What to Do if Your Website Engagement Stinks

“One of the hardest tasks in content marketing and blogging is to keep your readers engaged when reading your content,” points out an article on the Jeff Bullas blog. When engagement is absent, dwell time on your site dwindles and bounce rates escalate, drawing away your sales in the process.

Fortunately, there are ways to hook your readers the second they land on your website and keep them reading your content.

Here are 8 of them:

1. Use tried & true headline formulas that fulfill a promise

Did you know that, on average, 8 out of 10 people read headline copy, while only 2 out of 10 read the rest of your content?

Headlines are the first chance you have to capture the reader’s attention, so make sure you create ones that fulfill a promise that makes visitors want to linger.

Use the formulas below to hook your readers and boost clicks:

Step formula

  • 5 Ingenious Ways to Get Clients to Refer You
  • 10 Undisputed Strategies to Become Famous in Your Niche
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Get Results In X Amount of Time Formula

  • Master the Italian Language in Two Weeks
  • Increase Website Traffic in 60 Days or Less
  • Supercharge Your Conversion Rate with a Simple 2-Hour Procedure

How to Formula

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An effective headline, like the ones above, should be based on the following 5 components:

  1. Be Very Specific
  2. Elicit Emotion
  3. Create Urgency
  4. Be helpful
  5. Make a Promise

2. Create an irresistible intro that hooks readers

Once you get people to read your post’s headline, you’ve got to get them to stick around, and a compelling intro is the only way to keep readers engaged.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to use the “APP” technique created by Brian Dean from Backlinko:

  • Agree with your readers on a common problem that your topic is about. The start of this post, for example, agrees that it’s hard tokeep readers engaged when reading your content.” This demonstrates that you understand the reader’s frustration and pain.
  • Highlight the solution that you’re promising the reader. You essentially want to tell them that you can help them solve their problem.
  • Show your readers that you can solve their problem using screenshots of results you have achieved or by explaining how you’ll help them overcome their obstacle.

This method is short and to the point, giving the reader a good reason to keep perusing your content.

3. Create active readers out of skimmers

According to Jeff Bullas‘ blog, “Most content on the web never gets read. Instead, readers skim through the content and then leave.” HubSpot  confirms this, saying that 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts.

To prevent this, use the 4 tips below:

1. Write short sentences and paragraphs to break up your content and make it easier to read.

2. Use images and illustrations to explain complicated concepts.

3. Break up longer content with section banners.

4. Use subheadings after every 200-300 words to increase your content readability.

4. Write sub-headings that build curiosity

Most people scroll through your content, glancing at the subheadings to determine if they want to read the entire article. That means each subheading must “sell” the content that follows so your reader will think, “Oh, I’d like to read that.”

To create persuasive, curiosity-building subheads, view each one like a miniature headline (use any of the headline formulas mentioned above for inspiration).

Things to avoid:

  • Don’t use a subheading just to give a section of your text a boring label. Instead of Bonding with Your New Puppy,”  use “5 Fast Ways to Make Your Puppy Accept You as His Pack Leader.”
  • Tease your readers a bit so they will want to keep reading.  Using something like, “Pre-Speech Exercises to Calm Jangled Nerves,” gives away too much. Instead, try something like, “The One Thing That Makes Every Speech Better.”
  • Make your headlines crystal clear for readers instead of confusing them with mysterious language or concepts.

5. Take advantage of a classic copywriting technique

Reffered to as “Bucket Brigades”, this copywriting method involves using short statements that keep readers hooked on discovering what’s coming up next.

For example, using the words “The truth is” before making a statement compells the reader to discover what the truth is, which keeps them reading your content.

Here are several examples of bucket brigades you can use to entice readers:

  • Keep reading…
  • Here’s the deal:
  • The best part?
  • You might think to yourself:
  • Check this out:

6. Incorporate data, statistics, and references

When used in your content, data, statistics and references increase your credibility and demonstrate that your content is well researched.

That fact is, people like proof, not just theory and opinion.

You can also create custom graphics for data you use to reference your points. This is especially effective for turning vague data into visually appealing and easy to digest content.

7. Write content people care about

Say you’re writing a post for bloggers in which you plan to teach them how to use guest blogging to get more traffic. Since all bloggers need more traffic, they’ll certainly care about reading your post, right? After all, don’t all bloggers need more traffic?

Actually, most bloggers need quality traffic, and guest blogging is a great way to do get it since you’d be putting yourself in front of a much more sophisticated audience, some of which would make good email subscribers. Technically, then, the post is really about teaching bloggers how to acquire quality traffic that converts.

Now that’s a topic readers will perceive as having more value, and by default, it’s a subject readers will care about.

8. Use interactive elements

The majority of readers passively scroll through web pages, leaving them without taking any action. But adding interactive elements to your content can help you hold the attention of your readers by making them active participants.

Examples of interactive elements that increase reader engagement include:

  • click to tweet quotes
  • quizzes or questions
  • videos
  • interactive infographics


If the average human attention span is roughly 8 seconds, or if your content fails to grab the attention of readers from the first few words, it’s “Hasta La Vista, baby,” and they’re probably NOT coming back.

As the article on the Jeff Bullas website points out, “The key to getting website visitors to read your content and subscribe to your email list is all about keeping them hooked and engaged from the very first sentence.”

Use the 8 tips disccussed above to help you boost the effectiveness of your content and entice website visitors to stick around longer and come back more often.

Find out how retailers like you are saving time and making money with the Rain POS system. POS, E-commerce, and Marketing all in one.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.