What’s Killing Your Engagement?
It’s 9 pm and you just finished a beauty of a blog post. Maybe your best yet.
You queue it up and head to sleep. In the morning you wake up with a smile, excited to see how your latest post is doing.
You whip open your laptop, reload your dashboard, and a frown takes over your face. You’re getting traffic and clicks, but none of it’s converting to engagement.
Where are the comments, likes, and shares?
If this sounds familiar, you are likely suffering from bad design.
Your content is the fire; but your design can either fan it, or put it out. Tweet this!
Good design makes your content easy to engage with. Bad design hinders it. If your design is working against you, it doesn’t matter how great your content is.
And when I say design, I don’t necessarily mean your blog’s background color. I’m talking about your experience; the tactics and techniques you employ to improve your blog’s experience.
Today I’m going to go over the 8 ways you are killing your engagement. And I’ll teach you how to turn these engagement killers, into engagement starters.
Let’s get into it.
8 Things Killing Your Engagement
1. Your Blog is Slow
Your blog’s load time is very important to engagement. When we travel around the web we are in an ADD state.
We wait for no one.
If your blog is slow to load, you’re losing a large chunk of your audience before they even get the change to see your content.
Go to Pingdom and check your blogs speed. Ideally you want your blog to load in less than 3 seconds. If your blog takes more than 5 seconds to load, it’s taking too long and something may be amiss.
Scroll down and investigate how long each each portion of your blog takes to load. Identify bottlenecks that are holding your blog up and see if there’s anything you can do to remedy them.
A solution that has worked flawlessly here, has been installing WP Super Cache. There are other similar plugins, but for most blogs this is your best option.
Just installing the plugin with factory settings can dramatically increase your speed. If you want the whole run down, visit this blog post.
2. Your Header is Vague
When someone visits your blog, you need to reassure them they’re in the right place. They’ve been sent to a lot of sketchy sites with terrible experiences, so you need to remind them why they came.
Because your header is the first thing a new visitor sees; a simple, visual header and tagline is the best way to do this. If you’re header doesn’t have:
A. Your Logo/Blog Name
B. A simple tagline or description of the problem your solving
Then you’re missing out on an easy way to improve your engagement. Without this reassurance you risk confusion. And the second your audience feels confused, they’re gone.
3. Your Navigation is Cluttered
One of the easiest ways to boost your sites engagement is to simplify things. Look at your header and sidebar. Are all your navigation elements necessary?
More options means more ways to go wrong. More room for confusion.
Eliminate any links or sidebar elements that aren’t absolutely necessary to your goals. Your navigation is meant to simplify things for your audience and make it easy to travel your site.
But too many people use them to link to everything possible. And this excess detracts from your blog’s main goals and experience.
4. Your Titles are Thoughtless
On average, 5x more people will read your title compared to the rest of your post. This fact alone makes your titles the single most important factor to your blog post’s engagement.
Of course, a great title isn’t going to help a crappy post. But at least they’ll get to see the crappy post.
With a poor title, no one will click-through to even get to your post. I don’t care how amazing it is, it’ll be behind a veil.
And you can’t engage with something you never see.
5. You Don’t Utilize Intros
After titles, intros are the next most important indicator of success for a blog post.
Once you get them past your intro, you’re pretty much golden. But during the intro peoples tendency to bounce is very high.
Too many people jump right into a post. They get right into the thick of their content. No warm up or nothing. This can shock your audience and cause them to leave.
You have to view your intro as a way to sell your audience on staying. Because that’s what it is. Tweet this!
The titles get your attention and get people to click-through, but the intro is what makes or breaks the deal. Otherwise it’s right back to where they came from.
Onto the next piece of content.
When someone clicks on your blog post, it doesn’t mean you have them. It just means they’re giving you a chance.
If you come out with a flat intro, your audience reserves the right to bounce. And they will.
6. You Don’t Promote Future Posts
By giving your audience a little “what’s to come”, you can increase your future traffic immensely. Just with a sentence or two in a current post, promote a future post.
You can throw this anywhere in your content, but try to make it relevant.
Mention your upcoming posts and sell them a little bit. Then when you publish these posts go back and interlink them.
Which brings me to my next point.
7. You Don’t Interlink Your Posts
You want more views right?
The easiest way to get more views isn’t to get more people to visit your blog. The easiest way is to get the people already coming to your blog to visit more.
Link to your posts. All the time.
Your blog should look like a spiderweb, with every one of your posts interlinked. That way your blog becomes a sticky. Catching your readers like flies.
Lowering your bounce rate and increasing views and time spent on your blog.
Instead of reading one blog post and leaving, they’ll be jumping all over your blog. Increasing their investment in you.
Giving them more opportunities to share, like, and comment your posts.
8. You Don’t Make it Easy to Share
Don’t expect people to go out of their way to share your posts. While on rare occasions they will, most of your audience will only share if you make it easy to.
Place appropriate sharing links wherever you can. Use Clicktotweet and pre-make your audience’s tweets for them.
Use call-to-actions in your content. Seriously, tell your audience to share. And repeatedly.
If there’s one thing we know about behavior on the Internet, it’s that call-to-actions work. Place a strong call-to-action at the right time and you can get your audience to share your content in droves.
You need to make it easy for your audience to engage with your content. Tweet this!
Promote posts old and new. Give your audience plenty of ways to share. And if you want your audience to do something, tell them to.
Engagement isn’t just about content. Content is the fire, but design can add to or extinguish it.
Badly designed experiences can kill even the best piece of content. However, good design acts like gasoline to your fire.
When great content and great design act in unison, it makes for an amazing experience.