Engaged readers are your ideal readers. By spending time on your site, they tell Google and advertisers that your site is valuable real estate! You want to set up your site in a way that encourages readers to stick around - and you definitely don’t want to have anything on your site that actively chases them away.
We recommend experiencing your site the same way a new reader would by opening your site in an incognito window on your desktop, then doing the same thing on your phone.
Pay extra attention to the reader experience on mobile. You may be used to viewing your site on desktop, but that many of your readers are likely interacting with your site on their phones! Minor annoyances on desktop can be major roadblocks for mobile viewers.
You can use Chrome’s emulator to see what your site looks like on different devices:
- Open a new tab in a Chrome incognito window. (Incognito mode lets you visit your site like a brand-new visitor.)
- Right-click somewhere on the page and click “Inspect.”
- Click the “device mode” button to turn it on. (Click here to see what that little toggle button looks like.)
- Click on the “responsive” drop-down and choose the device you’d like to emulate.
- Finally, navigate to your URL to see what your site looks like on that device.
These tend to be the hot-button elements that readers complain about the most frequently:
- Over-pagination - having to click too many times to finish reading one post. Readers tend to drop off, and advertisers bid less for each successive pageview, so a paginated post may not earn as well as an engaging, optimized long-form post.
- Pop-ups - especially if the pop-up is not easy to close (it’s good to check this on multiple mobile devices) or if there is more than one on a page. It’s a good idea to make sure that any newsletter opt-ins, social media pop-ups, or other extra widgets you use on your site conform to the standards laid out by the Coalition for Better Ads.
- Too many ads - affiliate banners, Amazon widgets, and newsletter subscription boxes are all different types of ads - even if they are advertising your own content. Any ad on your site should be bringing significant value to the table, so we’d suggest evaluating these other ad sources to make sure they are worth the space on your site. Your AdThrive ad layout is already optimized, so we’ve got you covered there!
Check for the above elements on your site and decide whether they’re pulling their weight, making them worth the disruption to the reader. Anything that takes up valuable space on your site should be either:
- Providing overwhelming value to your audience;
- Encouraging readers to consume more content; or
- Directly contributing to your income.
Consider the desired user path on each page of your site. Where do you want the reader to go next? Do you want them to buy something? Subscribe to your newsletter? Visit a related page on your site? Give your readers ONE clear path to your desired outcome.
Once your site is optimized for user experience, head to our article on reader engagement and learn how to keep those users on your site!