User engagement is so important for your website. Whenever a user lands on your page, you want them to stick around for a while. However, visitors will only absorb content and remain loyal to your brand if it’s engaging enough to capture them the first time. There are subtle, smart design choices you can make to ensure your user engagement is healthy.
Of course, there are different types of user engagement, and what matters most to you depends on the mission of your site. In some cases, you simply want your visitors to consume content; in others, perhaps you want them to participate in online discussions. Whatever the case, focusing on user engagement can help you reach your goals quicker. Here’s what you can do.
Keep Content Short
No user wants to see chunky blocks of text on your webpages. Your layout—and how your content works within that layout—play a crucial role. Be sure to break up your content as much as possible. Use headings and subheadings with great typography that’s easy to read and incorporate bullets and lists where possible. There should also be plenty of white space between and around content, making it easier on the eyes.
The majority of site visitors will attempt to skim your page rather than carefully read it, and your messaging should help them achieve that goal. After all, numerous studies have shown that the average human attention span is getting shorter and shorter; this means you need to capture your readers as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, it’s also important to know when it’s acceptable to go the long-content route. While generally speaking, shorter content is almost always the better way to go, there are some instances—such as with sales letters—where long-form copy might be more appropriate. Direct response advertisers have found that long copy outsold short copy during split test trials, however, the copy has to be written very well to win the longform content battle.
Make It Mobile Friendly
Today’s website designs need to be mobile-friendly in order to compete. After all, the majority of today’s searches are being conducted on mobile vs. desktop. A responsive site is easily accessed from any device or screen size, making it simple for users to navigate through your pages. Without a mobile-ready site, you could easily lose a chunk of your readership.
Many people are unaware that a responsive design is also a ranking factor. Look no further than the plain text on Google’s website: “Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”
Google’s mobile ranking system—dubbed to as Mobilegeddon—is a clear example of this. In 2015, the search engine giant reinvented their algorithms in favor of a mobile-friendly strategy designed to boost mobile-friendly pages in algorithms. At the same time, the team also developed a Mobile Friendly Test Tool, where users could easily test the mobile friendliness of their own websites and make the necessary changes to help improve. Today, there are multiple similar tools built to help older and traditional sites compete with newer and improved mobile sites.
While Google was in the process of pushing mobile-favored algorithms, another study from Appticles was conducted during pre-employment to see how non-mobile sites would fare upon launch: they found that 4 out of 10 websites would be negatively impacted by the release of a mobile-friendly algorithm. Many people were quick to catch on: within eight months, 25% of sites that weren’t mobile-friendly had made the transition. Ecommerce businesses were the quickest to adjust their websites. And today, responsive mobile design is even more important than ever.
There’s plenty we can learn from video games about design, but did you know we could also improve our design and engagement by incorporating core elements of a game? Gamification is a technique where web and mobile developers apply elements commonly found in games to non-gaming initiatives. This is a strategy that’s found in many marketing techniques today.
Part of the reason why gamification is becoming increasingly popular is because it creates an easy, natural way to encourage engagement. When you add gaming components to non-game contexts, you’re able to capitalize on an increased level of interest.
Gamification techniques can be incorporated in a variety of ways. Anything that involves some level of interactivity can be referred to as a game, for all intents and purposes when it comes to design. You can achieve this with mini games, quizzes, online competitions, and blogger giveaways.
Create Useful Content
Content is one of the best ways to connect with your readers. And regardless of the reason why they came to your site in the first place, chances are there’s content that would appeal to them. For example, if you own a marketing business, a useful blog that publishes all things marketing would be interesting to anyone hiring a marketing agency. Not only are blogs incredibly useful for search engines, but they can improve engagement, too. And according to the Content Marketing Institute, businesses with blogs receive 126% more leads than those that don’t.
Think about your target market and what they would be most interested in. You can check out leading blogs in your industry for inspiration. You should also mix up the components of your blog posts; add video, polls, quizzes, infographics, and other elements where possible. In fact, in a survey conducted by Venngage, 42% of marketers stated that infographics had a better stronghold on engagement than any other type of visual content.
Check Your Website Speed
One of the most frustrating aspects of a user experience is reaching a website, only to discover it’s lagging and slow. You may not realize it, but speed plays a much more important role in engagement than you think. According to Google, sites that load in under five seconds have 70% longer sessions than those that don’t. And other studies have found that a minimal 100-millisecond delay could cause conversation rates to drop by 7%. As you can see, you can’t afford to skimp out on speed. Use free website speed tools to gain a better understanding of where your website stands. These free tools will also help you learn more about what actions you can take to improve your speed.