The Do’s and Don’ts of Blog Conversion Rate Optimization12 min read
Blog conversion rate optimization (CRO) can be a difficult content marketing skill to master. Knowing the major do’s and don’ts is the place to make a start
From the marketing point of view, the main goal of content is no longer to just amuse, entertain, or educate. Rather, it is to convert – convert visitors and readers into customers, users, and subscribers. Your content may be a unique piece of brilliant writing, but if it doesn’t convert it is worth nothing.
However, there are techniques that you can use to turn your great content into a working marketing instrument. Let’s talk about what you can do – and what you definitely should not do – to increase your blog conversion rate.
How can you make conversions through your blog?
Out of the many conversion goals, blog content can effectively achieve two:
- Make visitors navigate to the sales page
- Make visitors subscribe by leaving their email address
With a few exceptions, blogs do not exist by themselves. They are a part of a complex marketing strategy planned and intended to sell a product or service. Naturally, a company wants to sell their own products and makes blog content one of the instruments to push readers to buy. This is where the content creators do their magic to make readers want to click the link or subscribe.
For example, a popular content marketing education platform, Copyblogger, aims at getting more subscribers which is their conversion goal. For that purpose, it places a subscription form on the blog page sidebar. A reader – who probably found the blog post looking for content marketing tips or recommendations – can be engaged enough to decide to enrol in free training and leave their email. Bingo, they are converted!
However, not every piece of content converts and your content marketing strategy may benefit from conversion rate optimization, or CRO, techniques.
Look for CRO opportunities
Start with analyzing your blog posts to identify those that you think can perform better. This is going to be your first stop in increasing your blog conversion rate. Use an analytical tool, for example, Google Analytics, to find blog posts that, on the one hand, bring high traffic but, on the other hand, have a low conversion rate compared to the site average.
These posts will be your primary candidates for conversion rate optimization. High traffic means they are properly searchable and relevant but something stops users from converting.
Try applying some of the techniques below both to your old posts and the ones you are just planning to write. Such a strategy may increase your overall blog conversion rate significantly.
Do’s and Don’ts of blog CRO
Let’s look at the best practices of conversion optimization and the most common mistakes that content creators make when trying to improve their blog’s performance.
Do post frequently
In content marketing, consistency is the magic word. You need to keep your existing and prospective readers engaged with new interesting content published regularly. More posts mean more traffic and, consequently, more leads and possible conversions.
However, how often should you post? Statistics show a dramatic jump in inbound traffic when you post 11 or more times per month. Thus, aim for that frequency and if you can post four times per week, that’s even better.
Another insight into this matter comes from none other than Google. As early as in 2011, Google introduced an algorithm filtering the search results by their “freshness”. Of course, this filtering applies to hot topics or recurring events but also to the information that is updated frequently. Posting often might increase your searchability.
The same principle applies to Google’s featured snippets where the algorithm picks the most recent updates to return after a query.
Don’t be spammy
While achieving an optimal posting frequency is something you should aim for, don’t post just for the sake of posting. Believe me, readers will see through it immediately. If you have nothing to post one day, then don’t post.
Both your loyal readers and visitors who found your blog for the first time expect to see meaningful posts related to your industry. Of course, you can be funny and entertaining once in a while but the main thing is that your content should create an impression of integral, organic flow. Anything that is placed just to fill the gap will stick out and ruin your reputation with users.
Do A/B testing
Experiment until you find the perfect – or near-perfect – strategy that can help you reach a good blog conversion rate. Sometimes little things matter – for example, did you know that the color of your CTA button can play a big role in improving the conversion rate?
During A/B testing, it turned out that red CTA buttons perform better than green ones, which was sort of unexpected as red is usually a “stop” color, while green is the color for “go”. However, the results showed a 34% conversion increase when the red button was used.
You can do similar testing to validate the strategy ideas that you wish to implement. Try several options and compare their performance.
Don’t try all the CRO tips you can find
While setting up your strategy of blog conversion rate optimization, you will come across dozens of lists of helpful hints, tips, tricks, and best practices (ha, you are reading one right now!).
Don’t try all of them at once. Some of them will work for you while others won’t. Test each new option carefully monitoring the results – and remember that proper A/B testing can take up to four weeks, so be patient.
If you try all optimization techniques you can lay your hands on, some of them might produce a certain increase of your blog conversion rate. However, you will not know exactly what worked in your case and keep using unnecessary practices wasting your resources.
Do use calls-to-action smartly
People often forget that CTAs aren’t just for your landing page, but for your blog too. I strongly recommend that you review your CTAs both for the old and new posts. CTAs may be the reason why your old posts do not produce as many conversions as you expect them to. If they are just sitting at the bottom of your post, your readers may just ignore them. Time to revamp your CTA strategy!
