How To Measure And Improve The User Experience Of Your Blog

improve the user experience of your blog

Welcome to the blogging world, where content is the king and user experience is the queen. As a blogger, you know how important it is to create valuable content that engages your audience.

But what about the overall user experience of your blog? Are you providing your readers with a seamless and enjoyable experience that keeps them coming back for more?

In this blog post, I’ll show you how to measure and improve the user experience of your blog. And towards the end, there’s an awesome tool that you can use to see how your visitors interact with your blog.

So let’s get started!

The Important Metrics You Need To Track

To measure your blog’s user experience, you need to track some important metrics.

Metrics are basically values that help you see how readers interact with your blog, figure out what needs improving, and make smart decisions to make your blog better overall.

You can also call them engagement metrics as they measure the level of engagement on your blog. Here are the most important engagement metrics you need to monitor:

1. Bounce rate

Let’s say a user landed on your website and your content failed to grab his attention to read further. What happens now?

The user simply leaves your blog. This is counted as a “bounce”.

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking any action such as clicking a link, signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing a product.

Apart from low-quality content, another reason for a higher bounce rate can be slow-loading pages.

A high bounce rate tells the search engines that you aren’t offering your readers anything worthwhile, hence you experience decreased rankings.

So bounce rate is something you need to focus on as huge traffic doesn’t mean anything if you can’t get your visitors to click on anything or take a specific action on your blog.

2. Average Session duration

If you have a high bounce rate, it directly affects another important metric: Average session duration.

Average session duration is the average length of sessions on a blog, from the moment a user lands on the blog to the moment they exit.

If you have a higher session duration, it simply means you produce insightful and engaging posts.

On the other hand, a lower average session duration may indicate that visitors are not finding what they are looking for on your site or that they are experiencing usability issues that are causing them to leave the site quickly.

How to measure bounce rate and average session duration

Most of the engagement metrics that I’ll be discussing can be easily measured and tracked through Google Analytics.

Don’t worry, Google Analytics isn’t as complicated as you think. There are simpler alternatives such as the MonsterInsights WordPress plugin but Google Analytics gives you complete information.

Check out this guide for setting up your Google Analytics.

After you’re set up with GA, the Home Page will show you the bounce rate and average session duration. Simple!

Bounce rate and Average session duration in Google Analytics

Remember that bounce rate and average session duration go hand-in-hand.

How to reduce your bounce rate and increase your average session duration

Improve website load speed
  • If your website takes more than 5 seconds to load, your visitor will bounce! Improve your website’s load speed with techniques like Image lazy load, compressed images, etc.
  • I use Cloudflare to enhance my website’s performance. Check it out! It’s free!
  • Here’s a detailed guide on improving your website speed.

Use exit-intent pop-ups

  • Just when your visitor is about to leave the page, give him an irresistible offer such as a free pin template, a free e-book, etc. This can greatly impact your average session duration and lower your bounce rate.

Embed videos

  • Embedding your own videos or other people’s videos onto your blog will exponentially increase the average session duration as these videos are being watched while the visitor is on your site.

Maintain relevancy

  • If you want to keep your readers on your blog, keep your content relevant to the topic. And provide them with what you promised in your blog post title. Do not try to fool your visitors.

3. Pages per session

Pageviews is a common metric that webmasters track. A bounced session, a low-duration session still counts as a pageview but it’s meaningless.

You may have a lot of pageviews but if a majority of them were bounced sessions, then it’s not worth it.

So what you should focus on instead is pages per session. It is the total number of pages your visitors visit per session.

If a visitor views 3 different pages during a single session, then it means he enjoyed exploring your blog and its content.

How to measure Pages Per Session

In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Overview. There you have it! The Pages Per Session.

