grabs their email address or makes once last attempt to have them act on the offer, or you can also set up a remarketing ad campaign. With a remarketing ad campaign, you can place a tracking pixel on your site and then show targeted ads to users who have been to your site. These ads will remind the user about your site and likely entice them to come back and act on your offer.
These are all great ways to improve engagement and conversions on your site, but for this to ultimately work, it’s important to always focus on the quality and user value being offered.
4. Servando Silva
Servando is the owner of a popular blog, Stream-Seo. He is a full-time affiliate marketer with 7 years of experience in the industry. From SEO to Media Buys to Social Media, Servando has learned several traffic sources and monetization methods to increase his traffic.
To keep readers engaged and increase your page views + session duration you can do a couple of things. First, you want to focus on long-form content. Anything between 1,000 to 2,000 words is usually ideal to provide a lot of value unless the topic isn’t meant to be that long.
Make sure you interlink your articles to keep readers on your site and try to solve as many problems as possible for them. You can also include related articles or links in between your post or at the end of each entry. You can also use your sidebar to showcase related posts in desktop devices.
You might also want to add social share buttons in images or quotes that can be easily shared without your readers having to perform an action (prefill the sharing data). Make sure to always answer comments back so your comment section doesn’t look like a ghost town or like you’re ignoring them and always invite people to comment or ask questions every few paragraphs. That helps a lot.
5. Adam Connell
Adam Connell is a content strategist with a background in SEO and email marketing. Before leaving his agency role to focus on his own projects, Adam was responsible for new website projects and managing the content and growth for international brands.
There are plenty of growth tactics you can use to encourage engagement but it ultimately comes down to the content you publish.
– Is the headline intriguing enough to get people’s attention?
– Does the content deliver on any promises made in the headline?
– Is the topic something readers will find interesting enough to read, comment, and share?
– Is the content available in a format readers want to consume? (re-purposing content into different formats is a good idea)
The key here is in understanding your audience. If you haven’t already, be sure you’ve developed audience personas and use them to develop your content strategy.
6. Daniel Scocco
Daniel Scocco is a digital entrepreneur with 15 years of experience building websites and applications.
Curiously enough, the best thing you can do to improve user engagement is to create and publish great content. No amount of soliciting shares, likes and what not will compensate for having poor content. If you have great content, on the other hand, you won’t even need to ask for people to share it, comment and so on. They will do it spontaneously.
For example, notice how many popular YouTube channels don’t bombard users with requests for likes and subscriptions, and they get those anyway! That is because they are creating videos that the users love.
7. Evan Carmichael
Evan Carmichael runs EvanCarmichael.com, a popular website for entrepreneurs. At 19, he built and then sold a biotech software company. And at 22, he was a VC helping raise $500k to $15Mil. Evan now runs his own YouTube channel especially for entrepreneurs having over 17.5M+ subscribers.
Engagement comes from having something worth talking about. Are you sharing a powerful opinion? Are you giving people context? Are you raising the stakes so they have to pay attention? Are you telling stories that matter and move people? Are you giving advice that people can apply to their lives?
80% of winning with content is making consistent content that brings incredible value to your audience. If you’re not winning it’s because you’re not consistent enough or the content just isn’t good enough… yet.
8. Lilach Bullock
Lilach is a content marketing expert, digital media speaker, and consultant for B2B, SaaS, and enterprise companies. She’s an influential entrepreneur, chosen among 20 top women social media influencers by Forbes and Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle.
Getting people to engage with your content requires several strategies and constant optimization/improvement. My best advice is to start by taking a really close look at your analytics in order to truly understand what gets people to engage and what doesn’t: which forms do they complete? What pieces of content do they download? What topics do they like best? Which posts get the most comments?
This is ultimately what will allow you to properly optimize your website and your content for your own audience – it’s a continuous process but one that can really improve your user engagement.
9. Harsh Agarwal
Harsh is the founder and CEO of an award-winning blog, Shoutmeloud, which covers everything blogging, affiliate marketing, and more. He’s an engineer by education and a blogger by profession. When Harsh is not on his computer, he loves traveling or trying his hands on adventure sports.
