16 Jul 2014 By Iris Shoor
7 ways we increased our blog’s conversion rate by 260%
Writing great content. Choosing the right headline. Getting people to read it. What’s next? Sometimes we tend to neglect the last and most vital part of content marketing – converting blog readers to users.
Think of it this way: increasing the conversion from your blog by even 10% gives the same result as raising the traffic by 10% or writing 10% more posts.
With small tweaks, it’s possible to double or triple the conversion rate, which is the end target. Most of the time, increasing the conversion rate can be done easily by adding a certain button or the right link.
First of all : choose one call to action.
When we first started our blog, one of the major call to actions was “subscribe to our newsletter.”
We found out that users who subscribed were unlikely to check out the homepage and sign up for the product. Therefore, we decided to remove this call to action and focus on converting more users from the blog to our homepage. Removing other call to actions increased the conversion to the website by 10%. Another interesting thing we noticed is that using less clickable items hardly reduced the number of total clicks. Don’t lose potential users by choosing the wrong call to action.
We have over 50,000 monthly unique visitors to our blog (tech blog for developers). These are the changes which led us to a 6% conversion rate of the blog readers to the website. It means over 3000 monthly visits of developers to our website which resulted in thousands of users.
1). How to lead to your product page without breaking the reading flow?
If a potential customer is reading a post, it’s easier to convince him to read another one while they are already reading. Most blogs and websites offer ‘read more’ options at the end of the post. We decided to integrate links to our product in this context. Unlike most of the other links, we don’t take the user to the homepage, but rather to different parts of the website which answer concrete questions.
Here’s an example of how most of our posts end: The first link points to another post on our blog with a related topic, the other two links take the reader to more info about the product. Notice that these links offer more data on how to do something, just as a post does.
2). How to get traffic when the post get republished and read via RSS readers
One of the major obstacles companies with successful blogs face is that many of their readers read their content via different RSS readers. This means they get plain text, and there’s no way to engage further with them.
If you own a blog, go to your Google Analytics now and see how many of your readers enter via Feedly and similar services. For us, it’s around 3%, including similar services it can get to 5%; for larger blogs which produce more content, it might reach 10%. That means 10% of their readers won’t click any banner or register for their newsletter. The irony is that these are usually the most avid readers.
Therefore, we link to Takipi from most of our posts. It can be a short story about the company, a few words about how we use a certain technology which is mentioned, or an explanation of why we decided to write about the topic.
Creating links in the post itself also helps in gaining more traffic when your content gets republished. If you’re writing good content, there’s a good chance your posts will be republished on other websites, which usually means you’ll get a small link to your product by the author name.
Make sure to link from within the text, create some interest around what you do, and keep everything in context there’s a good chance people will get to your website.
3). Remarketing segmented by posts
Remarketing is a great tool to follow users who visited your website or blog but haven’t converted yet. Unlike the website, your blog offers you amazing insights to what your users are interested in – according to the post they read. Is this reader interested in B2B or B2C? One certain technology or another?
We’re using remarketing via Facebook and Adroll, and have a set of different ads based on the post the potential user has visited. For example,if someone visited a post about Java 8, we’ll use an “Upgrading to Java 8?” ad. It also works well the other way around.
Let’s say that you’re launching a plug in for a certain niche tool. The hard way is to SEO this term. An easier way is to write a post about this tool, even without mentioning your product, and then use remarketing for the readers who visited this post with very specific ads. Even if you’ll get only hundreds or thousands of visitors to this post, you can be certain they’re the right audience. It’s a great baseline to start advertising to.
Tip: I highly suggest you start adding a retargeting pixel to your post today. It’ll enable you to target these readers in the future.
What is best use of the free space by the post? Most blogs have some banners and links located to the right of the post. We’ve experimented with that space quite a bit. This free space is probably the main real estate you have on your blog to tell occasional and repeating visitors what you do. About 25% of the traffic from our blog to our web site is coming from this banner.
What have we learned while redesigning it?
- The best performing banner simply explains what the product does.
- We’re also using a smaller banner targeting Scala developers, which leads to a special landing page. This small banner also performs well.
- We used to have a list of links to some of the most popular posts. It drove a high number of clicks, but many of them were instead of clicking on the banner that leads to the product page. It seems like the fewer alternatives you give to the readers, the more likely they’re to click on the “right” one. The main question is, of course, determining what is the “right” action for you. If your goal is to have your readers read more posts than keep the links. Our initial assumption was that if the reader reads a few posts on our blog, he’s more likely to check out the product. This assumption was proven to be wrong, and that’s why we reduced the links to other posts.
What didn’t work?
Here are a few banners that didn’t convert well:
- Showing the faces behind the blog: a banner of the Takipi team converted 25% less traffic. I suspect that in a personal blog that is identified with the writer a similar banner might perform better.
- Creating curiosity around the product: a banner that said hardly anything about the product and was meant to create enough curiosity so users would click converted 70% less traffic.
Yes, I know, it sounds like an easy one. Everyone likes gifts. But it seems like gifts for blog readers have a much higher impact. We’re giving away T-shirts for customers who deploy our solution on their production environment. We discovered that most users who visit our website are not very interested in the T-shirt; however, the same gift drives great traffic from the blog.
You can definitely say that some readers are only interested at the t-Shirt. That’s true to some extent, but we had installations from Fortune 500 companies which originated with offering a free t-shirt to our blog readers. It doesn’t have to be a physical giveaway, either; a discount or an extended trial worked well, too. We discovered that putting the offer after the post itself worked much better than using a banner, for that seemed too promotional and not specific to the blog readers.
6). SEO-based content marketing
Unlike the previous tips, this one is not about optimizing the blog for conversion but about optimizing the content for conversion. Most companies/ website owners use a wide array of SEO tools to optimize their website. We use keywords research, Google trends and other tools to create highly-converting content.
It’s much easier to create a post which will rank high than to get a high rank for your website. For example, let’s say that you’re developing an app for free calls. Rather than, or in addition to, optimizing your website, you can write posts about the best apps for free calls (including yours), or comparing the cost and quality of calls in different countries, and so on. These posts usually get fewer visitors than other posts, but their conversion rate is much higher.
For SEO reasons we make these articles cover the topic in depth in at least 1500 words, and include screenshots and images. About 20% of our posts were written after SEO research, and these posts tend to convert 3x to 5x better than other posts.
Which kind of content converts well?
- Comparison between different tools, including yours (something vs. something vs. something)
- A list of tools for a specific purpose (10 apps to help you eat healthy)
- Tutorials/ getting started (How to start your own blog)
Here are some great tips by Neil Patel about creating SEO-based content marketing – Link
7). The #1 converting element on the blog
Around 30% of the traffic is coming from the main menu that is designed in a similar way to the one we have on our website. We first launched the blog without this element as it seemed to commercial. Later on we decided to A/B test it – the conversion rate increased by over 20% and it had no negative effect on the time on site or any other engagement parameters. Most of the clicks are on “Features”, “About us” and … “Monsters”. The monsters button opens up a page with cartoons representing our brand. It proves, once again, that using humor is a great tool for getting attention and leads to higher conversion rate.
To sum things up, your blog is an amazing marketing tool which isn’t utilized correctly most of the time. Instead of spending time on trying to bring in more traffic I suggest taking the time to find out how to make more out of the traffic you already own. People who read your blog are what I consider “prospects with benefits” and have a higher potential than other leads. By small design modifications, placing your links at the right place and using better call to actions you can easily turn your reader into customers.