Pages per session report in Google Analytics

How to increase the number of pages per session

To increase the number of pages that your visitors check out per session, use simple techniques to lure the visitors into viewing other pages on your website. Some of these techniques are:

Place internal links smartly

  • Internal links are not just there for search engine optimization. They can also increase your pages per session and pageviews.
  • For example: If you are telling your readers to install a particular WordPress plugin, then for those who don’t know how to do it, you can provide a link to your other blog post which entails exactly the same.
  • WPbeginner makes sure to add one link in almost all of their blog posts – a link to their WordPress plugin installation guide (see below)
Internal link on WPbeginner blog

Sidebar navigation links

  • You can direct your readers to your other pieces of content or pillar content through sidebar navigation links. These links are visible throughout the time the reader is on your page. They may decide to click them in between the read or after reading the current post.

Make downloadable content available

  • If you are offering an e-book or a free email course, then you can provide a link or CTA for the same in the sidebar or even in between the post wherever it makes sense.
  • This link will lead to another page where your offer’s description is available.

4. Sessions by device

Your blog may be accessed by different device categories such as desktops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.

Although the majority of internet surfers are on smartphones these days, you need to check the most used device type for your blog.

This way, you can optimize your website or blog and its content for the most used device type for your blog.

How to track sessions by device

Just go to the Home page of Google Analytics and scroll down a bit. You will find a pie chart showing Sessions by device.

Sessions by device report in Google Analytics

By observing the above data, you can determine which is the most used device type to access your blog.

If you have this data, you can optimize your website for the most used device type.

Although the image above tells a different story, it is estimated that 52.2% of the total internet traffic is generated through mobile phones.

So when Google comes to know that mobile phones are gaining huge popularity, BOOM, there comes a new core algorithm update on April 21, 2015.

Google mobile-friendly update

So you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. The best tool to check the mobile-friendliness of your website is Google’s very own Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Related: How to use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test for your website

If you are a WordPress user, then I suggest using a plugin called WPtouch Mobile. This plugin makes the process of making your website mobile-friendly seamless.

5. Returning visitors

A blog’s success is not only measured by the volume of traffic it gets but also by the number of visitors that returned to the blog after their first session.

These are the users that really love your content and keep coming back for more.

A person who visits your blog more than once is more likely to convert than someone who visits it for the first time.

How to measure Returning visitors

To measure returning visitors, just go to Audience > Overview, and a pie chart on the right is what you are looking for. It tells you the percentage of new and returning visitors to your website.

returning visitors report in Google Analytics

What I like to do is get the details of this data. Just go to Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning.

A table will show you the details of new and returning visitors such as bounce rate, avg. session duration, etc. (see below)

new vs returning visitors report in Google Analytics

In the above image, you can see that the bounce rate of returning visitors is 25% lower, and the average session duration is 3.5x longer as compared to those of New visitors.

This means that returning visitors to the above website really love the content and have a great user experience.

How to increase returning visitors to your website

To keep your website visitors coming back for more, you can apply these simple but effective techniques:

Create great content

  • This phrase can’t be used enough! Good quality content is what makes you stand out and what makes your visitors come back for more.
  • If the first time someone lands on your website and you offer them immense value, they will have no reason not to return.

Build an email list from day 1

  • I regret not starting an email list sooner for my blog. Your email list subscribers are your most loyal audience. No one signs up for emails that they don’t want to see in their inbox.
  • Through an email newsletter, you can generate repeat visits to your blog.
  • I suggest using MailerLite for building your email list building. Its free version is more than enough for beginners. Store up to 1000 contacts, create automation, and send unlimited emails, all for FREE!

Check out my email marketing for beginners series in just 3 blog posts here.

Get people to follow you on social media

  • Were you aware that social media accounts for 31.24% of website traffic? Utilizing the influence of social media could potentially boost your rate of returning visitors.
  • Stay connected with your website visitors and bring them back by having them follow you on social media.

