If you have an online business and a corresponding website, you’ve likely had to address user engagement at some point, and if you haven’t, it is time to start. While getting traffic to your site is crucial, if users don’t stick around once they arrive, they are unlikely to convert into customers or sales, so make them stay.
Here are four ways to maximize the time users spend on your site. Address these factors and you are likely to see an increase in user engagement and conversions!
1. Make your site welcoming and easy-to-use
With the number of distractions, not to mention websites, vying for users’ attention, it is important to make sure your site is welcoming and easy-to-use.
Many of us have arrived at a website and noticed it makes us feel calm and comfortable. The website is inviting in some way and makes us want to stick around and explore. Try to think of a website design that makes you feel this way and take note of the qualities that stand out on your next visit.
This ‘sticky’ quality to some websites is a big part of ease-of-use, but there are more tangible aspects of your website that contribute to a carefree user experience. Things like a speedy site load time, uncluttered and logical navigation, and reader-friendly formatting of your website copy that includes headings to break up important points in your text and bolded keywords to direct users attention will make users feel at home on your site and encourage them to spend time looking around at what you have to offer.
2. Give users clear calls to action
If you want people to stick around, tell them what to do. When a user visits your site, they need more than a quick load time and welcoming interface design. They need direction.
Use clear and prominent calls to action to tell users what to do next, whether that is to read more about your company, check out your blog, try your product, or fill out a form. Be sure your calls to action are strategically placed on your site in areas where the eye tends to gravitate. Use call to action buttons when it makes sense, and design them to grab attention without making them garish. Finally, avoid overwhelming your user with conflicting calls to action. It is okay to repeat a call to action on an individual web page and at times it makes sense to give your visitors an option, but if you give them too many, you’re taking a risk that they glaze over and move on.
3. Educate users with articles, case studies, eBooks, and white papers
Users want information. They want to be educated. If the primary goal of your site is to inform, educational content specific to your business is an obvious inclusion, but the same is useful if your goal is sales, and to get a sale you need a user to stick around.
Add value to your site by educating your users and you will not only increase the amount of time they spend on your site, you will also help build brand credibility and activate the law of reciprocity, a powerful marketing principle popularized in the milestone book, The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.
The law of reciprocity states when you do something for or give something to someone, they are naturally inclined to repay the favor, and marketers have been employing this principle for ages. Give your user something of worth in the form of content and they will take the time to divulge it. Once they are through, they are likely to be more inclined to become a customer, request more information, or at least come back for a second visit. Either way, you win.
4. Keep your content fresh
No matter how useful your content is, it also must be fresh if you want repeat visitors and long-term user engagement. While an impressive white paper or comprehensive how-to guide will gain traction on its own via word-of-mouth draw new visitors to your site, if you want people to keep returning over time, always offer them something new.
Start a company blog and post 2-3 times per week, host a forum where experts can share industry tips and advice, or pull in RSS feeds from authoritative sites and blogs to give users a comprehensive look at the pulse of your industry. As long as your content is dynamic, engaging, entertaining, and/or useful, users will take the time to consume it, spread the word, and return for more.
Hope these tips help you improve the performance of your website. Good luck!
Amanda Moshier is the staff writer and editor at Wpromote, Inc., the #1 search marketing firm in the US as ranked by Inc. 500. For more information on PPC Management, SEO Management, or how to grow your small business online, please visit www.wpromote.com/. You can also connect with us at twitter.com/wpromote.