How do I improve engagement on my website?
An overview of website engagement
What is website engagement and why is it important?
Essentially engagement is when a site visitor engages with your website content either by reading it, scrolling through it, clicking on navigation links, sharing content, clicking on buttons, (which are often referred to as calls-to-action) or filling in forms. Increased user engagement results in higher conversion rates and increased sales for your business.
How do you know how engaging your website is?
It's possible to measure engagement using analytics and we are often asked how to both increase and shape engagement. Another good idea could be to give our site to a group of users (particularly ones who don't know your product!) and watch their reaction - don't ask them - just look at when they mentally clock-out. There are tools which help show your users current journey i.e. Hotjar, that can help you see how your visitors are engaging with your site. If you'd like one of our design team to give you their professional opinion, do not hesitate to get in touch.
How do I improve my site engagement?
There are five basic guidelines outlined below to follow to ensure basic engagement with your website to decrease your bounce rate (a site visitor leaving your site before engaging with anything). In addition to these basic guidelines, there are further things you can do to try to shape specific a specific journey you would like a customer to take which ultimately will lead to them either buying your product or getting in touch with you.
Five basic 'rules for website engagement'
1. Deliver great content
Essentially if your visitor isn't interested in your content, they won't stick around. Great content is best initially delivered through engaging images which trigger an emotion and engaging headlines which encourage further reading.
What can I do about this? Keep reading and find our tips for creating engaging content below.
2. Make sure the site speed is as fast as possible
Even a delay of a half a second reduces the time that visitors will engage with your site. Because it's such an important factor in site engagement, Google has included site speed as part of their ranking algorithm.
What can I do about this? Read our guide to site speed and, if you're an iPages customer, this is something we handle as part and parcel of your hosted service.
3. De-clutter your site design and break up your content.
This makes your site content possible to be absorbed by a visitor as quickly as possible with as little cognitive load as possible. Breaking up your content into easily absorbed chunks also improves engagement.
What can I do about this? This is one for your website designer however, when you're creating something do have this rule in your mind i.e. put subheadings and other interesting media within your content (blogs/pages etc).
4. Simplify your site navigation
This makes your content as easy to find as possible for a user. Any level of frustration at not being able to find something or it taking too long decreases site engagement.
What can I do about this? Measure the clicks to purchase and try and streamline/reduce this as far as possible. This could involve using a mega-drop menu, another heading on your horizontal navigation or including a sticky-nav. Again, it could be worth talking through with your website designer.
5. Include clear calls-to-action
Make a clear action you'd like your site visitor to do. This could be 'add comment' or 'read story' or 'buy now' or 'find out more'. Make it clear to a site visitor what action is available to them to do next.
What can I do about this? Name for every piece of content on your website the 'action' you'd like your user to take and make sure this is clear.
The nuts & bolts of website engagement
How do I deliver great content?
"Deliver great content" is a three word statement covering vast possibilities but essentially all content on a website is delivered through words and images which are placed on your website. The decisions of what, how and where to place them are design decisions and some of this work is done at the point of your site design which you can discuss with your web designer. However, there is always ongoing content creation and it is helpful for anyone to have engagement in mind when they are creating content for your website.
Images are one of the most important factors in your site engagement. For products, it's the single most important thing to affect the likelihood of making a sale even more than price. Images have been shown to increase engagement by up to 300%.
How do I choose engaging images?
For products, the image needs to be clear, sharp, consistent and professional. Consider the possibility of a zoom tool so a customer can see the image detail (the initial image must be large enough to show this detail). If you're selling clothes, show the clothes on a person.
For banners and all other site imagery, it’s essential to pick images that fit your brand’s voice, style, and mood which appeal to your target audience. There are so many styles out there, but even if some appeal to you, that doesn’t mean they’re going to fit. It's important to think of the site visitor and what will appeal to them first.
A site which has great engaging images which are on-brand throughout is Jane Abbott. The product images are well shot with balanced colour and on the list view, there is attention to detail so all the cut outs fit together with balanced sizes which sit on a similar invisible baseline. This results is a less cluttered layout which is visually easier to read so lessening the cognitive load and increasing the engagement factor.
Her banner images and list images all have a similar voice, tone and style. There is thought to who the Jane Abbott customer is in every image on the site. There is a good balance between use of people and the product.
The product images include the use of a zoom function to enable a potential customer to view the product in more detail.
For clothing, it's important to show the clothes on people even in the list view. Asos provides an outstanding customer experience and saw a 28% increase in sales in the first half of last year.
How do videos help with website engagement?
Videos are being used increasingly on websites and can really help to capture the story of a brand more completely than a static image can. We use this on our own website Khoosys.net and Dragons of Walton Street have been creating short films which they publish with related product content beneath.
How do you use the 'rules of engagement' to get your customer to do what you'd like?
This really is the key point of engagement. You want your customers to engage with your website to ultimately interact with your product, brand, service or story in a way that prompts them to take an action that you'd like. For eCommerce sites, this is engaging with your product to the extent that your visitors wants to buy your product and become a customer.
So, you can use all of the above to shape particular desired outcomes for your customer. This is often referred to as a 'customer journey' which is essentially a designed path which a site visitor will take through your website to an end action (often to get in contact or to buy a product).
There are often multiple possible customer journeys within the one website. For instance it is usual to offer a number of options to get in touch through online chat, contact forms and telephone numbers which are made to be all clearly visible. If this is the only desired outcome, it is usual to add in 'call-to-action' buttons within banners or sometimes dotted throughout a page all leading to the one contact form to get in touch or get a quote. Shaping engagement at this level is something usually done by your web designer. However, you are able to do some shaping yourself through adding calls-to-action within your news posts, breaking up content with subheadings in news posts or adding related content or videos to news posts. Equally, when you add in products, remember to add in related items.
How far can you go when creating a customer journey?
This process above should be continual and constantly updated. After all, your customers are constantly changing their patterns of behaviour and your site has to remain engaging and current. It's useful to constantly be aware of your website engagement through looking at your analytics. Periodically, it's very valuable to have a design review of your site. Should you like to have our support, do not hesitate to get in touch and it would be great to get your comments below.