How to Get 247% More People to Read Your Content

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When you write a blog post, you want people to read it, right?

What happens when you spend hours writing your masterpiece and find that very few people have actually read it, shared it, or commented on it?

You’re probably lost for words, and you’re unsure of what to do next. I know I was.

I recently started another marketing blog at NeilPatel.com and found that barely anyone read my latest blog post on A/B testing ideas. The other posts I published received more comments and had a higher time on-page.

Instead of letting it be, I decided to modify the post a bit and run an A/B test. The results were great! I was able to increase my time on-page from 1 minute and 22 seconds to 4 minutes and 45 seconds.

Download this printable cheat sheet to learn how to get 247% more people to read your content.

Can you guess what I did to achieve the results? No, I didn’t spend hours re-writing the post. I just tweaked its introduction.

Here’s exactly what I did:

Hook your readers through conversation

Here’s the first paragraph of the original blog post…

When it comes to split testing, ideas might sound like one of the last things you need. But there comes a point when you start running out of meaningful things to test, and start micromanaging your split tests only to make meager gains, if any.

With that being said, here are 50 different testing ideas that you can implement today that can help you get real, actionable results. The 50 are broken down into 10 categories:

And here’s the variation…

When it comes to split testing, ideas might sound like one of the last things you need, right? But I bet there has been a time when you started to run out of meaningful tests to run, which is why you are seeing little to no gains.

To help you solve this problem, I’ve created 50 different testing ideas that you can implement today. These tests will get you real, actionable results. And to make it easy, I’ve broken the 50 tests down into 10 categories:

Can you see the difference? The original reads more like an essay – formal and dull. It probably reminds you of your high school days when the teacher would ramble on for an hour and you would fall asleep.

The variation, on the other hand, has a much more conversational tone. There is some banter going back and forth with you, the reader, and the post hooks you in with a question.

That’s why my visitors’ time on-page went from 1 minute and 22 seconds to:

time on page

Through Crazy Egg, I was able to test how many of you actually scrolled down to the end of the post. Here’s what the difference was:

full page read

Now that you can see conversations help increase readability, let’s dive into why they work.

Why conversations work

According to Harvard Business Review, positive conversations produce oxytocin, a “feel good hormone,” encouraging people to communicate and collaborate with others.

Oxytocin is also known as the “bonding or love hormone” because it causes you to feel empathy and trust and to connect with others on a more personal level.

love hormone

When you have a conversation with your readers, they release more oxytocin, which makes them feel more open, trust you more, and feel a personal connection with you. This encourages them to read your content and even participate by commenting.

Just look at the blog post I am using as an example. The original version resulted in 0 comments. The variation produced 2 comments.

Now that you know a scientific reason behind the power of conversations, let’s see how you can create them.

7 ways you can create a conversation

If you want to replicate my results on the Neil Patel blog, consider following these 7 strategies:

  1. Use the words “you” and “I” – those two words may seem simple, but they are powerful. Without them, it’s hard to create the illusion of a conversation. Just think about it. I don’t know your name, so how can I create a conversation with you if I don’t use the words “you” and “I” while talking to you? It’s nearly impossible.
  2. Ask questions – one of the simplest ways to draw your readers in is to ask them a question within your introduction. You don’t have to do this within the first sentence of your blog post, but you should try to do it within your first paragraph.
  3. Keep your paragraphs short – don’t you hate it when you’re having a conversation with someone and they don’t let you get a word in? It’s like you’re not even having a conversation… By making your paragraphs 1 to 6 sentences long, you will create an illusion of a conversation. Just look at the introduction in this blog post – the paragraphs are really short.
  4. Let your personality shine – no one wants to be part of a dry conversation. By adding in some humor or emotions, you will keep the conversation entertaining. Just sprinkle a few of these elements throughout your post.
  5. Use transitions – you’ll probably cover multiple subtopics within your blog post, just like you would in a regular conversation. Make sure the transitions are smooth. Using headings isn’t enough. You need to use sentences to create transitions.
  6. Create a story – do you remember how your kindergarten and elementary school teachers used to engage with you? They used to tell you stories in order to get your attention and keep it. If you can mix in story telling within your introductory paragraph, you’ll get more people to read your blog post.
  7. A picture says a thousand words – images are a great way to help encourage a conversation, especially the image you use at the beginning of your post. I know when I’ve used funny pictures like this in the past, I got tons of emails from you and saw a higher time on-page.

