All site owners will understand that engaging users is possibly one of the biggest challenges.
You may write awesome content, promote it on every social platform, and get thousands of views a day. But that dreaded question that we all hate being asked is “Are your users engaging with your content?”
Let’s go over some quick, actionable steps that you can take to boost your WordPress site’s engagement.
Today’s internet users are incredibly impatient.
Moz carried out a research study to test if slow loading times affected conversion rates. And guess what?! They most definitely do. The results showed that by reducing a landing page’s loading time from 5 seconds to 2, conversion rates increased by 14%.
We all hate waiting for a page to load, we all get frustrated, and we all leave the page. This means that the longer the load time of your site, the less your site will be read. Page loading time is one of the most important parts of your WordPress site’s user experience.
Okay, so now you know it is important for your site to be fast, but how are you going to do it?
Lets take a look at some quick wins:
Ensure You Have a Simple Theme
Both these themes are constructed in a minimalistic, lightweight manner resulting in quick loading times.
It’s essential that you make your image files as small as possible to improve your site loading times. Just because it is possible to upload large image sizes to WordPress, does not mean you should.
These plugins will reduce the file sizes for images while keeping quality the same.
Remove Inactive Plugins and Widgets
If you have implemented a plugin and you are not using it, remove it. Don’t just let it sit there.
Your users’ primary reason for entering your site is to read your content. It’s important not to overdo it with the widgets on your site. A cleaner site will load faster.
Bottom line: Only use plugins that offer enormous benefits.
Gamify Your WordPress Site
According to Gigya, a Customer Identity Management platform, adding Gamification to your site boosts engagement by almost a third. Nike, Dell, McAfee, and eBay have made it work, so why not give it a try on your WordPress website?
Adding a Gamification platform and giving your users points, badges, status, and rewards, will motivate them to engage with your content. If you want a simple, easy, and quick solution to adding a Gamified social layer to your website, check out the Captain Up WordPress plugin here.
Captain Up is an engagement platform that uses game mechanics for you to reward your users for engaging with your content.
You can reward them with personalized badges, you can encourage them to accumulate points in order to reach new levels, and you can encourage visitors to succeed by displaying their achievements on social leaderboards.
Improving your users’ experience on your website will keep them coming back, and this retention will help convert them into loyal customers. Rewards are a great tool for positive reinforcement, and they can incentivize users to carry out specific tasks and activities.
Do you have a WordPress site but 0 clue what to do when it comes to installing widgets, changing themes, and coding?
If so, then it’s important to emphasise how simple and easy it is to install the Captain Up plugin. It should take you no longer than 2 minutes!
The beauty of this WordPress plugin is that you can make it look exactly how you want it to. Captain Up provides a basic UI and you can tweak it to match your website, and suit your design.
You can choose where to place the widgets, you can choose the graphics for the badges, and you can decide the exact tasks that users need to complete in order to be rewarded.
Once you have installed the plugin and decided to customize your badges, this is what you should see:
Here are some things you should know about customizing badges to suit you:
Name: You can choose whatever names you want for your badges. You can pick something witty, something relevant, something catchy…
Points: You can also choose how many bonus points a user receives when they win a badge.
Description: With each badge you can add a short text to inform your users what it takes for them to earn the badge. You can do this in a tempting way to draw them in.
Customizing conditions: Every badge is based on specific tasks users need to complete. You can set up your own incentives: You can choose what actions they have to take, how they have to take them, how many times, and within what period of time. Seeing as you want to optimize engagement on your WordPress site, use rewards such as badges to motivate and steer your community in the right direction.
Check out the advanced guide to customization here and get started!
Make Commenting Easy
This may seem obvious to you, but you would be surprised how many people leave their comment boxes in the most obscure places.
If you want your users to engage with your WordPress site – then at least give them somewhere to do so!
Don’t discourage it. Don’t give them obstacles. Make it easy, simple, and they will do it!
When all else fails, keep it simple. It’s a motto that seems to work every time.
Check out these actionable steps for making commenting easier on your WordPress site:
Avoid Asking Readers to Fill In Checkboxes and Complicated CAPTCHAs
These are time-consuming and tedious, many people will not leave their comment simply because you are asking this of them.
