There is a metric in Search Engine Optimisation language called “Bounce Rate”. The Bounce rate of a page is one of the most important metrics to keep an eye on and it’s one that Google keeps an eye on too. Bounce rate is essentially measured in percentages of people who arrive on a particular page, then leave the site without visiting any other pages.
Google has included bounce rate as a metric for us to track in Google Analytics, and one can infer from that inclusion alone that bounce rate is a considered attribute in Google’s algorithm.
Consider this: A person searches Google for “Wedding Photographer London” and your site is on Page 1, so the they visit your site and arrive on your homepage. If they then exit your site, without visiting any more pages – Google will assume that the search they performed, and the results they delivered were not a good match. If this happens too often then Google may start to deprecate your site for the given search term.
It’s a challenge for us photographers – especially those of use who are social photographers and rely heavily on our blogs. Inherently we drive traffic to, for example, a blog about a wedding. Many guests from the wedding will visit that page, but many will be completely uninterested in visiting any other part of our website.
The challenge is to make our content engaging, and our sites interactive, to encourage people to browse the site and commit to future content updates.
There are many mechanisms for making your content engaging on a photography blog – simply having gorgeous pictures isn’t one of them (though it is of course important). Here are some ways I try and make content engaging on my website.
Encourage Commitment & Comments
Ask, and ye shall receive…..or something like that. Encourage people to leave comments simply by asking them. At the end of each blog post its wise to ask people to leave a comment and share on Social Media. You can then use tools such as Comment Redirect (if you use WordPress) to encourage those people to sign-up to your RSS feed or a newsletter etc.
How many of us have a search option on our website? Allowing people to search for further content is going to allow them to hone in directly to the content they want. Making it easy for people to find the content is key here.
Not only are you encouraging people to explore the site further, you are giving yourself a great chance of delivering the content to the visitor that they actually want (very few people will scroll onto page two or further in a blog post).
If you are using WordPress you can even utilise the search data to get an idea of what people are actually searching for (and if they are finding it), using the Search Meter plug-in.
Seems odd to include this as essentially, the visitor will simply watch the video and do nothing else (if the video is doing its job).
However, I believe having some clips or videos on your site – demonstrating your photography, or your style….maybe an interview with you as a photographer or simply a favourite images of the year slide-show will entertain and draw in a visitor. If those videos are presented as a series, then even better as they are more likely to return or search the site for more, similar engaging content.
At the bottom of my blog posts, where appropriate, I always include a “You may also be interested in” section which has SEO optimized links directly to further content within my website. Again, making it easier for people to navigate through the site and avoiding that dreaded “bounce”.
Calls to Action
Your visitors are humans. As humans, we need to be told what to do. All marketing campaigns (both online and off) have some kind of call to action and each piece of content on our websites should also have these calls to action.
Consider encouraging people to comment on blog posts or share on Social Media (you can use the icons at the bottom to do just that for this article if you wish 🙂 ). Always encourage people to do something at the end of a piece of content – don’t just leave them hanging. Push them around your site and drive them to more contextually related content.
So, remember, simply getting people to your website is not enough – you must encourage them to become “fans” and explore your site. Make them hungry for more content and give them ways to signup to be notified of new content etc.
Good luck! Remember, please feel free to share on Twitter, Facebook et al and I’ll respond to any questions you may have in the comments below.
By Kevin Mullins, originally for photographywebtips.co.uk.