It’s one thing to have a website, but it’s another to have one that people actually like to visit on a regular basis.
If it were easy to engage users with a website, then there wouldn’t be countless agencies and professionals employed in online marketing. Getting people to want to view and use your website is an art in itself, one that not many are able to master.
The more your users engage with your content, the more likely they are to become return visitors who want to share and promote your content, thus bringing in even more visitors.
Increasing user engagement doesn’t have to be about making big sweeping changes to your website; it’s about optimizing all the little details that add up to something big.
Ready to engage your visitors? Here are eight strategies you can try.
1. Tweak Your Writing
Make sure to use a writing style that’s appropriate to your target audience. For example, if you have a news site catered to younger people, then you should write in a more casual way. If you manage a spa, you’d want to use a softer tone. If you work in a formal industry like government, be sure to use a professional tone, or maybe break out your technical and/or academic writing.
Another important thing is the readability of your site content. It doesn’t matter if your content is informative if it’s just a big wall of text that’s badly written and barely comprehensible. Splitting it up into bite-sized paragraphs with subheadings can greatly help with the readability of an article.
[bctt tweet=”Readability tip: Split up your blog post into bite-sized paragraphs with subheadings.” username=”hostgator”]
The white space in between chunks of text is important, so make sure each paragraph is no more than one to three sentences each and no run-on sentences. This makes it easier to read and understand, so visitors are more likely to stick around and actually read it!
You can add a one-sentence paragraph as the conclusion to a section just like this. Think of it as your punchline.
2. Optimize Your Internal Links
Once readers have landed on your company’s blog posts, don’t lose them to the “Back” button. Internal links (links from your website to other parts of your website) aren’t just important for the sake of SEO, but also for directing your visitors towards more of the great content on your website. For example, linking to other related posts on your blog allows readers to learn more about a topic.
Encourage visitors to stick around by adding extensions and plugins that automatically display related posts.
3. Dig Deeper with Analytics
Bounce rate and average session time are two metrics that can be found in your website’s analytics. These illuminate which pages users are immediately bouncing back to Google from, and which ones they’re sticking around on to read in-depth.
Google Analytics highlights a number of useful metrics for your site, including your top channels and page load time. Check out my guide on how to use Google Analytics so you can better understand your visitor behavior and get more out of your website.
[bctt tweet=”For user engagement insights, monitor Bounce Rate and Avg Session Time in Google Analytics.” username=”hostgator”]
4. Get Social and Take Feedback
It’s encouraging for your followers to see someone who’s open to feedback as it shows that you actually do care about what your customers or readers think. Streamline the feedback process by sending a survey with your email newsletter.
Also make sure that you let people know of your presence in social media and let them have their say. Embed social follow and sharing tools like AddThis or ShareThis. Give visitors a way to follow you on social media, and open a direct line of communication with them.
Speaking of communication… Want your site’s visitors to leave comments on your blog posts? Simply ask them to do so! Ending your blog posts with a question and a prompt for readers to leave their thoughts in the comments section can be a great way to drive post-based activity on your site.
5. Encourage Discussion and Debate
Another advantage of being active in social media is that you can have your users interact with each other. There may be some useful insights you can get from them discussing and debating on topics related to what your website is about during a Facebook Live or Twitter chat.
You might also consider setting up a user forum on your website. Though they require additional time and resources to manage, the investment may be worth it when it comes to promoting on-site user activity. Several free tools, like phpBB and Motigo, make the process of forum implementation easy and can add tremendous value for your website’s visitors.
Just make sure you’re able to keep these exchanges positive or it can quickly escalate into something you don’t want in your online space. Make sure to keep an eye out and let them know you’re right there so things don’t go out of hand. If they’re always vocal but also civil, then you must be doing something right!
[bctt tweet=”Great options for customer feedback: user forums, blog comments, Facebook Live.” username=”hostgator”]
6. Send a Regular Newsletter
Adding a mailing list to your website allows you to reach out to customers and offer incentives to get them to return to your site in the future.
Use a reputable email list management service like ConstantContact to store your addresses and consider offering some type of incentive (like a free product or coupon code) to encourage sign-ups.
7. Give Them Surprises
Keeping your users on their toes is a good way to keep them interested.
It’s not just about regularly posting fresh content, but also throwing in the occasional curve ball to pleasantly surprise them. Whether it’s an announcement for something entirely new, a giveaway, a promo, or a contest, give your users more reasons to follow you and stay tuned to your updates.
“Gamification” features – like badges, user contests and user profile rating systems – turn on-site activity into an engaging game. Tools like Badgeville and BigDoor make adding these elements simple, though larger companies may want to consult developers in order to create their own custom game-based activity reward systems.
You can reward visitors for their participation through these surprises as well. Use call-to-actions to encourage people to follow you, or share and comment on your posts, in exchange for prizes or perks.
8. Offer Variety
Last – but not least – freshen up your content by formatting it in different ways. For your blog, test topical content as well as evergreen, cornerstone content. Offer infographics and videos. Make your content interesting with quotes, graphics, and related material.
Different readers respond to different types of content in different ways, so by including a number of separate formats, you’ll encourage user activity on your site by appealing to all of these different preferences.
User engagement is all about combining the good and the familiar with the fresh and the unexpected, as well as encouraging more conversation and feedback. When users make an action or ask for something in your website and they get a result, that builds a positive feedback loop that keeps them coming back for more.
Have you tried one of these strategies on your site? Share your experience in the comments below!