Converting website visitors into paying customers involves a long journey.
And it’s your job to lay a smooth road for that journey, to see them converting.
Good website user engagement is the backbone of any website that drives targeted traffic to their pages.
An engaging web page boosted the user experience, time on site and reduces bounce rate (which is an important metric for SEO as well).
Just do take care of your visitors’ experience and you will see your user retention, the number of leads and sales goes up.
Each point in this list is so important that it can be stretched to full guides individually. But I tried keeping them brief and actionable. The best way to utilize this guide effectively is - jot down the checklist of points as you read through (in one word or two) that you can implement right away.
Either way, I will mention an in-depth guide alongside every strategy.
Note: Throughout this post, you will see me suggesting of doing ‘A/B test’ a lot, so please don’t get annoyed. Because it’s your website data that can tell you the right story about your website and to know what's working in your favor you need to do A/B test. :)
Implement these strategies and you won’t regret your time and effort.
And don’t forget to share your findings with me directly at m.me/WebisoftDigital :D
First, Look at the Metrics Used to Measure the User Engagement
You can define your own engagement metrics based on your custom conversion goals. But some of the common metrics to test the website user engagement are as follows (but not limited to) -
Bounce Rate — In simple words, bounce rate is the percentage of people who don’t visit more than 1 page on your site.
Long click — “On the most basic level, Google could see how satisfied users were. The best sign of their happiness was the "Long Click" — This occurred when someone went to a search result, ideally the top one, and did not return. That meant Google has successfully fulfilled the query.” – Steven Levy
Scroll Depth — Scroll depth is the measure of how far a visitor scrolls on your web page.
Dwell Time — It is the amount of time a visitor spends on your website.
Custom Conversions — Your website conversion is the most important factor, it is the measure of — getting your visitors to do what you want them to do, basically your desired website goal. Whether it is a newsletter signup or submitting a lead/contact form.
So without further ado let's right jump onto the real and actionable strategies —
#28 | Navigation Menu
Sleek Navigation bar, A/B test with sticky bar — Navigation menu design and structure is something that most of us overlooked while designing the website. Even though it is something that loads the first and gets visible to the visitor at the very top. And we still don’t optimize the navigation menu.
So, what should you consider for an optimized navigation menu -
- It should be designed compatible with the look of your website.
- Keep the menu bar minimal and sleek. Something similar to Amazon.com, because a bulky menu bar pushes the main content down.
- Navigation bar is considered one of the most important real estate on a site. So, it is wise to only put the most important and high converting pages there. And move everything else to the footer.
Danny Halarewich, founder of LemonStand covered the best practices of an optimized navigation menu in-depth here — “Website Navigation Best Practices for Smooth UX”
#27 | Above The Fold Content
Above-the-fold is the area on your website that is visible to the user without any scrolling. And the content that you serve through that area is called above the fold content. The remaining area of the website that requires scrolling is called below the fold.
Since the content that you put in the above-the-fold area attracts maximum eyeballs. And with the ever decreasing attention span of a typical internet user, you need to make the most impact with your above the fold content to contain your visitors on the website.
It directly impacts your bounce rate, dwell-time, and effectively your on-page SEO.
Here is a nice write-up on Above-the-fold content done by Shanelle Mullin - “Is above the fold really that important?”
#26 | Length of Content
So being an SEO oriented content marketer, I and every other SEO expert would suggest you go big on content length. It’s not our gut feeling that writing longer articles convert better, but it's a data-backed finding that longer articles get shared more, gets better SERP rankings in Google and convert better as well.
But keep in mind putting longer content doesn’t mean putting long walls of text on the page. Keep the paragraphs short, leave more room for the white space and let your visitors breathe a bit.
Tip: If it’s an informational page like an article or blog post. Go big and explain everything. But if it’s a sales page or product page (SaaS or other internet product) then I would suggest you not to go overboard, like those old 10,000+ words sales page. Personally, I find those type of pages scammy now. Instead have an explainer video, some flaunting features, testimonials and a minimal contact form or a CTA.
