Websites – what are the secrets behind increasing user engagement?
This question is critical for any marketer who wants to monetize their website. The central question for monetization typically revolves around creating a long-term business that adds ongoing value to the customer. By thinking of a website in these terms, user engagement becomes a question of customer acquisition and retention.
Users engage with the content that’s on your site, so if the content is irrelevant or if it doesn’t add value, they’ll leave.
Here are a few tips for making your content more engaging:
Actively engage the user. One common technique used by experienced marketers uses calls-to-action to request comments, feedback, or discussions. In other words, if you use valuable content as a way to talk to users, then they will become more engaged. While reading an article is a one-way activity, a dialogue is a two-way activity that is inherently more engaging.
Too much marketing will drive them away. While content marketing’s purpose is marketing, it engages users by talking to them, not selling to them. Avoid salesy articles and “marketese.”
Provide real information, not fluff. The key to becoming a trusted authority in the minds of your users is offering real information, not fluff. Research your content, hire talented writers, and offer useful information that positions you as a trustworthy industry leader.
Know your audience. Find out what they want by conducting polls, interacting with them, and monitoring analytics. User behavior will give you the insight you need to craft content that matters to them. And that means they’ll be more likely to engage with your website and its content.
Use keywords appropriately. SEO isn’t directly related to user engagement, but keyword optimization also helps from a content and design perspective. The right keywords aid in-site search boxes, navigation through tags and menus, and so on. The easier it is for people to find what they’re looking for, the easier it is for them to stay engaged while on-site.
Website design plays a critical role in perception. Everything from the use of colors to the media format you use can affect how users engage with your site.
Here are a few ideas for making your design more engaging:
Take advantage of multimedia to grab attention and hold it. Use photos, images, infographics, video, interactive visuals, and other multimedia. This will make your message more engaging, interesting, and fun.
Don’t distract. Banner ads and irrelevant photos are notorious for annoying users and distracting them from your content. Ads that send people off-site, for instance, may make you money once, but they can also kill engagement.
Make it easy to use. A website should be seamless and transparent. The more people have to figure out where to go to find something, the more frustrated they will be. This frustration can kill engagement over time.
Make it customer-focused. The website’s design should be about what the customer wants, not about what you want. If customer feedback and analytics tell you customers like a certain color scheme or certain copy, then you should modify your design accordingly.
Be responsive and usable. A website that loads too slowly will kill engagement, just like a site that is too small to read. Make sure that your site is optimized across devices. This will also have the added benefit of keeping your site visible in mobile search.
As mentioned, using content as a way to interact will increase engagement. After all, interaction and engagement are practically synonyms.
Here are a couple tips for boosting interaction with your users:
Interact with them in comments, forums, and so on. Users are much more likely to engage with you if you engage with them. On the other hand, if you ignore them, you probably won’t experience the same engagement rewards.
Create a membership program. Membership provides a sense of exclusivity. And people all want to belong. If you offer a membership status, especially one that confers certain benefits, people are more likely to stay engaged with your site and your content.
Gamify. Run contests, do polls, and use video game elements to make the membership fun and interesting. For instance, members who read a certain number of articles, visit a certain number of times per week, or leave a certain number of comments could all receive rewards or badges based on those achievements.
Email to your users regularly. Email lists are the key to successful online marketing. When you keep users updated, they are less likely to drift off or forget about your site. Even if they don’t visit your site directly, an email conveniently delivered to their inbox can bring your website to them.
Whether you’re running a blog, a wiki, or even a smaller static site, user engagement is key to monetization. These tips will help you keep visitors engaged, so your website can achieve its business objectives, whatever they may be.