We’ve all had the problem at some point.
I have, you have – and everyone else.
That moment when you realise that you have overcome what you first thought to be your biggest obstacle – traffic.
Only to find that you don’t seem to be able to keep these visitors on your website?
A lot of other people have had this problem and you are not alone.
In the following post I’m going to show you how I keep my average time on page as high as 40 minutes on some blog posts (you did read that right by the way) along with an overall average time on site of over 7 minutes and how you can use the same techniques that I use to do the same.
So what will you get out of reading this post and creating magnetic content on your own blog?
- Better rankings in search engines (more traffic)
- More returning visitors
- Better conversions (visitors are more likely to do what you want them to, whether it’s sign up to your mailing list or anything else)
- Better engagement
This type of thing always makes your blog closer to getting more of the following:
- Earned links from other blogs
- Social shares
- More traffic
- More money in your bank
Ready to rock and roll?
Detailed and engaging content
500 word blog posts aren’t enough which is why I try to keep all of my blog posts above 1,500, and a lot of them end up going way above that.
As Neil Patel has mentioned on a number of occasions, when you write detailed content chances are it will rank better.
And he’s right….. it works.
I’ve seen that advice to be bang on through the posts I write here and for other sites but it’s also important to make the post as actionable as possible while being enjoyable to read.
Making your content both detailed and engaging will get you results.
Here are a number of ways you can make your content more engaging:
Asking questions within your post will make readers question what you’re talking about and will make them think about the topic.
This in turn really does help make them more engaged.
Keep the questions going and end the post on a question to encourage readers to comment and share their experiences or thoughts on the topic.
Include relevant and interesting images
I talk about this a bit later on in a bit more detail, but solid blocks of text would send me to sleep (or away from your site).
Don’t do it.
Instead use awesome images.
This could be a blog post in of itself, fortunately Ashley Faulkes wrote a great post on this which you can find here.
Understand what you’re writing about and be passionate about it
Ok, I’ll admit it’s difficult to force people into being passionate about something but if you’re not passionate about what you’re blogging about.
Why? Because it’s the wrong way to do things – if you’re not passionate about what you’re blogging about then this seeps through and your readers will eventually pick up on this in most cases.
Admittedly there are some people that can fake it, but most people can’t and it will hinder your success.
Now, on to the understanding what you’re blogging about part.
This is important.
If you don’t have a grasp on the topic you’re blogging about, you might want to ask if it’s right for you and what value you can really deliver to your audience.
I’m not saying give up because you can take a different position with your blog and come from the perspective of sharing your journey learning about a topic which I actually find VERY compelling to read – so this works.
The resources available on the internet are immense so the information is out there to help you learn more but there is something to be said for living and breathing what you talk about.
That’s why I set up this blog because what I talk about is what I’ve already tried and tested. Most of which I’ve either tested on other sites that I own or I do for clients at the marketing agency I run during the week.
Vary the types of content you produce
Regular blog posts are great but there is so much more that you can do and I’m guilty of not using enough of these:
- Interviews (group interviews work great)
- Downloadable reports
- Slideshare presentations
- Infographics (done to death yes, but they still work)
- Case studies
There are a lot more things that you can try, but these should be enough to get you started.
And remember that you can also repurpose content – wrote a good blog post? Wouldn’t that look good if you formatted it into a Slideshare presentation too?
Damn right it would!
Make your content magnetic
Ask yourself the question – would you want to read the content you’re producing?
Take a step back and be honest with yourself.
Here’s an example of what happens when you write magnetic content:
As a point of reference, the above post was over 4,000 words long, contained 50+ images and all of the text was nicely broken up.
In a recent post that you can find here, I talk about a framework that I have developed for creating magnetic and simply great content. It’s called ‘TADUIE’ which stands for:
- Timely (or Evergreen)
I go into a lot of depth in that particular post, so I highly recommend checking it out – it’s a great resource.
Make your content magnetic and your average time on site will soar.
Open external links in new windows
I remember reading a blog post, maybe 5 or 6 years ago – it was pretty much a rant about how annoying it was when you click on a link and it opens in a new window.
Things are different now, especially if you run a blog with the purpose of educating others – in my opinion (and the opinion of others) setting your links to open in new windows is actually a helpful thing especially when people are researching a topic and want to keep the first window open.
This also works great for improving your average time on site.
In HTML this is really straight forward to do:
Highlighted in red is the section you would need to add to the HTML of any link in order to make sure it opens in a new window.
It’s even easier in WordPress:
Just highlight the word or phrase that you want to link to in the live editor, then click the link button above.
Now you just need to tick a button and click update – job done.
Post Skin Plugin for WordPress
You may have seen this widget in my sidebar:
It’s an awesome plugin created by Glen from ViperChill.
It’s fully customisable and you can use it to track the number of clicks that each of the articles in your sidebar is getting.
Post Skin is only $33 for the plugin and you also get a bonus plugin too – what makes this plugin even better is the free lifetime updates and you can install it on all of your websites (unlimited license).
I get a lot of readers asking me which plugins I use for various elements here on Blogging Wizard, but I get more people asking me about Postskin than anything else.
It grabs people’s attention.
Their support is awesome too.
Other related posts plugins
As well as the post skin plugin there are a number of other helpful plugins that will display related posts to your visitors, these include:
All of these plugins will help you display related posts in a great way that will encourage your visitors to click and end up spending more time on your site.
A while back some of you may notice that I changed my commenting system away from the native WordPress comments in favour of Disqus.
While Disqus is primarily known as a blog commenting system it does have a related posts section that you can choose to enable – what I love about this is that it appears below the commenting section which helps draw more attention to the comments section and the discussion going on.
I’m still in the testing phase, but I’m quite happy with how this is working out.