Conclusion

Blogging is a conversation between you and your readers. If you can’t converse with them, you are just talking at them. And as you already know, people prefer conversations…

The next time you write a blog post, consider creating a conversation. Don’t do it just within your introduction, but continue it through your whole post, just like I have done with this one.

How else can you increase the number of people who read your blog posts?

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Comments

  1. Great post Neil. This is where writing and biology/psychology meet each other.

    Easy language, first and second person references, and asking rhetorical questions. I would say if you can take at least three in your blogging approach, you’ll be getting much better engagement with your audience.

    Thanks for the tips. Intapapered.

    • Karan, glad you liked the post. I think at the end of the day it’s all about personalizing the experience and humanizing your brand. Thanks for the feedback.

    • Excellent points Neil. That is what I continually work on with my blog as well. Have you noticed that as you ask more questions rather than simply make statements that people in general are more interested in staying engaged? I have.With so many articles on the same subject, Do you know what sets the more popular articles apart? Do ya think it could be the articles that not only share value and usable information, but share a conversation that doesn’t assume anything? Your article also successfully illustrates the importance to split test EVERYTHING.

    • yes this post is very useful

  2. Neil,

    That’s a terrific idea and guess the winning variation does increased socia shares (social sharing etc. I never had an idea of split testing a blog article.

    Thanks for the insights
    Cheer
    Henry

  3. Great advice here Neil. Conversational text is much more enjoyable to read most of the time, and I am definitely much more likely to read the entire article and share it when it’s written this way.

  4. Yes, that’s actually right what you are talking about Neil. I always already believe on conversational posts rather than those dull posts which don’t have a meaning at all and which are just published for the Google bots to index.

    In fact when you write for your readers, I think the post automatically becomes a conversational ones and results are always great.

    Thanks for this awesome post, learnt a lot, Keep writing!

    • Ammar, at the end of the day your readers matter most. If you are writing for yourself you’ll be sorely disappointed when the traffic numbers are reflective of that. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. FANTASTIC!! Neil, you’ve created the exact post I’ve been looking for today. I have just opened the doors to my brand new website and have been so excited to drum up my first couple of comments.

    I aim to deliver this same kind of gem you’ve written here on my own site so don’t be shocked if you see me re-teach your subject myself (mockery is the sincerest form of flattery). Thanks again Neil!

    • Steve, glad we could connect and that you found the article helpful. Let me know if you need any help along the way. I look forward to seeing how your future students do 😉

  6. I like this so much better than the “How To’s” I have been doing. Thanks for the insight.

  7. Thanks Neil, you’re right, conversational posts are much more likely to be shared and engaged with. You also have a great point about revisiting your blog post rather than giving up on it. So often it is tempting just to move onto the next one! I am going to now see what I can do with any posts that have had less engagement…

    • Katie, I have found that looking at old posts gives me some great ideas on how to better engage and produce new posts. At the end of the day it’s all about finding out what works.

  8. Thanks Neil, makes a lot of sense and there’s some great tips there to try out for our blog and in my own writing.

  9. Hello Neil,

    To increase my blog conversation I follow your ways to engage more readers in my blog. actually it really working nice. One of my reader tell me that he read about 1400 words but he thought it was small article ! however, wish to increase more readers by draw their attention.
    Thyanking you 🙂

    • Sumon, glad you are finding the articles helpful. Let me know if you need help with anything else. Your readers will ultimately be your best source of feedback — so listen to them!

  10. Hey Neil,

    First of all, really digging this post cause it’s one of my main goals. And well, probably most peoples. You state “Use the words “you” and “I” – those two words may seem simple, but they are powerful.”

    This is something I wasn’t the best at, or well I have written very bland data driven articles with no personal touch.

    Which, in turn hurts being able to relate I feel, such as not bringing my readers into the post.

    Thanks again kind sir,

    Christopher Pontine

    • Christopher, words really do matter. It’s all about positioning your article in a way that resonates with readers. I think you are doing everything right — so keep up the great work!

  11. Hi Neil,

    As usual, Great write and case study. You made several great points especially with the part of using your own voice.

    Forget about writing essays. No one is going to read it. Be yourself and people will have better ‘trust’ and engagement with you.

    Have an awesome day!

  12. Neil,

    I love that all your posts are very data driven. There’s not “I hope this works” to your posts, they are based on real life experience.

    Not sure how you have the time to post so much quality content but thanks! Hopefully you’re getting some sleep, but if you’re not we appreciate the valuable resources you provide.

    • Joe, without data you are just throwing your opinions around. It’s important for me to back up my assertions with stats. I get plenty of sleep and follow my editorial calendar, which helps.

