So you’ve added a blog to your practice website…to provide answers to questions that your future patients are online searching for. You’ve begun to build your subscriber email list…to continue building trusted relationships with your future patients. You’re doing everything possible to enhance engagement of your visitors with your website content. Or are you? Simply having a website is not enough to engage your future patients. Here are some steps to boost engagement and grow your practice using your online content.
And be sure to check out the Russ&Randy Podcast for a “Tips-in-10” chat on boosting engagement! (below)
Nine Ways to Boost Engagement with Your Audience
1. Include something for every learner-type: that is, to boost engagement of your largest audience, you can provide text, graphic images, audio, and video. That may not be practical for your practice blog, but at least you can include a few images to illustrate every article (a picture really is worth a thousand words) for those who are visual learners. Just be sure to use images that are relevant and help illustrate your topic.
2. Include plenty of internal links: I’ll bet that most of your articles are related to other articles already on your blog. Be sure to provide links to those other, related articles. That way new readers can click over to see related content on your site. Keeping visitors on your website longer will help boost engagement with your content. And those links are part of Google’s ranking algorithm.
3. Be sure to include an opt-in on every page: collect those email addresses! Make it easy for visitors who want more from you. Provide an easy-to-find opt-in for folks who want to learn more about your practice, who want to be kept updated on what you’re up to. People who opt-in to your email list want to more engagement with your content.
4. Include a subscription opt-in form at the end of every post. Consider using an opt-in “lead-magnet” – a free download that provides value for your visitors. Boosting engagement means adding value.
5. Consider displaying related content. There are plenty of free “related content” plugins for your WordPress blog that will automatically place snippets for more of related articles at the end of each blog post. Most of these plugins allow you to display either the post thumbnail image or a simple text link. These related-content plugins function just like including internal links (#2 above) to help boost engagement.
6. Make ALL of your content “skim-able.” The majority of digital content is now consumed on mobile devices. And nobody wants to wade through lengthy paragraphs to get the gist of your article while squinting at a small screen.Use headers and sub-headers to break it up, and to communicate key concepts. Break up paragraphs into a maximum of three or four sentences only. Use bulleted lists. Be certain that your site is ‘mobile responsive,’ and that it looks great on mobile devices!
7. Reduce Page Load Speed! With attention spans less than the average goldfish, we ‘modern’ humans simply won’t wait around for your website to load. Anything more than three seconds and people will click away, never to return.Avoid lost traffic by getting some tech help to make your site super-fast. Page load speed is also a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.
How can you tell the speed of your site? Check out this free (and safe) tool: https://tools.pingdom.com/
How can you speed up your site?
First, build it using a professional WordPress theme. We use only Genesis (by StudioPress), OptimizePress, and Thrive – all high-quality, professional WordPress themes, known for their speed and security.
Next, reduce the number of WordPress plugins used on your website to the bare minimum. You really don’t need everything including the kitchen sink.
Finally, consider adding your website to a “content delivery network (CDN)” – essentially a distributed cache that duplicates your website across a large number of servers to reduce page load speed to visitors regardless of their location. We use CloudFlare.
8. Simplify navigation. Make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Make it “frictionless.” Consider adding a search box in the side-column of your blog to help visitors find what they’re looking for. You can add a Google search box to your site for free, and there are plenty of free and paid WordPress search plugins.
9. Get Social: add social-share buttons so your visitors can share articles that they think are worthy. Be sure that your articles are outstanding quality, that visitors will be proud to share with their own social networks!And add social-follow buttons that link to any social media accounts that you have – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Only include those follow buttons to social media accounts that you keep active with: it can be a turn-off for your fans to message you on Twitter or Facebook if you never check that account!
Check out the Russ&Randy Podcast on iTunes – Healthcare’s Prescription for Web & Social – healthcare brand strategy and marketing … the only podcast on this topic by doctors for doctors (good for other practitioners, too!).