When some people first start blogging they immediately think that the problem is that they don’t have enough traffic and that if only they could get more traffic things would just work out for them.
Well, in certain circumstances this can sometimes be true but what would be the point in just directing a load of visitors to your site that just aren’t interested in it?
There’s always a chance that some people may be interested but what you really need is targeted visitors that want to read what you’re blogging about.
The first mistake some people make is thinking that when they see someone selling traffic that it will work out. Unless you’re using something like Outbrain (which generates very high quality traffic from relevant sites) or StumbleUpon traffic where you can pick the interests of the users you target or PPC through a platform like Google Adwords.
Too many adverts are annoying
I understand people want to monetise their blog, but too many adverts can seriously annoy the hell out of people.
Remember this phrase:
“Everything in moderation”
It’s the same with adverts – don’t think that the shocking amount of money you get from Google Adsense is going to come anywhere close to the lifetime value of a potential customer that you could have annoyed so much that they won’t sign up to your mailing list.
Break up text and break the monotony
Big blocks of text are a pet hate of mine and for some they can be off putting to read, a great example is one that Cyrus Shepard highlights here on the Moz blog, where two of Rand Fishkin’s posts had the same number of words and one had images breaking up text, the other was just big blocks of text.
The average time on page was 4 minutes 15 seconds higher for the one that had images.
You don’t just have to break up the text with images, although it’s probably one of the best ways.
The following has always worked well for me and others:
- Relevant and engaging sub headings (Tip – Check Gary Korisko’s guide over on Boost Blog Traffic)
- Utilise heading tags (H2’s, H3’s etc)
- Use relevant images that ‘pop’
- Use bullet points
- Use quotes
- Your headline is a promise – deliver on that promise
- Include relevant internal links
Why is keeping your average time on site high a good thing?
When we first launch our blog we usually have goals of what we want users to do when they come to our site, this could be one of the following:
- Sign up to your mailing list
- Purchase your product
- Enquire about services you’re offering
Or it could be any other number of things but the thing is that in order to get people interested in any of these things we need to deliver magnetic content and then get them hooked.
If they’re not reading your content then what exactly is the point?
You may as well just delete your site, cancel your hosting account and disable the auto-renew on your domain because you won’t get anywhere.
Here’s the truth – engaging content leads to engaged readers which leads to great relationships and people willing to just throw cash at you because they freaking love you!
Would you rather have someone that hangs on to your every word subscribe to your mailing list or would you rather have someone that is maybe just a bit curious?
I know what I’d choose.
Looking at this from the SEO perspective…
High average time on site is a great indicator of engaging content and an audience and loves what you write and because of this Google will show you some love.
If users hit your page and instantly bounce out and don’t read all too much then Google won’t show you much love because it’s an indicator that your content isn’t what the people landing on your page are after, well that or it sucks.
What about bounce rate?
People freak out about bounce rate all the time and I agree that in some circumstances you’re going to want to improve it as much as possible and there are a number of different ways you can improve bounce rate but there’s something I want to highlight here.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people that came to your site, read a single page and left.
When people have already read your other blog posts, they’re generally going to bounce, so try not to worry too much.
If you notice in your analytics that your bounce rate is above 80-90% and you have a high percentage of new visitors then this could be an issue because it shows that you don’t have too many returning visitors but the new visitors are still bouncing.
What about some additional resources?
There’s a lot more that you can do to improve your average time on site, and even your bounce rate too – there are some other things to think about including exactly how you put the content together that I have published here on Blogging Wizard or from other great sites on the web:
- How I Got My Websites Loading Time to Around 1 Second
- How to Instantly Make Blogger Outreach and PR Work for You
- How to Reach Your Target Audience by Not Marketing to Them
- There is more to This Content Marketing Thing than just Clicking Publish
- How to Battle 7 “Sins” that Derail Content Marketing Success
- The Psychology of Social Proof & How to Build Trust in Your Business
Who else is rocking this magnetic content?
Here are some great examples of other bloggers that do a great job at keeping me hooked on their content for a long time:
- Jon Morrow – Boostblogtraffic.com
- Jason Acidre – Kaiserthesage.com
- Ana Hoffman – Trafficgenerationcafe.com
- Adrienne Smith – Adriennesmith.net
- Neil Patel – Quicksprout.com
- Rebekah Radice – Rebekahradice.com
- Dino Dogan – Dinodogan.com
- Jeff Bullas – Jeffbullas.com
- Chris Lema – Chrislema.com
- Belinda Weaver – Copywritematters.com.au
- Danny Iny – Firepolemarketing.com
- Kristi Hines – Kikolani.com
- Ashley Faulkes – Madlemmings.com
- Timo Kiander – Productivesuperdad.com
I know there are some other great folks doing great things, but the purpose of this is to give you some great examples of people that have got this magnetic content thing on lock. These are people that I follow and I recommend you do too.
So if you do anything today, subscribe to these sites in your feed reader, you’ll learn a lot.
On a side note, if you’re looking for a good RSS feed reader, give Feedly or Netvibes a shot. Right now I’m using Netvibes and I’m loving the iGoogle style layout.
Remember that if you’re going to track your average time on site properly then you need to exclude logged in users from your analytics, if your blog is using WordPress and you use Google analytics then this can easily be done with the Google Analyticator plugin, any of the other GA plugins or by adding the GA code directly to your site.
So, the problem I spoke of at the beginning – not being able to get your visitors to stay on your site.
Is this going to stop you anymore?
You can do anything when you put your mind to it and you have this post to serve as your guide.
Whatever you want to accomplish with your blog; whether you’re just focusing on improving average time on site or working on getting on page times to the 40 minute mark or anything else.
You can do it and get monstrous results.
Your time is now.
Impossible is nothing.
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