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Dukeo » Blogging » Reader Usability: 5 Tips To Increase Engagement & Social Shares

Reader Usability: 5 Tips To Increase Engagement & Social Shares

Guest Feb 6, 2013 Blogging

Your Google Analytics stats proves you’re attracting visitors to your website but your bounce rate is lousy and readers are just not sticking around. As a result your conversion rate sucks, your blog is devoid of comments and your social share stats are embarrassing. Yuck.

Fortunately there are some very simple tips and tricks you can employ right now to encourage reader interaction and to drive up engagement.

So keep reading and you’ll discover five proven techniques to get you going…

1. Create quality content that fits your reader’s requirements

In this age of content marketing, useful, relevant and interesting content has to be the starting point of an engaging website. Content, in the form of blog posts, embedded videos, product descriptions etc. provide the incentives that encourage visitors to stick around to discover more. But before you dash off and start creating “stuff”, remember this – your content must serve a purpose.

It needs to inform, educate, inspire or entertain. What’s more, it must pass the relevance test by adding value to and helping your target audience. You see Google is rapidly relegating sites with poor quality, churned out content in favour of those who invest the time and effort in producing the good stuff. So before you jump in, spend some time figuring out your content marketing strategy and ensure your website has purpose.

2. Express your true voice

Does your website have personality? Or are you just another dull, faceless, formal corporate?

People want to connect with people and your readers want to discover the face (and the person) behind your brand. It’s your job to make it super easy for them. Firstly prove you’re real and approachable with a nice friendly photo, and then stamp your unique voice and tone all over your content. It’s OK to be conversational. You don’t have to use formal language if it’s not you. In truth, this false presentation can actually turn readers off.

What’s more this authenticity is actually a powerful way to distinguish you from your competition. Try it and see…

3. About page

Your about page is an important website convention, yet many bloggers and business owners get the focus wrong. Whilst it may seem natural to make it about you, it’s far more interesting to a reader if your focus is on them.

Or put another way; feel free to talk about yourself – but only if you’re demonstrating how you can help your audience.

In practice this means that you need to talk about the things that will interest your reader. This could include how you solve the problems your audience are tackling, insights into how you can help and why a reader should connect with you.

4. Email sign-up forms

For sure some new visitors will directly seek you out, but others will stumble upon your blog. Perhaps they’ll be attracted by a headline that stands out in their Twitter feed, or click on one of your posts from an organic Google search. And whilst one off visitors are nice for your headline stats, in practice people won’t become loyal until they’ve got to know, like and trust you – and as you know that takes time.

To encourage repeat visitors it’s well worth setting up a subscription option for your website. Create a free relevant incentive such as an eBook, a download or a series of videos and use that as the carrot to encourage a visitor to part with their email address. Then you can engage in permission marketing and start to strengthen that fragile relationship.

5. Start here pages

If you want to make it super easy for first-time visitors to hang around, explore a “start here” or a “new here” section.

Here’s how it works…

Set up a dedicated page and add it to your menu. Then use it to briefly outline who you are and what visitors can expect. You can also help new visitors explore your content by directing them to popular posts and pages. Chris Brogan’s Human Business Way is a good example of this. His “New Here” page welcomes you to his community, invites you to receive his best free content and introduces you to him with a welcome video.

As you know you have a fleeting chance to make that first impression. Visitors will cast their eye over your website and make an almost instantaneous decision about whether or not to stick around.

If you focus on your website usability and make it super easy for visitors to engage and interact, your engagement levels will increase – and that in turn could lead to a higher conversion rate.

But what about you? What tactics have you used on your site to boost social shares and increase engagement with your audience? Please let me know in the comments below.

Georgina El Morshdy is a UK freelance copywriter and content marketing specialist from Plymouth, UK. You can also find her helping micro business owners at the Micro Business Hub where she’s the Editor.

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