Every day hundreds of thousands of articles are published online – and yet it turns out only a very small amount of articles actually attract readers and engagement.
Research has found that 55% of internet read blog posts for 15 seconds or less. This shocking statistic means that thousands of articles are being ignored by the reader… even if the website owner thinks that the extra click means someone is reading the article.
But how can you make sure that your audience actually read your whole article? After all, no website owner wants to waste time and money creating content if it is being ignored. It can feel frustrating and demoralising, but that isn’t all; it can also result in an overall drop in engagement and users on your website.
On the other hand, if your content is being read you are likely to see an increase in engagement on your website. This is because users appreciate useful content, and if they like what they are reading they will come back again and again. This helps to build a loyal, valuable audience who are invested in your website.
The internet may be a constant battle for attention – but it is still entirely possible to create valuable, useful content that visitors love to read.
Here are ten ways to make website visitors read your entire article.
1 Measure Your Success
One of the first things that you should do is use analytic tools to measure your success. Many website owners use page views as their main way to measure their success – it is common to hear blog owners saying “my last post got 10,000 views” or “20,000 people watched my video”.
It can be useful to look at page views as a general measure, but this just lets you know if someone clicked on your page – it doesn’t actually let you know if the visitor read the whole article. And if the research is to be trusted, it is likely that over half of the visitors aren’t reading for more than a few seconds!
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your content is bad; the whole has changed, and the internet has changed the way that people digest information. Now people expect to receive information very quickly, so some people skim read articles to work out if they actually want to read the whole thing.
This is why it can be useful to look at attention metrics as well as the standard metrics. For instance, there are tools that you can use to track how long users are spending on each page on your website. This is a great way to find out which blog posts are more successful than others, which will help you to tailor your content so that users are more likely to read the whole article.
2 Read The Comments
It can also be useful to enable comments on your blog posts (if you haven’t already). Some website owners disable the comments as they don’t want to receive negative feedback, but this means that they are missing out on a valuable metric tool that is completely free. Users are more than happy to let website owners know what they think about content, whether they have good things to say or bad things to say.
And bad comments aren’t always a bad thing! It may not feel nice receiving negative feedback, but if a user cares enough to take some time out of their day to leave a comment it probably means that they read the whole article and engaged with it. While you probably don’t want to intentionally create controversial to drive engagement, it isn’t a bad thing if it happens occasionally!
If you do decide to start monitoring your comments, you should also look at the comments you get on your social media pages, including Twitter and Facebook. This will give you even more information about whether users are enjoying your content; for instance, if an article gets lots of comments on Facebook it is fair to assume that lots of your Facebook users are engaging with your blog.
3 Use NPS
Many website owners have never heard of NPS, but this means that they are missing out on a valuable measurement tool. NPS stands for Net Promoter Score, and it is normally used by websites and brands to measure customer loyalty.
You can calculate your NPS by asking your users one question; how likely is it that you would recommend this article (or blog) to a friend? Users can then respond to the question with a 1 to 10 scale, providing you with much more information.
When you do this, it can be useful to break the audience down by their vote. Users who vote 8, 9 or 10 should be classed as loyal users who are likely to use your blog again, users who vote 5, 6 and 7 should be classed as passive users, and scores below 5 indicate unhappy users. This will teach you more about how engaged your users are.
If you want to do this, there are lots of free NPS tools online that you can use to monitor your users. Alternatively, you can set up your own NPS using an email newsletter, or by placing a survey on your blog.
4 Use A Web Design Team
When it comes to content, presentation is very important. Of course, the quality of the article is important too – but if it is presented in an unappealing way, users are far less likely to read the article. In fact, a study from Stanford found that over 90% of visitor’s first impressions of a website are based entirely on visual design!
For this reason, it can be useful to hire a web design team who can help you to make sure that your blog looks great; they can help to remove clutter from the page, and they will ensure that every blog post is presented in an accessible, readable way. They can also make sure that the font size can be altered. This is very useful for users who are visually impaired.
5 Monitor Shares
You should also track your shares and mentions on social media. This is because if a user is very engaged with your content, they may feel inspired enough to share it with their friends. Shares are also a great free marketing tool; when a user shares your post on their social media, it means that your article is being shown to an entirely new audience of people who wouldn’t have seen your content otherwise. This can really help you to grow your brand!
If you use a lot of different social media channels (such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), you may want to consider downloading a plugin to help you track all of the shares. This will help you to save a lot of time, and it will also provide you will a clear overview of the activity. It will also let you find out which social media platform is most effective for you.
6 Focus On The Headline
If you want your users to read the whole article, you should focus on the headline. It may seem like the only thing you should need to focus on is creating interesting content, but in reality, the headline is just as important. This is because when users read the headline, they instantly decide how interested in the article they are – so if you come up with a great heading that really grabs the attention of the user, they are more likely to take the time to read the whole article.
If you’re not sure how to create great headings, look at other successful blogs for inspiration. It can be useful to include an interesting or unique fact to shock the reader, or you can use questions that directly address the reader. Whatever you do, make sure that the heading is clear and informative so that the user understands exactly what you are telling them.
7 Create Unique Content
One of the main issues with content online is that so much of the content is repeated over and over again – just in slightly different ways. This means a lot of the content isn’t actually valuable or useful, so if you want to create useful content that people actually want to read, it needs to be unique.
One great way to come up with unique content ideas is to look at articles that already exist, and think about how you can develop that idea even further. You can also send out a survey to your existing users to find out what content they want to see; ask them if they have any questions that they would like to be answered, or which subjects they are most interested in.
8 Think About Your Audience
If you really want to ensure that your users are reading the whole article, sit down and really think about what your audience wants to read. Think about how old they are, where they live and what gender they are, and this will make it easier for you to see from their perspective so that you can provide them with the content that they actually want.
For instance, if you run a money saving blog that is mostly used by students you could write articles about student debt, but if you have more female users in their 30s you could give tips on how to save money as a parent. This will appeal to your users, so they are more likely to stick with your articles until the very end.
9 Break Your Content Up
In a world where internet users want to find out information as quickly as possible, it is best to avoid publishing a blog that looks like a wall of text. This is because it can be visually overwhelming for the user, which could put them off reading the whole article. Instead, you should break your content up with subheadings, images and paragraph breaks. This will help to guide the user through the article so that they read until the end, making it easier for them to stay focused on your content!
Images, in particular, are very useful; research has found that only 60% of visitors take the time to look at the whole page, but 100% of visitors will glance and images. For this reason, you should try to include interesting, attention-grabbing images that make the user want to read the content so that they can find out more. However don’t oversaturate your article with too many images, as this will make it difficult for your readers to stay focused on the article. Instead, aim for two or three high-quality images that add visual stimuli to your article!
10 Think About The Length Of Your Articles
Most online articles are between 400 and 2,000 words, so this is a good length to aim for – but you shouldn’t stretch your articles out unnecessarily. Filler content isn’t particularly interesting to anyone, so it is important to make sure that every sentence in your article has useful information that makes the user want to keep reading. If that means that your articles are only 400 words, that is fine; if your goal is to get the readers to stick with your articles to the end, you should completely avoid using any filler sentences. This will ensure that your articles are interesting from start to finish!
If you implement these tactics you should find that more visitors are reading your entire articles to the end. This can have lots of benefits for your whole business; as users engage more with your brand, you will notice that’s sales and overall website engagement start to rise. It will also help you to build up a strong, loyal customer base, as the users will come back to check out more content that they know they will enjoy.
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