  13. Thanks Neil, I just paid a hosting fee today and purchased a domain. This is for a blog-focused site to complement my ‘traditional’ article-based site. I will definitely use these ideas to kick-start my blogging venture (NB – I am a 68 year old!).

    • Gerrie, it’s never too late. Awesome to hear that you are doing all the right things. I definitely look forward to hearing much more from you! Let me know if you need any help along the way.

  14. Thanks, Neil, for reminding keep a conversational tone when blogging. It’s an interesting mentality thing.

    During years of studying at university and working in a corporate field I’ve been taught to be academic. And blogging is quite an opposite game to some extent – be friendly, be simple, be fun, be interesting, be someone people like (and not just find useful).

    And also I’ve noticed that it depends on a country.
    US is more informal, whereas Europe is still more academic.

    • Michael, great point.

      Academia is very different from the business and content world. People want to get to the point and could care less about fluff. Thanks for your feedback.

  15. Hello @neil

    You always write insight content, I have question regarding this.

    Do you write these articles by own or you have outsource for this?

  16. Thanks Neil. yes Blog is most popular just because its a two way communication which creates conversation. I think asking readers view is the best way to start conversation.

  17. Neil, you’ve spilled the secret of writing blog posts that will keep the readers glued on. That’s right, it’s all about conversations – you need to talk to your reader, get in to the mind of the reader and anticipate the thoughts and reactions in his or her mind, and write about them. You can do that without being psychic! 😉

    Here’s something more – keep the paragraphs logically connected, let there be a continuity or meaning and purpose. Of course, the post should be interactive and incite the participation of the reader. Make reference to something that’s a part of the daily life of the reader, get the post to be a bit personal, and most importantly, write about what the readers want to know about.

    Great post with good doses of feel good hormone! Thanks for writing it. 🙂

    ~ Harleena

  18. Great piece. I love that you split test the split test post. Will apply today.

  19. Wow, great article. Thank you so much, Neil. It expresses exactly some points I already used intuitively, but it’s very useful to be reminded of them. Whenever I read your posts, I completely understand why you have so many fans 🙂

    • Glad I could help. I like to think I have a lot of fans because I provide free informative content and engage with people. I try to impress the fact that anyone can do it!

  20. I know that this can be translated into the podcasting world as well. When you listen to a podcast that is dull and monotone you can’t turn it off fast enough.

    It’s almost like nails on a chalk board to your ears, but when you listen to someone who’s entertaining and engaging you have the total opposite effect.

    You might even find yourself listening in for hours and hours while driving, working, or going for a walk.

    It’s a amazing just how impactful telling a story and painting a picture for someone can be when it comes to captivating any type of audience.

    • Freddie, great point!

      I think this applies to almost any medium. If your content and delivery is boring people will be less inclined to engage with you. At the end of the day it’s all about being entertaining, engaging and informative.

  21. And this…is another one of Niel’s epics!

    I love using a mix of questions and stories and indeed, it works just great.

    Thanks a lot for this enlightenment.

  22. Hello Neil,

    Informative post again! It is really helpful for me. Conversation is the thing that always helps to increase readers. All the 7 tips are very truth and workable.

    I will soon implement on these tips and improve my reader’s lists.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences always with us. Have an amazing day!

  23. It’s rare when the last line in a blog post is also the most valuable. Great advice.

    “The next time you write a blog post, consider creating a conversation. Don’t do it just within your introduction, but continue it through your whole post, just like I have done with this one.”

  24. Thanks so much for all your informative articles. I am a new blogger working on building a following. Your email post are definitely a great tool.

    http://www.TheStylishFlaneuse.com

  25. Your post was really succinct and spot-on. Perfect for busy professionals. I work for a start-up and we’re trying to increase traffic. I like the idea of tweaking the same content to see what works. I’ll use that. Glad I found you amongst all the noise on the internet. You are really adding value for us!

  26. Hey, Neil! I’m glad you shared this post from your newsletter! I’m bookmarking this to keep me reminded that I need to create conversations in my posts.
    Again, thanks!

  27. adolf witzeling :

    Straight forward and to the point-You just make sense.

  28. Hi Neil,
    Excellent post! Your blog post on A/B testing is a great practical example of just how important it is to focus on how your audience reads online.

    Would you happen to know if you’ve seen these tweaks work for posts on social media platforms, as well? For example, do you see people liking/commenting/sharing the content you share on Facebook when you practice what you preach?