Repurpose Existing Content into Micro Content Across Platforms

  • Promote your existing content as well as you can. Try repurposing existing content on other platforms to drive repeat visits.
  • In addition to the above strategy of getting people to follow you on social media, repurposing content on different platforms can generate repeat traffic exponentially.

Related: 10 Best Content Syndication/Repurposing Platforms in 2023

Publish new content regularly

  • All the above strategies are of no use if you aren’t publishing new content regularly.
  • Email newsletter subscribers and social media followers won’t have anything new to return to if you aren’t publishing new content regularly.

6. Conversion rate

If you’re running a blog and you’re serious about making some sweet cash, you can’t just settle for readership and comments alone.

You gotta get those visitors to do the things you want them to do, like clicking on your affiliate links, signing up for your newsletter, buying your stuff, and so on.

Sure, it’s cool to have people reading your posts and leaving comments like “Great job, dude!” or “This is the best piece on the topic!” But if you wanna make it rain, you need to convert those visitors into paying customers or get them to enter your funnels.

This is measured by your blog’s conversion rate. It is the percentage of people that perform a desired action on your blog. If you had 100 pageviews on your blog and you got 10 newsletter signups, then your conversion rate will be 10% (which is very high, by the way)

How to measure conversion rate?

Google Analytics can be really effective in measuring and tracking the conversions on your blog. But, you need to do some work first!

Don’t worry, it’s simple.

Just follow!

In Google Analytics, head to the Admin section and click Goals.

Setting up a goal in Google Analytics

Then, to create a goal, click on +NEW GOAL.

Creating a new goal in google analytics

In the Goal description section, name your goal for reference purposes (see the image below)

For this guide, let’s say our goal is to get newsletter subscriptions. So I’ll name the goal as ‘Newsletter subscription’.

Next, set a condition for a goal to be completed. Select a Type of goal from the following:

  • Destination: Enter the URL of the webpage that the user gets to after completing the goal.
  • Duration: Set the minimum time a user should spend on a particular page.
  • Pages/screens per session: Specify how many pages should a user view per session.
  • Event: Select an already created Google Analytics Event related to your goal.
Setting up a goal in Google Analytics

For this guide, let’s use the Destination goal type.

Enter the URL that the user gets to after subscribing to your newsletter (see below)

In the case of newsletter subscriptions, the user is typically led to a thank you page.

If you don’t know the URL of the thank you page on your site, you can go and sign up for your own newsletter on your site and then copy the URL of the thank you page.

Setting up a goal in Google Analytics

Want to track the money that you earn through the completion of the goal?

If your goal is to make a purchase on your site, let’s say an e-book, and you know that your book has a fixed value, say $10, then enter the monetary value as $10.

This way, with every goal completed, Google Analytics will also show you its monetary value.

Setting up value of a goal in Google Analytics

Note that this will only make sense if your products or services have a fixed price.

You can also specify what pages or screens the user may have visited before landing on the thank you page. In the case of newsletter subscriptions, these pages can be your contact page, newsletter page, and finally the thank you page.

In the case of product purchases, these pages can be review posts, product comparison posts, online stores, etc.

Just specify the name of each page and its URL.

Setting up a goal in Google Analytics

Before saving your goal, it is recommended to run a quick test to verify your goal.

This will show you how many times the goal is completed based on the data from the past 7 days.

verifying a goal in google analytics

Finally, click Save and Google Analytics will start monitoring your goal completions.

In order to monitor your goals and the conversion rate, head to Conversions > Goals > Overview

conversions report in Google Analytics
an example of a conversions report

How to increase the conversion rate?

Make your info actionable

  • Always put a call-to-action near your information. Suppose, you are talking about the importance of email newsletters, then make sure to embed a form for your reader to subscribe to your own newsletter.
  • Make sure to put your call-to-actions only where relevant. Putting a banner of your e-book about blogging within a Google Analytics tutorial won’t yield positive results.

Exit intent popups

  • Apart from increasing avg. session duration, an exit intent popup also increases your conversion rate. Just make sure that your offer is irresistible.

