15 Essentials Of Immersive And Sticky Blog Content


Essentials of creating immersive content

The back button on a browser is your enemy. What’s the point of spending time and energy creating valuable content and driving targeted traffic to your content if no one sticks around to subscribe, buy, learn, engage, comment, irritate, or just quietly judge. The importance of making your content as sticky as possible is an often overlooked topic in the desperate traffic race. If we devote even a fifth of the time we spend on marketing to make sure our site is engaging and interesting, we would get a much better return on our investment. Following are the simple yet powerful guidelines on how you can create immersive content, increase the stickiness and lower the bounce rate.

Make your article headline irresistible

You have to get someone to click on your link and visit your site in the first place. Your first touch point with a potential visitor is your article headline. Be it in search engine results, in emails or in social media newsfeeds. It is puzzling that more bloggers don’t have this in mind when creating posts. Most of them think of the headline last and publish whatever comes to their mind first.

Don’t be like that. Spend time thinking of an appropriate headline. Your headline determines if people will click on the post. Your headline sets the expectations of the user. I try and create more than one headline for each article to force myself to think more and be more creative. Think of ideas and explore different options before deciding on the final headline. My favorite types of headlines are those that:

  • Have numbers or top lists in them
  • Are personalized with words like “You” or “Your”
  • Directly address the need of the audience and problem they need solving

For more see my rules and formulas for headline writing.

Establish credibility and trust

If your headline works and a person clicks on your link, the first 5 seconds are critical. The probability of leaving is very high and the decision to stay or leave will be made in these first few seconds. Visitors are very skeptical as they have suffered a lot of bad content and poorly designed sites. Modern life is hectic and people simply don’t have time to work too hard for their information. Many bounce right away, most leave within few seconds. Do this to establish credibility and hook the visitor:

  • Make your blog quick to load. Make sure your site is lightweight and is loading fast as people are impatient. Here’s the guide for speeding up your blog.
  • Have a great looking design. Many blog designs look pretty amateur, they are full of pop-ups, banner ads and other irritating distractions. They do not look good on mobile devices. Get a theme with large fonts, good color contrast, white space, easy to find search box, useful 404 page and mobile responsive design. By having a well designed blog you put yourself ahead of the rest. See the guide on making your blog look pretty.
  • Have a clear value proposition. Tell visitors what is in store for them, what your site is about and what problems your site will solve for them. Have a clear unique selling proposition.
  • Display social proof such as social media follower numbers, number of social media shares and number of comments. If visitors see that your site is popular, frequented and shared a lot then there is a greater chance they will stick around. If all these people like this site then there must be other good stuff around. Use WordPress plugins to integrate social proof.
  • People like familiarity so make your visitor feel at home. Include a clear and descriptive navigation bar at the top with links to contact, about page, services etc. The sidebar should contain the latest posts and/or popular posts. These are the elements you need to add to a new blog.
  • Make it clear who is behind the post. Introduce yourself right off the bat with a welcoming message and smile. Ingrain your personality into the page. Include your personal information, your image plus links and examples of your skills and experience. Your site is unique, but only because of YOU, so make sure your visitors see this as soon as possible.

Rules for online content styling and writing

Now that you got the reader to take a look at the post itself, don’t expect a captive audience. Your readers are busy, distracted people with infinite demands on their time. People rarely read posts word by word. They scan and pick out individual words and sentences. They don’t like scrolling down the page either and rarely reach the end of the article (are you still with me?). Eye tracking studies have shown that only 20% of the time spent on site and 20% of total clicks happen below the fold. It’s a battle to be read. To combat this you should employ these styling and writing rules:

Blog post template

  • Don’t take ages to ‘get to the point’. Create a compelling introduction that grabs your reader’s attention within the first 2-3 sentences. Start with a hook or with a conclusion to make the reader excited to read the whole post. Tell them what they are missing out on, what you will help them with, surprise them and leave them with questions rather than answers. Touch on your key points clearly and concisely. Be detailed but brief. Make it dazzle them, make it epic. Here is a list of effective hooks you can use.
  • Use stunning images and multimedia to help visually draw in your reader. Aim to have a great image towards the top of your articles. Images catch the eye better than text and tell stories more quickly. They get your visitor more involved and play a big part in holding the attention of your visitor for longer. Here is a guide on using stunning imagery.
  • Make it easy to discover more good stuff. Clicking links remains the most-used feature on a site. Place specific and relevant links in key places of interest to offer a deeper or follow-up information on the topic. Include internal links and relevant posts to get people to stay longer and introduce them to your content archive. Don’t be afraid to link away from your site as well (but do make sure those links open in new window). If you link your readers to new useful information, they will return to find out where the best information is.
  • Include one idea per paragraph. Readers are reluctant to tackle large blocks of text. Break blocks of text into paragraphs. It’s much easier to skim short(er) sentences, than tangled blocks of text. Do not write single sentences as a paragraph as too many short paragraphs in succession is distracting. Concentrate on one idea per paragraph. Readers skip over additional ideas in a paragraph if they are not attracted by the first few words.
  • Write for the web. Follow the K.I.S.S. principle {keep it simple, stupid!}. Omit needless words and make your writing concise. Simple is much harder than complex so do practice perfecting simple. Read the The Elements Of Style. Revise, rewrite and learn to edit yourself. Make sure your content reads well, has no typos and spelling mistakes. Split your paragraphs with descriptive subheadings. Highlight important parts and keywords with typeface variations. Include bulleted and numbered lists.
  • Don’t write passively. Your school taught you that using the passive form made you sound formal and objective. Time to wise up, because today the opposite is true in successful writing. When you address people as “you”, they’re more likely to tune into your words. And when you refer to yourself as “I”, it makes you sound accountable.
  • Those big smart-ass words are letting you down. At school, using big words got you better marks but blog post writing has to be very clear, focused and tight to arouse and hold the attention of the readers. Use definite, specific and concrete language. Your goal is to be clear and persuasive – not score points for using a thesaurus. If you write for beginners, any kind of jargon is going to lose and confuse your readers. Ditch the jargon to make your site much more friendly to new visitors.
  • Encourage users to return. Give your reader a sense of conclusion, a sense of closure. Briefly summarize your points at the end. Make your reader feel like it was worth their while to spend time with your post. Provide opportunity to subscribe and follow you in social media in order to make sure your readers come back.

Take a look at this video that I created to show you how I style and edit a post for a better user experience:

I hope this post gives you a better idea of the importance of creating a more immersive and sticky content experience for your visitors. Keep this in mind when creating your next post and do work on presenting your content in a more attractive way in order to get more engaging visitors. Your content can be of the best quality but without an appealing presentation it will not do well. Review your existing content as well. There are bound to be certain articles in your archive that have high bounce rate. Monitor Google Analytics to detect these dead end articles and use the advice to make them more sticky.

Remember that you cannot just think of immersive content presentation. You also need to make sure to add great substance to your content. Be an authority in your field by creating original, valuable, helpful and useful content to the members of your community. Teach people, inspire people and make their lives better. Be a resource. When put together with valuable content, sticky content presentation makes a powerful impact and helps skyrocket your blog.