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Whether you’ve written a blog for years or are just getting started, you probably wonder how you can increase reader engagement and validate the user experience (UX). Many moving parts go into making a great site that brings people back repeatedly. It’s hard to know where to start.
Out of around 1.7 billion websites, 600,000 of them are blogs. Of course, some business sites also contain blogs, so the number may be much higher. Businesses see the value in adding content to drive traffic to their sites, with many adding articles as part of their regular content.
You’re facing a lot of competition to capture readers’ attention. Your blog must stand out as useful, interesting and meet user expectations all at once. Fortunately, some pretty simple things improve your reader’s experience on your blog.
1. Know Your Reader
It’s hard to capture the imagination of your readers. If you know what they care about and their emotions, it’s much easier to tap into something impacting them.
Look at who your typical blog visitor is. What drives them to look for a site like yours in the first place? What are their pain points?
Once you answer basic questions about reader personas, you can create material solving problems for them. Visitors are much more likely to pay attention when the topic matters to them.
2. Lose the Passwords
It seems users have a password for everything, and each website recommends a different combination of numbers, letters and special characters. People are tired of trying to remember passwords and constantly resetting them. Many sites have moved to other recognition methods to lose the aggravation.
One of the most significant trends experts see in 2021 and beyond is the rise of biometric recognition. People might use facial recognition to log in to a members-only area of a blog, for example.
3. Create Amazing Headlines
When people land on your blog, they make a snap judgment within just a few milliseconds. Your headline is your opportunity to grab their attention and make them read on.
Ideally, your headline should be seven or so words and address the pain point the person is experiencing. For example, a person has a leaky faucet as their pain point. They search for a phrase such as “how to fix a leaky faucet.”
Your article on the topic should feature a headline reading, “How to Fix a Leaky Faucet in 3 Easy Steps.” At a glance, the visitor can see the article meets their expectations and helps them solve the problem. They know what they’ll get when they read the piece.
4. Establish Yourself as an Expert
Build up your authority in your field. Guest blog on other sites, create webinars, give a talk at a conference and put your name out there. The more you become the go-to expert on a topic, the more likely people turn to your blog for their answers.
You can continually improve your reader’s experience by always including tips the reader won’t find anywhere else. You can see an excellent example of establishing a niche on the “This Old House” show. They specialize in fixing strange problems you only find in older houses and restoring them to like-new condition.
When someone works on their home and has an issue, the show and the matching website immediately come to mind. Become the premier expert in your field.
5. Improve Reader’s Experience: Share Personal Stories
One of the best ways to connect with readers is by sharing a piece of your soul. People like a good story, so if you can ramp up your storytelling skills, you’ll gain an audience simply by having a conversational tone.
A word of caution here, though. Your personal stories must relate to your blog topic. If you write about how to maintain your HVAC system, people don’t care about your new puppy’s adventures unless it involves the puppy chewing up your filter and how you fixed it.
Everything on your blog must relate to your primary topic. Add personality without sacrificing focus.
6. Make Scrolling Easy
Most people are extremely busy. They want to grab the information they need in a flash. At the same time, search engine algorithms demand longer pieces if you wish to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Create easily skimmable articles for those in a hurry. Use subheadings and bullet points to break down information into manageable chunks.
If someone readers your article and gets interrupted, can they easily pick back up and continue? When the reader has ten minutes in a waiting room, can they skim over the main points and get the gist of your advice?
7. Speed Up Your Pages
The average person waits just a few seconds for a website to load before they bounce away. Again, people have schedules chock full of activities. They want details now so they can move on to the next item on their to-do list.
The faster your pages load, the better the experience for your readers. Keep in mind mobile devices should load quickly as well. Not all carriers deliver data at the same speeds. Make your site load fast by eliminating unnecessary scripts. Make sure images are optimized. Simplify whatever you can to create a more seamless site for users.
8. Embrace Simplicity
Have you noticed the trend away from complex forms? Part of the reason is the number of mobile device users. A little over half of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. According to Statista, smartphones generated 54.8% of web traffic worldwide in the first quarter of 2021.
While it’s wise to collect user information, if you create long forms with multiple fields, you risk losing mobile users. Make signing up as simple as adding an email address. You can also tap into third-party providers such as Facebook and Google to capture information in a single click.
9. Break Up Text
Long blocks of text don’t work well for most readers. Improve their experience instantly simply by adding images and breaking up long passages. Go for shorter paragraphs. Write as concisely as possible.
Each paragraph should lead naturally into the next. Add transitions as needed to move from one thought to the next.
10. Vary Content Type
Do you only publish articles on your blog? Consider the many different types of content available. You can create videos, add infographics, design a webinar or record a podcast. Mix up what you do to improve your reader’s experience. In this way, your site visitors never get bored.
Creating videos and infographics may require a bit more work than knocking out an article, so you can have a mix of one video for every five articles or whatever combination works best for you. Also, videos can be short snippets of information or even Facebook or YouTube live streams.
Survey Your Readers
Knowing what your readers want isn’t always as intuitive as you might think. Survey your regulars and ask what they’d like to see. What’s missing from your blog that you can add?
Visit competitor sites and pay attention to their topics, presentation and methods of delivery. What are they doing particularly well? How can you emulate their success but put your spin on it?
With time and effort, your blog will improve and be the go-to source for your readers on your topic.