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How to Reduce Bounce Rate, Engage Your Audience and Drive Conversions with Your Blog

How to Reduce Bounce Rate, Engage Your Audience and Drive Conversions with Your Blog

9 comments

That's a really long title of the blog post. Don't be afraid to write even such long titles. You can find other great tips on copywriting on Copyblogger. The reason I am writing this blog post is because I've been doing the small consulting job for a friend who has one startup and who asked me to help him with the conversion elements on his site. The first usual suspect was the blog post and I will tell you (and show you) this site on the end of this post (don't scroll down too fast).

You got them on your blog post, now what?

You've got your audience to click on your search engine result, social media message or they came to your blog post by browsing your website. Usually, bounce rates are rather high for this type of traffic. We'll take a look at the steps you need to make to lower the bounce rate, engage your audience and drive conversions.

The steps:

  1. Set up your goals
  2. Create a compelling layout of your blog post
  3. Work on your message / content

The Goals

Usually, people think that traffic is enough. Wrong. Driving traffic is the first step to reaching higher goals of your website / blog.
Your goals can be:

  • reduce bounce rate
  • raise number of viewed pages per visit
  • raise time on site
  • raise social media engagement of your visitors (sharing or connecting on social networks)
  • raise the number of newsletter subscribers
  • raise the number of people trying your product
  • raise the number of people commenting on the blog post
  • raise the number of RSS subscribers
  • raise the number of generated leads
  • raise the number of new signups

Choose 1 main goal and up to 3 secondary goals to have a powerful focus for your blog post. Usually, the bounce rate is the first element you are trying to improve. What you really want to improve is your conversion rate. Bounce rate will be improved as you drive qualified traffic and attract that traffic to read more blog posts and use the navigation elements you placed in your layout.

Create a perfect layout to meet the goals

Now you have your goals. Your focus is on your main goal. Everything else is a support element that needs to drive that goal.
We'll choose one goal to show you how to create a perfect layout. Let's say the overall goal of your site is to drive people to try your software. Let's choose secondary goals: Number of social media mentions and new followes and number of newsletter subscribers.

The anatomy of your blog post

We'll chose a two-column layout. Depending on your preferences, you can go to 3-column layout, but remember, keep the focus on your main goal.

Main area:

  • headline
  • author (important, you'll see why later)
  • tags, number of comments
  • main content
  • primary call-to-action
  • social Media Engagement Box
  • comments
  • sitewide call to action

Right side nav:

  • primary call-to-action
  • author box
  • top blog posts
  • featured content
  • community box
  • newsletter signup box

We love Balsamiq

We use Balsamiq. You should too. Here is our blog post layout proposal.

Blog Post Anatomy

Download the Original

The conversion elements

Main area

  • Headline

Your Headline should be precise, have a good explanation of what will your post talk about, short enough to fit the Twitter 140 character restriction and call the visitor to read more.
As mentioned earlier, there's a whole science on how to write great headlines and content. Here's a link to Neil Patel's excellent blog post about content and headline.

  • Author

Really important. Now that Google has introduced the Author Rank and Search Plus your World, author is the center of the great content. Add rel="author" to your blog.

  • Tags, number of comments

This is a good way to reduce bounce rates and drive engagement. People liking your content may look for similar posts either from the same author or similar topic. Comment link is useful for existing and returning visitors as well as a signal of quality.

  • Main content

Your content needs to be readable, interesting and useful. Your layout and design should be appealing. Use images, headings, bold and italic, lists, links and tables, your visitors will then likely read your blog.

  • Primary call-to-action

Placed after the article. Now is the time to try to convince your visitors/readers to try your product. They are in the mental mode where - if your content is good enough - they like you and they may want to try your software or service or engage more with your website. Example: Unbounce places their main CTA just below the content.

Unbounce CTA

  • Social media box

You can combine several elements to drive your social engagement: sliding sharing box, social media box with both sharing and following options. I like the way SearchEngineLand has done it.

SearchEngineLand - Social

  • Comments

Really helpful to start the conversation with your audience. You can use your systems built in feature or integrate some other solution (Disqus is nice, but I like built in features more).

Webiny Comments

  • Sitewide call-to-action

People have reached the bottom of your page and now is the time to repeat the call to action. Two perfect examples of this are Unbounce and Shopify.

Unbounce - Sitewide CTA

Shopify - Sitewide CTA


Sidebar

  • Primary call-to-action

Placed above the fold. For both new visitors and for returning visitors, this is the place where you introduce them to your product, service or any other offer. It should lead to your landing page where you explain what you're doing and offering them.

