How to Keep Your Readers on Your Blog Longer

quicksprout time on site

Don’t you hate it when you spend hours writing a blog post only to see that people spend mere seconds skimming it?

In an ideal world, you want people to spend hours on your blog, but sadly that won’t happen. What you can do instead is get people to come back more frequently and spend minutes, instead of seconds, on your blog during each session.

Download this bite sized cheat sheet of 7 strategies to keep your readers on your blog longer.

How? you may ask. Well, I’m going to show you the strategies I’ve used on Quick Sprout to increase the time my readers spend on-site from 57 seconds to 2 minutes and 4 seconds.

Strategy #1: Ask questions and respond to comments

Are you asking questions at the end of your blog posts? It’s a simple way for you to engage with your readers and encourage comments.

Just think of it this way: if you read a blog post that you loved and the author of the post asked you a question at the end… what would you do?

There is a good chance you would respond with a comment, right? I know I would.

By asking your readers a question, you will encourage more of them to leave comments. This will cause people to stay on your blog longer as it takes more than a few seconds to leave a comment. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to respond to the comments and get your readers to come back to your blog.

This is why I respond to every single comment on Quick Sprout. It’s the main reason why repeat visitors make up 40% of my traffic.

Strategy #2: Help your readers

Some of your readers may ask you for help through comments, while others may email you asking for your help.

Whether you write an individual, customized response to each of your readers or you write a general blog post that helps your readers solve one of their problems, you need to put them first.

Don’t do it just because you want them to come back to your blog, but do it because you really care about them and want to help them.

In the long run, this approach will help you build a great reputation and create a loyal following. Loyal readers will keep coming back and will stay on your blog for a longer period of time.

Strategy #3: Showcase your top posts

Do you know what one of the most clicked-through areas on Quick Sprout is? I’ll give you a hint—it’s within the blog’s sidebar…

popularity contest

The area in which I showcase my most popular posts accounts for 8.13% of the clicks on Quick Sprout.

By using the plugin popularity contest, you too can showcase your most popular blog posts, which will cause some of your readers to stay on your blog to read more of your content.

Now, when you use the plugin, you won’t have tabs like I have on Quick Sprout. To get that, you may have to hire a developer to help you customize the plugin. I found someone on Elance to do it for me years ago, and it cost me only $25.

Strategy #4: Create a conversation

What do you think of my writing style? Is it professional, boring, dry, fun, personal…?

I hope you don’t find it boring like a college essay. I try to keep you engaged by using the words “you” and “I” within each post. Sure, I may not always follow all the proper grammar rules, but my blog posts read like a conversation.

Just think about it: reading this post, you almost feel as if we were in the same room, chatting like any two friends would.

This strategy hasn’t just helped me keep you on my blog longer, but it also has helped me increase the number of people who read each blog post by 62.5%.

Strategy #5: Collect emails

If you’ve been to Quick Sprout, you would know that what I do really well is collect emails. Sure, it ticks off some of you, but emails are one of the main ways I build my traffic. In the last 30 days, emails have accounted for 103,482 visitors.

And those visitors, on average, stay on the blog for 3 minutes and 7 seconds.

Readers who subscribe to your blog via email are more likely to come back and stay on your blog for longer.

So, how do you get more people to subscribe to your email list? You need to entice them. A simple way to do this is to offer your readers an ebook or a PDF in exchange for their emails.

You can create this easily by using Uberflip. And then you can use Bounce Exchange or OptinMonster to collect the emails. Just make sure you sign up for an email provider like Aweber, MailChimp, GetResponse, or Maropost. That way, you can email your list every time you publish a new blog post.

Strategy #6: Spread your content over multiple pages

If you can help it, you don’t want to do this with your blog posts as it isn’t the most usable solution. But if you happen to create detailed guides like I do, you can easily break them up into multiple pages.

Just look at my Advanced Guide to SEO. It has over 30,000 words and contains 9 chapters. On average, readers spend over 4 minutes on each guide. Sure, most of you aren’t reading every word in each guide, but you are spending more time on them than you do on a blog post.

These guides are time-consuming to produce, but they bring a lot of traffic. In the month of December alone, my 12 guides pulled in 118,499 visitors. That’s not too bad, considering 582 blog posts I have written don’t even pull in 500,000 visitors a month.

Strategy #7: Related posts

I’ve tested this on a few of my blogs, and it works like a charm every time. Now, I don’t do it on Quick Sprout because I am trying to encourage you to comment before you read other posts.

But by adding a related posts widget below each of your posts or a slider, you can encourage your readers to read related posts after they finish reading the one they are on.

Like I mentioned, by using these plugins, you’ll notice an increased time on-site. From what I tested, it typically increases your readers’ time on-site by 14.4%, but it decreases the number of comments you receive per post by 4.16%. Or at least that’s what I saw on Quick Sprout.

Conclusion

If you follow the 7 strategies I listed above, you should be able to increase the time your readers spend on your site by over 2 minutes. It worked for me, and it can work for you too.

