Look at your blog from a reader’s perspective:
- Can I find what I am looking for?
- Is there too much clutter in the sidebars?
- Am I bombarded with ads and opt-ins the second I hit your site?
If a reader cannot easily read your posts or find the information they are looking for, they will leave.
No clicking on different posts. No sharing your post. No ad revenue.
Here are seven ways you can improve the reader experience on your blog and get people staying on your blog, reading more, and subscribing.
Here’s how you get people staying on your blog
Make your menus easy to read.
I often try to convince my 4th grader that everything can’t be the main idea. 10 or 12 items in your main menu are overwhelming. If you are blogging about that many main categories regularly, you probably need to narrow your blog’s focus.
Try to choose just 5 main categories and up to 7 subcategories. For example:
- dollar store crafts
- book reviews
And please choose a font and color combination for the menus that are easy to read. Script font is pretty in graphics, but so tough to read in a menu.
Add a search function.
The reader found your post about spring crafts through Pinterest (yeah!) and now wants to see if you have any for Earth Day. But, there is no search bar. (sigh!)
Sure, they can sift through 3 years of blog posts in your archive section or click on children’s crafts in the menu then sift through 25 or more posts to find out. But let’s be honest, would you bother?
A search bar in the sidebar solves this issue.
Declutter your sidebars.
This one might be the hardest one for most bloggers to accept. If it isn’t creating more traffic on your blog or generating income, delete it.
Check your blog’s traffic for yourself, but I am willing to guess that the following are not adding any benefit to your reader and are just taking up space:
- tag clouds
- monthly archives
- “grab my button”
- “I was featured on” buttons
- your Google+ followers
We all had those on our blogs 5 years ago with sidebars that ended up longer than some of our posts. Now they just make your blog look dated and cluttered.
A few related posts are great, 110 is overwhelming.
Related posts plug-ins are good. Directly linking related posts is better.
Either way, you choose to link to other posts on your blog, only give the reader 3 to 5 of your best posts. If they want to know every single post you have about travel in Shanghai, they can click on your “Shanghai” landing page, tag, or go to your search bar, right?
Use exit intent pop-ups.
Pop-ups are very effective for gaining newsletter subscribers. HOWEVER, who can decide if they want to subscribe within 2 seconds of landing on a site? Many people will not only decide not to subscribe they will also decide not to stay on your site at all.
Make those pop-ups “exit intent” so it pops up when the reader tries to leave your site. No, I do not mean the kind that will not let you close them if you try to leave the site. A good pop-up plugin will give you the option to appear when the user’s mouse heads to the address bar or ad.
If your pop up plug-in doesn’t let you use exit intent, set your timer for longer than 20 seconds. If they aren’t staying on your blog for 15 seconds to read the post what are the chances they are going to subscribe?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Is your bounce rate high and your session duration low? If your blog too painful to navigate, people won’t want to stay. Here’s how you can fix that. #blogging” quote=”Is your bounce rate high and your session duration low? If your blog too painful to navigate, people won’t want to stay. Here’s how you can fix that.”]
Less is more with ads.
Too many ads or video ads that slow down the loading of your page or blast out the reader’s speakers will send them running for the back button to get off your site.
Also, ADs should NEVER cover your content. No one likes to be forced to close or move ads to read the post. The exception may be a sticky AD at the bottom if people can still read the post without having to close the ad.
Experiment with the number, type, and placement of ads for optimal engagement.
Check how your site looks on multiple devices – especially mobile!
Your site can look completely different on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
I learned this one the hard way. For some reason, on mobile devices, my search bar disappeared. I had to listen to mother complain for 10 minutes that she couldn’t easily find a recipe to share with her doctor. If Mom visits your site and wants to share, you do not want to annoy her. 😉