    • Romi, I think a/b testing can work with almost any realm in life. You can a/b test virtually anything. You just need data and statistic to compare the two variables against each other.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  29. Well explained Neil 🙂

    We will proceed as you mentioned hereafter…

    Helpful tips indeed, thanks a lot!

  30. Fabulous ideas Neil !!!!!!

    I really appreciate your approach of explaining beauty of every point.
    The way you have lined the difference between two paragraph is outstanding.

    The picture you used is about increasing oxytocin and decresing the rate of cortisol with your readers is really catchy!!!!

    Having personal element in conversation is really important for engaging people with yourself.

    Alish

    • Alish, at the end of the day I really wanted to analogize the process to something that makes sense which is why I brought up that example.

      Glad I could help. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  31. I am new into blogging and I have been hunting for information about how to write better, pass my idea around without being boring. Patel, thanks so much for the tips I sure will begin using them right away!

  32. Great Idea for increasing post views. It’s also track through utm generated code in URL.

  33. Hi Neil, great post yet again. Thank you for sharing it. If I may I would like to ask your advice since you are one of the few SEO experts on the internet who are legit.

    I am considering purchasing SEO PowerSuite. If you have any experience with this software would you recommend it? I would really appreciate your feedback.

    Thank you very much

  34. Thanks Neil! Great post.
    We try to write our explainer scripts in that way as well. Not all clients appreciate this though and want a more ‘corporate’ tone.

  35. Very nice post Neil, I use “I” and “you” words to create conversation between me and my users, although it seems to be simple but it actually make a difference.

    A although I think the design plays more importance these days.

    Thanks again for the post.

  36. Hi Neil

    Just wanted to know did you deleted my previous comment on this blog post.

    I admire you but confused here.

    Two comments of mine got deleted which were not spam.

    You don’t mind losing me but still I need to try last time

  37. Great insights here Neil. I think you’re spot on in suggesting that blog posts need to be treated as conversations. I made the mistake of writing my early blog posts as if it was an essay for class. As a result, the engagement was low and the shares were lower. People want to connect with the reader and be taken somewhere beyond a dull monologue. You’ve articulated this very well – Thanks for sharing!

  38. Nice points there, Neil. I have also seen this ‘conversational’ tone in many web copy these days. It’s not just the landing pages – even CTAs today are more specific and natural than in previous years. And it’s because they engage users as well as eliminate the need to guess.

  39. Hi Neil,

    I’m telling you. Folks stick around for my travel stories – or life stories – when they’re my hooks, and they don’t stick around for my less story-filled lead ins. Which is why I publish once weekly. One, 6,000 word or longer post littered with stories, including through my lead in.

    If I lead off with a dry essay explaining how life supplies you with blogging tips, or how getting coked out in Peru teaches you a blogging tip, which one is going to catch your attention?

    Unless you work for the DEA, or you’re a puritan, you likely won’t be repulsed by my cocaine lead in lol….you’ll click, read, and keep your fanny in front of my post. Or you’ll think I’m a dolt who should read the labels of certain teas, in foreign lands, before drinking them.

    Disclosure: I was not really coked out. But the story made for an interesting mid-post lead in.

    Thanks Neil. Your stories work well, and your analysis lets me know, I may just be on the path to becoming a kinda successful blogger 🙂 Appreciate it!

    Ryan

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  41. Very useful insight.But Neil just one thing is 6 times a week for post is very tough to do with quality content.

  42. you build high standard for us too ! thanks Neil,

  43. Engagement levels are important to achieve.

  44. Thanks Neil, I particularly appreciated the points about using ‘you’ and ‘I’, and considering using funny pictures. I think these points will make my posts less formal and perhaps a bit more catchy instead of just ‘another post’. Thanks for this!

  45. Great post! The most important thing to remember is you always give value for your readers. The idea of creating conversation blogging is like asking an
    open-ended questions that can be used as gateways into more depth and lengthier conversation. Which means that it helps increase readability and Avg. time on page.
    Aside from creating a conversation blog post, you can also include videos and images because it will help drive the users down the page.

    Thanks again Neil!

  46. Always incredible to see how a few words changes can provide.

    Thank you for the blog post!

  47. One more good post to start my day !! thanks…

    whats the significance of the number 247 ? how you got it

  48. Thanks Neil, this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been worried about the response to my posts lately.

    I really need to get more comments, it’s so discouraging, it feels like no one cares what you are saying, like it’s irrelevant. I get lots of spam responses and emails on my posts instead.

    How do I encourage readers to leave their questions in the comment box. I thought about ignoring the mails but I think it’s rude.

