You can grow your blog in two ways:
- Get more traffic.
- Do more with the traffic you have.
In our opinion, you should do both, even though most people focus on the first option.
Those bloggers don’t realize they’re losing a large chunk of their traffic before it even has a chance to convert.
One of the best ways to see how well you’re using your traffic is to look at your bounce rate.
But that’s just the average. Some sites have bounce rates in the 20s, while others have bounce rates in the 80s.
If four out of five visitors leave your site immediately, there’s a problem—likely multiple problems.
Compare that to a 20% bounce rate (one in five visitors leaving without interacting). This lower bounce rate means that you would only need a quarter of the other site’s traffic to get the same engagement results.
There are many ways to improve your bounce rate, but in this article, we want to show you an underutilized way of reducing your website’s bounce rate and increasing all aspects of engagement.
The main problem is that you need visitors to take action to reduce your bounce rate. But people are notoriously passive on the Internet.
The 1% rule states that only 1% of forum users will actually post on a forum, while the rest will passively lurk:
We see the same kind of behavior on blogs, where about one visitor out of 100 will typically comment (depending on the subject and article).
In fact, people behave like this in many settings, especially on the web:
News consumption is actually really passive, unless there’s some sort of virus going online, because it’s just whatever appeals to you in the fishbowl. — Choire Sicha, The Awl
And it’s this behavior that marketers struggle to change. According to one survey, 58% of B2B marketers struggle to produce engaging content:
They struggle so much because the Internet is a very different medium than other forms of entertainment, and most marketers are stuck in a mentality of the past.
People have always consumed news passively on TV, but they had no choice in most cases other than to watch a show or even a commercial. With the Internet, there are always 100 other sites just a click away.
If you want engagement, you must create an engrossing experience for your visitors. That sounds hard, doesn’t it?
It can be hard, but we’re about to show you how you can easily use interactive content to make your content much more engaging. If you put the tactics in this article into action, you can probably drop your bounce rate by 10-15% in most cases or even more.
The psychology and science behind interactive content
Engagement and interactive content go hand in hand; we’ve known it for a while.
Interactive education was originally studied at home and schools even before the Internet was a thing.
Let us define interactive education: Interactive education is teaching that requires student participation.
As we’ll soon see, interactive content is the same thing— swap out students for readers.
At first, researchers found that interactive teaching was effective at engaging students who were raised in hyper-stimulated environments. Hyper-stimulated environments? Does that sound like something else you know? (Hint: the Internet).
Interactive teaching was studied in the first place because the researchers determined that it led to higher engagement levels. To take it further, studies showed that higher levels of engagement led to deep learning.
Deep learning means that you understand concepts and can use that knowledge later. Surface learning means that you’re just memorizing facts to pass a test.
Anyone who has ever studied for a test knows that surface learning doesn’t last. As soon as you finish writing the test—whoosh—that information evaporates from your brain.
Regarding your blog posts, you want your visitors to understand the topics you write about deeply. For one, this makes you and your website more memorable. More importantly, your visitors will actually be able to apply this information and make their lives better. Guess with whom they’ll associate those benefits? That’s right—you.
Other studies of high school and university students have confirmed that interactive engagement methods lead to better grades and retention.
One study examined how clickers (those multiple-choice polling remotes) given to students and used during class affected students. It was found that frequent use led to deeper learning. we’ll show you soon how to use similar polls to boost engagement in your posts.
However, interactive learning goes far beyond quizzes and polls. Studies have found that other types of interactive learning deepens learning just as much or more:
- Creating case studies
- Doing experiments
- Student research
- Team learning
Do you know what’s even more interesting? Games can be a form of interactive learning, and they work well.
Let’s get to the results, however, because that’s what you probably wonder about. A recent study on university students found that professors who use interactive teaching methods (ITL) had a 7-10% higher attendance rate, with 82% of students feeling there was a significant need for more ITL learning options.
A higher class attendance rate corresponds directly to having your blog subscribers read your articles more often. Wouldn’t you want a 20% boost in your email update click-through rate?
