Jonathan Long Founder, Uber Brands
Every business has a blog these days, so it requires effort to stand out from the crowd and convert readers into leads. You can publish compelling content that attracts traffic to your website, but if your blog isn’t optimized for conversions, those visitors are essentially useless.
All the website traffic and blog pageviews in the world mean zilch unless they are converting into leads and, ultimately, revenue for your business. Aside from content that will hold your reader’s attention, you need to focus on providing a simple user interface (UI) and pleasant user experience (UX). Here are a few simple tips to help you optimize your blog, turning it into a lead generation machine.
1. Design your layout to hold your user’s attention.
A nice simple layout that allows the visitor to quickly read -- or skim -- through your content is a must. Proper use of headlines and short bite-sized paragraphs makes content easier to digest. Also, to reduce skimming, set time expectations at the beginning.
Here on Entrepreneur, you will see each post has an estimated read-time at the beginning of each article. Seeing “5 min read” lets the reader know how much time it will take to fully read the content. You want them to read the full piece of content, because if it’s done right, there will be a call-to-action built in. If your content is being skimmed, you will have less conversion opportunities.
Aside from the actual piece of content, you will want to make sure you have a search function clearly visible, as well as blog categories -- if the reader is enjoying what he or she just read, make sure they can quickly explore more of your content. Show related posts at the bottom to encourage additional content engagement. If your blog is WordPress-based, there are plenty of free plugins to select from.
2. Encourage engagement.
Not every post is going to go viral -- there is a slim-to-none chance of that happening for most. But, there is a good chance of content resonating with your audience, triggering them to share across social media with their like-minded connections, which may also be your target audience.
Make sure you have social share options that are simple to locate and enable commenting on your blog, but also try to incorporate ways to engage with hard-hitting stats or statements throughout your content.
A simple and effective (also free) tool is a click-to-tweet plugin, allowing you to make parts of your text easily sharable on Twitter. This option is my favorite and can be set up within seconds. When you have stats, news or information that is hard-hitting enough to grab attention, make it tweetable in a single click. The goal is to get people scrolling through their feeds to see it, stop scrolling and click-through to your content.
You need to encourage engagement, even if your industry isn’t the most exciting. Take a law firm for example. Someone reading content on a legal blog is in a completely different mindset than someone reading a blog post on a supplement website that is pushing the visitor to purchase protein powder.
Someone reading legal content is more than likely looking for a solution to an issue that needs immediate attention. Therefore, the engagement you would want to trigger needs to fit that immediate need.
You can’t expect to create engagement out of thin air -- you need to provide multiple ways for your visitors to engage.
3. Constantly split-test content formats and opt-in locations.
Blogs that stick to strictly text-based posts become stale quickly. It’s a good idea to test multiple content formats, like video and infographics. I’m a huge advocate of infographics, as they tend to command attention and they are highly shareable.
You can even take an infographic to the next level, beyond just a static image, like this example I came across while writing this article. Not only is it animated, but it also has several opt-in offers throughout the entire piece of content. There are five opt-in forms built into the infographic and a live-chat option.
You are not going to know what type of content your audience prefers or what type of opt-in offers they will bite on unless you split-test multiple variations. Continue to test and analyze your data, constantly making adjustments to improve your conversion rates. Never assume -- always test.
4. Use Google AMP to improve performance and user experience.
With the majority of your blog traffic likely coming from mobile devices, speed is key and should be a primary focus. Google introduced AMP back in October of 2015 with a simple goal: to increase the speed of web pages accessed via mobile devices.
If you or someone on your team has a little HTML knowledge, you can grab the code here, or if you are using WordPress for your blog, you can download the free plugin here. AMP is open source, yet many blogs still haven’t implemented it. This is one of the easiest ways to drastically improve your mobile performance, benefiting both your SEO and user experience.