  49. Hi,
    Thank you for this info. I’m following all your great informative topics. Really your site helps me a lot.

  50. Hi Neil,

    I like your idea about including a funny picture in your post. It’s really helpful to get more attention from readers. I often use some of above points to write my posts.

    Thanks for your information.

  51. Being one of those to comment last wouldn’t mean I ain’t one of those who appreciate your posts the best. Neil, to be frank, your name always rings “NAIL” inside my head. Because that is none else but you. You Neil it, as always!

    And sometimes I see you go out of your limit to give out what you might not really use, but for your readers to implement on their blogs.

    You are like a foster father to many bloggers, and I see that title sticking to you like tattoo.

    You rock as always Neil….
    I’m addicted to you, I want no bail…

  52. Hi Neil,
    I must say you are one damn intelligent guy. Just your title is enough to force someone to read the article. And you content, it directly balances the title.
    As far as this post is considered, you seriously have made some great points. Without using “You” and “I” and using “WE” instead, the writer shows lack of confidence, right?
    Man I really have to learn a lot from you. Thanks, and keep posting!

  53. Neil, it’s easy to use this approach when you’re Neil Patel. And when you’re the face and the star of all your brands.

    What happens if you’re adressing the readers as a brand? Does “we” have the same effect as “I”? I doubt it.

    What happens if you’re using “I” but you’re an unknown writer no one cares about? In that case, speaking in first person can hurt the credibility of what’s being said. You don’t see “I” in news.

    Please elaborate on this. Thanks.

    Dan

  54. I have been implementing these ideas for a few months now I have believe in them. It doesn’t always come easy but built in conversation can boost over all engagement.

  55. hei neil, yu know what ? i like the inforgraphics up there, thanks for sharing this , you are rock

  56. Hi Neil,

    I read your articles regularly and I am trying to implement the techniques one by one for my blog as you provided @ Quicksprout for better optimization & increase traffic.

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful tips..

  57. Never thought of blogging this way, is it important to have a comment section on your blog?

  58. Wonderful post, Neil. You have just introduced everyone with a personalized way of writing blog posts. This is indeed interesting and more humanitarian view-point of writing blog post, which really makes the whole post lively and interesting to read. Most definitely, this is the right way of writing content for blog posts.

    I think people can make it further more interesting by adding interesting facts related to their blog topic and introducing a debate in their conversation while explaining the audience about both the sides of the open debate.

  59. Great Stuff Neil, enjoyed reading it out.
    Thanks for sharing…

  60. Great article, Neil. I definitely agree with you about humanizing posts. Conversational tone will increase user engagement.

  61. Great post brother.

    People forget blogging is teaching.

    How do you teach?

    You speak with passion and you speak on a human level.

    Thanks Neil

    Ameer

  62. Great post neil.Just bookmarked it.Your blog is so awesome.

  63. How interesting. These changes don’t seem so big, I’m surprised how much of a difference they made for this post. New hope for some old blog posts 😉

  64. Ranjita Mandaviya :

    Nice Article Neil,

    It is very long destination for me. Like to read your Article, always new, fresh and unique.

    I like that you share your experience, mistakes and Solutions of very points.

    Thanks for it.

  65. Yeah, I kinda agree with you.

    What you said was really great to follow on a greater level, but on a minor level, that might falter. I mean, what you told here would work on many on the posts, but do you think it can be implemented on all of them?

    Like, I write a blog where I share various principles of life a person can follow, hidden in stories. People can also draw their own inferences on the story, or question the original end itself i lieu of their own principles. I don’t know how to start a conversation for a blog staged in that context. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks 🙂

  66. Neil Patel Thanks for this great post.

    I just realised what I need to do. I’m really grateful.

    yay!! I’m set to gain a whole new handful of readers.

    Thanks again

  67. I like the way you set this whole blog post, like a convo! It is like you are chatting with us. Absolutely wonderful way of blogging, Your results prove it so Of course We shall try this way out! I shall try it out, in fact I shall go back & refresh my old blogs and link them to new material in a conversational way! I totally agree with you. I liked having a chat with you today Neil! Thank You

  68. Mary Collings :

    I just love that you ran an A/B test on a post about A/B testing. And then the “Bitch stole my fish” picture finished me off altogether. That little boy’s expression is priceless.

    Think I need to get out more…:)

    Very well worth following your tips for the improved connections. Great post, thanks Neil

  69. Wow, this was a great post. I do a lot of presenting and use similar strategies with my audience. I think the idea of being real and creating trust are mission critical. I know That’s why I keep coming back to your blogs. I know I can trust you (even if you don’t own a Ferrari)

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