Some website owners focus predominantly on creating content that drives traffic: they want to bring more people to their website.
That’s important, of course, but it’s only half the picture.
Once people arrive at your site, you need them to engage with your content.
Most people won’t sign up for your mailing list the moment they arrive. Instead, they’ll want to explore and see whether your content is helpful and interesting for them.
Good Signs That People Are Engaging With Your On-Site Content
You might be wondering how you’re currently doing in terms of your visitors’ engagement with your content.
Some good times that people are engaging include:
- They’re viewing several pages before leaving your site.
- They’re spending a reasonable amount of time on your site – several minutes, not just a few seconds.
- They’re leaving comments.
- They’re sharing your content with their friends.
- They’re leaving their email address to receive more of your content.
If you feel that any (or all!) of these metrics aren’t where you want them to be, it’s important to track them carefully as you make changes, so you can see whether your content is truly becoming more engaging.
How to Improve Your On-Site Content Engagement
#1: Link Pieces of Content Together
One of the simplest ways to improve engagement is to stop thinking about your content as discrete pieces. Instead, look at ways to link together your blog posts, videos, or podcasts, so that people who consume one piece of content will be more likely to go on to at least look at another.
If you want to go all-out with this, you could create an online course … but you don’t necessarily have to go that far, especially to begin with. You could simply choose a few of your best pieces of content on a particular topic and create a new page that links to all of them.
#2: Make Your Site Fast to Load and Easy to Use (Particularly on Mobile)
Have you ever clicked on a link to a website that took forever to load? Chances are, you didn’t hang around long enough to look at a second piece of content there.
If your site is slow, you’re frustrating your visitors. This goes doubly so if your site is slow or difficult to use on mobile … as more and more people are using their phones.
There are lots of ways to speed up your site (including upgrading your hosting), so if it’s loading slowly, get it fixed.
#3: Create Blog Posts That Look Great
While flashy design can’t compensate for low-quality content, a poor design will mean that your content doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Make sure your blog posts look attractive and engaging to read. That means:
- Being consistent in how you format your posts (e.g. use the same size image at the top of each) – this makes your content look reassuringly polished and professional.
- Using subheadings to break up your content, particularly in long blog posts. While long posts (around 1,500 – 2,000 words) are great for engagement, no-one wants to read a huge slab of text without any “signposts” to help guide them through.
- Adding images and other visual interest – putting occasional sentences in bold text, for instance, can help break up your post and make it look more interesting to read.
#4: Offer Related Content When the Visitor Finishes a Piece
When a visitor finishes reading a piece of content, what happens? If you don’t offer them a clear next step, there’s a good chance they’ll return to their search results, or head off to another website altogether … and forget about yours.
One great way to combat this is to show related content: posts (or podcasts or videos) that are on a similar topic to the one that the visitor has just read. As Crazy Egg explains:
“Amazon uses related purchases to keep visitors browsing and buying. You can do the same with relevant pages and blog posts.”
#5: Keep Your Older Content Up to Date
It’s easy to forget about all the posts you wrote in the past, especially when you’ve got lots of new content you want to produce and promote.
But those old posts will be getting a lot of search engine traffic – so you want them to show you at your best.
It’s a good idea to regularly return to older posts, particularly ones that get a lot of traffic, so you can update them.
This might mean:
- Using more recent statistics or examples.
- Checking that all links are working.
- Bringing the post in line with your most recent style guide.
- Improving the design of the post (e.g. adding more subheadings or images).
- Adding in links to posts you’ve published more recently.
- Adding a short note at the top of the post to say when it was originally published, and when it was last updated.
It can be tough to produce consistently engaging content for your site. But by paying attention to what visitors want – valuable content that’s easy for them to take in, and that looks reliable and professional – you’ll soon see important metrics improve.
Wherever possible, take the opportunity to interlink related content, so that you create plenty of “paths” through your site for visitors to follow. That way, they can easily dig deeper into your content until they’re ready to sign up to hear more.