Don’t you hate it when you spend hours writing a blog post only to see that people spend mere seconds skimming it?
In an ideal world, you want people to spend hours on your blog, but sadly that won’t happen. What you can do instead is get people to come back more frequently and spend minutes, instead of seconds, on your blog during each session.
How? you may ask. Well, I’m going to show you the strategies I’ve used on Quick Sprout to increase the time my readers spend on-site from 57 seconds to 2 minutes and 4 seconds.
Strategy #1: Ask Questions and Respond to Comments
Are you asking questions at the end of your blog posts? It’s a simple way for you to engage with your readers and encourage comments.
Just think of it this way: if you read a blog post that you loved and the author of the post asked you a question at the end… what would you do?
There is a good chance you would respond with a comment, right? I know I would.
By asking your readers a question, you will encourage more of them to leave comments. This will cause people to stay on your blog longer as it takes more than a few seconds to leave a comment. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to respond to the comments and get your readers to come back to your blog.
This is why I respond to every single comment on Quick Sprout. It’s the main reason why repeat visitors make up 40% of my traffic.
Strategy #2: Help Your Readers
Some of your readers may ask you for help through comments, while others may email you asking for your help.
Whether you write an individual, customized response to each of your readers or you write a general blog post that helps your readers solve one of their problems, you need to put them first.
Don’t do it just because you want them to come back to your blog, but do it because you really care about them and want to help them.
In the long run, this approach will help you build a great reputation and create a loyal following. Loyal readers will keep coming back and will stay on your blog for a longer period of time.
Strategy #3: Showcase Your Top Posts
Do you know what one of the most clicked-through areas on Quick Sprout is? I’ll give you a hint—it’s within the blog’s sidebar…
The area in which I showcase my most popular posts accounts for 8.13% of the clicks on Quick Sprout.
By using the plugin popularity contest, you too can showcase your most popular blog posts, which will cause some of your readers to stay on your blog to read more of your content.
Now, when you use the plugin, you won’t have tabs like I have on Quick Sprout. To get that, you may have to hire a developer to help you customize the plugin. I found someone on Elance to do it for me years ago, and it cost me only $25.
Strategy #4: Create a Conversation
What do you think of my writing style? Is it professional, boring, dry, fun, personal…?
I hope you don’t find it boring like a college essay. I try to keep you engaged by using the words “you” and “I” within each post. Sure, I may not always follow all the proper grammar rules, but my blog posts read like a conversation.
Just think about it: reading this post, you almost feel as if we were in the same room, chatting like any two friends would.
This strategy hasn’t just helped me keep you on my blog longer, but it also has helped me increase the number of people who read each blog post by 62.5%.
Strategy #5: Collect Emails
If you’ve been to Quick Sprout, you would know that what I do really well is collect emails. Sure, it ticks off some of you, but emails are one of the main ways I build my traffic. In the last 30 days, emails have accounted for 103,482 visitors.
And those visitors, on average, stay on the blog for 3 minutes and 7 seconds.
Readers who subscribe to your blog via email are more likely to come back and stay on your blog for longer.
So, how do you get more people to subscribe to your email list? You need to entice them. A simple way to do this is to offer your readers an ebook or a PDF in exchange for their emails.
You can create this easily by using Uberflip. And then you can use Bounce Exchange or OptinMonster to collect the emails. Just make sure you sign up for an email provider like Aweber, MailChimp, GetResponse, or Maropost. That way, you can email your list every time you publish a new blog post.
Strategy #6: Spread Your Content Over Multiple Pages
If you can help it, you don’t want to do this with your blog posts as it isn’t the most usable solution. But if you happen to create detailed guides like I do, you can easily break them up into multiple pages.
Just look at my Advanced Guide to SEO. It has over 30,000 words and contains 9 chapters. On average, readers spend over 4 minutes on each guide. Sure, most of you aren’t reading every word in each guide, but you are spending more time on them than you do on a blog post.
These guides are time-consuming to produce, but they bring a lot of traffic. In the month of December alone, my 12 guides pulled in 118,499 visitors. That’s not too bad, considering 582 blog posts I have written don’t even pull in 500,000 visitors a month.
Strategy #7: Related Posts
I’ve tested this on a few of my blogs, and it works like a charm every time. Now, I don’t do it on Quick Sprout because I am trying to encourage you to comment before you read other posts.
Like I mentioned, by using these plugins, you’ll notice an increased time on-site. From what I tested, it typically increases your readers’ time on-site by 14.4%, but it decreases the number of comments you receive per post by 4.16%. Or at least that’s what I saw on Quick Sprout.
If you follow the 7 strategies I listed above, you should be able to increase the time your readers spend on your site by over 2 minutes. It worked for me, and it can work for you too.
Just don’t expect results right away as it will take 3 to 6 months for you to see substantial results. It takes time to build trust and loyalty with your readers.
So, in what other ways can you keep your readers on your blog longer?
This post originally appeared on Quick Sprout, and is re-published with permission.