What? Readers aren't here for my articles...
By now, it's old news that the majority of Internet users are not here for the articles. When Slate asked Josh Schwartz, a data analyst from ChartBeat, to look at how users scrolled through Slate's articles, he found that within a few hundred words, more than 50 percent of readers had bounced (navigated away from the website) and he found that this was true everywhere on the Internet.
Knowing that, how do blog owners retain readers, or more importantly, how do blog owners engage their readers?
One proven way to actively engage readers and decrease your bounce rate is through interactive content.
Interactive content is anything that requires a visitor to go beyond reading to engage with or respond to the blog. Depending on your goals and budget, interactive content can range from creating a free poll to hiring a designer to create an interactive microsite. After researching website builders to determine which will support your desired interactive content, try these common interactive content ideas to start getting your blog audience more involved.
Polls and quizzes are an easy and effective way to engage readers, and also to glean information about your audience. People not only like to take them, they like to share them. Think of the number of quizzes you see shared by your friends on Facebook alone. In fact, when BuzzSumo analyzed the share counts of 100 million articles over eight months they found that eight of the 10 most shared articles were quizzes. If you are working with a small (or nonexistent) budget, you can still create a professional looking quiz or poll using free builders like Canva or Pollmaker. Fyrebox offers a variety of pay levels to suit your needs, from a free quiz builder to a $39/month plan which allows access to templates and full data analysis. Similarly, ContentTools will create a visual poll or quiz for your site starting from $750.
If you are looking for an interactive element that will be a permanent feature on your blog, consider creating an interactive microsite. A microsite generally focuses on a specific topic that compliments the overall theme of your blog. For example, Shutterfly's interactive microsite "How to Take the Perfect Photo" gives users a visual how-to after choosing the type of camera they have and the photo they would like to take. If you have the time and skill, you can create your own free microsite through a service like Websitebuilder.com. For something more involved, the cost to hire a designer to create a microsite generally starts at $2,500.
Infographics are visual representations of information or data that allow you to communicate information quickly and clearly. BuzzSumo's analysis found that infographics were also among the most shared articles. By adding an active element to an infographic, you can allow the viewer to interact with the data and further decrease bounce rate. A free site like Prezi is a great tool to build an infographic with interactive elements such as animation, scroll-over information or video. As a bonus, you can search Prezi's database for presentations on how to create an effective infographic. Both Visme and Infogr.am offer various pricing plans for creating infographics, with Visme's ranging from free to $16/month and Infogr.am running from a free trial to $166/month.