There was a time when writing a few good blog posts a month was enough to engage readers and keep them coming back. Today, however, there is much more at stake. User experience, or UX, plays a critical role in delivering quality blog content.
While it has its roots in design, UX - in this aspect - refers to how readers interact with or experience your content.
Are they able to understand the message you’re conveying?
Can they find the information they’re looking for?
Is the content formatted in a way that captures - and holds - their attention?
When factoring in UX, quality content goes beyond the words on the page. It involves a number of considerations that can influence whether a reader bounces (leaves your website after viewing a single blog post) or stays to learn more about your business and what it offers - ultimately leading to a conversion. It’s not enough to have good content, you must also create an enjoyable experience for those reading it.
Below we’ve shared a few factors that impact user experience and contribute to content quality. This list isn’t exhaustive, but by the end of the post, you’ll discover how to present content in a way that keeps people happy and engaged while reading your blog.
Did you know that the average adult in the United States reads at the 9th-grade level? That means that using complex words and sentence structures can confuse many of your readers. The outcome: a poor user experience. To create readable content that can be easily consumed and understood, here are a few rules of thumb:
- Use short words and paragraphs
- Write in the active voice
- Avoid including too many adverbs
- Stick to natural language
You can also take it a step further and use tools like Hemingway App, Readable.io and Yoast to test the readability of your content. (In case you’re wondering, this post has a grade 7 readability score!) And bonus: readable content not only creates a good user experience, but it can also improve your SEO.
2. Ease of Navigation
Here’s a daunting fact: we have an extremely short attention span. Eight seconds to be exact. Not surprising, 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts, which means that only about half of them are reading your blog content from start to finish. Fortunately, there’s a way to continue delivering value while catering to an increasingly distracted audience: make your content scannable.
Scannable content makes it easy for readers to find the information they need to solve a problem or make a decision. One way to achieve this is by focusing on the structure of the content.
Are you using subheadings to divide the content in specific sections?
Can you break long, run-on sentences into bulleted or numbered lists?
Are calls-to-action strategically placed throughout the blog content?
Other ways to help readers navigate your content include:
- Bold important words or phrases
- Break up text with visual elements
- Leave white space between paragraphs
- Link to other blog posts to provide more information
The fact is not everyone will read every single word on the page. But creating scannable content can help you deliver good UX and provide value in a short amount of time.
Quality content is easy to consume whether you’re accessing it on a desktop, laptop or smartphone. While this factor typically involves the design and backend of your blog, it’s crucial to delivering quality content to your audience. Roughly 52% of all website traffic comes through mobile devices. So, your blog needs to be mobile friendly and provide visitors with an exceptional reading experience on both large and small screens.
Another element that impacts accessibility is page speed. Slow loading pages not only affect the user experience, but can thwart your traffic and conversion goals. In fact, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. And according to conversion platform Unbounce, a 100-millisecond delay in load time can cause your conversion rates to drop by 7%. Test your page speed using PageSpeed Insights and aim for a score between 90 and 100 (that means your site is fast).
A mobile-responsive design and optimal page speed is critical for improved accessibility. Overlooking this factor can hinder your blog performance.
As we mentioned earlier, humans have a hard time concentrating for more than 8 seconds. So you need to create content that grabs readers’ attention and inspires them to take action. In addition to enhancing the user experience, interactive content generates 2x more conversions than passive content. It also increases engagement and builds community, which can create more loyal readers.
There are many ways to make your blog content more interactive. To start, facilitate two-way communication by allowing commenting and social sharing. This allows readers to provide feedback and “endorse” your content on social media. You can take it a step further by incorporating engaging elements, such as:
- Interactive infographics
- Interactive videos
- Polls and surveys
Transforming static, “boring” content into interactive content is easier than you think. There are a range of content creation tools - from free to paid - that can help you add interactive elements to your blog.
As we know, quality content is the driving force behind inbound marketing success. But without a good user experience, you may struggle keeping readers on your blog and effectively driving customer action. Consider these factors when auditing your blog strategy and determine what areas you can improve to achieve good UX.