August 8, 2020
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User Experience

How to Increase User Engagement on Your Website

Jack V.
User Experience

How to Increase User Engagement on Your Website

It’s a familiar sinking feeling for many website owners - logging into your reports and analytics platform just to be met with disappointment. Users are bouncing and not spending much time on your website that you have worked so hard on. There are tons of abandoned browsing sessions and you might as well have skipped working on the checkout process.


Well, hopefully that was a little exaggerated, but you get the point. It is not always easy to master the art of keeping your website visitors around for a while, but there are certainly things you can do to make it easier!


With that, let’s jump right into the best tips on how to increase user engagement on your website.


Treat your site like a sales funnel


Although you might not view it in that way, websites often take the shape of traditional sales funnels. 


What are the basic components of a typical sales funnel?


  • Enticing landing page. The user is met with some new information that gets them excited about the product. There is usually a call-to-action that takes them to the next stage of the funnel.


  • Sales page. This is where most of the work goes into a sales funnel. Usually, you would find all you need to know about the product or service being sold, and the user would be drawn in by all sorts of fantastic benefits.


  • Checkout. Not too much to say here. The customer enters the checkout if they like what they saw on the sales page.


Let’s say that you are running a website that is selling an online course, for example. Your homepage should not give away every single detail. Your task here is to write exciting copy and provide images that gently draw the user deeper into your website.


Essentially, the homepage is about making a strong first impression and making sure your users don’t bounce. This is a key step when it comes to increasing user engagement.


Imagine a slow reveal and why those make for particularly enthralling viewing. Think along the lines of gameshows or movies which often make the most of waiting until the end to reveal all the juicy details.


Your product or service pages should make the most of this concept. They should be a slow reveal as to why your product or service is worthy of attention. Drip feed users with exciting details. If you lay it all out on the homepage, you might see a higher bounce rate as users will already have everything they came for.


Lastly, your call-to-actions and checkout area should closely mirror the actions you wish users to take on your site. As we discussed in our article ‘Top 10 Things To Consider For Your New Website’, you should already have a clear purpose in mind for your website.


What do you want your website’s visitors to do on the site? Make every page draw them closer to this goal, and you will likely see increased user engagement. 

Use analytics to your advantage


To efficiently improve your engagement rate, you actually need to know how users are currently interacting with your site. Connecting your site to tools like Google Analytics or SEMrush will allow you insights into the latest customer behaviour on your website.

Fig. 1: Example of bounce rate statistics. (Courtesy: MonsterInsights)


All of these statistics are great, but how can you actually make use of them?


  • Find features with maximum interaction. Take a look at individual page statistics or heat maps to discover which areas of your site see the most clicks and views from users. Spend time enhancing these features.


  • Eliminate unloved features. Once you’re done finding out what is performing efficiently, it will serve you just as well to pick out features that your users are not really paying much attention to. As much as it might be painful to admit it after hours of working on a feature, it will be better in the long run to scrap it.


In addition to the above tips, you can set up intelligent, automated email sequences that trigger when different parts of your site are clicked. For example, if a user were to click on a section about nutrition, they would then become part of an email list that receives a bunch of emails on that subject.


This way, you can keep them coming back to your site for repeat engagement!


Master your content


Your site’s content is key to keeping users fully engaged. By ‘content’, we typically mean the written word. Blog posts are a great example of keyword-rich content that can drive longer session times on your website.


Without wanting to get too ‘meta’, let’s explore what makes content engaging. 


  • Bullet points and paragraphs. The first impression users get when viewing your content is how it looks to the eye. Walls of text are not user-friendly, so bullet points and paragraphs to spread out your text are your best friends.


  • Display natural internal links. As well as scattering some internal links throughout your piece, you can also suggest related content that users might enjoy. This will serve to keep them around a little longer!


  • File your content sensibly. Label your blog articles with sensible titles, and sort them into natural categories. Clear organisation helps your readers flow from one article to the next. 

Fig. 2: Well-designed article complete with tags and categories. (Courtesy: SmashingMagazine)

Keep your site speed strong

There’s not much more frustrating than waiting on a slow website to load. It is one of the main causes of a high bounce rate. Some of the latest research suggests that a website should take no longer than 3 seconds to load. If it does, then it can trigger up to 53% users to bounce straight away.

Fig 3. Bounce rates and site speed according to thinkwithgoogle.com

So, with this in mind, what can you do to improve your site’s running speed? 


  • Avoid ‘bad requests’. Firstly, you need to optimise your URLs and website’s coding in order to reduce the number of errors. If there are malformed requests to the server from your website, this is going to lead to error code ‘400’ more often than not. A malformed request could include typos in the URL or an attempt to process a file that is too large.


  • Minimise HTTP requests. Similarly to the point above, make an effort to minimise the number of times your website has to make a request to an external server to display an image or other feature. For example, if you are displaying a high number of high-definition images, consider compressing them into an image sprite or map


  • Reduce the number of plugins you use. Whilst it might be tempting to fill your site with flashy plugins that boast great features, these are sometimes guilty of slowing your site down. They take up valuable storage space and increase processing times. To help with this, you could use a program that scans your plugins and lets you know which ones are used the least.


Simply give good reasons to stick around


Sometimes, increasing user engagement on your website is as simple as providing exciting reasons for users to dive in!


Handy ideas could be hosting giveaways, competitions or posting new content regularly. Make sure your users are aware that you will be uploading valuable content, and that is sometimes reason enough for them to return to your website.


Conduct qualitative research


A lot is made of quantitative research. This is also known as analytics, or aiming to improve user engagement through studying the cold, hard numbers. 


A quick disclaimer: we don’t advise against siding with analytics to boost your user engagement rate! We even talked about how to take advantage of this earlier on.


The point to be made here is that holding conversations with your users to find out their likes/dislikes when it comes to your site, can sometimes be invaluable. 


Consider talking to your users about these subjects:


  • What do you use the most on the site? Getting a firm grasp on which of your features are most frequently enjoyed can help you to capitalise on their success. Similarly, if one particular feature is rarely mentioned, you might want to consider shifting focus to something that creates stronger engagement.


  • What else would you like to see on the site? It is important to be open to customer suggestions and steer clear of a single-minded approach to designing your website. The more opinions you can get, the better. You never know - your customers might point you towards a feature that belongs on your site, but you had overlooked all this time!


  • Is there anything on the site that grinds your gears? Sometimes, you just need to face the music. If you can get potential customers to list their most common bugbears with the site, you will learn about some of the best ways to increase user engagement, tailored to your website specifically.


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