It can be worrying when you put lots of time and effort getting visitors to your website only to find that they don’t hang around for very long. Poor ‘time on site’ figures can have a big impact on the success of your venture as it means people are leaving rather than buying. If this is happening to your website, you’ll need to do more to keep visitors engaged. Here, we’ll give six proven tips to improve audience engagement.
1. Know your audience
The starting point for any exercise in increasing engagement is understanding who you are engaging with. The better you know your audience, the more you can do to relate to them and put things in place that they want to engage with.
Start by analysing your visitors. Why are they coming to your website? What are they looking for? What kind of people are they? You can start finding your answers by looking at the search queries they use, the pages they visit, the amount of time they spend on those pages. You can then look at demographic data to determine other factors which can make a difference to how you make your website engaging – such as their ages, gender and socio-economic status. Beyond this, you can interact directly with your audience by asking them to complete questionnaires that relate specifically to their needs.
2. Focus on quality
Google rewards high-quality content with higher rankings which can be fantastic for boosting traffic. However, it only does so for one reason – because quality is what users are looking for. No matter what kind of website you run, at the end of the day, every webmaster is a publisher of content. If that content is mediocre, people are going to leave. If you want them to stick around, it has to be good – and that goes for every type of content you publish, whether it’s a product description, blog post, infographic, image or a video. Hand in hand with this is the quality of the blank canvas – the website itself.
How do you create high-quality content? The answer is to create something that is perceived as valuable by the audience you serve. You need to provide your users with the information, advice and solutions that they are looking for and present these in a format which best suits them. By doing this, users will see you as a quality site.
3. Be consistent
An essential ingredient of a high-quality website is consistency. Ever had a favourite takeaway that you stopped using because they once sent you a poor meal? People have the same attitude towards websites. If they go from page to page and then find one which drops in quality, this will probably be their exit page. This doesn’t just apply to the content; it is also important for the layout and design of each of the pages.
Make sure your web pages have a consistent design in terms of colour, use of fonts and font sizes and the types of images you display. With content, look to ensure the standard of writing is high on every page and that you use the same voice and tone when communicating.
4. Encourage engagement
A website doesn’t need to be restricted to one-way communication. Where users are given opportunities to interact with the content, they are much more likely to stay on the site and come back in the future.
Today, there are a plethora of ways this can be done. If you have an eCommerce site, for example, one of the best solutions is to offer live chat. This lets potential customers ask questions about products, delivery and aftersales that can be crucial in securing a sale. Additionally, enabling them to leave ratings and reviews not only allows them to engage with the site, it also provides highly useful information that other users find engaging and helpful too.
For sites with blogs, enabling comments can be a great way to establish relationships with your visitors, as does providing them with the means to like and share your content on social media.
5. Make your site user-friendly
If your site is user-friendly, there is much more chance that visitors will hang around. User-friendliness covers a wide range of points and there are a lot of things you can do to improve the site for your users.
Today’s essential user-friendly features include being mobile-friendly, having easy to use navigation and providing content that is easy to read both in how it is presented and how it is written. For eCommerce companies, it is also important that you make the process of buying easy, with as few steps as possible.
6. Fast loading speeds
Improved technology means we have increasing expectations about how quickly websites load on our devices. It doesn’t matter if someone is using high-speed broadband or 3G on an old phone, the expectation will be the same. If your site loads slowly, the response will be the same too – the user won’t hang around.
There are numerous techniques you can use to speed up your website, these include caching, compression and the use of Content Delivery Networks. Equally important is the quality of hosting you use, as this can have a dramatic impact on your site’s performance.
There is a clear link between user engagement and sales success. Websites that are user-friendly, provide valuable content for their target audience and which give visitors the opportunity to interact are more able to keep those visitors engaged. Such engagement establishes trust in the company and increases the chances of your calls to action being followed.
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