Teaching on the web is finally being implemented, and it’s catching up with traditional interactive learning. But bloggers and marketers are adopting it slowly so that you can get ahead of the curve.
The reason leading blogs are sold on interactive content
As we said, blogs are playing catch-up here, but some have already recognized the potential of interactive content.
In general, audiences can either be active or passive.
The Internet is a bit weird because users actively choose what content they’ll consume, but most of it is set up for passive consumption.
This is why visitors don’t get as much from your content as they should and why very few ever take action.
You need to create a situation where your visitors both actively choose to read your content and actively consume it, meaning they take some action.
We’ve talked about the main benefits: your readers will learn more, and you’ll become more memorable.
That alone should be sufficient motivation, but there’s actually more to it.
You can use interactive content to learn about your readers.
For example, if you embed a tweet somewhere in your content, you can see which of your readers not only read that far into your posts but also liked it enough to share it. These are your best readers.
In addition, if you take some polls, you can use the results to learn more about your audience’s thoughts.
Or what about a short pop quiz? See if the majority of your audience understands what you’re teaching. If they’re not, how could it possibly help them? It gives you a chance to refine and improve your writing.
That’s enough about why you should be using interactive content. Now we’ll show you seven different ways to implement it on your website.
1. Social media is for lazy busy people
People love sharing content as long as it takes little effort.
Every day, over 500 million tweets are being created. They are a maximum of 280 characters and don’t take much effort.
The more you can remove friction by integrating sharing functions with your content, the higher your engagement rates will be.
At first, there were browser plugins that made it so that you didn’t even have to visit the social network to share something.
After that came share widgets, which are still pretty effective.
However, sharing widgets is still a bit disconnected from the content and requires people to choose which social network they want to share the content on and craft a description.
But there’s a way to erase the border between content and sharing to make it extremely easy for readers to share: embedded social media.
They can like, comment, or share the post and also like your page without leaving your site.
You’ll notice that this procedure is very similar for almost all social networks are the same, so look for an embed option in a dropdown menu on a post on any other network you’re interested in.
2. Pop quiz time
Quizzes are one of the oldest forms of interactive content, right up there with simple calculators.
While some marketers may feel quizzes have been overdone, they still work well.
A study of 100 million articles in 2013-2014 found that eight out of the top 10 most popular pieces of content were quizzes.
This was number one: What Career Should You Actually Have?:
Not only do people like quizzes, they also love to share them to show their friends who they are, what they care about, and, of course, how cool they are.
Coding a quiz from scratch would be fairly time-consuming, but you can use many quiz tools.
For example, you can use Riddle to design a quiz, which will give you an HTML code to copy and paste into your article—that’s it.
Here’s what the backend looks like:
You have many options: you can create text or image answers for each question. Your quiz can have as many questions as you like.
To make it even easier for many of you, there are also quiz plugins for WordPress, such as Quiz Maker, which is also free.
You can learn more about this plugin by watching their demo video:
Once your visitor completes the quiz with either tool, they will see their result and have a chance to share it on popular social networks such as Facebook and X (Twitter).
Iron Man suits are fun but not very useful from a teaching perspective, which is what you want.
We recommend putting quizzes in the middle or near the end of the post and using them to test your readers’ knowledge. It’s a great opportunity to reinforce a key teaching point.
Secondly, make the question and result useful. Don’t ask a basic or irrelevant question. Ask something that will force your reader to think about and apply the information in your article.
For example, let us ask you a question. Which one of these would be the most appropriate question if we include a quiz right now?
- Is interactive content good?
- Which of the following is not beneficial for using interactive content in blog posts? (multiple choice answer)
- Is Iron Man cool?
Question one is too basic—you could answer it just based on the title of this post.
Question three is irrelevant to the overall teaching points.
Question two, however, forces you to consider what engagement leads to. The sample answers might be:
- more return visitors
- more comments
- better search rankings
- higher time spent on page
If you’ve read and understood everything up to this point, you’d be able to figure out that better search rankings are not a benefit of using interactive content.
