5 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips for Bloggers

Just because you run a blog and not an e-commerce store does not mean that you should not be concerned with conversion rates. A conversion is simply the action you want your visitor to take, like subscribing to RSS or an email list or even linking back to your blog.

#1 Decreasing bounce rates with headlines

In order for a visitor to convert into a regular reader, they have to stick around longer than 8 seconds. There are many ways to grab the user’s attention, but none as effective as writing a headline that will speak directly to their need.

There have been thousands of posts dedicated to writing the best headlines, and more than likely you have been honing this skill for quite a while.

If the headline blends in with the rest of the page, the visitor may make a rash judgment that the page is useless to them and quickly click the back button. The best way to make sure this does not happen is to make the headline one of the larger elements in the top left of the blog.

However, if you make the headline to large, a phenomenon referred to as “banner blindness” may occur where the user tunes out the large headline. Sticking between 26px and 34px is usually safe.

Using a different color than the text of the blog may also help improve bounce rates. Try to use colors that are not too harsh or in your face. Visitors do not like feeling as if you are yelling at them.

#2 Make content more readable with line height

Which is easier to read?

Example with regular line height:

According to the chief commanding the Indian Forces upon his visit to Washington 15 years later “I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.” The chief discussed in detail how his warrior’s rifles never missed, until they targeted Colonel George Washington. He felt as if he was fighting a power much greater than his own, one that could not be defeated.

Example with increased line height:

According to the chief commanding the Indian Forces upon his visit to Washington 15 years later “I am come to pay homeage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.” The chief discussed in detail how his warriors rifles never missed, until they targeted Colonel George Washington. He felt as if he was fighting a power much greater than his own, one that could not be defeated.

Setting line height around 140% or 150% can improve the readability of your content. It makes it easier to scan. Bold and italics text stands out more as well, helping to grab your reader’s attention.

#3 Use images halfway below the fold

The term “fold” is an old newspaper term referring to the spot where the reader had to unfold the newspaper to see the content. In terms of the web, it is where the user has to scroll to see the rest of the content.

Placing a picture below the headline that will not be fully viewable without scrolling will cause most visitors to engage with your page enough to scroll down and see the full picture. Pictures of people are extremely effective when using this technique.

Just be careful that your headline or content is not overshadowed by the picture. You may have to experiment to find the perfect balance between headlines and images.

#4 Keep interrupt marketing to a minimum

Much marketing is designed to “interrupt” the target and get them thinking about a product or service. T.V. commercials, newspaper ads, and magazine ads are all examples of interrupt marketing.

Banner ads are the internet’s version of interrupt marketing. However, they can cause anxiety and alienate visitors. It can make your blog feel like a marketing page and does not necessarily establish trust with the visitor.

Sometimes you have to use banner ads to monetize your blog and that is understandable, just try to keep it to a minimum. It is best to treat your blog visitors as guests. Slowly nudge them towards your conversion goals without getting in their face. If they are at your blog, chances are they are interested in the subject and do not need a shock to their color palette to peak their interest.

#5 If you want something…Just ask

Having an RSS button or an email list sign up form may cause some people to enroll. However, we want to target those who are not necessarily looking for sign up forms.

Asking the reader to do something after they have read your post, is a great way to get conversions. The user may want to express gratitude for you solving a problem they have. Or they may just want to tell you how bad your content is. Asking them to do something may be all the motivation the need to convert.

This concept of reciprocity can be a very powerful motivator. Asking a reader to do something in return for the information you provided tends to yield great results.

Asking for comments

Questions like “What do you think?” or “Please help me with this by commenting your suggestion” can motivate readers to comment.

Asking to sign up for RSS

Please sign up for my RSS feed if you found this post useful

Don’t forget to sign up for our RSS feed so you don’t miss anything

Asking for email addresses

Sign up for our newsletter, everyone else is

I hardly every (almost never) sign up for newsletters, but they got my email address (source):

The verbiage at the bottom says: “We’ll treat your email address with the utmost respect and won’t sell it, rent it or let it stay up past its bedtime watching horror movies.

Asking for social media hits

If you found this post helpful, please tweet, digg, stumble, or bookmark. Thanks

Good friends share good content (social media buttons)

If you have any pointers on conversion rate optimization for blogs or asking for conversions please share in the comments. Thanks.

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  • I really found this very helpful. Before reading this I’d only ever thought of conversion rates as percentages for affiliates! After reading this I’ll definitely reconsider the way I call my readers to action especially when asking for comments.

  • thanks for the post, i will use the ideas behind this.

  • Nice tips Gautam. I see that bouncing rate is competely depend upon our blog loading time, Recently I have changed my blogger template and now my new template load very fast than previous and so bouncing rate also decreasing now.
    .-= chandan´s last blog ..Freelance writing jobs online =-.

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  • Great article. It can be so overwhelming, yet these simple steps give direction that is easy to take action in.

    Love using photos and the idea of drawing someone down the page is awesome.
    .-= K9 Coach´s last blog ..Easter Dog Tips, Tricks & Hazards =-.

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  • All of these tips are great! I never thought about adjusting my line height and after seeing your example yours looks much better!

    I normally position my photos to the right starting with content, so I will try out putting my images halfway below the fold and see how it works out.
    .-= Tara @ Green Living´s last blog ..Energy Conscious Homeowners; DIY Spring Home Maintenance Tips =-.

  • Great few tips there and I have to admit I never heard of the image half below the fold idea before, must test that out, 😉

    It makes sense it will work and once finger is scrolling it’s no hassle for it to keep going. 😀

    Above all has to be the golden rule…test test test… 😉
    .-= rob sellen´s last blog ..Commentluv, more than links, comments, traffic, and why you should use it =-.

  • According to Google Anaytics my blog’s bounce rate is less than 4%, I always love using related post and anchor text to reduce the bounce rates
    .-= Latief´s last blog ..Free WordPress Themes From WPREX =-.

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  • Thanks for this, just one question: where do you increase the line height? On my boyfriend’s site http://www.inewsandapps.com he has had a few people asking telling him the font was two small but I just can’t find it in the css file at all but maybe changing the height would improve it.
    .-= Prisqua´s last blog ..Female Prayer vs. Male Prayer… =-.

  • @Prisqua,

    There are several places through the CSS file where you will see: line-height: 18px;

    Change some of those to 150% one at a time and see what they do for the site.

    Inside of the head section of the site you will see this:

    body {
    font-size: 12px;

    Change the font size to 12pt, or 16px. You will need to change this to meet your needs.

    You could also add this to the bottom of your CSS file as well:

    p, ol, ul {

    Hope that helps

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  • Kim

    You provided me with so many helpful bits. Keep it up. Thanks 😀

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  • This is some great advice for converting the casual reader to a loyal follower. I’ve been helping a couple of friends lately in getting started with blogging, and will definitely give them your post as required reading for their next “homework”

  • Making the content readable with line spacing is important, and using the correct font size is also very valuable. Many blogs use fonts that are too small, especially if someone is reading on a laptop or smartphone where it’s not convenient to enlarge the type.