How to optimize your website design to engage visitors?
How many times have you heard that website traffic is a vanity metric?
The reason for that is simple. It tells you nothing about your user engagement and satisfaction. Think about it. When developing your site, your goal is to optimize it to attract the right audiences. But, what happens when a user lands on your site?
If your site is slow, spammy, confusing, or irrelevant to them, they will leave it immediately. As a website owner, you want to please a customer, increase their browsing experience, and encourage them to visit multiple pages before converting.
In other words, you want to keep them engaged. Here are a few simple ways to use your website design as a customer engagement tactic.
Make it faster to load.
Google says that it takes approximately 15 seconds for a webpage to load on mobile devices. But, are your visitors willing to wait for your page to load that much? According to a recent study, 53% of mobile visitors will ditch your website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds.
This is why you need to improve your website speed.
Start by testing your pages’ speed using speed test tools like Pingdom, KeyCDN Website Speed Test, Google PageSpeed Insights, etc.
Apart from providing you with thorough insights into website performance, these tools will also tell you what to do to improve your website speed.
Now, there are a few simple tips to take.
If you’re running a WordPress site, check your theme and plugins, as this is one of the most common reasons why your site is slow.
You should also check your hosting plan. If you’re using shared hosting, consider scaling up your plan and even switching to managed hosting.
Pay attention to your high-quality images, too. There are many photo editing tools like Photoshop or plugins like WP Smush or EWWW may help you here.
You should also use a CDN and caching to ensure that the visitor receives the desired content as fast as possible.
Declutter your site’s layout.
We’re living in the hyperconnected era of social networks, fast internet connections, and wearable technologies that have changed online searchers’ priorities. They have made them more demanding and taught them to appreciate their time.
When a visitor lands on your website, they do so for a few reasons – to learn more about you, to find a certain piece of content, or to make a purchase.
Your goal is to provide simple and user-centric browsing experiences that will engage them and, hopefully, inspire them to convert.
This is why your website design needs to be simplified. Ensure that there is a lot of white space on each website page. White space makes your content easier to follow and digest. Make important aspects of your website, such as your menu, CTA buttons, blog, or contact information prominent.
On the other hand, eliminate the elements that may overwhelm a user, such as intrusive ads, auto-playing videos, or aggressive colors.
As for your blog posts, you should break them up into smaller, logical paragraphs.
Use headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to help users follow content effortlessly and find the right piece of information faster.
Avoid lengthy paragraphs, small, poorly legible fonts, and keyword-rich subheadings, as they usually distract a user and discourage them from interacting with your site.
Simplify your website navigation.
When optimizing your navigation menu, reduce the number of categories and subcategories to make your pages easier to find.
Namely, your many should consist of between 2 and 7 categories. You should also balance the number of subcategories. For example, if one category has 5 subcategories, the other one should have 5 subcategories, too.
All category names should be clear and informative, helping users browse through your website effortlessly.
You should also take advantage of the shallow-depth navigation structure. Namely, there should not be more than 4 steps to reach every page on your site. This is how you make each page on your site transparent and easily accessible by your audiences.
Another important aspect of your website navigation is search functionalities. Most of your visitors, who already know what piece of content they want to read or what product they want to buy, will use a search box to find the right page immediately.
Provide real-time customer support.
Your customers are using multiple tools and platforms, from IM apps and video chat to social networks to communicate with brands. And, they expect you to use these platforms, too.
This is why you need to build an omnichannel marketing strategy.
For starters, make your address and contact information easily visible on your site. Add a simple, mobile-friendly contact form to your website to help a customer contact you without leaving your site.
You should also add links to your social media profiles and help users find you faster. Social networks are important, as they let you track customer interactions and participate in them in real-time.
Another important aspect of customer support is chat.
To solve your customers’ complex issues and humanize your interactions with them, integrate a live chat with your site. However, you should also harness the power of machine learning and chatbots.
SaltedStone, a web design company, compared chatbots with Choose Your Own Adventure Books in their recent blog post. And, when interacting with a chatbot, a visitor determines in which direction the communication will flow.
Above all, chatbots are available 24/7, providing users with accurate and engaging answers almost instantly.
Personalize user experiences.
According to SalesForce, over 60% of online customers expect to get personalized offers. Namely, they are willing to share their data to get valuable deals and eve pay more for them.
Keep this in mind when designing your website.
For starters, display related content.
If you’re running an online store, you could either offer similar products similar in style or related products a customer may be interested in.
Create surveys on your blog or interactive quizzes on your website. Apart from generating lots of leads, this kind of content will help you engage your customers and learn a lot about them.
Optimize, test, and tweak regularly.
When it comes to designing a website that engages, there is just one rule you should follow – design with a customer in mind.
Ignore your preferences, goals, and desires and focus on your customers. Only by walking in their shoes will you be able to create a website that resonates with them.
Most importantly, track your website performance and user engagement regularly. Set the right metrics to track, observe user engagement on Google Analytics in real-time, and seek visitors’ feedback.
You should also monitor users’ behaviors and tweak your site according to their needs. This is where heat maps can be extremely helpful.
Hope this helps!