SEOBook CTA

  • Author

This is a trust element. Use the picture of the author. Use non-biased, natural and transparent bio. Use social media connections to raise Author Rank and influence. Here are some 40 examples. Notice and example: on our blog we put the author below the content. We did it nicely IMHO (image, description, social media connections), but we're thinking of moving it to the right sidebar.

Author - Webiny - Nela

 

  • Top blog posts

Either pick them by hand or use some system to choose your top content. You can mix top content, most commented and newest content in one box. Great for reducing bounce rate. Example: Conversion Rate Experts blog with related and top blog posts.

CRE - Sitewide Blogposts

  • Featured post

Use your crown jewl post to drive engagement (it can be an infographic, PDF guide, video or anything else). It has to be awesome. Example: Unbounce pushes their Infographic as a featured content (not a post, but this is their top content).

Unbounce Featured

  • Community box

Depending on your goals, community box can raise trust and drive more engagement. A perfect example is SEOMoz (community box just below the main call-to-action - if so many people trust SEOMoz, why wouldn't you give it a try).

SEOMoz - Community

  • Newsletter box

Our 3rd goal is newsletter. Important, but not so important. Example: KissMetrics signup for email updates.

Kiss Metrics Signup

Depending on your goals, you can rearrange these elements. This is a great way to do it, but it's not a recipe that will work for everyone. Don't be afraid to test whatever you think it will work for your website and audience.

Finetune your messages / content

You should be aware that even the best result can be improved. Be strict and always improve (and test, test, test). As I did this consulting job, I realised that our site is not addressing these conversion elements (and  we will change and test these elements on this blog).

When you work on your copy, try to put yourself into your audiences' shoes. But remember, if you are not giving value or do not solve any problems, no content or conversion tricks will boost your goals, conversion rates or revenues.

In short (plus the promised link)

  • Choose your goals
  • Setup the layout
  • Design the layout
  • Write the great content
  • Engage your audience
  • Test, tune, optimize

The startup mentioned earlier is Kompare.hr and their usual suspect is here (link will be live for some time, we are already changing it).

Next steps:

  • Comment
  • Share this blog post (and link to it)
  • Try Webiny (we'll have it in a free package, be patient for the next week or two, subscribe to our newsletter to know when it's live)
  • Optimize your website or blog (do it in any order, or do anything from this list, we'll be happy)

Cold hard facts

You are only good as your conversion rate! - Tweet this

Conversion rates can always be improved! - Tweet this

Don't think something is better. Test it! - Tweet this

9 Comments

  • Gerald Martin
    1 year ago
  • The blog layout that you have there is pretty much what I had in mind. I'm still using Blogger, though. I'm always thinking of putting the content in the center of attention, that's why I put the content in the middle, and the social widgets on the sides. Thanks for that suggestion of having just one side of the page dedicated for the social media widgets and the small box about me, by the way.

    = Gerald Martin, SEO Reseller =

  • Chande
    1 year ago
  • Hi Gerald, I am glad you liked it.

  • Daniel Bulygin
    1 year ago
  • The mock-up of the blog page would be pretty useful. Thanks for showing these tools and techniques!

    Daniel.

  • Chande
    1 year ago
  • Hi Daniel, you mean that I post the original source file of the blog mockup?

    Thanks for commenting

  • Daniel Bulygin
    1 year ago
  • I mean both, the original source AND this brilliant post! :)

  • Miskec
    1 year ago
  • Fantastic article. Thank you very much I will use all your advice on my site.

    Thanks

  • Chande
    1 year ago
  • Hi Miskec, thanks. Be sure to send the link here when you create it!

  • Nathan Peters
    1 year ago
  • This is a fantastic article. I'm not quite so sure about all of the social media buttons examples given though. Having so many of them in a not so nicely formatted box gives the site a more spammy look. Would you say it's good enough to just stick with having the sitewide follow buttons on th sidebar?

  • Chande
    1 year ago
  • Hey Nathan, thanks for the comment.

    As for social media box, you're right, this one is not designed to be appealing, but it's a good example of positioning and engagement. I am a fan of floating sidebar. Depending on your audience and where you want to reach them, you should rearrange the positioning - ie, if you're targeting B2B, rather use LinkedIn and Twitter before Facebook.

    Thanks again for the comment and hope you'll enjoy our future posts.

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