The Edit Blog

5 reasons your onsite content isn’t engaging your audience

ARTICLE BY Danielle Barge
READ TIME: 4 mins
12th February 2020

engaging content

Are users leaving your articles, blogs, or landing pages almost as quickly as they’ve landed on them? For one reason or another, your content isn’t engaging your audience.

You’re not alone, plenty of brands publish content that users just aren’t into, and they often make the same mistakes. We’ll break down some of the reasons why users might not be interested in your content and what you can do to keep them intrigued.

  1. You need to get to the point

Your reader needs to be able to understand what your page is about within moments of landing on it. But many sites spend too long talking around a point before getting into the thrust of the subject.

The fact is, people’s attention spans are short. Research from Facebook found that desktop users spend 2.5 seconds on a piece of content on the social media giant’s site, while mobile users spend only 1.7 seconds.

So, think about how that translates to your site’s content. It only takes a couple of lines before you’ve lost your reader.

To change this, ensure the headline tells them exactly what they’re in for, and expand on this within the first sentence or two. Getting this right it crucial to capturing your reader’s attention and keeping them on the page.

  1. Your readers don’t care

Users need to know why your page should matter to them. Why they should take minutes out of their busy day to focus on your brand. It’s easy to talk about your new product, your company’s work without mentioning how it benefits the reader. But if they don’t know, they won’t stick around.

Before publishing any content, ask yourself questions like these:

  • If it’s a landing page about a product, what problem does it solve?
  • If you’re writing a blog about your new company hires, what are these people going to do to improve your customers’ experience?
  • If you’re writing a guide, how will the reader benefit from your advice?

Answering the ‘why’ early on, especially in the opening lines, the title, or even in the meta description, will encourage your readers to stay.

  1. It’s tricky to understand

Many experts are great at offering insight into their specialist subjects but fail to make it easy to understand for the average user. This makes it hard for readers to get any value from your content and means they’ll probably leave your site.

While you’re typing, consider how much your reader knows about the subject you’re talking about. For example, if you’re talking about your cloud software product, perhaps take a moment to explain what cloud software is and how it works.

On the other hand, avoid overexplaining too. If a user is made to read paragraphs and paragraphs of information they already know, they’ll check out.

To get the balance right, imagine reading your content to someone you know who might be interested in your brand. If your content can match their level of understanding, then publish it.

  1. Too many buzzwords

The words you choose can gain or lose a reader’s interest. Yet, many brands stuff their content with buzzwords, industry-specific terms, and phrases that basically mean nothing to many of their potential readers.

As we said above, you need to make it easy for readers to understand your content. And even if they can understand, unnecessary jargon and long words can sometimes make you seem pretentious, or worse, as though you don’t understand the subject matter yourself and are just repeating back what you’ve heard.

George Orwell put some simple advice for this in his six rules of writing: “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”

  1. It needs to look easier to follow

Your content needs to be quick to take in and easy to digest – how you present it will decide this. So, if users aren’t staying on a page that’s basically just made up of lengthy paragraphs, you now know why.

Speaking of lengthy paragraphs, bear in mind that your content is going to look a lot longer to mobile users. For this reason, try to keep your paragraphs to around 2-3 lines max when viewed on a desktop to make it look an average length on a smartphone.

On top of that, there are other ways you can break down your content into digestible chunks:

  • Use bullet points to give users a quick rundown of points – much like we’re doing here.
  • Split up sections of content with subheadings. This makes it easy for users to find the points they care about most.
  • Use pull-out quotes to highlight important points and break up your text.
  • Text boxes are an excellent place to put extra information, such as expert commentary and quick explainers.
  • Break up your content with images, if you’ve got them, where appropriate or necessary.

Following these tips should give you altogether more engaging content. Yet, knowing what to do is one thing. Doing it is another. It takes practice to get the balance. Our experts can help with just that, so get in touch if you’re looking to improve your onsite content.