July 8th, 2012
High bounce rates wreak havoc on your website. Search engines use bounce rates to determine the user interest in your website. If the bounce rates stay consistently high, search engines, perhaps unjustifiably, rate the website as uninteresting and irrelevant to users. Finding ways to keep users on a blog for longer periods of time helps increase your rankings and shows that visitors value the content on the website.
Never underestimate the importance of a title on each blog post. The title must act as a brief summary of the entire post. If the visitor doesn’t see what they are looking for in the title, they often move on to the next website. Once a visitor base has been established, readers will give each article more time. However, attracting new visitors requires that the title pulls them in and motivates them to read in the first place.
So, the visitor has made it past the initial title and has started reading the article. The first paragraph must be checked and edited thoroughly. Typos, spelling mistakes, poor grammar and lackluster content doesn’t instill trust in the reader and often they will lose faith in the blog and look for a more professional post. This can be avoided by hiring an editor to proofread all of the writing for the blog.
Internet users have learned to quickly scan a website for information. Subheadings help this process along. If the reader finds one section uninteresting, often they will quickly browse the remaining subheadings for a part of the article that does interest them. This helps to keep the visitor on the site longer and ensures that they can quickly find the information they were looking for. Try to keep each section between 50 to 150 words to make it easier to quickly scan sections.
Relevant images placed on the blog create an initial interest and prompt readers to learn more. A relevant image provides the user with context and gives a quick overview of the article content. Avoid generic images that don’t lend value to the actual blog post. Simply picking an image for the sake of having something for the reader to look at gives the impression that the blog was hastily put together.
Provide the users with a way to leave comments on the article. This means that someone will have to moderate the comments to prevent harassment and keep users from spamming the blog with ads. However, with moderation, the blog will attract regular visitors that develop relationships and converse with each other. When an article is outdated, close the commenting section to make it easier to moderate new articles.
Ensure that the text on the blog is large enough for most users to read easily. A 12-point font is the smallest font size that should be used on a blog. Better yet, make the blog even more accessible by making it possible for users to adjust the size of the font themselves. Each visitor will have different ideas about an appropriate font size. Make the blog as easy to read as possible. Use a clean and clear font so the user doesn’t have to strain to read the blog.
Use colors that are easy on the eyes. Black text against a white background is the easiest for users to read. Avoid colors that strain the eyes such as red or blue text against a black background. Remember, if the user can’t stand to look at the blog or if it causes eye strain they aren’t going to stay very long.