Are you investing a lot of time and energy in blog content but not seeing anything like the new leads and sales that you thought you would?
Don’t panic. We’ve put together an essential checklist to help you optimise your blog layout to make sure you are doing everything you can to encourage visitors to take action.
Just 22% of businesses are satisfied with their website conversion rates.
So there will be something here for everyone to help you increase engagement on your blog and build your email subscription list. You work hard to get people to read your posts. But liking and sharing them is not enough.
Consider this your 7-step blog optimisation challenge
Let’s start at the top of the page.
- Think about content above the fold
First things first – what do we mean by above the fold? Lots of conversion marketing terms are bandied about so we’re using Unbounce’s crystal clear definition: above the fold simply means ‘the top portion of a web page that can be seen without scrolling’. This applies to desktop, mobile and tablet screens.
Content above the fold grabs the attention of readers before the urge to scroll kicks in. It’s your first opportunity to encourage visitors to stay on the page / read on. If a visitor bounces early off the page then you have lost any lead or conversion opportunity straight off the bat.
What types of content do brands use above the fold?
Convince and Convert is a great example of a website using the space above the fold to maximum effect. It nails its authority colours to mast by telling visitors that it is the ‘#1 Content Marketing Blog in the World by Content Marketing Institute’. There’s also a personal introduction from founder Jay Baer who tells readers exactly what they can expect from their posts. Each blog post then starts with an audio option to make articles accessible.
If you want to encourage more email subscribers then you could also put your opt-in box above the fold too.
Ok, now we’re going below the fold to look at how you can optimise the way you structure and write your posts.
- Use ‘power words’ in the title
‘Power words’ in the title can help to entice visitors to read your blog post. They can trigger a psychological or emotional response that readers find too irresistible to ignore. Professional copywriters will have a go-to list of these words in their back pocket to boost conversions. Obviously anyone with a good list can use them. Check out Optin Monster’s super helpful primer and ‘power word’ list. You’ll be hooked in no time.
Meanwhile, here’s a quick example. People are busy. They want to find answers quickly with minimum work and effort. ‘Sloth words’ will appeal to these types of people. So a ‘Complete guide to content marketing’ tells the reader that they will find everything they need in your guide, no further effort required.
‘Power words’ are also mightily effective in encouraging readers to opt into an email list or click on a call to action (we get onto this later).
- Use long-tail keywords
As Google evolves, it’s easier for people to type in phrases that include more specific requests. And because searchers are being more specific and intentional, rather than just browsing, then long-tail keywords often convert better. Long-tails are usually three words or more.
Effective SEO is all about relevancy and intent so to drive more traffic to your site you’ll need to get on the right of Google and write quality content that answers it users’ queries.
Where should you include your long-tail keywords?
- Titles – these are your H1s which users see in their search results, social media feeds, inboxes, or directly on your blog page
- Headers and body – use your target keyword at least once in an H2 header (these are the main headers that divide your post into ‘chapters’ and break up the text. Don’t overstuff your keywords in the article. Neither your readers nor Google will be impressed. Just use them at a natural tempo where it makes sense to do so.
- Alternative text – include your keywords in text descriptions for images that you upload for a post. This is called an image alt attribute (also called alt text / alternative text). It helps Google understand the image context for visual searches. Text descriptions also make your content more accessible to screen reader users.
- URLs – use your main keyword for the page and use a simple, short structure so the user can quickly see what the post is about (avoid capitals and special characters) and use a hyphen to separate terms.
- Meta titles and descriptions – the meta title is a place where you can both optimise for search by using your target keyword and conversions by including action words like “buy now”, “limited offer”, “learn how to…” etc.
- Write persuasive copy
Using a ‘power word’ in the title is an effective way to draw people in. You then need to persuade them to keep reading and do something. There’s an art to how you use the body of the article to connect with your readers.
Of course, SEO is important to get people to your site. But, it’s people who buy from you. So write for people first and make your writing about them.
- Grab attention early with an irresistible hook.
- Use a conversational tone and ask direct questions.
- Speak your reader’s language to build trust and rapport. Providing value in what you write will also build trust.
- Show readers that you understand their problem and that you are offering solutions. This will help you build empathy and credibility. Don’t tell your reader that you are an expert. Let them decide.
- Tell people what to do next.
- Include a call to action
A call to action (CTA) is a critical part of your blog’s contribution to lead generation.
How many CTAs should you place in your content?
It really does depend on the desired action that you want readers to take. Do you want people to sign up for a newsletter / email list or download a guide, for example?
Where should you place CTAs?
We’re going back to the fold here. There’s a compelling argument for placing CTAs above the fold on website pages. But when it comes to your blog posts, your visitor is arriving with the expectation that there is something valuable that they will want to read.
If your copy is persuasive and inspiring and it has convinced a reader to convert then they will take action below the fold.
- If it makes sense, then try to include a CTA before the halfway mark on the page because not everyone will read / scan your whole article.
- Be sure to include a CTA at the end of the article. You don’t want to lose a match in the dying seconds.
Don’t forget about internal linking
Including internal links to other useful, relevant content or specific pages can also help sustain engagement by keeping visitors on your site for longer. Try to include at least one internal link. This will also help to build your SEO.
- Offer a content upgrade
Everybody loves an upgrade. Content upgrades are basically any kind of extra content that blog visitors can access in exchange for their email. This could be a buyer’s guide, say, or a how-to guide.
- Be mobile-first
Since 2019, Google has been using the mobile version of a page for indexing and ranking. As with all things content – you should think mobile-first. Here’s the thing. Mobile browsing and snackable content might be hot but mobile conversions are tepid at best.
The structure of your blog post should be clean and uncluttered and your copy needs to be screen-friendly for mobile users. We talked you through how to write catchy tiles and persuasive copy earlier. You’ll also need to write shorter sentences and paragraphs to make it easier for mobile users to read / scan your content.
Don’t forget to optimise your landing / checkout pages too. The fact that cart abandonment rates are an eye-popping 77.8% for mobile users, tells us that there’s more that online retailers could be doing to encourage more conversions.
What else can you do?
Revisit older content
Web analytics tools like Google Analytics can help you work out the posts that are working hardest for your blog. These can be posts from a month ago, three months ago or three years ago. Focus on evergreen content and update it to keep everything fresh and relevant to attract new readers. Check to make sure that you have done everything you can to optimise the updated version. Don’t forget to replace any broken or outdated links / calls to action.
Give it a try. To optimise your blog layout think about the way you use space above and below the fold, apply basic SEO techniques, build an emotional connection and write persuasive copy, encourage sign-ups and tell people what to do next and you should start to see a real improvement in conversions.
Anything you would add to the checklist? Let us know in the Comments section below.