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How to Increase Blog Reader Engagement
Posted on January 4th 2013
Companies are always excited when they increase in Google rankings or finally reach that PR 6 that puts them right in the rankings with all the rest. However, what many companies don’t realize is that PR isn’t always the best way to determine your place in your niche online. Page Rank and Google rankings prove to readers that Google has recognized your good SEO, but this doesn’t mean much if your readers don’t find your content engaging. One of the things (one of the very major things) that separates one PR 6 site from another, or even one PR 3 site from another, is blog reader engagement. It will take some time to gain these numbers, however, so it’s best to start creating a strategy and putting this at the top of the priority list as you enter into the New Year.
Top 5 Ways to Improve the Engagement on Your Blog
It might sound as though it’s easy to improve your engagement, but this is one area of your website that actually can turn quite difficult. It takes careful planning and even more careful analysis of your efforts to determine how to make your readers respond. A few ideas to get you started on the process include:
- Relevant Posts. This is first and foremost the most important thing to remember about reader engagement. If you’re not writing something that is current and you’re not writing something that is directly related to your niche or the keywords you are targeting, you’re going to find the wrong readers and give them the wrong information. Readers are far more likely to comment on something if it is relevant to them, so do your best to think about what is going on in the news and what advice you can give to really help.
- Related Post Plugin. On that same note, this is one of my favorite things as an editor and as a reader. This plugin is easy to use and will allow other relevant blog posts that you have written to show up on the bottom of the article. This will help readers find something that interests them by giving them more choices, and so you have a better chance that the person will respond to the text.
- Ask Questions. Giving readers a reason to respond is never a bad idea. End your posts with questions or offer a controversial or interesting thought that will provoke some responses. People are usually more apt to engage if they have a clear idea about how to really get the conversation (and even promotion) started.
- Be Readable. You want to make sure the font and size of your content is something easy to read. Not only that, but make sure that the article is formatted in a way that is easy to read—lots of bullet points, subheadings, italics and bold faced text, etc. You’ll also want to make sure that the article isn’t too long that it turns readers away. Keep it between 700 and 1400 words. There are certain instances where this may not be the case, but the majority of the time this will do the trick for your readers.
- Load Times. If your article doesn’t load fast enough, readers are going to leave and choose another one of the top ten results on Google. It’s easy, and the Internet isn’t the place to bother being patient. Google also likes to see faster load times for pages, so you’ll get an added SEO benefit. You can learn more about how to improve your load times here.
In the end, reader engagement often works like a domino affect. Once people see that hundreds of others are tweeting your articles, they will be more apt to do the same.