If you’ve recently committed to writing a blog or have been doing so for a while now, kudos to you. I’ve already written posts about why blogs are great for SEO and marketing and what to do if you’ve got writer’s block. Now I want to talk about how to get your reader to stay on your site once they’ve finished reading a post.
Keep your reader engaged
You may have written the most interesting and useful blog post ever and your reader will be grateful for that. But, do you really want that to be the end of their experience on your website? For most of us, the answer is a clear “no.” You probably want to get them to take some sort of action. Most people who read a single article are not going to decide then and there to hire you or purchase your products. But — if they received value from the article — they may be interested in taking some sort of next step.
One idea is to include a contact button so that, if the reader is ready to hire you or at least find out more about what you can offer them, they can easily do that without having to search for a link.
Another option is to give them the option to receive more articles from you in the future, by signing up for your newsletter. By doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to continue providing quality information to them and gain their trust over time with the hope that, eventually, they will hire you. Kind of a soft sell.
The third element you can include is suggestions for related reading. This may be a text list or — more commonly — a set of thumbnail images with article titles. Whichever format you decide to use, it’s best to keep the number of related articles down to a few, so as not to overwhelm the reader and invoke decision paralysis.
You may have noticed all three of these items are found after the end of this blog post and others on this site.
The idea behind related posts is simply to suggest more content that the reader might find useful. For example, if someone just finished reading an article about environmentally-friendly building materials, it stands to reason that they might also be interested in reading about solar panels, non-toxic paints, or rechargeable power tools. If you’ve written about any of those topics, why not let the reader know that they can read more content suited for them?
You can manually list these related articles at the end of your post. Doing so certainly gives you full control over which (and how many) articles are shown. However, the bigger your blog gets over time, the more difficult it will be to remember and organize your old posts to find the most relevant ones. That’s a good problem to have — it means you’ve got a lot of content!
With WordPress, there are ways to program for the related posts. But most of us don’t want to bother with that so, as always… there’s a plugin for that. (Are you surprised?) Actually, there are at least a few good options. Following are some of the better and more popular ones:
Choose a plugin that best suits your needs, install, and activate it. You may need to adjust the settings for the specific results you want. Then the related posts should automatically display at the end of your article.
I always find it interesting to see what the plugin’s algorithm determines is related content. Especially when you don’t have more than a couple posts that are obviously related. Sometimes having a seemingly-unrelated post show up is actually a good thing, as it may entice the reader to expand their horizons and discover more of what you have to offer.
So, go ahead, add those related posts to the end of your article. At worst, your readers will ignore them. But you just may gain a new and loyal following. Who doesn’t want that?