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Best ways to improve user engagement on your website
The primary ingredient in any successful website design is user engagement. But what does that mean, exactly?
In simplest terms, it means that your website visitors are taking the action you want them to take once they land on your site. It could be to read your content, watch a video, click a button, fill out a form, or any other desired action.
That’s essentially what user engagement is all about. However, it goes much deeper than that. To achieve success with your website, you should know how to optimize maximum engagement and utilize this crucial factor to generate quality leads and drive more revenue.
This article delves deeper into website engagement, why it is so vital in any marketing strategy, and the best ways to improve user engagement on your site.
Understanding website user engagement and why it’s so important
For a more formal definition, website engagement is the process of analyzing how well your site can keep the attention of its visitors and how well the content and design convinces them to take the desired next step based on your call to action (CTA).
You may have heard of social media engagement, where people interact with your posts by liking, commenting, and sharing. That’s pretty much the same premise with website engagement, except here, you want the interaction to occur on your website.
Types of website engagement
There are different types of user engagement when it comes to website visits. Which ones you prioritize will depend on the kind of website and the overall goal of your business. For instance, user engagement on an eCommerce site will likely differ from a blog page.
Here are some types of website engagement:
- Reading website content
When site visitors land on your homepage, read through the content, and begin clicking through to the other pages on the site, that’s user engagement. They’re actively engaging with your content and are learning more about your business in the process. The longer they stay on your website, the more they learn, which increases the chances of them purchasing from you.
- Viewing videos and images
Sometimes, text content might be too long to keep a user actively engaged, so websites use videos and relevant images instead. If your site visitors stay on a web page long enough to consume video content and then take action following the CTA, that’s user engagement.
- Comments and discussions
This form of user engagement occurs when visitors actively participate in quizzes, surveys, polls, and otherwise engage with interactive content on your website. These fun elements have proven to help prompt users to interact with various website elements and even spread the word about the website.
- Social shares
Most websites now feature social media icons so users can easily share content on their social media pages. Social share is a great aspect of user engagement because it means that the user agrees with the information presented and thinks it’s worth sharing with others.
- Clicking relevant links
CTAs and contact forms are essential parts of any website. When site visitors click on these links and enter their information on forms, they’re engaging with your website.
All these activities makeup website engagement and can significantly influence your branding.
Why is website engagement so crucial for businesses?
There was a time when websites were primarily concerned with disbursing relevant information about a company. And while this still rings true to this day, today’s primary focus is optimizing user experience and engagement.
Marketers spend so much time and effort on driving traffic to a website, but the simple fact is none of those activities count for anything if there’s no user engagement. It won’t matter if your website receives tons of visitors if they’re not taking any action at the end of the day.
Another thing to consider is that Google and other search engines have updated their algorithms to include user engagement as a ranking factor. The reason is simple — if more and more people engage with your website, it tells search engines that the site is a reliable resource for relevant information. On the other hand, if people are not engaging with your website, it tells these search engines that your site isn’t providing the right information that these people are looking for on the web.
Lastly, without user engagement, there will be no conversion. This is especially true with eCommerce websites. If people aren’t staying long enough to engage with its various elements, chances are they won’t stay long enough to make a purchase either.
Actionable strategies for boosting website engagement
Now that we’ve established why you need to improve your website’s user engagement, let’s look at some proven strategies and best practices that successful businesses have used to get there.
Before we dive in, you should know that some of these strategies require the services of a professional web designer or developer. If you don’t have the budget to hire a web design agency, you can check out our guide on where to find a freelance website developer.
With that out of the way, let’s get into our top 8 actionable strategies for improving website engagement:
1. Know the motivation of your target audience
You may have awesome websites packed with nifty features and functionalities, but if the people landing on it are not interested in what you’re selling, it’s all moot. That’s why the first step to optimizing user engagement is understanding your target audience and what motivates them to take action.
Taking the time to understand your target audience allows you to position your website in front of the right crowd. If your web pages provide the exact answers they came looking for, it won’t take too much effort to get them to engage with the site and even convert into paying customers.
Knowing the motivation of your target audience requires putting yourself in their shoes. What are you expecting to find on a website that would most likely push you to take action? This is not always easy because it’s tough to detach yourself from being emotionally invested in your business and website.
2. Utilize color psychology in the web design
Colors are powerful. They evoke emotion and a sense of identification. Color psychology is a proven tool for boosting website engagement or just about any other kind of engagement. There are varying schools of thought on how to use colors for website design. Some are simply common sense.
For instance, the red color is associated with many emotions, including excitement, danger, passion, energy, and action. In other words, the color red grabs attention on a page. That’s why many eCommerce sites use it for their "order now" and "check out" buttons on product pages.
Color usage impacts other forms of CTAs. See our website, for example. We favored a minimalist design so that the CTAs stand out on every page.
When choosing the colors for your web design, best practices dictate that you go for hues and tones that are consistent with your branding. The color palette you choose should also resonate with your target audience.
According to a study, color can impact certain preferences. For instance, 57% of males prefer the color blue, in contrast to only 35% of females. Therefore, if your website caters predominantly to one gender, you can simply choose a color palette that appeals to the majority.
The same study states that color preferences can also be influenced by age. It would appear that while blue is loved across all ages, younger people tend to favor the color green over older people. If your target audience is made up of mostly younger people, then that’s a good palette to incorporate into your web design.
3. Provide value to site visitors with engaging content
It’s the age of scrolling, and the average attention span is declining. This means you need to be able to grab your site visitor’s attention fast and keep them on your website. To do that, you need interesting and informative content.
If people land on your website, it’s likely because they did a Google search for some particular pieces of information and the search engine returned your website among the results list. It could also be because someone clicked a link on an external page that was linked back to your site (ads, social media, guest posts, etc.). In any case, they took that action because they believe your website has the best possible answers or solutions to their needs.