Optimize your landing pages

  • Your landing pages are where your visitors arrive after clicking on a specific ad or link. Make sure your landing pages are relevant to the ad or link, easy to navigate, and include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that prompts visitors to take action.

Provide social proof

  • Social proof can help build trust with your visitors and increase conversions. Use customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies to show how your products or services have helped others.

Implement A/B testing

  • A/B testing involves creating two versions of a webpage and testing them to see which one performs better.
  • Use A/B testing to experiment with different designs, layouts, copy, and CTAs to identify what works best for your audience.

These are just a handful of useful techniques to increase conversion rates. The topic requires a whole other dedicated blog post. Will work on one in the future, for sure!

7. Scroll depth

a man using a phone

I always wondered whether my blog readers read my articles down to the bottom or just bounced after reading the intro or the table of contents.

To be honest, in the initial days, they didn’t get past the first or second subheading. Yeah, I used to provide a bad user experience. Like, really bad!

Scroll depth, as the name suggests, measures how far below your visitors scroll a page on your blog.

It is an important engagement metric as in most cases, the call-to-action such as newsletter signups, and a free E-book lies at the bottom of blog posts. So if you don’t manage to get your readers down to the bottom, your conversion rate will suffer.

Not only conversion rate, but it also directly affects your session duration and bounce rate, which you clearly don’t want.

It would be impractical to write a tutorial about measuring scroll depth with Google Tags Manager as it is a bit tricky. So I recommend watching the video below by Benjamin of Loves Data.

How to improve the scroll depth of your blog?

Use a progress bar

  • A progress bar can show users how far they have scrolled down the page and how much content is left to read. This can help to keep users engaged and motivated to continue scrolling.

You can see an orange progress bar on the Ahrefs blog (see below).

Use visuals

  • Make your blog posts more engaging by adding images, videos, and other visual elements. Not only will this encourage users to keep scrolling, but it’ll also make your posts more interesting to read!
  • Visual content can also help to illustrate your points and make your content more memorable.

Implement infinite scroll

  • Infinite scroll is a technique where content is loaded automatically as the user scrolls down the page, without the need to click through to additional pages.

Bonus Tips For Improving The User Experience Of Your Blog

Here are some bonus tips for improving the user experience of your blog readers. These are simple yet highly effective techniques that can generate noticeable results.

1. Do not sh*tload your website with ads

What do you do when you open a website from the search results and as soon as it loads, you are bombarded with ads and banners to the extent that you can’t even read what you came looking for?

You simply CLOSE the website!

You don’t want your visitors to buzz off! So try to keep your website clean and legible and not like the one below…

a website filled with too many ads

I removed all affiliate banners from my sidebar and footer as they are a distraction for the readers and also contribute to slow page load times.

It is fine to keep an ad or two in the sidebar but do not stuff them.

2. Time your popups smartly

While popups are a smart way to boost conversion rates, their timing is crucial to the user experience of your website.

You don’t want your readers to see a popup about an e-book that you’re selling within the first 10 seconds of landing on your website.

Remember: as much as it’s important to convert your traffic, it’s much easier to do so if they’ve read your stuff.

You can also choose to show your popups when the user scrolls to a particular part of your page.

3. Format your content properly

Do you like huge walls of text when you visit a blog? Or a neatly presented information like the blog post you’re reading?

Of course, the latter!

Would you wanna read something that looks like this?

a block of text that is hard to read

NOOO!

You can properly format your content by:

  • Writing in short paragraphs
  • Structuring your content with relevant subheadings
  • Using bullet points, if needed

4. Use Media

It’s boring to read and read and read without seeing any visuals or graphics, isn’t it?

Make sure to use a lot of images in your blog posts to efficiently explain to your readers what you’re trying to say!

Just like having a good nature view from your window and not just big concrete blocks, a reader loves to see images and videos in a blog post and not just text, text, and text.