Just don’t expect results right away as it will take 3 to 6 months for you to see substantial results. It takes time to build trust and loyalty with your readers.

So, in what other ways can you keep your readers on your blog longer?

P.S. If you find that your readers are just bouncing off your site you should run your URL through this analyzer.

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Comments

  1. Another great post Neil 🙂 I’m going to try Uberflip! I hadn’t heard of it before and my current e-book sucks in terms of quality.

    I see you posting blogs all the time on quicksprout and on your other website, neilpatel.com. Do you have people who research tools for you, the latest trends in SEO, blogging, content marketing etc.? How are you able to fit in so much in such a small amount of time? I’d love to create a blog like yours, but I feel like it would take me 15 hours a day!

    • Erick, thanks for the valuable feedback. I am actually a one man team when it comes to coming up with content — I am very passionate about writing and finding out new tricks to drive traffic. Have a great New Year!

      • That’s quite impressive, Neil! I hope to some day write as much as you do 🙂 I suppose the best way to do it is to just do it! Thanks for your awesome writing.

  2. Happy New Year Neil. 🙂

    Related Posts and Popular Posts seems a standard now to engage readers which also helps in improving bounce rate. Thanks for the other very useful suggestions.

  3. Great info, as always Neil. It’s nice to read advice that’s not full of fluff.

    I’ve been using Quicksprout’s blog posts to help grow our start up business.

  4. Thanks for the useful information Neil, Happy New year 🙂

  5. Great post Neil. I would add that mixing your content ip a bit helps keep people around. I find that embedding video or things like slideshare also works well.

  6. Hey Neil,

    I love #3 and #7. They seem like no-brainers, but many people forget to implement them in their websites strategy.

    Have a happy and safe new year!

  7. Christopher Pontine :

    Hey Neil,

    Funny you wrote this, just was looking to decrease my bounce rate. I decided to go with getresponse and utilize the pop up tool. I put it at once per day so not over doing it, but a great feature for a website.

    Happy New Year,

    Christopher Pontine

  8. Awesome stuff!

    As a mobile games developer, I can relate your points even in the apps business.

    Like the point on “related posts”. Its the same functionality as what cross-promotion does to your portfolio of apps.

    Wonderful 2015 to you Neil!

    Cheers!

  9. Thanks again Neil! This is something I’ve struggled and am still struggling with, but I keep whittling away at my site using your tips.

  10. +1: longer posts

    Te few people who reads the whole post spends more time here, so the average time goes up as well.

  11. Great advice Neil! I agree that email is key!

  12. One idea is to tell them in the early portion of the article that you are going to tell them something cool or important, but first you are going to tell them something more urgent or a prerequisite to that knowledge. Lead them to ask more than one question, and answer the new questions while they still wonder about the answer to another.

  13. Pedro @travelwithpedro :

    Great tips, Neil! I use some of them already and get great results.

  14. Great post neil,

    Though I am late here, was working on my New year niche blog and looking like it will generate good XXXX$ today(Check out screenshot – http://prntscr.com/5n0xfs)

    Coming back to your post, it’s really great. You’ve mentioned good strategies. Actually me too, come back to your blog in search of replies to my comment.

    I click on the All time hits posts and the guides you’ve written from the sidebar. So, show casing is really a good way. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, I am going to apply the rest.

    ~Nitin Singh

  15. Hi Niel,

    Thanks for sharing these seven strategies. Will try to work on them.

    Nothing can be as great as helping readers.

    Happy New Year. 🙂

    – Rohan.

  16. Another great post from Neil. If you’re looking to improve your blog posts, I’d highly recommend checking out Atomic Reach.

  17. This resonates with what I’ve been reading from Jay Abraham.
    You ultimately want:
    1)more clients
    2)more per client
    3)longer duration of client

    Many of these categories can be broken down into other categories. Improving these categories require better conversion rates, more sources of conversion, and conversion of a higher value and/or greater intensity.
    Many sub categories can be refined down to many of those processes as well for greater optimization.

    • Mike, great points. These definitely are great indicators of overall success. It’s all about providing unique content to get there.

  18. Hello Neil
    Onlike other bloggers that blog for the money, I think you have become like a father someone can listen and response to.

  19. Mihai Pintilie :

    Great advice. I always managed to make the visitors spend at least 2 minutes even 3 to 4 minutes on some of my sites. Of course, it takes time, a lot of time, but it’s worth it.

  20. Awesome post 🙂 Especially loved the point about writing styles, Very very VERY true 😀

  21. Vasile Mironeasa :

    Hi mister Neil !

    Thanks for all informations along 2015 year ! My respect to you and I wish you a happy new year and much more visitors to your site , much health to give us more advices next year !

    All the best !

  22. Ujjwal Kumar Sen :

    Once again a great blog post, thanks and Happy New Year

  23. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for your post.

    Writing materials that visitors would like to read carefully, not just skim is a good approach to increase time on site.

