The idea and purpose behind blogging are amazing, but as if this was not enough, many bloggers decide to step out of the box and to do something more with their blogs than just adding posts in chronological series. The main purpose of such innovative approach is that bloggers are aware that new posts will overcome old ones regardless of their quality, and that’s actually the core of their problem.
They keep adding new articles to the already overwhelmed archive and simply waste an incredible amount of good content instead of tagging it to keep it alive. This is the worst thing a blogger could do to his users: wasting their time and attention, and failing to provide the necessary advice; so it comes as no wonder that such blogs experience low page views and a high bounce rate.
Let us suggest a few very effective strategies you could adopt to improve such situations:
1. Edit the sidebar on your blog
Remember that the sidebar on your blog is probably the most important section you have. It is because the sidebar appears on every page the visitor opens, the landing page being one of them. Sidebars are included in every blog, but the problem is that people misinterpret their function –they fill them with junk, slap newest (but not always relevant) posts, suggest opt-in forms, attach social media badges, repeat their logos for the hundredth time, and many similar practices that are probably coming to your mind now. There is not a less painful way to call these practices than what they really are: unreasonable mistakes.
If there is one thing to learn from this, it is the following: The more items your sidebar contains, the less relevant each of them will become, and you’ll end up confusing your visitors. Check best plugins that contain tailor-made sidebars for you.
2. Use the featured area for posts other than the recent ones
We understand that this is a common and recognized practice, but the reason why people tag recent posts as features is that they want to stay on the safe side of the line. While this can be the easiest and most comprehensive concept for active blogs, it can reveal all the flaws of rarely updated ones.
Take a second to think about it: You have a variety of creative opportunities to use featured space for, and you’re still adding nothing but recent posts. Why not underlining old and good ones instead?
It is a single stone to kill two birds: you get to showcase quality content, and it makes your blog appear much more active and involving. Still, noteworthy posts from the posts are not the only ones to consider for the category: you can also choose the most popular ones and to include them. Here is more on how to display featured posts in WordPress, check it out.
3. Create a section for popular posts
Each blogger has a set of posts he’s confirmed generate the most traffic, and he considers them to be the ‘killer posts’ that need to be mentioned everywhere, linked to everything and featured extremely well on all social engines.
Highlighting such posts is quite simple using featured space, but you could also go a step further and design a specific ‘Popular’ section accessible through the homepage.
4. Create a section for related posts
Once users land on your blog to read a particular post, the best way to keep them there and to encourage them to explore is to provide a set of related posts. The concept is fairly simple, and usually requires nothing more but to install an extra functionality plugin.
This being said, a related posts section can be nothing but useful to your blog, be it a clean list of popular posts or an entertaining and an eye-catchy section with images and descriptions, thus unbury your older posts!
5. Take advantage of the Next/Previous feature
Consider this issue from a reader’s perspective: he’s finished reading the post, and wonders where to go next, especially if he encountered content he enjoyed. Unless you’ve provided him with a customized previous/next feature, he won’t know how to continue, and will rather leave your website to browse for similar blogs.
6. Include an author bio in your posts
Readers like familiarizing with the authors of good content, so consider including a short author bio at the end of each post. Take care of the length, but avoid being too explicit at the same time. There are many small avatars that can make the bio look amazing, so try some of them.
7. Make the most of your categories
A sad but general conclusion that can be made from blog success ratings is that categories are seriously underestimated. There are only a few bloggers out there that know how to make the most of their categories, while all others are missing on some serious benefits.
To start with, what you see on most blogs is a sidebar list of categories, hopefully with a link that leads to them.
Links are already an improvement, but statistics show that’s not the preferred pattern of users when navigating towards a category. Why is it so? What may be a reasonable explanation is that category pages are rarely used in the first place.
Another problematic issue is that category pages are most of the time sorting posts chronologically, which does little, if something, to showcase the importance of these posts. What you get in the end is a confused visitor that wanders around broad categories without a clue of what he’s looking at.
There is a much better way to handle categories. You are the director of your blog’s interactive power, and you should start by guiding users towards highlighted and featured posts and making sure those posts are properly organized in groups and subcategories.
Another issue that can become a serious problem is visitors’ general perception of categories as useless pages that provide a poor experience, but you can address this problem by enhancing category display on the sidebar and adding featured posts for each of the categories. The approach is quite new but does manage to improve the experience and to push you out of the box.
An additional tip: It is not only categories you can use to organize posts – tags are cut for the purpose as well!
8. Improve the searching experience
Another obstruction for users to explore your content and access older blogs is that you don’t give them proper search functionality. Many bloggers believe it is the way search is configured on their blog that is slowing progress, but sitting with arms crossed won’t help them.
Just to be more precise: there are two types of limitations of the default search function: the search parameters of the platform are too poor and basic, and keyword phrases are not highlighted to help users understand why they are actually included.
The good news is that Google site search provides a multitude of plugins and similar alternatives that can fix this problem.
Finally, as technical as it may be, search becomes a design issue sooner or later. Unfortunately, most templates were designed with sideline search bars which are incapable of urging users to engage with them and are therefore of no good to bloggers who want to see uses exploring.
What could be done instead is to look for a better position for the search function, maybe even the center of the page.
9. Creating a detailed ‘About Us’ page
‘About Us’ is the most frequently opened page on any blog, the homepage being the leader of the group. It is also the one that will preserve your reputation, so take a look at some good examples to configure it properly. The more professional it looks, the better because visitors bounce any page that looks overdone or unfamiliar. Your goal is to motivate users to subscribe, and that’s certainly impossible without a decent ‘About Us’ page.