Blogs are often overlooked.
Unfortunately, few people treat them in the same way that they might treat their funnel or their software.
However, the reality is that for many companies, their blog is their first impression. It’s what future customers see BEFORE they become customers.
So, your blog, like your business, needs to be optimized to increase its value.
In this article, we’re going to discuss 3 different tests you can run to improve the experience and effectiveness of your blog.
Monthly Test #1: Your Article Voice
Have you ever thought about changing your article voice or structure?
Probably not, after all, as a writer, you’re accustomed to describing things in a certain way, and if people don’t like it, well, too bad for them!
But the truth is that people respond differently to different voices, and if you want to engage them, then you have to find the most engaging voice for your audience.
An interesting experiment related to this was done by Groove, who found that they received a 300% increase in engagement by starting their articles with a story.
“So for one of the blog posts on our Journey to $100K blog — about the steps we took to get more subscribers — we ran a basic A/B test.
Some of our visitors were sent to a version of the post that started with a simple story that led into the “meat” of the content, while others found a post with a no-nonsense intro that jumped right to the point.
The post with the narrative intro had nearly 300% more people scroll all the way to the bottom, and average time on page was more than five times higher! “
Now whether or not this works for you is something you need to test (and should), but if you haven’t considered other tones and voices for your articles, aside from the one you naturally write in, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to increase engagement.
Monthly Test #2: Your Sidebar
Ah sidebars, everyone has one right? And it must be for good reason?
But have you ever questioned that?
The problem with what everyone does is that it becomes so accepted and so mainstream that no one bothers to test it anymore.
But people’s’ preferences change, quickly, and for that reason, Brian from VideoFruit decided to test how people interacted with and without his sidebar.
“In our experiment, we used the split testing tool Optimizely to send half of this post’s readers to our traditional format that included a sidebar. The other 50% of readers went to a variation without a sidebar.
Then we measured the results to see which page produced the most email signups.
The version with no sidebar produced 26% more email signups than the version with a sidebar.”
We also dropped the sidebar on our blog and saw an increase in visitor engagement.
And, in addition to an increase in visitor engagement, the page loads faster, because it’s simpler, prettier and easier to read.
Monthly Test #3: Your Comments
Some sites have removed comments altogether.
But what I wasn’t able to find was any supporting evidence that removing comments was better for the blog.
However, I was able to find a reputable case study that having comments led to an increase in search traffic by Neil Patel.
“With Quick Sprout, I get 176 comments per post, but are those comments really helping drive more search traffic? Let’s look at the data.”
What followed was a deep technical analysis that concluded with:
“When analyzing the Google Webmaster Tools data, I also noticed that the keywords found within the comments didn’t rank as high in Google as keywords found within the text of the blog post. This explains why keywords found within the comment section had a click-through rate of 2.1% versus 4.1% for keywords found within the text of each post.
All in all, bringing 16% of all search traffic through comments isn’t too shabby.”
And there you have it, a technical case study supporting that the text from comments is driving actual search traffic to the posts.
Your blog is a valuable part of your funnel. In fact, it’s usually at the very top. So optimizations done there trickle down throughout the entire funnel and can have a big, big impact.
However, for one reason or another, people often overlook it.
Don’t be one of those people, get at least one of these tests going this month.
Have you run a test on you blog to optimize it for traffic and engagment? Share it with us in the comments.