How Website Layout Can Increase User Engagement
To have a successful website that brings good Return-On-Investment, you must always remain mindful of user engagement. Since the advent of smartphones, it is estimated that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 to 8 seconds. That tells you how much time you have to capture their attention. When new and even old visitors land on your website, you ideally want them to not only read your content but also increase user engagement with the site and go all the way to your Calls-To-Action.
Website user engagement essentially boils down to the fact that your site pages should be so much more than an information source or display about your products, service, and company. The pages should lead and prompt the users into some kind of action. You want them to do something, for example, buy your product, fill a form, subscribe to your blog or newsletter, or share an article.
Increase User Engagement
Profitable user engagement is when users and visitors appreciate your site content enough to stay around, absorb the content, and convert. So, what can you do about your website layout to increase user engagement?
Increase Website Speed and Navigation
Unfortunately, visitors to your site are more concerned about loading speed than any other embellishments you may want to add to your site. When you want to seriously engage your audience or readers, speed matters a lot.
It is estimated that 40% of users will abandon your website if it takes more than a couple of seconds to load.
Clear site navigation is a priority because nobody wants to be interrupted as they browse on your website. If that constantly happens, chances are high that they will probably stop navigating and move on to another website. Just keep your site navigation simple and constant so that users can find what they are looking for easily.
Good Link Structuring
Besides boosting your SEO ranking, having a well-planned internal linking structure enables your users to easily navigate your site. Good link structuring connects your site visitors to useful content that helps in increasing your website’s page views. The links you incorporate must have descriptive anchor text, be specific and relevant. Above all, the links must work, so ensure you test them before publishing.
An additional practice that helps increase user engagement while at the same time promoting your other pages through content is by showing ‘related posts’. This is similar to having internal linking only that you are showing the links at the tail end of your page.
When you engage customers, they get the feeling of being part of your community. Engaged people generally become more loyal to your brand. Consequently, when the time to choose products or services comes, they are more likely to go with what they are more familiar with. Let your users know their engagement is appreciated. Add commentaries that allow them to share their opinions and always respond.
To be preemptive and ready to create an effective strategy, consider using personas in supplementing customer needs. These are fictional representations of the ideal user on your site. Use personas to test drive new user engagement trend before you actually begin live implementation on your platform.
Keep Pages Minimal and Simple
For a moment put yourself in the shoes of a viewer and analyze your website. Would you enjoy navigating a website occupied by many bars coming from all sides? Images are suddenly popping up and annoying you. In all probability, you will not like it or to stay for over a minute.
So, to increase user engagement, you need to keep the site as simple as possible. If your design is easy and minimal, people will eventually find their way around without too much stress. This saves them time and allows them to easily land on the specific page they wanted or were looking for.
Create Rich Content
When you create memorable content, readers will want back for more. Therefore, rather than keep on churning out lackluster endless content that people can easily find anywhere on the Internet, write unique, higher quality content that directly caters to your audience. Speak authoritatively on a subject matter, rather simply objectively providing known facts.
Create thought-provoking content that users will find useful. Your content should also be easily digestible and fast loading. This can be through shortening written content because the shorter the sentences the better. Note that posting three long blog posts on a weekly basis may not always be nearly effective like when you post one superbly written blog post every week.
Optimize for Mobile
It cannot be doubted that mobile is the future way of doing things, and it simply cannot be ignored. Available data indicates that in 2015, about 52.7% of the global population was using mobile phones for Internet access. This figure is estimated to be 61.2% in 2018. Today, when considering redesigning your website, think mobile first.
Depending on the hour of the day, users visit your website on multiple or different platforms. They will use smartphones as they commute in the morning commute, during working hours they will be on a desktop, and at night they might be on tablets.
You need to provide users with a seamless transition across the different devices. In addition, as you optimize for mobile, remember how important load times and page navigation are to the mobile user.
Adding a Dash of Parallax
Video fans know the kind of thrill felt when watching an IMAX 3D movie. You can transfer that emotional thrill to your own site through parallax scrolling. This is a continued web design that creates a 2D version of a website. It moves your background images slower than the images on the foreground – adding movement and depth to your website.
This will boost user engagement as it only works when one scrolls down, something the user is certainly going to do because of the eye-catching and playful feature. And you even don’t need to be a pro designer or coder to do this.
Strong content is what helps increase user engagement metrics. To understand those metrics, you need to have robust knowledge about analytics tools. Use well tested and proven analytic tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. Generate daily user engagement reports and analyze everyday sales.
Analyzing such metrics helps you to see how the pages engage with the audience and in defining common customer behavior. Use the generated data to establish what makes sense and what areas need some tweaking.
Heatmaps give you an instant visual representation of the locations where visitors are clicking on your site. A picture is said to be worth a thousand words but heat maps will inform you of what’s actually happening. They provide you with real-time analytics that will assist you to take immediate action geared towards improving user retention and UX on your site.
Heat maps, by aggregating visitor behavior, offer an at-a-glance picture of how users are interacting with an individual page. You get an understanding of what kind of content or information is being viewed or interacted with and what is being ignored. This helps you to identify trends and optimize the particular page for further user engagement.
A/B and Multivariate Testing
Run tests on a continual basis to see which strategy works best for you instead of just settling and relying on one. Using A/B tests, analyze how users are interacting with your website — what the roadblocks are, what could be causing confusion, and how you possibly can boost your collaboration with the users.
While A/B tests are a proven marketing tool, consider adding multivariate testing. Examples of such tests often cover your landing page conversion but remember to incorporate other categories like how to increase user engagement with specific pages.
Use Social Media
A major main goal of having an amazing user experience is to provide your customers with a stellar experience. This includes allowing them to share pages and content from your website on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. This also guarantees you higher website engagement.
Seeing that others to like your website or that they are recommending and tweeting about your product or service increases the trust levels and they too may want to try it. Besides encouraging further sharing, social media also helps you to grow a loyal group of users as well as long-term readers
Winning traffic to your website is one thing, but to retain those who visit is something else. They may visit but not take the kind of action you desire. For that, you need to design the layout of your website in unique ways that boost user engagement.
The above recommendations work like cogs in a wheel, connected and each complimenting the other to work in a synchronized manner. Good user engagement is an indication of how well your website is performing as well as to the quality of your contents.