Don’t make your multiplatform content live on islands by themselves
Let’s say you have plenty of website traffic. Audience development is no problem for you. Your SEO boots are laced up tight, your social media steed is valiant, and you have a crowd of folks excited to visit your site every day. Good, great, done. Do you have multiplatform content? Even better.
For the last few years, we’ve watched the average time on magazine and newsletter publisher sites drop. In 2011, we were seeing averages of 3:45, and today’s averages are 1:52, having dropped around 30 seconds, give or take, year over year.
Has the average attention span dropped significantly since 2011? Yes, definitely. Smart phones, and the snackbar of information we call the internet, has changed, and so have people’s capacity for reading long-form content. Especially as mobile content consumption is growing year over year, where long-form reading gets interrupted by short car trips and dinner dates – two places people never used to bring their content-consuming devices like laptops and desktops. Interruptions are by far at an all-time high and may very well account for the drop in average time on site.
But there are ways to combat this, at the very basic level, which is to give people more things to do. Create more hyperlinks to relevant content they’re reading. Have you ever visited a site, and found yourself 10 pages in because you couldn’t stop clicking? Maybe it was a celebrity gossip site, because they are notably talented at referring and linking to past events in their current news articles (Yay! Nicole is having a baby! But remember when she got that nose job that caved in?)
While clutter is never a good look for a website, context is. If you want more page views and time on site visiting your multiplatform content, try these tips:
1. Create an inventory of every call to action you can think of. You have an array of products, both free and paid. Think of all your topic categories and all of the different things you think articles in those categories might link to.
2. Make interlinking part of your content development strategy. Add it to your editorial scorecard so that you have at least 3 links to other related articles. Maybe you want to consider soft-sells to your multiplatform products as well, to make it even more diverse.
3. Make your links interesting. Don’t link for the sake of linking. Link uncommon words to articles that describe the terms, or refer to related articles within the context of the subject. Link to products only when they solve a problem that you’re talking about.
4. Add related articles to the bottom of your posts. All of our clients have related articles listed below their main content, which is determined relevant by the content of the article itself. If I use the tag “multiplatform publishing” in a post, it will suggest other articles that use the same tag.
5. Create links on thank you pages. Once people sign up for your email newsletter, provide them with some helpful links on the same topic as the freebie they just signed up for. On product pages, provide an upsell for a similar product.
6. Create user-friendly navigational menus. For example, in our free Mequoda Pro video training course, it’s very easy on every page of the course to go to new courses, because there’s a list of modules to the right at all times. And when you’re on a training page, there’s a navigational link to the next page.
7. Improve cross-promotion. Also on Mequoda Pro, we include a promotional ad for our next event on every module page, which relates directly to the course they’re watching.
8. Create more internal list content. On your portal, create more posts that link to other posts. For example, at the end of the year, we always create a list of the top 10 articles in each of our categories. Not only do they do really well in SEO, but they lead to higher time on site, because people keep coming back to the article to read the other articles. It’s the difference between giving someone a single article, and giving them a magazine to read.
The total number of hits to your website is a fairly useless metric, although the unique visitors is important. And more important is how long they stay with you, and if they convert at the end of it all. How long they stay tells you how well you’re engaging them, which can have a direct correlation to your likeliness of converting them into buyers or email subscribers.
If you’re ad driven, you already know time on site is a metric your advertisers are looking for. Creating these pathways and estuaries will make readers feel like they haven’t “completed” their tasks, that there’s more to learn on your site, which is the ultimate goal.