A recent study shows that there are more than 152 million blogs in existence today with over 1.13 million posts being published on a daily basis. The numbers are staggering and intimidating when you are one of the millions of bloggers trying to make a name for yourself on the internet. We are all talented, we are all ambitious, we are all striving to capture a reader’s attention and grow our blog’s engagement but how do you do it? Some bloggers leverage social media, others rely on video, some simply know the tricks to making captivating posts, some may buy their traffic and followers; whatever the strategy there is no one way to build a following and keep a reader interested.
What is engagement?
Engagement can be measured in the ways users interact with your content—whether they are commenting, subscribing, sharing and enjoying your posts. When it comes to engagement, it is smart to use Google Analytics to gain insights into how people are spending time on your site and what posts are proving the most popular. As someone who has an advertising background, I am all too familiar with engagement metrics, here are a few key terms to remember:
- Time spent on site: The Pin the Map Project averages 3 minutes spent on site per reader–this is a fantastic number and shows that people visiting my blog are sticking around and reading content. While 3 minutes may not seem like much, to put this in perspective most large websites I’ve worked with in advertising have a similar engagement of anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 minutes spent on site. Anything above 2 minutes is considered impressive as people’s attention spans today simply are too short.
- Bounce rate: Bounce rate is advertising jargon for the percentage of people who visit a website and then continue clicking around and spending time on the site. If someone visits your blog and then immediately leaves, that is considered a “bounce” vs. someone who reads some posts and spends some time on your site. It is best to have a low bounce rate and most websites I’ve seen will have a bounce rate around 40%-70%. The Pin the Map Project has an average bounce rate of 60%.
Tip 1: Keep your paragraphs short.
If you visit successful websites like Elite Daily or Thought Catalog, you will notice that articles are broken up into digestible paragraphs and have lots of white space. This is something I am working on as well as I tend to be overly verbose in my writing, but it is recommended to shorten your posts and keep paragraphs concise so readers are more likely to read the whole post and engage.
Tip 2: Be consistent in your posting.
It may seem like a no-brainer but generating thoughtful, useful content will increase reader engagement. The more content you churn out, the more likely readers will check back to see what is new on your website! That said, it can be hard to consistently write new articles so be realistic with your writing schedule and if writer’s block strikes, check out these tips.
Tip 3: Create a conversation with your readers.
I came across this useful tip from two of my favorite blogs, Queen of Jet Lags and World of Wanderlust, and what these two wildly successful bloggers recommend is to always end a post by asking your readers a question. Rather than speaking at the readers, asking a question will make the post interactive and encourage them to join the conversation. Likewise, always try and respond to comments to encourage dialogue.
Tip 4: Learn from your previous posts.
Use Google Analytics to take a look at your past posts and see which have proved more popular with your readers. True, sometimes the story you’re most excited to share will get zero comments while that quick post on speakeasies will resonate with your readers. Learn from your past posts what your readers enjoy seeing and whether it’s blog tips, giveaways or destination guides, you now know what content earns the best engagement.
Tip 5: Make your content visually appealing.
When I am looking through my favorite blogs, I am always drawn to posts with beautiful imagery as this brings the content to life. In my own blog, I always use photography to accompany a post and draw in readers. Always layer in pictures to catch the eye of readers who are perusing blog feeds or looking through your website.
Tip 6: Leverage social media.
It goes without saying that social media is crucial for anyone hoping to grow a blog following and increase engagement to their website. More often than not, bloggers will specialize in one social channel (in my case, Instagram). With The Pin the Map Project, I will share new posts across: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Bloglovin’ to allow readers to find my content. On a daily basis, I am taking care of my Instagram like a puppy and am thrilled to say I have hit 12,000+ followers!
The rule of thumb with engagement is to remember you are creating a dialogue with your readers. People who read your content do so because they enjoy your tone, voice and the information you’re sharing; they’re eager to start a conversation and will leave comments to that effect. Respond to comments, respond to social media comments and always make a point to foster that dialogue with your readers as they ultimately mark the difference between a successful blog and undiscovered one.
Thank you to my readers for continuing to read, follow and support The Pin the Map Project! I am always thrilled when I receive reader mail and comments, so keep it coming! Make sure to check out more BLOG TIPS and share any future blog tips posts you’d like to see below!