THE BLOG

7 Ways Your Content Could Turn Away a Visitor

02/06/2015 07:43 pm ET | Updated Apr 08, 2015
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You've already got a reader. How you got them doesn't matter--you could have caught their eye with a catchy title, successfully funneled them using your social media campaign, or attracted them through an email blast. The point is, they're reading your content now, and you need to do everything you can to keep them reading.

Bounce rates are one of the most common problems for businesses using a content marketing strategy. If a user isn't satisfied or engaged by the first written post they come across, they could leave your site, crushing any opportunity you had to convert them.

Fortunately, bounce rates can be reduced. There are several common content problems that turn users away, and understanding them can help you improve your content to retain the greatest possible audience.

1. It's Too Vague. Thin content is a major problem, and a symptom of the increased popularity of content marketing in general. Too many entrepreneurs have heard that content marketing is important, and misinterpret that to mean that any content they post will be good content. These entrepreneurs put skeletons of articles up on their site, serving as fluff rather than real material. While this strategy might marginally affect your domain authority, any reader who ventures to peruse your content will be immediately turned off, and they may be left with a permanently negative impression of your brand.

2. It Doesn't Speak to an Audience. Your audience matters. In the real world, you wouldn't talk to your CEO the same way you would talk to a child on the street. People have different backgrounds, different expectations, different vocabularies, and different values. You need to understand that when you're writing your content. Otherwise, you could write your content too vaguely and turn off your target audience rather than attracting them with a niche focus.

3. It's Disorganized. Jumbled content will almost certainly drive your users away. Your articles, like research papers in school, should have a clear, logical flow from beginning to end. Usually, that means leading off with an introduction, keeping your body paragraphs in a straightforward progression, and ending with a conclusion to summarize your findings. You don't need to follow this structure, necessarily, but if at any point your reader becomes confused, they will be liable to bounce from your site.

4. It's Too Long. Many amateur writers mistake detail for length. Rather than writing more concisely, or in more detail, they simply increase the length of their articles. While the increase in total content volume might have a passing effect on your SEO, it's actually a counterproductive move for your greater content marketing strategy. A new user might look at the length of your article and be intimidated, prompting them to possibly leave, and if they venture into the first few sentences to find the level of detail in your extra-long article to be lacking, they'll certainly leave.

5. It Isn't Authoritative. People want to read content from a credible writer. If a reader feels like your writing isn't authoritative, they're far more likely to leave your site. As occasional posts, there's nothing wrong with including a personal anecdote or an opinion piece, but the majority of your writing should be written from a position of authority. Don't tell people what you think; tell them what you know, and back up your facts with either sources or specific examples to communicate that.

6. It's Too Plain. The most successful forms of content in the modern era are interactive forms, with multiple mediums integrated into them. Plain written content is ubiquitously available, and if you want to stand out, you'll need to do something to spice it up. Include images or video if you can, and if you can't, try experimenting with your format--break your sections up with clear formatting changes, organize your lists into bullet points, and do whatever you can to make your content visually appealing. It will go a long way in keeping your readers from leaving.

7. It Doesn't Give the User a Reason to Stay on Your Site. This is the biggest and most common reason why content allows readers to leave. If you want your users to venture deeper into your site or convert, you need to give them a reason to. Include a strong call to action in your article, preferably toward the end, and speak to the value of continuing their experience on your site.

Keep your content free of these qualities, and you'll effectively maximize your retained readership. The more readers you can keep on your site, the better your conversion rates will be, and the more revenue you'll generate as a result. Keep a close eye on the performance of your individual articles, and pay attention to the qualities that seem to be the most effective.