A blogger should always keep their user interest in their mind which is clearly reflected with the kind of content they are creating. Engagement has usually a network effect and that means, once a blogger starts getting initial traction, they can expect more people engaging in shorter span.
Here are some sure shot ways to improve user engagement:
Encourage users to comment: Always end your article with an open ended question.
Reply to comments: Make sure you approve the comment ASAP and reply to users comment. This is utmost important especially when you publish a new article.
Talk about trending topics in your niche: Even if you are into evergreen niche, running a 1-2 month campaign of publishing latest topic in your industry is going to be highly effective. Usually, trending topics not only gather eyeballs, they generate a lot of chatter around.
Run giveaways: This is one of the old school techniques which works even in today’s time. By running giveaways, you create a win-win situation for your readers and the brands in your industry. In case if you are not aware, you don’t really have to pay for giveaway from your pocket. You can always reach out to advertisers and product owners in your industry to sponsor a give-away. One can use a tool like Gleam.io to host giveaways on their blogs or social media.
Be creative: Do something unexpected once in a while. It could be playing with your content, your design or as simple as playing with your profile pic.
Share your story: Everyone likes a good story and if your blogging style permits you to share something from your personal life, do that. People engage more with human.
10. Dave Chaffey
Dr Dave Chaffey is the co-founder of a marketing-advice site Smart Insights. Dave is editor of 100+ templates, ebooks, and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by his team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Dave is also an author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing.
For me, increasing engagement starts with measurement. Most social and search fueled online publishers are challenged by high bounce rates and low dwell times from first-time visits and low repeat-visit hurdle rates. To move the needle on these KPIs, you have to think of your brand value proposition to increase dwell-times and repeat visits.
Three practical pillars of engagement are Relevance, Value and Return-channels. Relevance through an effective related-posts plug-in. Value through defining regular daily/weekly/monthly features that are so valuable that they become part of the routine of your audience.
For example, Smart Insights have a Friday round-up and monthly What’s Hot of the latest in digital marketing which we share through our Return-channels i.e. Email and Social push. Conversion to email subs and social follows are another KPI which should be optimized by interruptive/high-impact formats using context wherever possible, i.e. offering specific value to different personas.
11. Kulwant Nagi
Kulwant Nagi is a full-time blogger, an affiliate marketer, and an international speaker. He recently started his digital marketing agency where they focus on content writing services. Kulwant and his team help business and affiliate marketers/websites create the most effective content for the websites.
Adding various types of media on a single page can help web publishers increase the user engagement on their blog. The media can be:
– a power point presentation
– an information video
– a short survey
– or a list compiled in any specific niche
Recently we published a list of Profile Creation Websites on our business blog. Rather than inserting the whole list in one go, we created a table having various pages so that user could spend more time on our blog and click on the next button to see more content.
For the upcoming articles, we are creating videos around those topics so that readers can watch the embedded videos in the blog post itself, which will ultimately improve the engagement on our blog. So in short, adding more types of media is the perfect key to improve user engagement on any blog.
12. Minuca Elena
Minuca is a freelance writer specializing in creating expert roundups. Her posts provide quality content, draw huge traffic and get backlinks. She also help bloggers connect with influencers. Minuca runs her own blog, Minuca Elena that talks about everything blogging, SEO, social media marketing, and more.
The first thing that visitors to your website notice is the speed. If the site loads too slowly, they may leave the site without even reading anything on it. So check your site’s speed with Google Page Speed Insights, and see what you can improve. Remove unnecessary plugins, compress your photos, get a fast host.
After the speed, comes the design. Get a paid theme that looks professional. Free themes are not appealing. It’s worth investing in a proper theme for your site and in a logo. You should include images in your posts, not only text.
The most important thing is your content. If you are not an expert in your field, then at least do a lot of research before writing an article, so you can provide the best info to your readers. Organize it well. Pay attention to the structure of the post: have short paragraphs of 2-3 lines, include bullet points, bold text, subheadings, and a call to action (“join my email list”, “leave a comment”, “share the post”).
It’s important to reply to every blog comment that you get and answer all the questions you receive. This helps create a bond with your readers.
As publishers, what have you done to improve user engagement? Did it work for you?