It’s not enough to boost traffic to your site—website owners should do their best to keep visitors engaged. Especially when it comes to eCommerce websites.
According to Gallup, it’s engaged customers who represent a 23% premium in terms of wallet share, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared to an average customer.
The more engaged your users are, the higher are the chances they will buy from you or use your services.
What user engagement actually is, why it matters so much, and how to keep visitors engaged—explained in this guide.
Why User Engagement Even Matters?
Let’s start with the basics. User or customer engagement is a degree showing how much time users spend on your website.
You can analyze the engagement rate by keeping track of interactions such as downloads, comments, shares, and other activities. There’s no universal set of metrics for user engagement. It differs depending on the type of your site:
- For blogs, media resources, and news portals it’s pages per visit and engagement time
- For sites that sell goods and services, it’s conversion rate and core actions
- For eCommerce websites, it’s clicks on ‘Add to cart’ and the number of item views
But customer engagement strategies are often much more than customer data you collect and analyze. It’s an emotional connection to your brand. You can’t make an engaging website in two days as custom engagement is a long-term set of actions.
Here’s why user engagement matters:
- Executives believe that more customer engagement leads to improved customer loyalty (80%), increased revenue (76%), and profits (75%).
- 64% of customers want tailored engagements based on their past interactions with the company.
- 80% of customers are willing to do business with companies that provide personalized user experience.
- Loyal customers = customers who spread the word about your company. Word-of-mouth marketing is still popular: 86% of customers trust such reviews (source: Referral Candy).
It’s hard to capture users’ interest these days, not to mention turning visitors into engaged users. You need to work for months to let people know your site even exists.
And if people don’t like something on your website, they will switch to another one. The most common reasons for such ‘switches’ are poor design, irrelevant content, and huge loading time.
5 Ways to Increase User Engagement
Here I’m sharing a few tricks that can help you increase user engagement on a website.
#1. Reduce Website Loading Time
According to Kissmetrics, 40% of users will leave a site that loads for 3 seconds or longer.
If your sire loads for three seconds or more, you lose almost half of your visitors before people even get to see your site.
People hate slow websites, I hate slow websites, and Google does, too. Google monitors your site speed and takes it into consideration when ranking websites. So the load times also influence how easily people can find your site in the first place.
Start with measuring your current site speed. There’s a ton of services that can help like:
After you’ve checked the loading speed, try figuring out what makes the web page load slow. It could happen for many reasons, from server loading time to the size of images. Or maybe it’s your hosting provider who is not up for the job.
#2. Make Your Website Mobile-Adapted
These days, mobile devices are even more important than desktops:
- On mobile devices, conversions have grown by 64% compared to desktops
- Nearly 3/4 of the world will use only smartphones to access the internet by 2025
- In 2021, 72.9% of all purchases will be done from smartphones
Great reasons to not forget about your mobile users. You need to pay attention to how your website loads and how it looks on smartphones or tablets.
There are three popular approaches:
- Making a responsive website design
- Creating an adaptive web design
- Focusing on mobile-first design
The point is to make your website look good on various mobile devices. But these approaches are a bit different:
- Responsive design. The layout of your website is either shrinking or expanding, depending on the display width.
- Adaptive design. The website is made of several layouts; each has a different placement of elements tailored for various screen sizes.
The difference between responsive and adaptive design:
Though these two are very similar, on a responsive website, the content is fixed in size. While in adaptive design, it changes dynamically.
The mobile-first approach is excellent if you decide to completely redesign your website. Still, website design cost in this case will be higher than the average.
In this case, mobile devices’ design comes first, and then it is adjusted for desktops. Not vice versa, like with the responsive or adaptive design.
The mobile-first approach makes sense if you plan to launch a new project or redesign an old one.
Why is the mobile-first approach good? First, it’s because of Google. The search engine is now scoring mobile websites more closely to understand how to rank them.
Second, the mobile-first design encourages fast access to your content. The fewer elements are on the page, the quicker this page loads. And given that each second of delay leads to a 7% decrease in conversion, you should at least consider this approach.
Here’s the mobile-first design of Chicago Tribune, one of the first media to accept the approach:
#3. Make a Bet on Content Marketing
Let’s say your website is well-designed, adapted for mobile devices, and runs with lightning speed. Great start for capturing users’ attention!
But all your efforts are worth nothing if there’s no engaging content that’ll keep visitors on your site.
Let’s see how you can correct this.
- Focus on your audience
Define your buyer personas. How old are they? What do they read about? What social networks do they use? Don’t write only about trendy stuff; focus on content that’ll bring value to your customers. Trends come and go, while good content is always popular.
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Here’s an example of a buyer persona card:
Make sure your articles, videos, or whatever format you use are of any interest to your target audience. The content must solve your customers’ problems, be useful, and engaging.
A good way to figure out trendy topics is to use Google Analytics. Also, take a peek at your competitors from time to time.
- Optimize your text for search engines
You should make content for people, not search engines. Which doesn’t mean you can completely forget about SEO optimization, though. By optimizing your website content for Google and other search engines, you make more people know about your website.
Always use only relevant keys and practice white-hat SEO. If users search for ‘how to choose a car’, they expect to see a guide, not ads.
- Create useful content
Attract interest by catchy headlines and engaging texts. Don’t forget about illustrations (especially if we’re talking about long reads). Use images, gifs, screenshots, add lots of examples, and always confirm facts with a source link.
The golden rule of content marketing: it’s always quality over quantity. Leave complex sentences and academic words where they belong—at the academy.
Some great eCommerce blogs for inspiration:
#4. Make Navigating Easy
Let’s imagine a user likes your article and wants to learn more about your company. If the navigation’s working right, there won’t be any trouble with switching to another article or ‘About us’ page.
For example, in their case study, Ninja Outreach explained how they used internal links to help boost organic traffic by 40%.
When there are lots of internal links pointing to a page, Google understands that the page is important.
To make it work, consider these things:
- Links to related content. Increases the number of web pages users look through and the amount of time they spend on your website. If you’re making a blog, show related articles. If you run an eCommerce website, similar items will help users see more products and find the best one.
- Internal linking. Helps with navigation and defines the site’s architecture. Add a navigation bar with the most needed pages—Homepage, Services, About us, Contacts.
#5. Interact With Your Users
User engagement doesn’t work without interactions. Here’s what you can do:
- Add a live chat
That’s how you provide users with ongoing support—answer their questions, help to make orders, and look into the issues they have with your website.
Mind that users expect answers 24/7. Otherwise, your live chat won’t be effective. Especially when it comes to emotional purchases.
You may also collect common questions and requests in chats—they will serve your content plan. For example, if users often ask which smartphone has the best camera—Samsung Galaxy S10 or iPhone 11 Pro, maybe you need to make a comparison.
- Add social media buttons
Let customers share your website content on Twitter or Facebook. This will not only help you find the most loyal customers but make more people know about your services or products.
If your website allows registration or commenting, let users sign in with the help of their social media accounts.
- Add comments
Comments are great for sharing opinions and driving engagement. Just don’t forget to respond to questions or suggestions posted!
Thank the most active users for their contribution—make giveaways, special offers, or provide them with coupons.
Engaged users bring a lot to your company and brand. But to create an engagement plan, you need to know your audience well. There’s no universal recipe, just best practices, testing, and analyzing over and over again.
Vitaly Kuprenko is a tech writer at Cleveroad, which is a mobile & web app development company in Ukraine. Vitaly enjoys telling about startups, tech innovations, and digital ways to boost businesses.