3. How to lower your form abandonment rate
At one point or another, we’re sure you’ve filled out a long form, clicked submit, and then gotten an error saying you missed something. What’s worse is when you have to re-enter your data.
Most forms are terrible. They fulfill the basic functional requirements and nothing else.
That’s why we really like Typeform.
This tool allows you to create highly customized forms. You can ask questions or request information and incorporate all sorts of form elements. They look great and function perfectly.
Additionally, you can create engaging forms by inserting them in the middle of a sentence.
Put all these features together, and you get highly interactive content, whether it’s on your blog or somewhere else on your website.
Over the course of a month, Typeform records 5 million form submissions with a completion rate of 59%. In comparison, other form tools get between 3% and 28% completion rate.
You can walk through actual examples here.
4. Make your content fun with polls
Polls are highly related to quizzes.
You ask a question, typically with a few definite answers, and results are tallied based on input by visitors.
Polls are great when you’re trying to find out what your audience cares about or thinks about a specific topic.
The most attractive poll tool we’ve seen is Survey Sparrow. What your visitors will see is a simple poll, and when they click on an answer, they will see the results and buttons to share the results:
It is a paid tool, but you can start with a free trial.
Alternatively, there are many other poll tools out there. Two of the most popular options (both work with WordPress) are CrowdSignal and Wedgies.
Almost all of them work the same. You type in your questions and answers and drop whichever elements you’d like into place:
After you do that, you’ll need to copy and paste the HTML code to your website or use the shortcode that the WordPress plugin gives you.
When visitors click on an answer, they’ll see the results and share buttons as expected.
There are many options to create polls—that’s the easy part. The harder part is using them effectively.
Don’t just create polls for the sake of engagement. Create them so that you can learn about your audience.
For example, we could create a poll for this post asking you which type of interactive content you are most likely to use on your website. Based on your most popular answers, we could create further content. If 77% chose quizzes, we would create a step-by-step guide to creating quizzes. Alternatively, we could write an in-depth post about the psychology behind quizzes and engagement.
You could also use the answers to monetize your site. Once you learn which topics your audience is most interested in, you can create products around those topics.
5. Which is better: long or short content?
If you’ve ever been to Quick Sprout before, you’d notice that we like long content.
Writing longer content helps get extra search traffic, but more importantly, it allows us to go into great detail on a particular topic and include many examples.
It works for me, but it doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, the top two reasons why people don’t read content are related to content being too long:
6. Take infographics to a whole new level
Another type of content we love is infographics. They can still be used to drive over 60,000 visitors per year to your website.
We’re not the only one who likes them. Just under 84% of marketers state that infographics are effective.
Infographics are great, but there are two minor problems with them. First, they’ve saturated the web. Even high-quality infographics don’t produce the results they used to. Secondly, they aren’t engaging. Infographics are typically skimmed, and then some viewers might share them or leave a comment.
But what if you could make infographics more interactive?
You can read more about interactive infographics if you would like more examples.
The catch is that interactive infographics are not easy to make, which is part of the reason they won’t be widespread anytime soon.
No easy tool lets you make them (although if you could make a good one, you could make a killing).
You can create them yourself using software like Adobe Edge Animate, but it’s far beyond our design skills.
7. Choose your own adventure with videos
Video marketing is getting more popular.
People love videos because it’s just like watching TV.
The problem, as we’ve seen, is that passive viewers don’t take nearly enough action.
If you use video ads or incorporate videos in your content, you might want to consider making them interactive to improve engagement.
Here is a complete tutorial on creating annotations on YouTube videos:
Your viewers should see clickable annotations pop up on the video at specified times:
It’s up to you where those annotations direct them to.
Interactive content is a huge opportunity that’s still in its infancy. If you ever wished you discovered something before everyone else adopted it, this is it.
You probably noticed that not all types of interactive content are easy to create. We don’t recommend you try to create all of the types at the same time. Pick one or two that fit your audience and website well, and focus on perfecting those.
What you should see once you start creating interactive content your readers are interested in is a much lower bounce rate, higher time on the page, and a significant bump in the number of shares and comments you get.