The all-important 10 seconds to fame or shame!

No more back button If you have a Search Engine optimized (SEO) blog then chances are high that 40-50% of your visitors are coming via web search. Though SEO takes care of luring the search users into your blog, it does not guarantee any positive action from them thereafter nor can it extend the stay of the visitor. Hence your blog, at the most, has 10 seconds to prove its worth and hospitality before the search visitor hits the back button or decide to stay on.

A couple of posts ago I talked about some tips to reduce the bounce rate of your blog. In this post I shall talk about 10 things that you could do in order get buy-in from the search visitor in as low as 10 seconds – In fact, you have less than ten seconds after discounting the page load time.

Before getting on with the tips, the question here is why would you need to get the search visitors stay longer? The answer is very simple and straight forward! It may not only result in more reach but could also result in conversions (ad clicks, affiliation, referrals…) or even potentially get them as your long term readers. According to me the best way to grow your blog is via converting your organic visitors into patrons. In order to do that you should make your search hit page (not the homepage) more appealing to the visitors and here are the tips for the same:

10 things that makes your search visitors stick on!

#1 Fast loading page: When clicking the search result link, if the target page is loaded fast – ie. within 1 or 2 seconds – the probability of the user staying on for a longer duration is very high. On the other hand, if the page is taking more three or four seconds to load, you already lost your guest even before the content is displayed. So a fast loading page (not just the homepage) is the very first thing that makes the visitors happy!

#2 Unfussy layout and content: Have you ever thought what do you actually see initially when you visit a web page for the first time? In fact, you don’t read or perceive anything in that very first moment but you see the overall layout of the page. This happens in a jiffy and a non-busy site makes the visitors feel good and they stays on.

#3 Relevance of the search phrase to content: If you have used the right keywords and meta tags – in your post title, page header as well as categories – your search users are going to see exactly what they were searching for when they hit your page. This will make the users to stay on to actually read the content. On the other hand there is nothing worse than irrelevant page hits and many get offended by the same.

#4 Catchy titles: Regardless of however great stuff is to follow, the post or page titles matter a lot. In fact, they would have already got a glimpse of it in the search engine result page (SERP) itself! I kind of like this particular post title from The Geek Stuff. In fact, it can be made even better if the hot words are among the first three or four words of the title. However, if somebody hits your page while searching for ‘Angelina Jolie‘ and if you actually don’t have relevant stuff there is also a chance of a bounce!

#5 Content starts with a ‘bang’!: Most of the times the newcomer gets to read only the first one or two lines of your post before he involuntarily plans the next steps. So in his eyes, the post is only as good as how it starts!. Not many bloggers are good at starting a post in a great way and that is where I thought Darren Rowse of ProBlogger is consistently good at. The other reasoning here is that even in the ‘excerpt’ mode, the post should be fascinating.

#6 Continue reading…after setting him up: This is only applicable if the user hits a tagged page or archive where there are a number of posts on the page that shows excerpts. As a blogger, you should make sure that the ‘More…or Continue reading…‘ should start where the curiosity is just built up and before the mood is spoiled.

#7 A catchy or funny image adds to the spice: Sometimes it helps if an image relevant to the lighter side of the post is appearing above the fold and before the excerpt ends. It can be animes, caricatures or cartoon images but should be somehow relevant to the topic. But be careful not to overuse them!

#8 Narrate, quote or mention some latest news: Many times it helps if, within your post content, you add a funny quote or simile about the latest spicy news and relating somehow. This may not work if somebody is hitting an old page on your site but works well for rather new posts that are searched for. Last month and earlier this month, for example, talking about Michelle Obama’s pregnancy was the ‘in’ thing. But remember not to overdo it (e.g. Picking on George Bush will not attract anybody any longer as it’s a bit passé these days or almost everyone has already done it!)

#9 The feel of being close to the blog theme: When somebody hits your blog he wants to see the related things around. So your categories, recent posts etc could be above the fold that induces a feel-good factor as far as fresh visitors are concerned. The same is applicable to the ads as well – as much as possible one should stick to context-aware ads.

#10 People still love testimonials and statistics: It could sound like cheap marketing but the reality is that people want to read more what others have testified already. So having testimonials and proofs in your blog definitely help and they need to appear in the best visible places. Similarly showing off your RSS reader count, award links etc on the main page and above the fold will keep the visitors on your blog for a while.

Hope this post was interesting to you! I shall talk about 10 things that your guests hate to see, soon in another post (I guess that part is rather simple). In the meantime, please provide your feedback on this post and share your experiences on what other good traits could make your search visitors to stay longer!

Happy Blogging!

Comments

  1. moserw :

    Good list Ajith. Every bit helps I can say. Continue sharing useful information… Quite informative and helpful too!

  2. Nagraj :

    Nice informative list ajith……….thanks …………will wait for the the ten things visitors hate to see……….

    Nagraj’s last blog post…Simple animal with complex genome : Trichoplax adhaerens

  3. Seems that #7 is cool. I might try to add funny images on my blog posts, or course related to the post, and let me see if it could catch the attention of readers.

  4. @Rajiv, thanks for the compliments… Yes, I will definitely try to come up with more blogging tips

    @Nagraj, just posted the hate list that you have been waiting for 😆

    @hussein, yes, a picture is worth a 1000 words…so having a picture will save you a 1000 word post or review – just kidding :) In fact, caricatures and cartoon characters are much better than animes, but really hard to come up with one for each post.

  5. Hi Ajith – I agree a fast loading page is important. Prior to blogging I did a lot of research online. If the page didn’t load fast enough, I clicked off.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post…Updates – Time Tracking – Open Mic

  6. Yes Barbara, slow loading pages can be really frustrating…

  7. Domain Marvelous :

    Want to impress first timers to your blog? Then by all means, get rid of/avoid “in the face” advertising. This includes pop-up ads and even pop-under ads.

    Some blogs also have a pop-up promotion page to force user registration with some incentives, such as free e-books or software. I personally think these pop-ups call for newcomers to leave the blog. Encouraging feed subscription can be better achieved by use of blog posts rather than intrusive ads.

  8. @Forsaken, you are absolutely right. I hate those popups that slide through the screen or suddenly appear asking people to sign up… This is just another shameless way of requesting people to subscribe to their RSS

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  2. […] few months ago, I had written a post titled ‘The all-important 10 seconds to fame or shame‘ that talked about a few things that you need to take care of to make your blog sticky. One […]

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