Increase User Engagement On Your Website
There are a lot of ways to measure the success of your website. Things like conversations, traffic flowing in, people using the contact form, etc. But the way to really get that success is by having a website with what your users need. For most businesses, they know they need a good website and hope to see sales and leads from it.
When it comes to user engagement, there are many ways to do it, and many of the decisions you might make are based on your specific audience type.
What is user engagement?
So what does user engagement mean in relation to your website? It means that visitors are staying on your website; they are interacting with your content, sharing, and browsing products, and you’ll see a higher level of conversation too.
If your website is carefully thought out and works well, people enjoy using it. And when that happens, you’ll start to see repeat customers. Hopefully these will then tick over in the loyal customer category.
Are there different types of engagement?
When it comes to engagement on your website, there are a few different types – and all are of value.
Videos & Images
Anything with a visual element, like a photography business or content creation, will need a high engagement rate on videos and images. You’ll see if this is the case as time spent viewing images will be high in your metrics. With videos, the time spent watching will start to increase too.
Many businesses make the mistake of using free images on their website that have been seen all over the place, instead, it pays to make your own; you can find my tips on what you need to get started here.
Social sharing is incredibly valuable. People who know and like your brand will share it with others, and often they will have similar interests. You can reach audiences that you might not otherwise have been able to get to this way. Social sharing is one of the most powerful forms of engagement as it moves your content from the website across the internet. And the best part is you don’t have to pay for it!
Information and blog content is incredibly powerful. When the content you are writing is packed with value. People have a reason to read it! And with the right copy, as they read, they will be more likely to buy or hire your products and services.
For a long time now, business blogs have been one of the most important things for getting organic traffic, and this is still the case.
Discussions and Comments
This is one of the most powerful forms of engagement because it means people are interested enough in what you are doing to respond to it. And in those comments, there may be a discussion that happens.
A combination of these, where it is applicable to your business, shows that your users are engaged in what you have created. But what can you do to increase that engagement?
How to increase your user engagement on your website
The key to getting an increase in website engagement is to understand what your users want and need and how you can present that to them. Here are some actionable tips and general advice to make sure that you get the engagement you want:
We’ve all been there before. You’re in a shop that you have never been to before and you can’t find what you’re looking for. There are no clear signs, and the signs that they do have up are confusing. In the end, it’s taking too long and you simply cannot find what you want. So you leave and buy nothing.
Many businesses make the same mistake with their website; the navigation isn’t clear. It’s hard to find the blog because it has a ‘cool name,’ you can’t find the products because it is in a separate menu, and in the end, the user will leave.
It’s estimated that a casual user will be looking to get the information in three clicks or less where possible unless they come directly to the post or product from a search. You’ll be able to tell if your site navigation isn’t ideal – because the bounce rate will be high.
Make it as easy as possible for people to find what they need by giving them an easy-to-see search bar. So if you can’t help them with clear navigation, at least they can help themselves.
You likely want to offer your visitors the latest deal and the newest product. And to get them there, you have pop-ups, CTAs, and every inch of space taken up with information. There is art to having a clear website, and there are some great examples online that you can check out. Apple is one of the best for clear space usage; you get limited (and just enough) information, an image, and a lot of space. It makes it easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye.
Tidal is another example of space well used and space better left alone. Take a look at your website and ask yourself – does it need everything that is on there? Start making purposeful space.
There’s a big difference in traffic and engagement with longer and shorter posts. While both have value, for example, short posts can give quick information and help people find or do something more efficiently, longer posts can offer a lot of value.
Studies into engagement show that posts that are between 1000 and 2,500 words are best for keeping people’s attention. And this, of course, makes complete sense; the longer something takes to read, the longer people will be on the page. However, it is important to note that there is a big difference between 1-2.5k words that are important and a lot of text that says nothing much.
The trick to making sure that long walls of text don’t put off your visitors, is to make sure that everything is broken up. You can break up the big text using a combination of headings and images and make sure that the space is also factored in as mentioned earlier.
What do you want people to do when they’re on your website? Read more? Check out your social media? Or do you want to get information from them? Think about the type of prompts that you want to present because each one will have a different reaction and give you different forms of engagement.
For example, if you’re looking to gather information while helping someone find what they’re looking for, create chatbots to help direct them. You can also use this as an insight tool.
If you want to direct people to a new product, make sure all of your CTAs are pointing them in that direction. You don’t have to use the ‘click here’ method; you can be more creative and use language that matches your brand and your audience.
Once they have finished browsing that post, what do you want them to do? Ideally, you want them to head to purchase, click through to more content, or share. Adding a Related Posts section at the bottom of each post can help people travel through your content easily.
Related content in the right places can keep people reading about your product, and that increases the time spent on the page as well as the chances of you making a sale.
Giving people more of what they are looking for will always put you in a higher engagement bracket. For those who don’t like how the related post blocks look at the bottom of a post, try making the most of linking your own content in the posts. Look for content that makes sense and perhaps needs a boost in terms of stats.
Perhaps leaving the most important until last here, but the speed of your website can have a big impact on the likelihood of getting good engagement. For new visitors to arrive on your website and have to wait 5-10 seconds for it to load will more than likely result in them leaving again.
Why? The internet and social media have taught us that nothing needs to take time, and anything that does – most people don’t have the patience for. So when a website takes too long to load, people will look elsewhere for the same product or information.
If you have built your website yourself, you can go through a Google checklist to speed it up and use Page insights. For those who have had a website built, get in touch and ask them how it could be sped up or what is slowing it down.
Engagement is value and profits, and making sure your customers have something to read and do is a must.
*This is a contributed post. As ever, all opinions are my own.