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The 10 Characteristics of a Viral Blog Post: How to Spark Reader Engagement and Improve Conversion Rates

The 10 Characteristics of a Viral Blog Post: How to Spark Reader Engagement and Improve Conversion Rates

The 10 Characteristics of a Viral Blog Post: How to Spark Reader Engagement and Improve Conversion Rates

If you want to learn how to write a viral blog post that increases your conversion rate and generates profit, you need to keep these 2 things in mind as you develop an idea and bring it to life:

– Content

– Presentation

Before your brilliant content can generate increased conversation rates, it has to spark an appeal with the reader, which is what the presentation of your website often does (or should be doing).

First of all, what is a conversion rate?

Your conversion rate is essentially your website’s ability to make your reader act in a way you want them to. This action is triggered by many different prompts we refer to as a “call to action.” A call to action can encourage clicking on a link, signing up for a newsletter, creating an account, downloading software, or even making a purchase… and that’s just the beginning.

Now, let’s get back to the presentation of your posts. As we’ve said before, it only takes a viewer 0.05 seconds to judge a page visually. That means you have less than a second to impress your viewer; in many cases this depends on the framework and structure of your content.

Since you already know everything there is to know about your content, let’s focus on the visual presentation of your posts; more specifically, one type of layout that has been proven to perform exceptionally well on social media platforms.

Cue the List Post

increase conversion ratesHave you ever turned away from a blog post because the thick paragraphs of text were just too daunting? Let’s face it, most of the time when you’re researching something online, you want a post that gets right to it.

Possibly the most effective and methodical way to present your content is through a list post. List posts are a great way to improve your post’s readability and increase your conversion rates!

Let’s shed some light on the characteristics of successful list posts and why this creative, engaging presentation usually trumps the overwhelming, jam packed appearance of conventional blog posts.

1. An Irresistible Title

The title of your post creates the first connection with your reader, whether they see it on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media outlet. Your title should present the topic of your post in a unique and powerful way that makes your reader want to click on it, or continue reading.

Learning how to create attention grabbing titles is essential in growing your brand!

2. A Thought-Provoking Introduction

An introduction is an available tool to every writer, so if you choose to pass up on an introduction you’ll be less equipped! Even a couple sentences at the beginning of your list post gives you the opportunity to grab your reader’s attention and share the objective and voice of your list.

3. Stick to the Golden Numbers

how to write a viral blog postThey may not know it, but people love numbers. Now, the exact numbers that people like are more difficult to pinpoint, but we do have an idea of what’s proven to work so far.

The graph to the right illustrates the success of different posts with a varying number of list components.

After seeing this image you may be tempted to make every post from now on a list of 25, but resist the temptation!

Different numbers do well depending on your topic. “25 DIY Storage Ideas” doesn’t seem daunting at all, and there very well could be 25 amazing ideas for DIY storage, but “The Top 25 Remedies For Your Cold and Flu” seems like a stretch.

Most people would prefer a list of the top 5 or 10 flu remedies because the small number is manageable and promises credibility.

As an extra tip: ALWAYS number your list components! There’s nothing worse than a list that promises “The Top 20 Restaurants in Your City” and gives you an unorganized, directionless post. Numbers provide an insight on how much left there is to read, a ranking system (if you want there to be one), an easy way to refer to an individual component and most importantly, they deliver the promise that you made in the title.

4. No Tell-All Headings

We know you put a lot of work into the explanation of each list element, but the reality is a lot of people just want to skim your article and soak in the headings.

You want to include enough in the headline of each list component that your reader learns something, but not everything. This way, some people will be intrigued enough to read the remainder of your text, while the “skimmers” will still walk away feeling like they learned a condensed version of the subject.

5. Short, Sweet yet Informative Text

The key to list posts is the short, digestible feeling that they have, but if your text doesn’t have any substance then your reader will walk away feeling like they wasted their time. Perhaps one of the most important factors in the success of your website is how your viewers feel after they’ve visited.

You know how there’s a host at most restaurants you go to? Well, their job is to make sure you feel welcome and ensure you’re better off when you leave than when you came in. If your website doesn’t provide the same service, then it won’t last. Provide information people want to know; fascinating statistics, fun facts, witty comments and prove to them why that list component was included.

6. Use Relevant Visuals

Relevant images, info-graphics, pie charts or even memes can have a huge impact on your conversion rates. I’ll stop you right there though; assess the voice of your post and THEN choose visuals. You don’t want to stick humorous memes in “10 Reasons GMOs are Causing Cancer Worldwide.”

Use your discretion and embrace the power of a well placed graphic.

how to increase conversion rates

7. Make it Shareable

I suggest including an easily accessible share, tweet or like option at the beginning or end of your list. Whether your post is something people agree with, disagree with or think their friends will like, it shouldn’t be a hassle to share.

Do NOT include these social media buttons more than once or twice; this makes for a crowded and tacky looking post that could actually work against you in the long run. The most popular share buttons are generally Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

 8. Be Consistent In Your Structure and Voice

Consistency in a post can be the difference between a viral list post and a post on the 16th page of Google. If you make a headline bold, make them all bold… the same goes for italics, indenting, font and spacing.

Your voice also has to remain consistent throughout your entire post, so don’t switch around the tone or undercurrent of your text; this will make people doubt the authenticity of your opinion and the legitimacy of your information.

9. Engage With Your Readers

One of the best ways to keep your post readable is through asking questions! Even rhetorical questions will engage the reader, especially if the question is asking them to relate to a common problem that the information you’re providing will fix!

Engaging also includes small elements such as the use of words like, “I”, “you” “us” or “we.” These words establish a relationship between the writer and the reader. “You” makes the reader feel like they’re being addressed personally, while “we” makes the reader feel like they are part of a community and are “not alone.”

10. Mobile Friendly

how to write a viral blog postKeep in mind that over 60% of social media traffic comes from mobile devices and this number continues to rise, while desktop traffic has plateaued as you can see in the graph to the right. Most of the people reading your posts are on the bus, sitting in traffic, in a waiting room, or walking to work. They need to be able to consume your posts quickly and easily.

The time slot that your readers have is short and often full of interruptions and distractions. You need to meet these conditions with a short and sweet, skim-friendly and entertaining list. Your reader should be able to pick up where they left off easily and feel as though they’ve been productive in reading your post.

increase conversion ratesIn North America, people spend an average of 37 minutes per day on social media platforms. That means whatever you produce has on average, 37 minutes to find its way to each individual social media user. If one person finds your post informative or entertaining they may share it with their friends, which increases your chances of being shared again, liked or simply viewed by more people… and so the cycle begins.

When you adhere to the above 10 list post characteristics, the appeal of your post intensifies for both people and search engine algorithms. This puts your website in a position where views can turn into likes, which can then turn into shares, until eventually you’re embedded in the free exposure that is social media word of mouth.

As I said before, it’s all about content and presentation. We focus on creating unmatched content and enticing presentations so that your website can establish itself online and become a profitable brand.

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