For any blogger, the name of the game is keeping people on your site for as long as possible. The average time spent on site is a quality signal for Google. So, a longer average time will help your rankings. It’s also something you can brag about when pitching to brands.
Having great content is always important. However, keeping people on your site really comes down to the design of your blog. You want readers to stay on your blog even after they finish reading the post which they clicked through to. There are certain elements that should be part of your blog’s design, regardless of whether you’re on WordPress, Blogger, etc. If most of these are missing from your blog, then I highly recommend purchasing a new theme or hiring someone to add them on.
1) Fixed Navigation
See how my menu stays at the top? This makes it easy for your readers to click over to other categories on your site or find your contact info. Make it easy for brands to find your contact info! A link to your ‘about me’ page should be here too.
2) Fixed Sidebar
As with the fixed navigation, you want to have plenty of alternative options for your reader in case they get bored while looking at the current post. Consider including links to your most popular posts, and a photo of yourself with a link to your ‘about me’ page.
3) Search Bar
A lot of people just want to search for something specific when they come to your website. If you don’t have a functioning search feature, said people will get annoyed and leave. Your navigation menu or sidebar are good places to include a search bar.
4) “Read More” Post Previews
If your reader has to keep scrolling through a post they’re not interested in, they’ll probably click away from your blog. You can appeal to a wider variety of readers by offering them a choice of posts to continue reading. Furthermore, more clicks to various posts leads to more page views for Google. One long scrolling blog means you get only one page view.
5) Related Posts
Once someone finishes reading a post, you want to give them something else to read. There are WordPress plugins that will automatically pull in related posts.
6) Internal Links
Put hyperlinks back to related posts on your blog. This is good for both user experience and SEO. You can always go back and add these in old posts.
7) Links Open in New Tabs
If readers leave your blog, you want them to come back. It’s especially important to open affiliate links in a new tab. After shopping on the affiliate site, readers will be more likely to come back to your blog.
8) Responsive Design that Looks Great on Mobile
Your website should look great and load quickly regardless of what device your readers are using.
9) A Super Fast Loading Website
A fast loading website is the most important factor of them all. Your readers have high expectations and little patience to wait for a slow loading site. They will click away. Use Google PageSpeed to analyze the speed of your site. If you have an especially slow site, it’s likely because you haven’t optimized your images or there are issues with your code.
Questions? Leave a comment below.