People get into blogging for a number of reasons. It might be to share ideas on a particular topic, or build a following around a lifelong hobby. However, if your primary purpose for blogging is marketing and achieving healthy conversions, then a strategic approach must be taken.
You’ll notice that some of the top blogs in any industry have a method for each blog, not matter what topic they are writing on. This ensures the conversion from each blog post is well-optimized and they have the best chance of closing a sale.
In this article we will provide insight into some of the top methods for running a blog with high conversions in mind. When executed correctly the ROI of creating a blog can be highly profitable.
Get in the habit of placing CTA’s
A CTA (call to action) is a piece of content that persuades the user to execute on a particular action. This is typically to click on a link to buy a product, or perhaps fill out a form to subscribe to an email newsletter. Without a call to action the user will not know what to do after having read a piece of content, and will typically exit the website.
The different CTA’s can be broken down into 3 categories based on where they are placed:
Bottom CTA: this is the most common and is located at the bottom of the page after all the content. It’s a natural place for a CTA to be located here, because it allows the audience to digest the content on the page before asking for an action to be completed.
Sidebar CTA: this type of CTA is located in the sidebar and usually is in the form of an email capture form. The idea is to acquire the email of your audience so that you have an open channel of communication with them.
Inline CTA: this type of CTA is used to break up the content. Typically you should include it after a decent amount of content has been added to a page, and the CTA should be directly related to the content above.
By implementing all 3 forms of CTA’s you’re giving yourself the best chance to convert a casual website visitor into a hot lead.
Why email capture is so important
You’ll hear a lot of marketers say that the entire purpose of their blog is to capture the email of the website visitor. You don’t want a sale right there and then. That’s because if you send traffic to your sales page and the visitor is uninterested, then you’ll lose them forever.
On the other hand, an email marketing campaign helps convert a prospect into a buying customer with a much high conversion rate. Additionally, if one product doesn’t match their interests then you can suggest more down the line.
As Bod Randal from Assignmentmasters explains: “email can be the most powerful and stable form of marketing for any blog owner”. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer to include it as part of your blog.
To increase the conversion rate of email subscription sign ups you’ll need to give something of value to the website visitor. This is typically, a free trial or a free ebook that’s related to what the target audience might be interested in. For example, if you have a blog about how to lose weight, then the following free ebook is a good idea: “How to lose weight without boring gym sessions”.
Engagement is key
A laid back website visitor that is there to scan through your content and leave is not going to convert well. You need to reel them in and provide some form of engagement. This could be via a poll, survey or blog comments section. At the end of some blog posts epic controversial heated debates take place between the audience members in the comments section.
Social functions are another way users can engage. This includes social counters and buttons where the content can be shared with their social circles. Also if you include widgets that indicate others are sharing your content, then this might entice more website readers to do the same.
Improve loading speed
Conversions can be improved by up to 7% when the loading speed is optimized. When a website takes too long to load the website users will get frustrated and leave, regardless of how great your blog is. Nowadays with our attention being pulled in so many directions online you need to fight for that attention in any way possible.
One way of improving loading speed is to reduce the file size of images. Drop images down to the size they are displayed in. For example, if you’re uploading an image with a width of 1.5k pixels, but you’re displaying it at a width of 550 pixels, then crop accordingly. Color depth can also be reduced to an acceptable level. As for the file format JPEG is the best choice.
Web application monitoring solutions can be used to reduce server response time. Ideally you want a response time of under 200ms. Minimizing HTTP requests is another great idea. This can be achieved by combining different elements into one stylesheet, and by using CSS instead of images.
Pages with over 100kb in size should be compressed so that the file size is reduced. Web servers can compress files in Gzip format before they are sent to the person downloading the web page.
Creating a blog with no thought towards conversions is a recipe for failure. You need to consider conversions from day 1, because a lot of the blog design elements are related to the type of conversions you’re going to get.
The different ways of improving conversions in this article are tested methods that you’ll notice the top blogs in any industry implementing today. To see these tips in action visit any one of these blogs and pay attention to the execution.
Once you begin to consciously think about conversions you’ll find even more ways to turn a casual website visitor into a lead. When a blog is setup correctly it can be a powerful asset for a marketer in the goal of achieving more conversions.