When you write a blog post, you want people to read it, right?
What happens when you spend hours writing your masterpiece and find that very few people have actually read it, shared it, or commented on it?
You’re probably lost for words, and you’re unsure of what to do next. I know I was.
I recently started another marketing blog at NeilPatel.com and found that barely anyone read my latest blog post on A/B testing ideas. The other posts I published received more comments and had a higher time on-page.
Instead of letting it be, I decided to modify the post a bit and run an A/B test. The results were great! I was able to increase my time on-page from 1 minute and 22 seconds to 4 minutes and 45 seconds.
Can you guess what I did to achieve the results? No, I didn’t spend hours re-writing the post. I just tweaked its introduction.
Here’s exactly what I did:
Hook your readers through conversation
Here’s the first paragraph of the original blog post…
When it comes to split testing, ideas might sound like one of the last things you need. But there comes a point when you start running out of meaningful things to test, and start micromanaging your split tests only to make meager gains, if any.
With that being said, here are 50 different testing ideas that you can implement today that can help you get real, actionable results. The 50 are broken down into 10 categories:
And here’s the variation…
When it comes to split testing, ideas might sound like one of the last things you need, right? But I bet there has been a time when you started to run out of meaningful tests to run, which is why you are seeing little to no gains.
To help you solve this problem, I’ve created 50 different testing ideas that you can implement today. These tests will get you real, actionable results. And to make it easy, I’ve broken the 50 tests down into 10 categories:
Can you see the difference? The original reads more like an essay – formal and dull. It probably reminds you of your high school days when the teacher would ramble on for an hour and you would fall asleep.
The variation, on the other hand, has a much more conversational tone. There is some banter going back and forth with you, the reader, and the post hooks you in with a question.
That’s why my visitors’ time on-page went from 1 minute and 22 seconds to:
Through Crazy Egg, I was able to test how many of you actually scrolled down to the end of the post. Here’s what the difference was:
Now that you can see conversations help increase readability, let’s dive into why they work.
Why conversations work
Oxytocin is also known as the “bonding or love hormone” because it causes you to feel empathy and trust and to connect with others on a more personal level.
When you have a conversation with your readers, they release more oxytocin, which makes them feel more open, trust you more, and feel a personal connection with you. This encourages them to read your content and even participate by commenting.
Just look at the blog post I am using as an example. The original version resulted in 0 comments. The variation produced 2 comments.
Now that you know a scientific reason behind the power of conversations, let’s see how you can create them.
7 ways you can create a conversation
If you want to replicate my results on the Neil Patel blog, consider following these 7 strategies:
- Use the words “you” and “I” – those two words may seem simple, but they are powerful. Without them, it’s hard to create the illusion of a conversation. Just think about it. I don’t know your name, so how can I create a conversation with you if I don’t use the words “you” and “I” while talking to you? It’s nearly impossible.
- Ask questions – one of the simplest ways to draw your readers in is to ask them a question within your introduction. You don’t have to do this within the first sentence of your blog post, but you should try to do it within your first paragraph.
- Keep your paragraphs short – don’t you hate it when you’re having a conversation with someone and they don’t let you get a word in? It’s like you’re not even having a conversation… By making your paragraphs 1 to 6 sentences long, you will create an illusion of a conversation. Just look at the introduction in this blog post – the paragraphs are really short.
- Let your personality shine – no one wants to be part of a dry conversation. By adding in some humor or emotions, you will keep the conversation entertaining. Just sprinkle a few of these elements throughout your post.
- Use transitions – you’ll probably cover multiple subtopics within your blog post, just like you would in a regular conversation. Make sure the transitions are smooth. Using headings isn’t enough. You need to use sentences to create transitions.
- Create a story – do you remember how your kindergarten and elementary school teachers used to engage with you? They used to tell you stories in order to get your attention and keep it. If you can mix in story telling within your introductory paragraph, you’ll get more people to read your blog post.
- A picture says a thousand words – images are a great way to help encourage a conversation, especially the image you use at the beginning of your post. I know when I’ve used funny pictures like this in the past, I got tons of emails from you and saw a higher time on-page.
Blogging is a conversation between you and your readers. If you can’t converse with them, you are just talking at them. And as you already know, people prefer conversations…
The next time you write a blog post, consider creating a conversation. Don’t do it just within your introduction, but continue it through your whole post, just like I have done with this one.