Ask for Comments – Why Not?
You want your users to engage, you want them to leave their opinions, so why not ask them to do so? There is no harm in doing this, and they can add value to the post.
Try concluding your next post with an open ended question. See if it makes a difference – you might be surprised!
Showcase Top Comments/Commenters
Have you ever thought about showcasing the top comments/commenters on your WordPress site? It’s a great way to motivate your readers to do so. They will feel encouraged to leave a comment and this will boost the overall engagement on your WordPress site.
Check out the Top Commentators Widget plugin for WordPress, a sidebar widget that will show the top commentators who are engaging on your site. Unzip the plugin, upload the file, activate the widget and then drag it to wherever you want it to be. It’s really as simple as that!
Respond to Comments:
Once someone leaves a comment, you want them to come back. The only reason they will come back is if you communicate, connect, show interest, and have a discussion with them.
Ever thought about posting a slightly controversial question?
Don’t shy away from it. This is what will create discussion and be the reason for more people to join in.
Give it a try, I dare you!
Content, Content, Content
Yes, you are probably thinking “I know I need to create good content”.
Yes, you probably hear this 3 times a day.
And yes, probably every article you read emphasizes that content is everything.
Well, it’s true.
Without good content, you have no chance of driving large amounts of traffic to your site, let alone getting your readers to engage with it.
It is important that your content is valuable to your reader, you want them to learn something from it and be able to implement something actionable from what you are writing about.
Let’s go over some tips that you can implement to improve your content:
If you had hundreds of comments and social shares on an old piece of content, use it again. We are all encouraged to recycle right? So do it!
Turn it into a different format, change the title, add the latest research and findings, and change the images. Seeing as it has worked before, you know that this is the type of content your readers are after.
Perhaps it’s time.
Take Into Consideration Your Posting Times
In order to get your users to engage with your content, you need to present it to them at the right time. Make Google Analytics your best friend and track your users. This way, you can post at the right time and maximise your engagement and social shares.
What’s the point in spending time and energy creating amazing content and then posting it at times that your users are sleeping? Publish on your blog at the most opportune times to maximize your content’s social reach and engagement.
Before we move on from content, let me leave you with one last thing – No Fluff. Just don’t do it. Be straightforward. Be to-the-point. Don’t just babble on about nonsense in order to get another post written.
Your users won’t like it, and most definitely won’t engage.
Creating a new blog post without any visuals, is pretty much as bad as stealng a car, or mugging an old lady. It’s just wrong! When presented with an overload of text, it’s impossible to digest everything. It’s vital to include engaging images within your content.
Actually, there is one thing worse than having no visuals at all, and that is inserting images that have no connection or relevance whatsoever to the post you are writing.
Here are some actionable steps for you to bear in mind:
Include a Good Featured Image
The purpose of using a featured image is to make your post more appealing and more visually engaging. On your WordPress site, this featured image is what will be featured near the top of the post and is what will serve as a thumbnail for the post. Make it a good one.
If you struggle to find high quality, good photographs then here are 14 amazing free stock photo websites.
Don’t Think About How Many Images Per Post:
People always ask “How many images should I have per post?” Some people suggest one image every 350 words. The thing is, it really isn’t about the quantity – it’s about the quality and relevance of the images.
You should never post images for the sake of having visuals to break up your text. Think about what images will add substance and depth to your content, think about which images will compliment your writing, these are the images you should be including.
Presenting your information in visual formats not only means you cut down on text but you are allowing your reader to absorb your content in a much easier way. Take a look at this:
Which of the two do you find easier to comprehend? I’m sure we can all agree, the image on the left. This is because humans process images much faster than we process text.
Use this to your advantage and include visuals that will engage your users and increase their attention span.
Remember images are what catch the eye, images are what leave an impression, images are what will boost your engagement.
It’s simple, it’s easy, and it works.
In this post, we have covered 5 of the most simple, easy to implement, and effective ways to boost your WordPress site’s engagement.
Load times, commenting, quality of content, visuals and Gamification are just 5 of the many ways to get your community involved.
Don’t just take my word for it. Take these actionable tips and boost your engagement today.
If you have any personal tips or comments, please leave them in the comment section below.