While the most important function of a website is to give a viewer information you want them to have, there are other considerations as well. When your website is just content with nothing to draw in a visitor, you may not be able to retain those visitors. In short, they won’t interact with your company via your website when there’s a better and more appealing option. Take steps to make the best website you can to keep people interested and draw them back again and again.
Why Does Website Engagement Matter?
Website engagement matters because when people visit, view, and return to your site regularly, they’re going to be more aware of and potentially committed to your brand. When people use your site as a resource rather than a competitor’s site, you’re leading them into leading your products and services. If your website is uninformative, difficult to use, or less appealing, you’re pushing people toward your competitors.
User engagement matters because it’s important to get people on your site, to keep them on your site, and to keep them coming back. If people are clicking from search results onto a site and then leaving immediately, the site isn’t a success. Success comes when people stay, click various links, and explore the content being offered. This is a sign that a site is engaging, attractive, and on the right path.
Keep It Simple
You might think that stacking a page with lots of images and text will be interesting — but the truth is it will probably be overwhelming. People can only focus on so many things at a time and part of great web design is giving all the information you need without making the content too much for the visitor. Think of sites with a lot of flashing images, bright colors, and discordant text. They’re hard to read and difficult to engage with. Clean, simple sites are much more appealing and usable.
One way to keep things simple is to break essential content down into different pages. You shouldn’t have your main page, your blog, and your FAQ be the same page. People look to those for different reasons. Consider what a person clicking a link on your page would expect to find — and then deliver it without autoplay videos, too many graphics, or distracting page elements.
Perform User Testing
User testing is absolutely essential and should be done after every major website overhaul. Websites are more engaging when they’re intuitive and a visitor can use them without running into any major issues. There’s no substitute for user testing because things that might be intuitive to you might not be for a person who hasn’t had a hand in designing a website. Things that slow down a person browsing can be frustrating and lead them to visit a different website — and not return to yours.
If you aren’t sure how to get started with user testing, there are plenty of services available that can assist you with different methods. Some of them can even help you find users to test for you if you don’t have people in mind yourself. User testing can show you where the weak spots of a site are, what people like, what they don’t, and where they get stuck when using the features of the site.
Give People Something To Do
To get people to want to return to your site, there needs to be something to do. Whether you’re offering something to look at, something to order, or using a free survey maker to create neat surveys that they can take when they visit, it’s essential to offer something. Otherwise, there won’t be a reason for people to return to your site after the first time they visit. Something as simple as an update to read, a video to watch, or a set of tweets to browse in the sidebar at least gives visitors some kind of content to interact with.
Another aspect of engagement is keeping your updates regular. Not only is this beneficial for your search engine optimization, but it also gives people who visit new content to look at. If you’re not updating something regularly, there’s less reason for anyone to pay a return visit. A few attempts to check out your site without updated information could be the end of the line for a person who was interested in the business the site represents. Things like social media plugins and blogs can be used to help keep the site up to date if you’re not sure what to add.
Look for Feedback
Another way to engage people with your website is to have an area where people can leave feedback. If someone visits a site representing a bakery, they might want to write a review of the bakery or contact the owners. If someone visits a tech news site, they might want to write in with a tip of suggestion for the direction of the site. Creating avenues for visitors to leave feedback will help make them more engaged with your site because it’s a way for them to be part of it.
Always give people a way to contact the owners of the site. If it represents a large enough company, a live chat function might also be helpful.
Creating an engaging website will serve any business that uses it well. Giving lots of content that’s clearly explained, presented in a simple and attractive way, and updating regularly will help keep people coming back to your site repeatedly. This will help make more connections with the people who use your site, as well as potentially create more business for the company it represents.