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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

5 Easy Tactics to Increase On Blog Time

Increasing Average On Page Time for your Blog

When I started out blogging I never cared about number of visits per day or search rankings for keywords, or conversion rates if I did manage to rank for a super bizarre long tail keyword. Why? I didn’t worry about these things because I knew I was a newbie and these things take time and would come eventually. Instead I focused on putting out pretty good and original content that I thought potential customers might read. At this point I figured I would use my blog as a sales tool to answer question and prove some validity of my industry knowledge. So the main metric I was focused on for my blog was on page time. I figured this was the best indication of how good my blog really was regardless of number of readers. If people read my content and stayed a while, I was doing well.

I still feel this is a good indication of the quality of your blog and believe Google takes it into account a good bit as well. After all if searchers stay on your site a long time it is probably a rank worthy site. I started out posting short to medium length (at best) blog posts. It was more important to me to put up some content than create long and detail oriented posts. I wanted good quality material but didn’t have a minimum or target length for my posts. This often resulted in my notoriously short and sweet blog posts. As you can image short posts aren’t exactly ideal for attracting long average on page times.  It did however lead me to do some research and come up with a few easy tactics to help get the most bang for my buck! Necessity is the mother of all invention, as they say.

1. Keep Creating Great Content

This one is kind of a no brainer.  If you have lots of great content for users, they will be engaged longer. When they come to your blog instead of reading just one post they may spend hours scouring your achieves in hopes of finding that one piece of important info they have been searching days for. This one can however take time.  In the beginning you just need to keep going and get good content out there. After that it’s keeping up and making it a routine. Whether it’s once a day or once a month the key is to keep it consistent and keep the good content coming. 

2.  Write Longer Posts

I swear they are going to get better! Seriously though, I’m not talking about simply increasing word count.  What I mean here is to write in a more detailed manner. Spend the extra day or so to go through and add a sentence here and there. Expand upon that idea a little further. Push the boundaries of your writing by spending a little extra time to expand and add. Make a whole and complete post. Leave no stone unturned! This will of course naturally increase word count and the time spent reading but more importantly it will engage your readers increasing their likelihood of reading more and staying on site longer. This is where a little can really go a long way.


3.  Fun and Interesting Images

Adding images in general will make your post more visually appealing and will help decrease bounce rate. Often times adding the extra visual impact needed to deliver your message increases post quality, leading to the increased likelihood of viewers reading more of your material. Are you seeing how these are starting to stack up? Spending the extra time to find unusual or original images can crank your blog up a notch and capture your audience’s attention keeping them on page for a longer stretch of time. Great images used as thumbnails will also help increase click through rates.  Info-graphics are also great to use in conjunction with statistical and data driven blog posts.

How to Make your Site More Link Worthy
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4.  Link to Other Great Content

Linking out to other great content can have a few purposes and if done correctly will vastly increase on page time. For starters you will get the great communal benefits of helping others spread the word about their content. It’s a win-win-win for you, your reader, and the website being linked to. Your reader gets to read additional great content thus providing them an even better experience which leads to them reading other posts and more importantly sharing your posts. This will boost your appearance as an authority on the subject helping increase the return rate to your blog. You want to be known as a source for relevant information. The linked content in question gets a link and referral traffic!

Now on to how this can help your on page time. It’s simple math really. Say your average read time for a post is 2:30. You link out to 2 others blogs in your post: Link A and Link B. The average read time of link A is 2:30. The average read time of link B is 2:30. (keeping it simple here)
Your Post  = P   
Link A = A 
Link B =B     
 P + A+ B = FP  
 FP = Final Post reading length. (7:30)

You just tripled your on page time! The trick is to make sure your using target=”_blank” in your links so when a reader clicks a link it opens into a new tab or window.

This ensures the time spent reading linked to material is also spent on your site. Naturally the better content you can link to, the longer your audience will stay on your blog. This can be an added Double even Triple Whammy if the great content you're linking to happens to be yours and on the same domain. This is where number 1 comes back into play! Keep on creating great content and then link to it!

The Coolest Thing You've Ever Seen!

5.  Add a Video

Embedding videos have been a tactic to build links for a while now but they also compliment blog posts quit well if done correctly.  Just think as above in number 4 its simple math.  Your post reading time plus video length. If you’re linking out to a few great things and embedding video, you’re really starting to build up your visit length. The longer and more interesting the video the better. Also you have to think about load and buffer speed. Having a fast page load speed is important to search engines but most user are willing to wait for a video to load if they are already on your site and in the middle of reading a blog post. Not exactly the ideal way, but hey, time spent loading is time spent on your blog.

All of these techniques are rather basic yet combined together can lead to big impact. The goal here was to increase on page time per visit however most if not all 5 tactics have many more benefits including decreased bounce rate, increasing pages viewed per visit, share-ability, building links, increased readership, wider range of distribution, better rankings, and hopefully you manage to convert a few sales as well!

Here are a few other Basic Tips to Help your Blog

1.  Write About Interesting Topics. You can easily do a search and finds what’s highly sought after content. More importantly you can find something missing. Often times I will spend a long while searching for something until I find a good post on the topic. I often want to email the author offer free SEO services for the greater good of anyone searching that topic in the future. The better idea would be to post something of your own on the subject and get it to rank. Plus writing on unique topics or in a unique way will set you apart from the crowd.

2.   Write Catchier Titles. You can’t judge a book by its cover but often times people judge links by their title! A good title will increase your click through rate. The more clicks you get, the more chances you have to impress!

3.   Make Sharing Easy! Let’s face it people these days are kind of lazy and want things fast and easy. If you want me to like your Facebook Page you better make it easy for me. By easy I mean I a Big Button! Putting an easy to find and use button is a simple yet effective way to build up followers. You should also have a blog archive that is easily accessible and a most popular post section. This way it’s easy for readers to see what other reader liked. Speaking of liked put easy to find social buttons at the bottom of each post increasing probability of being shared!

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