Use infographics to explain the entirety of your blog posts in one image. Infographics also lead to social shares and backlinks.

As told earlier, embedding videos in your blog posts can increase your average session duration exponentially.

5. Have a table of contents

A table of contents provides readers with an easy way to navigate through a long blog post. It allows them to quickly find the information they are looking for, without having to scroll through the entire post.

If people cannot immediately find what they are looking for, then they might buzz off!

You just need a table of contents that is neat and legible like the one below. No fancy stuff required!

a table of contents for a blog

A table of contents also has SEO benefits. It can help show up your content in the Google featured snippets.

I use the Easy Table Of Contents WordPress plugin for the same.

6. Have an optimum font size

For your content to be legible, make sure to use the most optimum font size.

You don’t want your font to be too small that’s hard to read and too large which looks messy and unprofessional.

The font size I use on my blog is 17px.

Make sure to stay within the range of 16px and 20px.

And of course, size your headings and subheadings distinctly.

7. Have a search functionality

This one can be especially useful for returning visitors. Suppose a person returns for the second time to your blog – not through social media or organic search, but directly.

Then, he is probably looking for something specific on your blog. You can add search functionality to your blog so that the visitor can search for what he wants and easily get the results.

If you don’t have this functionality, then you are losing a chance to get some conversions.

An awesome tool for recording your website visitors’ behavior

What if you could see a recording of what your website visitors are doing on your website? For so long, I have been wanting to do this and finally found a tool.

Smartlook is an awesome tool that lets you record the behavior of your website visitors.

Smartlook

You can watch exactly what your readers do:

  • How far down do they scroll?
  • Which links do they click on?
  • Do they skim your posts or fully read them?
  • How do they react to your popups?

Every time a visitor lands on your blog, Smartlook starts video recording the visitor’s activity. It’s like a CCTV camera for your blog.

With this kind of data, you can optimize your website’s user experience and take it to the next level.

Smartlook has a free plan that has the following features:

Smartlook free plan features

  • 3,000 monthly sessions (a session is a video recording)
  • One-month data retention
  • Integration with Slack and Google Analytics

The paid plans start from $55 per month.

Apart from recording website activity, you can also create events and track their performance.

Events in Smartlook

Suppose you want to track how many visitors clicked on a particular link, then you can create an event that is completed when someone clicks the desired link.

Smartlook will keep track of how many people clicked on your desired link.

You can also create funnels in Smartlook and track how your users behave throughout the funnel. You can play sessions or recordings and see how the users who dropped off before the conversion behave.

Funnels in Smartlook

Frequently Asked Questions About Blog User Experience

What are the 7 key factors of user experience?

The seven key factors or engagement metrics of user experience are:
1) Average session duration
2) Bounce rate
3) Returning visitors
4) Conversion rate
5) Scroll depth
6) Sessions by device
7) Pages per session

How do you assess user experience on a website?

In order to assess the user experience of a website, you need to measure and track engagement metrics like average session duration, bounce rate, scroll doeth, conversion rate, etc. All of these metrics are discussed in detail above.

On the basis of the tracked metrics, you need to tailor your website to optimize it for the best user experience.

If you want to watch exactly what your website visitors do on your site, use a tool like Smartlook.

What is average session duration?

Average session duration is a metric that measures the amount of time users spend on your website during a single session, on average.

It is calculated by dividing the total duration of all website sessions by the total number of sessions.

What is pages per session?

Pages per session is a metric that measures the average number of pages viewed by a user during a single session on your website. It is calculated by dividing the total number of pageviews by the total number of sessions.

For example, if your website had 100 sessions in a month with a total of 500 pageviews, the average number of pages per session would be 5 (500/100).

What is conversion rate?

Conversion rate is a metric that measures the percentage of users who take a desired action on your website.

This action could be completing a purchase, filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, or any other goal that you have set for your website.