There are some CTA design options that you can experiment with:
- Place your CTA in the sidebar. The sidebar is where most readers will subconsciously look for extras – links to other content, special offers, and, of course, CTAs.
- Tweak the CTA design. You’ve seen how just changing the color of your CTA button can boost the conversion rate. See whether the CTA button design is outdated and needs a facelift.
- Consider a slide-in CTA that appears while the reader scrolls the page and does not cover other content. A slide-in CTA has a better chance to attract the reader’s attention and will not annoy them by blocking the content.
- Try not to clutter the area around your CTA button. Of course, you might want to use the sidebar space as effectively as possible, but some studies show that reducing clutter around a CTA button can improve the blog conversion rate by as much as 23%.
- Make CTAs open in the same window. Users are mostly wary of links leading to new windows and trust them less than those that open within the same one.
- Pop-ups can work well. However, they can also prevent Google bots from getting too far when crawling your site, which means you may be scoring an SEO own-goal!
Don’t mislead readers with CTAs
Read what is written on your CTA. Yes, that text that should make people click the button. Does it promise what is actually delivered? Is your “free” offer truly free? Will the user download what they expect to?
Your CTA should be clear on what the user is going to get. If your service is not exactly free, try to avoid this word on the CTA. Disappointed customers may be more damaging to your reputation than non-converted ones.
Another good practice is to avoid vague and general messages on your CTAs. In the image below, the company replaced the unclear “Test it out” CTA with “See demo” explicitly saying what the user is going to get clicking the button. And, by the way, this change led to a conversion rate increase.
Do create interesting content
This one is in the “No comment” league, but let’s spend some time on it. For all these techniques to work, your copywriting should grab the readers’ attention and be interesting, relevant, and engaging. Most importantly, your content should be alive.
What can you do to make your blog posts alive and vibrant? There are two basic principles:
- Write on interesting topics. For each industry, the interesting topics are, naturally, different, but the rule of thumb is to write about the most recent and fresh events and developments. It’s always a bullseye to post your company’s updates – press releases, product news, upcoming events. Besides, monitor your industry sector and provide your own analysis of the recent innovations.
A good practice is to post useful content. Share something your readers can use in their processes – tips, checklists, how-tos, tutorials. Make your posts visual and eye-catching by including images, videos, animations. Your audience will like large, detailed long reads, but you can add some color to them with infographics illustrating your unique research on the subject.
- Use bright and lively language. Don’t kill your great content with bland and boring wording. Don’t be afraid to joke, provoke, tease, and make fun of things. However, use these techniques in moderation and only to liven up the topic. Don’t become another Internet troll.
The most straightforward way to create great, engaging content is to be true. Write about real things and experiences, use case studies and quotes that resonate, all this should mean your content will never be boring.
Don’t focus on the volume alone
Some say people don’t read anymore, others say that people love long reads. The truth is that in this case, size does not matter much. What matters is the subject and the way you write about it.
If your content is relevant and engaging, your visitors will read it to the last word regardless of the volume. To reach that, your posts should really resonate with your audience and capture their attention from the first word to the last one. How can you achieve that – read the paragraph above.
At the same time, there are certain guidelines as to the volume of your blog posts. If you are aiming to increase social media sharing, try to write at least 750 words per post. However, for the best SEO results, your blog posts should be around 2,450 words.
Of course, these guidelines only work if you are posting content that helps to resolve real problems. To get high searchability, you need to write on topics that people search for. And, in this case, they will surely read even very long posts.
Content marketing is a wealth of opportunities. The great thing about it is that there are no cookie-cutter principles of how you should organize your blog. You can have a sleek, minimalistic blog or a page packed with graphics and animations – and get the same high conversion rates.
Find your best blogging strategy using the good old trial-and-error method. Test different techniques and tools to see what best fills your conversion funnel with leads. You may achieve an increase in your blog conversion rate by usual techniques, such as homepage and blog redesign to improve the overall user experience, or by non-standard options, such as adding a live chat choosing one of the different live chat software solutions.
Of course, do not forget to promote your blog to increase traffic and get more conversion opportunities. There are ways to increase your presence and visibility and make your brand recognizable among users. Try guest posting, social sharing, or email marketing, for example.
I hope my little list of do’s and don’ts will help you plan your content marketing strategy better and succeed in boosting your lead generation. If you have other ideas and suggestions, I would be happy to discuss them. Do reach out, and let’s talk about how to produce great content!