Here’s a more in-depth article about sales page length by Ted Vrountas.
#25 | Sidebar
Have you ever gone to a website that has those flashy banners all over the place in sidebars promoting unrelated products and services to that page.
Just take a step back and look at it from a visitor’s point of view. I admit you are driving traffic because you want people to buy your stuff, but at the same time don’t you want them to come back on your website? To see them coming back you need to provide them value first and take care of their initial experience by not being too pushy on your offerings.
Make your sidebars visually pleasing and minimal.
Tip 1. I would suggest you ditch the sidebars all together and then test the impact it made on your visitors’ overall on-site time spent.
Tip 2. If you can’t spot any flaw in your page’s design, take someone’s opinion who is in the industry like a CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) expert or a marketer.
Don’t take your mother’s opinion on your website design, ‘cause mothers always love whatever their children do. <3
“Want my quick opinion on your webpage design? Hit me up at m.me/WebisoftDigital”
#24 | Inline Click Triggered Lead Magnets
We set up a page for a reason.
To collect the leads, to nurture the audience, to build the email list, or to upsell a product etc.
So what do you think what’s the right time to pitch these offers?
It’s the time when the reader is most engaged with your content and know what he/she will get with that offer. Putting inline click triggered lead magnets between the content gives you exactly the right opportunity to present your offer when the reader is most engaged in your write-up.
And also, as the people are getting ad blind for those funky sidebar ads, content inline click trigger banners is the strategy to adopt or at least worth an A/B test.
We (at Webisoft) are using in-line click triggered lead magnet on our “NDA for App Development” page.
#23 | Font size
You shouldn’t go too big nor too small with the font size. In fact, with the rise of responsive web designs, we can’t predict an exact font size to go with.
Robert took a deep dig on the most appropriate font size for the website, here.
But if you really want a quick number for your font size, it’s “16px” for the body text.
#22 | Anchor text (link) color
I see most of the sites where they don’t do any font decoration of anchor text. It’s a bad practice not only for the user engagement but it also violates the Google webmaster policies.
Blue is the universal color used for the link texts, but I would suggest you give it a customized feel by matching it with your sites primary color. Hubspot, Entrepreneur, HuffPost and many other authority sites have adopted this approach of customized link decoration.
#21 | Reading progress bar
In my personal experience, that sticky reading progress bar below the content encourages me to complete my reading and go deep down the page, which directly increases the dwell time on site.
But adding many functionalities to the site could hurt your load time, so always A/B test things yourself and make the best combination that is working in your favor.
Hubspot is testing the scroll progress bar these days on their blog article pages. They are a big website with a huge pool of data. I’m sure they have A/B tested it and possibly get better results in terms of scroll depth and visitor dwell time after implementing the progress bar.
Peep Laja of ConversionXL is also experimenting the scroll progress bar.
Tip: You should keep your inner marketer’s instinct active while browsing the web to notice these type of changes and evaluate why those big sites are doing this.
#20 | Page load speed
You know this already. How important page load speed is for user engagement. Google has also indicated it way back in 2010 that they count page speed as one of their ranking factors.
It’s a pretty broad topic in itself, Mark Gavalda, founder of Kinsta put a great article on best practices for better website load speed.
#19 | Copy Style
Make your copy readable. And by readable I don’t mean just to care for the grammar and spellings alone. Make it digestible, because the average attention span of a web visitor is declining drastically and no one on the internet wants to read/consume the content like a newspaper with walls of texts. So, what you can do to make your content skimmable? Writing short sentences and paragraphs, keep lots of white space on the page around your content.
Add headings, subheadings, bucket brigades, bullets, quotes to make your content skimmable and soothing to the eyes.
If you want to crack the code of copywriting for maximum user engagement and on-page SEO? Here’s the masterpiece published by Brian Dean on Backlinko.
#18 | Interlinking
Interlinking is the approach of linking out to your other inner pages on the website. Page interlinking helps in lowering the bounce rate, increase time spent on site, long click, and gives your visitor another reason to love you because you are serving them more and more value in the form of your content.