To provide value, your website content must be specifically tailored to address these needs. Immediately when they land on the site, they should be able to find answers and solutions. This prompts them to probe further and explore your website more thoroughly.
Best practices for creating engaging website content
Content is central to every aspect of digital marketing. You can’t have a website or a social media account without content. You can’t run paid ad campaigns without content. You can’t do email marketing without content. The point is, you need to put some thought into how you plan your content strategy. At the very least, abide by these best practices:
- Optimized content — Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) cannot do without the other. Make sure your website content is searchable and visible on the internet by employing SEO tactics such as keyword research, internal links, meta descriptions, and so on.
- Relevant and timely — No one wants to land on a web page and be scrolling through outdated, irrelevant content. Make sure to review your website content from time to time and update as needed.
- Mix it up — Where you can, add other types of content such as infographics and videos to your website. For example, if you’re trying to explain a complex idea, you could use explainer videos instead. This type of content is more interesting and engaging than text-based content.
- Highlight essential areas — Most online users don’t bother to read web content line by line. Instead, they skim through scanning for important info related to their search query or need. These highlighted areas can immediately capture the reader’s attention. This is good for improving the user experience.
- Clear and consistent calls to action — Don’t leave your site visitors wondering what to do next after consuming your content. Give them clear and consistent directions on the next steps.
- Stand out with a clearly legible font — Your font choice can impact engagement and help your website stand out. If you’re using a popular content management system (CMS) like WordPress, chances are you and a million others are using the same theme. Changing the font style, in addition to other customizations, is a great way to differentiate your website.
4. Crank up your website load speed
Nothing ruins user engagement faster than a slow-loading website. Today’s online users are an impatient lot. If the page load time exceeds a few seconds, they quickly hit the back button and are almost always gone for good.
A website with poor load time is not user-friendly. If your website has a high bounce rate, it’s likely because of the loading speed. Bounce rate refers to how quickly visitors leave your site once they land on it. Of course, there are several other reasons behind a high bounce rate, but page load time is a prevailing factor. Thankfully, there are many ways to speed up your website and landing pages. Read our complete guide on how to fix slow websites.
5. Simplify your website navigation
As much as possible, aim for simple, intuitive navigation and layout for your website. This allows your visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Large menus and cluttered layouts can confuse or even overwhelm your website visitors. Your navigation should be structured to capture the user journey through your website. Your homepage should introduce the website and explain clearly where visitors should go if they need more info. The idea is to make sure that your website visitors can find what they’re looking for in two or three clicks. To simplify things further, you could include a search box on the navigation menu.
6. Prioritize mobile-friendliness and responsiveness
The average online user is accessing the web on their mobile device. If your website is not optimized to display and function properly on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, you can expect user engagement to suffer. Other important metrics like website conversion and bounce rates will suffer, too, since it’s hard for people to access your site.
Most website builders and CMS platforms already have this feature, so your site is already mobile-friendly and responsive by default. But make sure to confirm anyway. If possible, check out your website on different kinds of mobile devices.
Pro tip: If you don’t have access to multiple mobile devices, load your website on your computer, then hit the F12 key. It should automatically resize the screen. At the top of the page, click on the Responsiveness dropdown, select the available devices and check how your site will display on them.
7. Give visitors the tools to engage with you
There are a number of web engagement tools available today. The most common ones are chatbots, live chats, quizzes, and interactive subscription pop-ups. These tools can help drum up user engagement on your website, reduce bounce rates, and even improve conversion rates.
One thing to note here, though, is that the tool must be user-friendly. It should also be optional and easy to close should the need arise. For example, many websites make the mistake of making their interactive subscription pop up forms so big that it covers the screen. This is quite manageable on a desktop or laptop, but on a mobile device screen, it’s downright annoying.
So while these tools add great functionality to your site, don’t overdo them.
8. Tweak your website based on analytics data
Google Analytics, Hotjar, and other web analytics tools provide important, real-time insights into user behavior on your website. This data is useful for making target changes on your site to improve user engagement. For instance, if your Google Analytics dashboard shows that a particular page is recording a higher bounce rate than other web pages, you know to investigate further and find the cause.
For eCommerce sites, analytics can help you identify gaps or areas in the buyer journey that need fixing. A good example is when these sites record a high number of abandoned carts. Analytics data has shown that one of the main reasons for this is that the buyer journey from the product pages to the actual checkout and shipping confirmation pages is way too long.
Website engagement metrics to track
Speaking of collating and analyzing data on user behavior, it’s important to define and properly track website engagement metrics. This helps you quickly identify areas where you can improve user engagement on your site. Here are some of the core areas to track:
- Page Views — This shows you how many people are currently viewing or have viewed your web pages over a given period.
- Session Duration — This shows you how much time people spend on your website over a particular browsing session.
- Top performing content — This shows you what content on your website drives the most interactions and engagement.
- New vs. Returning Visitors — This helps you know if your current marketing efforts attract new clients while still keeping returning clients informed and engaged.
- Bounce Rate — A high bounce rate is never good, especially since it tells search engines that your website is inaccessible or not providing relevant information on a particular subject. Aim to keep this percentage as low as possible.
- Traffic Source —This shows you where you’re acquiring your website traffic from. It’s useful because it allows you to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.
Learn more about how to use Google Analytics.
Improving website engagement must be an ongoing affair. As user behavior evolves, business owners and website admins must stay on top of user engagement and adapt accordingly.
If you’re looking to optimize your website engagement now or need help designing a new website for your business, B12 can do it for you. We are an all-in-one solution for websites, online scheduling, payments, SEO, blog posts, and more.
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