    I guess tutorials, guides and personal stories that resonate can be good examples.

    Also, I assume that the posts which contain several (or many) relevant links (for example comparison of products) that open in a new window could retain readers longer on the blog.

    • Michael, great points. I definitely think links that are relevant create a lot of trust between writers and readers. It’s all about providing value.

  24. Fabian Pontén :

    Awesome post Neil!

    Great info and I love the way you write, just like you say, it feels like a conversation.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    Kind Regards,
    Fabian

  25. Hi Neil,
    Wonderful post indeed as always! Engaging your readers are really very important to get successful in blogosphere.

    Thanks for sharing these 7 strategies. The first 5, I am already started using and making some great results out of them.

    I haven’t tried with such big multi-pages post/guide. But, I would try to have one soon. Thank you so much again for this great idea.

    My current theme is already containing “related posts” and “slider” part. So, there is no need to add these plugins this time.

    Have an awesome and happy year!

  26. Hi Neil

    Happy New Year!

    Just want to thank you for the great articles you keep producing. I’m learning so much new stuff from your material and looking forward to lots more to come from you in 2015. Keep up the great work…it’s much appreciated!

    Glen

  27. Thanks Neil!
    It was a great conversation with you. You make me feel like a live conversation instead to just read it 🙂

  28. Hey Neil,

    I’m always open to ideas of how to keep my readers longer on my blog. So far I’ve been writing longer posts and been doing internal linking which helped a lot. I wold like to look into uberflip to see how this works. Thanks for sharing aND you have a Happy New Year!

  29. Thank you Neil,
    I will definitely test my websites against this.

  30. Kimb Via PNR Status :

    keeping people to blog is the real challenge

    You’ll need to help them understand why and what’s in it for them.

    Happy New Year

    Enjoy 🙂

  31. Totally agree that starting a conversation and answering a question that fancy visitors’ attention will make them stay. Newsletters (just like yours) are also helpful to retain the visitors.

  32. Alecia Stringer :

    Great ideas, yet mine has not been below 5 minutes a visit very much. I add a lot of videos to my blog and has worked very well. Thanks for covering more ideas to add.

  33. Not sure about my blog, but with this blog i spend quite a bit time on your blog 🙂

  34. Adem Yildirim :

    Thank you best regards

  35. Hi Neil

    I have been reading you for long but finally taking action. I have *copied* the format your QuicSprout newsletter to send out emails. Hope you won’t mind 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  36. HI Neil,

    I am following your blog over 3 months! As usual it is a great post!

    Wishing you a very happy new year!

    Keep posting!

    Best Regards.

  37. thx neil i will try some of this advices

  38. Great work Neil awesome practical tips!!

  39. Adarsh, thanks for the support. Happy new year to you too!

  40. Alan Steinborn :

    Hi Neil,

    Judging from the way you answer people’s comments,

    I think your #1 strategy should have been ‘show appreciation’. You have an amazing way for giving strokes and making people feel heard.

    Thanks,

    Alan

  41. agen tiket pesawat :

    like always neil, you have post great articel to share with us

  42. Such helpful content!
    I just recently placed a “popular posts” widget in my sidebar… why did it take me so long?

    I will definitely check out the plugins you suggested as well!

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  44. This was super helpful Neil. Much appreciated!

  45. Christopher Shaw :

    Hello Niel, interesting article and i intend on putting your advise to good use. I currently blog on my portfolio website and would love to hear your opinions and any additional advise. If you dont mind can you take a look. The website is https://www.chris-shaw.com

    Also for some reason this comment form wont accept my main email address, so i have used my gmail fallback.

    • Christopher, sorry about that. Sometimes the spam filter gets a little too strict.

      The website looks good — glad I could help 🙂

  46. Great info, as always Neil. It’s nice to read advice that’s not full of fluff.

    I’ve been using Quicksprout’s blog posts to help grow our start up business.

    • I’m with you on being fed with only fluff. Might as well get straight to the meat 🙂

      Glad to hear things are working out for you!

  47. I love #3 and #7. They seem like no-brainers, but many people forget to implement them in their websites strategy.

  48. Great post Neil. I would add that mixing your content ip a bit helps keep people around. I find that embedding video or things like slideshare also works well.

  49. I’m always open to ideas of how to keep my readers longer on my blog. So far I’ve been writing longer posts and been doing internal linking which helped a lot. I wold like to look into uberflip to see how this works.

  50. Alex Buzatu :

    I find it harder to keep the visitors on your website. I have websites with 4 to 5 minutes / visit but I have some that it seems I cannot increase the time spent on site more that 2 minutes… It’s all about testing, analysing and constant improving.

  51. Pavitra Kumar :

    Hey ,
    Wonderful post indeed as always! Engaging your readers are really very important to get successful in blogosphere. I’m learning so much new stuff from your material and looking forward to lots more. I have been reading you for long time
    Nicely written thnxx for giving the info about Safe Readers. it is very important
    Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    very helpful! HappY Blogging 🙂

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