By the way, Interlinking also helps in flowing page juice (authority) within your pages throughout the website.
#17 | Use of Images, Charts, Embedded Videos, and Gifs
Media files make article visually pleasing and easier to scan. Give a treat to the eyes of your visitors. As I’ve already mentioned above, no one wants to see an ocean of text all around. Craft your content with relevant media like images, charts, videos and the trending gifs.
Just look at this post that you are reading right now - How I added relevant images and other media to make the content appealing.
#16 | Visitor Comments and Threads
Interact with your website visitors in the comments section. Bring them to the comments with your persuasive copywriting and know what they have to say about your content. Sometimes you can hear the best advice from your comment section and it also helps you build a relationship with your audience by sparking that first interaction.
#15 | Ask Them Questions
User Engagement means when your reader engages with your content in one form or another. Be it in the form of comments or social media interaction. Try to get them into a conversation in the comments section or with some specific hashtags on social media.
#14 | Social Sharing Buttons
Just place once and test the best
Don’t go overboard with social sharing buttons. Every social sharing button on your page adds burden on your loading speed because it adds a new HTTP request. That is an added weight on your page. So, don’t add social sharing buttons all over the place like below the content, above the content, floating sidebar. Just add the social media buttons that are getting clicks and bringing traffic (check your Analytics data) and A/B test the optimum place to put your buttons.
My preference for social media buttons on a blog post is floating sidebar (on desktop) and fixed bar below the title (on mobile)
Tip: You don’t need to put every social button like Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Linkedin, WhatsApp, Messenger, Email, and Buffer.
Test what social platform is bringing you traffic and only add those for social sharing.
#13 | Color Combination
You can’t take your website color scheming for granted and choose the colors based on your personal preferences.
Instead, pick the colors that compliment your niche/category of business and are soothing to the eyes. I know most of my readers are not hardcore designers and don’t know the exact way of choosing a perfect color scheme for their website to boost the user engagement. So, for all the non-designers out there, Coolors is the tool for you to build a color palette from scratch.
#12 | Care for Mobile Users
Adapt the mobile first approach
It can’t be stretched enough, you have already heard this before that how important it is to have a mobile-optimized website. Quickly head over to your Google Analytics account and select ‘Mobile > Overview’ under Audience section and you will see how many of your visitors are from mobile devices and desktop. Decide yourself - if you do care about those mobile users then you need to adopt mobile optimized website design. A mobile optimized/responsive web design has SEO advantages as well, but that’s a long story in itself, let’s keep that for another day. ;)
Not convinced? Check out the post covered by Sonia Gregory on Freshsparks about “Why Responsive Design is Important”.
#11 | Personalised landing pages
Now that is something advanced and highly effective - If the source of traffic is in your control, like if you are driving traffic via your segmented email campaigns or targeted advertising. Then you can welcome your site visitors with some level of personalization. Let me dig a little deep here. Suppose you are driving traffic from your segmented email list (people who have opted-in to a specific list or are on a free trial of your product). So when you are driving them to your landing page, mention something personalized to them on that page, like - their name in the header or something related to their location.
If you want to learn in-depth, Jeremy has put a pretty solid article on landing page personalization.
#10 | Search Box
If you are a big site or a site with lots of blog posts and articles. Add a search box. A custom Google search box is also a good option as it also provides closely related results to the search term specifically from your site only.
#9 | Be Authentic, Sound Authentic
Gaining user’s trust on the very first visit also boosts engagement on the website. You can effectively gain your visitors’ trust by being transparent to them. By being transparent I mean, by adding your About page, Contact page, Disclaimer page, Team page and Company’s social media profiles.
