San Diego, CA (PRWEB) September 17, 2013
Attracting visitors to a business website is only half the battle. The real goal is making those visitors interested in exploring all that the business site has to offer. According to findings recently announced in the Google Benchmarking Report, this is an ongoing challenge for small business websites. In 2012, the Benchmarking Report notes, the global bounce rate was 47% (average bounce rate in the U.S. was 42.5%), with visitors averaging 5 minutes and 23 seconds on any given website.
Keeping visitors engaged on your site significantly increases the odds that they will sign up for a free newsletter, take advantage of a special offer or promotion and move closer to the ultimate decision to purchase. But, says Jeremy Durant, Business Principal at Bop Design, a San Diego web design agency, “This is only possible if you’ve done everything you can to engage visitors and give them a good reason to stick around.”
Virtually all web visitors make the decision to stay or go within seconds of clicking on a business’s home page. So how can businesses more fully engage prospective clients?
Make things easy. “Your website should be designed specifically from the user’s perspective,” Durant advises. Content should be easy to read (actually, easy to scan)—with boldface headlines, bullet points, call-out quotes, etc. Navigation should be intuitive and logical, one page leading to another in a way that makes sense to the user. Sub-pages should be categorized in a coherent way and simple to find from anywhere on the site.
No glitches or “404 errors” allowed. All it takes is one bad link to frustrate a visitor and send her elsewhere. Take time to do a comprehensive “check-up,” eliminating any duplicate page titles and “Page not found” error messages.
Give something away. Content of value should be immediately accessible (and prominently displayed in order to catch the user’s eye). This can include anything from brief “how-to” pieces to blog posts relating to topics of interest to prospective clients. From there, reward visitors who agree to provide their email address by offering material of even greater value—for example, an in-depth white paper or PDF addressing an issue of concern to those in your field.
Focus on compelling content. When it comes to creating content for your site, what’s the cardinal rule? Don’t be boring. “Whatever business you and your clients are in, there are always inventive ways to make the topics more interesting,” Durant says. “You just have to use your imagination.” One suggestion: Use stories and personal anecdotes to make content come alive.
Keep content dynamic. The most engaging websites offer content and images that are always changing. Use such devices as sidebars that can load new content every other day. Offer customer surveys. Feature videos and photos. Compile a list of “Recently Featured” or “Most Popular Links” that draw visitors deeper into the site. People are always interested in what other people are looking at. Another great idea: Add two or three “recommended articles” to the end of each post or feature, encouraging visitors to stick around longer.
Think links. As content accumulates on the site—with articles, blog posts, client surveys, etc.—create internal links to archival material elsewhere on the site. Be judicious in the number of links included in any given pieces. And make sure those links take visitors to a page directly related to where they started (or matching the keyword they click on). Nothing aggravates users more than clicking on an internal link that takes them to an unwanted sign-up form.
Make content easy to share. Social media icons (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) are a dependable way to engage visitors. “Make it easy to share your content on social networks and let people know how many likes, tweets and comments your content is generating,” Durant says. “This will make visitors curious about learning more.”
It requires time and energy to maintain an engaging website. But the pay-off—in terms of time spent on the site, pages seen per visit, bounce rates and search engine rankings—is well worth the effort.
Bop Design is a San Diego web design agency with offices also in the New York metro area. We express a business values through branding, advertising, design and web design. We also help attract a firm's ideal customer through search engine optimization and search engine marketing. The marketing firm's focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace.