Once visitors have made the choice to visit your site, they must make a conscious effort to remain on your site while the distractions of the world pull at them. As a site owner, visitors who are engaged are worth more because they are more like to share content, sign up for an email list, or tell others about your site. It’s important to create a site that not only attracts readers but keeps them. Before we get into ways you can keep visitors retained on your site, it’s important to know the metrics that concern engagement.
First, number of visits per visit and site visit duration.
(Easily tracked in Google Analytics) It’s vital to not only track pages per visit, but also how long visitors remain on your site. If people are visiting lots of pages, but the time on site is short, that means your content isn’t being read.
Second, Percentage New Visitors.
Are people finding your site for the first time or coming back often? While it is important to get new visitors (especially when your site is new), it’s more important to know how often people are coming back. A site that gets lots of return visits is doing something right.
6 Ways You Can Increase Engagement Today
1. Analyze How Users Flow Through Your Site
Look for drop-off points. For content sites, posts can be black holes where readers go to never come back. Check to see if certain pages on your site aren’t engaging users enough to retain them and test new ways of keeping users on the site after those pages.
2. Embed Videos (Below the Fold)
The bottom of text-based posts and informational articles is the perfect place to add fun content in the form of videos. Think about it, video is a great way to break up text content without distracting the reader from your site.
3. Reduce the Number of Choices
Whether it’s the number of related articles at the bottom of a post or how many e-books you’re giving away in return for an email subscriber, giving less choices almost always leads to more action. Here’s why…
Sheena Iyengar from Columbia University set up a table laden with jams outside of an upscale grocery store in Menlo Park, CA. Over a period of two consecutive Saturdays, research assistants dressed up as store employees and offered samples of either 6 or 24 flavors of Wilkin and Sons Jams, a British jelly purveyor known for exotic flavors.
Prior to this study, the common marketing theory was that more choices are better for customers. People like more options, so providing more flavors should lead to more sales.
The results from this study proved otherwise.
During the time periods when 24 flavors were offered, 60% of people stopped to sample the jams, compared to 40% when only 6 flavors were offered. These numbers seem in favor of more choices, but the important question is this: which group purchased more?
Of the customers who sampled 24 flavors, only 3% purchased, but of the customers who sampled 6, 30% did the same.
If you run those numbers based on 100 people, 60 would stop when 24 flavors were offered, but less than 2 purchase (1.8 to be exact). When 6 flavors were sampled, 40 stopped at the table, and 12 purchased.
Sometimes less is more. Fewer options leads to more sales, more clicks, and ultimately more engagement in the long run. Test your site for clutter, make sure you aren’t giving users too many options.
4. Write Better Headlines, 80% of People Only Care About the Headline
A large majority of people admit to letting headlines influence their decision to read or not read articles. Check out this article on CopyBlogger for the ultimate guide to writing headlines. (hint, it’s much simpler than you think)
5. Watch Strangers Use Your Site (Your Friends Don’t Count as Strangers)
Sites like usertesting.com will allow you to do this. It’s amazing how we become jaded to the problems in our own sites after working on them every day. Little problems like color issues or menu navigation aren’t a big deal when you’ve learned to work around them, but to a new user, small problems can mean leaving your site prematurely.
6. Add Fun Quizzes to Your Content (LIke, Say, Interact Quizzes)
It’s really difficult to converse with your readers in a real way when you’re the one doing all the talking. Interact quizzes let your visitors give their own opinion and see how they can do on a quiz you make.