#8 | Be Human
Talk to your readers in active voice and use more ‘you and I’ as if you are talking to a person in front of you. Don’t make your copywriting monotonous or like an essay. Create content keeping only one person in mind who is reading your web page right now. The reader should think you are directly and only interacting with him/her and not be giving a speech. Again, use the word “you” in abundance. Like- 'you', 'I appreciate you', 'I am glad you are here', 'have you ever'. And when you say “you guys” you are taking away the personal touch out of your content and seems like you are talking to a crowd.
So keep it personal and one person oriented in your website copy, your only goal should be to make an impact on that single reader.
#7 | Show the people behind the company
Show the happy faces working behind the company to add a humane touch. Don’t put yourself as just another company in front of your website audience. People get attracted towards real people more than vague corporate structures.
Tip: Build a dedicated ‘Team Page’ on your website or a section in ‘About Page’ featuring the people behind the company.
#6 | Turn your post into a podcast
There are 42 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly, it’s five times more than go to the movies. And with the ever-increasing number of smart cars, in-home audio devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, this number will go high steadily. So repurposing your content in a podcast could offer you a distinct set of audience who only wants to consume the content in audio form.
Here are “5 Steps To Turn Your Content Into Podcasts” guide by Ann Smarty.
#5 | Call to Action
Call to Action is that last effort that you make on your visitors to make them convert to your offer. Like, a persuasive line, a contact form, an opt-in button or anything that you use to make them convert.
Look at this call to action from Huemor, what would you do?
Once you read that line “Do not press”, your reverse psychology will make you dying to press that launch button.
Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), Reverse Psychology, Scarcity - all these are tactics and strategies of impactful marketing inside your web copy.
Tip: Be careful while implementing FOMO if you are in B2B because if you press hard with FOMO in your offering, it can put your B2B visitors off by seemed unprofessional.
But in B2C like e-commerce, it is widely utilized tactic from ages.
For more insights: Head over to “How to Create the Perfect Call to Action” by Sharon Hurley.
#4 | Testimonial
Make your web page social proof by adding quality testimonials from your previous or current clients. Show your clients’ happy faces on your landing page (don’t forget to get prior permission), as per an A/B test conducted by Basecamp on one of their landing page - including the face of a happy customer increase conversion rates by 102.5%.
While you can just throw away a customer testimonial anywhere in between the content or there is a better way of crafting the perfect testimonial that is placed strategically to convert like Basecamp did. If you would like to dive deeper into this. Andy Crestodina from OrbitMedia penned a great post about good testimonials.
#3 | Leverage your Google Analytics & Tag Manager to optimize website engagement
If you have made up to this point, I’m sure you are pretty serious about your website engagement. So let me put out some advanced tactics to measure and assess user engagement. Its Google Analytics fused with Tag Manager. These two strategies alone could eat up more than 3000 words, so let me direct you to their specific guides below.
- Advanced content engagement using GTM - Simo covered it very well in his post.
- Distinguish readers vs scanners - Advanced Content Tracking with Universal Analytics by Justin Cutroni.
#2 | Google Optimize
If you are not utilizing the Google Optimize yet, you are unaware of your website’s conversion potential. It’s an A/B testing and personalization solution by Google. That too comes with a Free plan and is capable of doing most of the A/B testing on your website.
Tip: You can start small with A/B testing. How?
By testing two different colors of a CTA button that you are using to capture leads. The Google optimize will split your traffic into half (or whatever the ratio you want) and test the results for the different number of clicks on both the versions of the button.
#1 | Live Chat Widget
When it comes to supreme user engagement, what more can you get if your visitor starts engaging 1-on-1 with you. Website live chat widgets do the same by connecting you with your visitors directly via an open chat window. Chat widgets are widely used to collect feedbacks, nurture visitors into sales, and providing hassle-free live support.
Tip: Customize the CTA on chat widget as per the landing page’s content.
Example: Suppose you are a digital development agency and you have 2 distinct services pages, one about ‘Mobile App Development’ and the other one about ‘Web Development’. You can put the chat widgets with two different titles on both the pages.
Hope you have gained some fruitful advice from this post. If so, give it a share on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
If not :(, tell me what you didn’t like @ m.me/WebisoftDigital