What is scroll depth?

Scroll depth is a metric that measures how far down a user scrolls on a web page.

It is typically measured as a percentage of the total length of the page, with 100% indicating that the user has scrolled to the bottom of the page.

What is bounce rate?

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking any action such as clicking a link, signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing a product.

Apart from low-quality content, another reason for a higher bounce rate can be slow-loading pages.

A high bounce rate tells the search engines that you aren’t offering your readers anything worthwhile, hence you experience decreased rankings.

What is sessions by device?

Sessions by device is a metric that measures the number of website sessions initiated by users on different types of devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

If a large percentage of users are accessing the site on mobile devices, it may be important to ensure that the site is optimized for mobile and has a responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes.

What is returning visitors?

Returning visitors refer to people who have visited a website at least once before and are coming back for another visit.

In web analytics, returning visitors are often tracked separately from new visitors because they represent a valuable segment of a website’s audience.

How to improve user experience on your blog?

Here are some effective ways to improve user experience on your blog:
1) Improve website load speed
2) Use visuals like images and videos
3) maintain content relevancy
4) Place internal links smartly
5) Create great content
6) Publish new content regularly
7) Provide social proof
8) Use a progress bar
9) Write in short paragraphs
10) Structure your content with relevant subheadings
11) Use bullet points, if needed
12) Have a table of contents
13) Have a search functionality
14) Use a website activity recorder tool like Smartlook

Conclusion

So, that’s it! Measuring and improving the user experience of your blog is super important if you want to keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.

With tools like Google Analytics, you can get valuable insights into how people are interacting with your blog, and use that data to optimize your design, content, and overall user experience.

By putting your readers first and constantly refining your approach based on their feedback, you can create a blog that really resonates with them and helps you achieve your goals.

Also, you can use tools like Smartlook to record videos of what your website visitors do on your blog.

So go ahead and implement everything above – I can’t wait to see how your blog evolves and grows!

Finally, if you found this post helpful, consider sharing it on your social media and make my countless hours more meaningful.

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8 Comments

  1. What a good post Ali.

    I love the note about not loading your blog with a poop load of ads. Bad idea. I feel like most bloggers fear not making enough money or any money then overcompensate by adding a hefty number of blog-dragging, UX-busting, slow-loading advertisements as embeds. Not only does this send readers heading to the hills it also greatly diminishes your income because if folks aren’t around to click ads – and you’ll have scared them off sooner than later – you cannot generate ad revenue.

    One thing I’ve noticed on my blog: adding a search bar gives readers the option to query or search for exactly what they want as soon as they visit Blogging From Paradise, or, after reading a blog post. I think Google and Amazon made a few dollars based on this concept. 😉 This also saves you so much time answering the same questions via email, social media or comments. Readers can spend a split second querying what they want via your search bar, get the content, read it and of course this boosts time spent onsite which has all types of income potential. When potential shoppers stick around a store longer they are more likely to pull the trigger and make a buy.

    Keep up the inspired blogging work brother.

    1. Thank you so much Ryan for taking the time to share your thoughts. Much appreciated.

      Absolutely, ads are annoying irrespective of the fact that they earn you money. If you want to put them, do it wisely and not just throw them in face of your readers.

      And thanks for reminding me! Going to add a search functionality the first thing! I almost forgot.

      Thanks again, Ryan for sharing your views with fellow readers.

      Good day!

  2. Hi Ali, I haven’t used my sidebar space in years but that is something to consider to have people read more on the website. Thanks for these useful tips and reminders. I’m always looking for ways to speed my site up too 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa! Welcome back. Earlier, I used to have my sidebar filled with ads. Somehow I got rid of them for good. But your sidebar can be a great space to promote your other related content pieces. Gonna try it out soon!

      Thanks for stopping by! Good day!

    1. Hey Lanae. Thanks for stopping by. Im glad I could be of help 😊

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