August 21, 2014

Luring Social Media Visitors to Other Pages

One of the biggest challenges for social media marketers is retaining visitors for more than just a few seconds. I think all of us that get a decent percentage of our visitors from sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, etc. have seen the difficulty with increasing pageviews from these visitors. While you may never be able to get the same number of pageviews from social media that you can get from other sources, that doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvement.

When your website or blog is drawing a significant number of visitors from social media, even a relatively small improvement in the average number of pageviews can make a sizeable difference over a week or a month’s time. With this improvement you’ll obviously see improved stats, but you may also experience better growth in subscribers, more links, more comments, more repeat traffic, and more attention for your older posts.

Tips for Increasing Pageviews from Social Media Visitors:

Use Internal Links in the Body of the Post

From my experience there is nothing quite as effective as using internal links within the content of the post itself. Yes, you can place links at other places on your blog (which we’ll look at later), but the links within the post will get the most attention.

I learned this lesson the first time my primary blog hit the front page of Digg. That post contained links to three of my other posts. For the next few days those 3 older posts were among the most-visited on my blog. You can see the graph below that shows the stats for the post Find the Perfect Colors for Your Website. This post was not the one that was on the Digg frontpage, but there was an internal link to this post, and obviously some visitors clicked on it.

Traffic stats

Now, whenever I have a post that I expect to do well with social media I look for opportunities to link to older posts (this is of course a good practice any time, but especially when you anticipate high traffic volumes). Consistently I’ve seen that this works pretty well.

Link to Related Posts

Many blogs use a plugin to include a short list of related posts at the end of each post. Sometimes these are effective and other times visitors will ignore them. Personally, I tend to ignore them not because I don’t think they’re valuable, but because I’ve become blind to them from seeing so many. For this reason, I feel that it’s preferable to use links within the content of the post whenever possible. Still, the related post lists can have some value for visitors (not to mention from an SEO standpoint).

I don’t use one of these plugins on my blogs, but sometimes I’ll manually create a list when I think there are other worthwhile posts that readers would also appreciate. I’ve found this to work pretty well for two reasons: 1) because you have better control over the posts selected, and 2) since readers don’t see them on every one of your posts they stand out a bit and you can make it obvious that they are being recommended by a human, not by a plugin.

Keep Navigation Simple

If visitors want to be able to visit your other pages or posts, make it as easy as possible. This is pretty simple, but it’s easy to lose focus on navigation over a period of time. What may have been effective navigation when your theme was designed may not be the best option today, now that you have much more content.

With blogs, visitors tend to look for standard navigational elements, so in my opinion it’s best to stay close to the standard. Many bloggers effectively promote their most popular content in their sidebar or even in their header. This can be very effective when marketing with social media since you will be reaching a large number of new readers. These new readers will be more likely to be converted into repeat visitors or subscribers if you can get your best work in front of them.

Be Consistent

When marketing with social media you may be tempted to stray off-topic in order to appeal to that specific audience. While this is a proven method that can bring plenty of visitors, increasing pageviews and building repeat traffic is much less likely with this approach.

To get the best results keep your content focused so that your visitors are likely to appreciate most or all of your posts rather than just one. Posting on consistent topics will allow you the best opportunity to use internal links, to build on older posts and to use a series that can naturally be linked to increase pageviews.

Submit to the Proper Category

When you are submitting your own posts to social media, be sure to use the most appropriate tags and categories. Many social media users only pay attention to specific categories that they are interested in, so this will affect the quality of visitors you receive, and in turn it can affect the number of pageviews.

Limit the Number of Outbound Links

The more outbound links your post has, the more opportunities you are giving your visitors to leave. When you’re talking about thousands of visitors this can be a significant amount of lost visitors.

This is one point that I tend not to practice myself. In general, if an outbound link will improve the value of the post for readers, I’ll include it. However, I think this is something that you should consider. And of course, if you are going to include a lot of outbound links, try to also use some internal links to keep some of those visitors to yourself.

What’s Your Experience?

What have you found to be helpful for increasing pageviews from social media visitors?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

9 comments

  1. This post is quite good I got to admit, but I think the title may be a bit off. Because all the points you’ve mentioned are characteristics of a well optimized page. Be it for search engines or for people. Nonetheless. good information here.

  2. From a purely web design / UI point of view, making links look like links!

    I see a lot of websites and blogs that have links in the same style as the body copy, which will kill internal linking dead in its tracks…

  3. Thanks for all the highlights, but what about how to get your content to be viewd at all (the first post)? How can one make social sites work for him in a way of catching its’ visitors attention? If someone has anything to tell, I would really appreciate it.

  4. Mr Cooker,
    Sorry if the title is misleading, that wasn’t my intention. Looking back at the content of the post I see your point. I tried to look at the common subject of increasing pageviews from the specific aspect of social media traffic. I’m glad you found something useful even though it wasn’t exactly what you were expecting.

    Wayne,
    Excellent point. That’s definitely annoying as a visitor.

    seosos,
    This particular post was only looking at that one aspect of social media marketing. Many of the other posts here cover subjects related to getting traffic from social media. If you’re looking for information try the SMM category.

  5. Really good tips, found them useful.

    To me, it has to be the display of recent posts that really counted. Statistically speaking, it actually raised the number of my page views by 50% when implemented recently.

    And I believe putting your most most popular posts in a place where it meets the eye is also a good strategy.

    Cheers!

  6. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for these tips. With regard to your point n outbound links I wanted to add a couple of points.
    First that some people want outbound links – in my case these usually go to another of my own websites and so the reader is looking at another blog or site of mine. However for those not wishing to lose a reader it is always a good idea to make the outbound links open in a new window or tab.In this way it is sometimes possible to keep the reader as your own blog/post is still open and can be accessed again very easily.
    Thanks again for the info

  7. Thanks for the post Steven!

    Of course, I figure I must add my 2 cents ;)

    One thing I noticed when a post of mine hit front page of StumbleUpon, is that most visitors clicked on the home page after reading the post.

    I realized quickly that having another post at the top of the home page is important; of course, this is assuming that the new story is useful too.

    The other thing I realized is that having a popular posts, or best posts widget in the sidebar often invites new visitors to explore.

  8. Mac,
    That’s a good point about linking to other blogs/sites that you own. That’s not a bad way to loose a visitor:)

    From time to time I do use links that open a new window/tab, but I try not to do that very often as it can sometimes annoy readers.

    Lid,
    Yes, I agree with your point about visitors going to the home page. If they see another useful post that’s a huge plus.

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