Imagine for a minute that you’re going about your day online and you find yourself in the following scenario:
As your perusing your favorite social network, navigating through the various cat gifs and political rants you happen upon a social media post that catches your eye. It’s a link to a blog post that sounds interesting enough to click through and actually read.
However, when you click through you’re met with nothing but a bland, uninteresting, giant wall of plain text.
- NO internal links to peruse
- NO suggestions with related posts that might interest you
- NO links with recommended reading
- NO call-to-action to join a mailing list to get more tips
- NO way to leave a comment for the author
- NO social icons so we can follow them on social
- NO social sharing buttons so we can tell our friends
In fact, no real clue as to what to do next other than close the window!
What a shame.
What a missed opportunity.
What a poor user experience!
Believe it or not, this happens all the time. Countless missed opportunities on countless dead end blogs. And considering how easy this is to fix, there is really no excuse.
Let’s go through the list of problems we identified above and how to solve each of them:
Problem #1: No internal links to peruse
Solution: Use internal links when relevant.
Not only can internal linking help search engine bots to crawl and index your articles more effectively, they can reduce bounce rate and allow your visitors to easily “surf” your website.
We prefer to do this manually; however, there are lots of plugins available if you want to try them. Check out Yoast SEO internal linking suggestions.
“Internal links that tend to perform the best, the ones that help the most tend to be the ones that drive real traffic, and they sort of continue a visitor’s journey.” – Rand Fishkin, Moz
Problem #2: No suggestions with related posts that might interest us
Solution: Add related posts to your sidebar or beneath your article.
If someone is reading your blog post, it makes sense that they might be interested in reading related posts … and making it easy for them to do so is a great way to encourage people to stay on your website. Try a plugin like Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP) or Jetpack and watch your page views increase!
Similarly, our plugin Social Warfare, allows you do display a custom widget showing your most popular posts by number of share counts. It even has special parameters where you can choose which network shares to count or what timeframe to pull the posts from.
Problem #3: No links with recommended reading
Solution: Include suggestions for recommended reading.
This is basically the same idea as related posts although many people include external links. You will often see this slide in on the bottom right as you near the bottom of the post. We generally include ours right in the post when relevant. For example:
Simple? Yes. Helpful? Definitely.
Problem #4: No call-to-action to join a mailing list to get more tips
Solution: Include a Call-To-Action. Or even more than one.
Let us clue you in on one simple fact: If you do not ask people to join your mailing list, trust us, they won’t.
You need to ask, and you need to give them a reason to join. Ours is to “get notified of our best blog posts”. Nothing fancy (yet) but we have it there for those who find value in our articles.
And assuming you are getting value from this one, go ahead and scroll down and sign up now so you won’t miss the next one!
Whether it’s a simple “click here to learn more about xyz”, a popup or popunder to join a mailing list you need something if you hope to convert some of your traffic. OptinMonster is a popular lead generation plugin that we use and you also might want to try.
We often use several calls-to-action, such as a “Click to Tweet” that we create using our plugin, Social Warfare, an invitation to try our plugin, a form to join our mailing list (two of them actually), and we ask for shares and comments. Try one or several and find what works for your audience.
Problem #5: No way to leave a comment for the author
Solution: Turn on your comments section or use a plugin.
We just use the default WordPress comments with Akismet installed and have the “User must have previously approved comment” policy in place to reduce spam. I’ve also written a piece on how to choose the right commenting system for your blog, and many have found it to be helpful.
If you are worried about spam, here are 10 anti-spam plugins for WordPress that you may want to check out.
Problem #6: No social icons so we can follow them on social
Solution: Add social icons with links to the sites you are active on.
The key here is “to the sites you are active on”. How often have you clicked through to a company’s Twitter account to find that they haven’t tweeted in years? That doesn’t do much to help improve the user’s experience, does it?
Here is a free social icon set that you can be sure is accurate because I created them, and I’m obsessed with accuracy!
Or if you don’t want to manually upload the images and link them to your social networks, we recommend Simple Social Icons by StudioPress. We hope to add this feature for Social Warfare soon, but until then, Simple Social Icons is a great plugin by a trusted company.
Problem #7: No social sharing buttons so we can tell our friends
Solution: Make it easy for your visitors to share your content!If your content is good, people are going to want to share it; however, if you aren't making it easy to share, you are losing out!Click To Tweet
Social Warfare makes sharing super easy and it even allows you to create “Click to Tweets” (see above) throughout your content.
Problem #7: Lack of Security (SSL)
These days pretty much anyone can get a website up and running and throw up a bunch of information. It’s getting harder and harder to differentiate legitimate and secure sites.
Fake news, anyone?
Solution: Make it easy for your visitors to see your website is secure by using SSL.
Having that green padlock show up in the address bar, along with the
https:// is an instant indicator to your visitors that your website is safe. It’s like an instant credibility gain.
Not only does this win you points with website visitors, but it seems that Google is starting to favor https in its ranking algorithm.
And with the rate that SSL certificates are coming down in price, it’s just a no-brainer to do.
And there you have it
We recommend that you implement all 7 suggestions for the best user experience and you’ll get the added benefits of:
- increased time spent on your site
- more pageviews
- more traffic to your site
- more engagement
- more conversions
- and more shares of your content!
What are you waiting for? Leave a comment below, sign up to our mailing list, and share this post!
Oh, and go fix your blog. Your visitors will appreciate it!
Tom Nguyen says
Good advice. I cancelled my Opt-In Monster plugin though. I hate the modal windows that pop up asking to join a newsletter, and didn’t Google say that they were going to penalize sites that use interstitials? I dig your plugin and the tech support.
Great post. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Dustin W. Stout says
You’re welcome Kinan!
Emilie Wolf says
Hi Dustin! Love everything about this article, and everything looks great on my mobile! When I want a website to be memorable and surfable, I’ll utilize all these simple suggestions.
About social icons… I’m only social on the Litsy app. It’s not accessible via website, so it’s not as popular as it could be, but maybe keep it on your radar for adding to your social pack one day? Oh how I enjoy discussing books on Litsy! Maybe I’ll blog about it… 🙂
Dustin W. Stout says
Thanks Emilie! I’ll look into Litsy!