Blogging is an important content marketing tool for companies of all shapes and sizes. One important key to achieving business blogging success is to identify ways to appeal to internet readers. Adding an estimated reading time to the top of your blog posts is an easy way to help make this happen.
Zippia published some interesting statistics in April 2022. For instance, 77% of internet users read blogs and, on average, read about 10 blogs a day. About 43% of readers skim content, and the median time they spend reading is a mere 37 seconds.
If these statistics are accurate, you need to use every tool in your toolbox to motivate your readers to engage with your content longer. Publishing content is not just about writing words, it also involves strategy. Adding an estimated reading time to each of your blog posts is one strategy that can have a profound and positive effect on your reader engagement levels.
Reasons to add estimated reading time
Most people are time-pressed and don’t want to start reading an article to find it’s going to take them 20 minutes that they don’t have. As a result, they’ll likely close out the link and completely forget about the content.
Letting readers know from the beginning what their estimated reading time is will go a long way toward helping them decide if they can read now or bookmark the page until later. Time is precious to most people, but if the content grabs their attention, they will make time to read it later.
How to estimate reading time
Reading time is relatively easy to calculate. A person reads, on average, 200-250 words per minute. If you calculate the total number of words in your article and divide it by either 200 or 250, you’ll find the number of minutes it takes to read it.
When calculating estimated reading time, it’s best to round up to the nearest minute. For example, if you have an article that takes 1.6 minutes to read, round it up to two minutes. To make calculations easier, use one of the many online tools available.
What happens when an estimated reading time is added to a blog post?
Adding the estimated reading time at the beginning of an article significantly improves the reader’s engagement with your content. Further, adding an estimated reading time significantly impacts engagement metrics with engagement rates improving up to 40% when the estimated reading time was added; statistics back this claim up. Specifically:
- The bounce rate dropped.
- Time spent on site increased.
- The number of page views increased.
These metrics are the type of results you want to achieve. Sometimes all you need are little tweaks to help boost your analytics. Adding an estimated reading time is easy to do, and it pays big dividends.
What are the additional advantages of adding an estimated reading time?
There are additional benefits to adding the estimated reading time to your blog. Beyond improving your engagement metrics, adding this key piece of information for readers improves your SEO as well.
Impact on search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engines use algorithms to determine where content should rank for a given focus keyword or phrase. Some of the factors incorporated into those algorithms are:
- Bounce rate.
- Estimated reading time.
The goal of your content is to be ‘findable. If an individual arrives at your article from one of the search engines, visits your site, reads the article, and goes on to view other pages, the search engines will view your content as relevant and valuable to other searchers using the same search query. In short, it will become even more findable.
This positive feedback will tell the search algorithms to prioritize your content, moving it up on the SERPs (search engine results pages). The more searchers who have a positive experience with your content and website, the higher your article will appear in the SERPs.
If SEO is important to you, you’ll see reading time’s impact on your program. You’ll also more closely coordinate and integrate your SEO and content marketing programs for better overall effectiveness.
Impact on the sales funnel
The benefits of adding an estimated reading time to your blog post go beyond increased engagement and better ranking and have a positive impact on your sales funnel.
The more you’re able to draw your readers to the content on your website, the better educated they’ll become. Your audience will be more likely to read other pieces of content on your site, too. Whether the reader realizes it or not, their actions slowly move them from the awareness stage to the interest stage of your purchase funnel.
A higher ROI can provide you with the financial momentum you need to reinvest more aggressively in your content marketing program.
The bottom line is this: adding estimated reading time requires very little effort on your part. And displaying it can increase reader engagement, improve SEO, and sales metrics. In an indirect way, it can nudge your audience towards the ultimate goal – conversion.
Ready to boost your marketing efforts?
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Finalizing your assessment is your first step. Tempesta Media’s managed solution Bullseye Effect™, can then help you take your business to the next level. Peformica is the perfect solution to grow service businesses as you can eliminate expenses associated with hiring content, influencer, and social media marketing specialists/agencies.
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Want additional information?
If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our e-book, 100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing, and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.
Our e-book will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs.