Your website is a vital cog in your marketing machine, so the ability to engage your audience and convince them to interact with your website will have a powerful effect on your online conversion rates.
I spend a lot of time looking at websites. Whether that’s searching the net looking for new content and information, critiquing people’s websites or working on our clients sites, I’m always online. And I have to say 95% of all the websites I visit are rubbish – horrible to look at, broken links, missing images, no user engagement, I could go on and on. Sure, there are some great websites out there but they’re much harder to find. You’ll notice when you do stumble across a good website, you tend to spend more time on the site without consciously thinking about it…you’re engaged and you want to know more, but why?
There are a few fundamental things all good websites have in common. Let me tell you what they are.
Design does matter
If I go to a poorly designed website with pixelated images, horrible colours, horrible fonts and poor alignment, I’m instantly distracted by the look and feel of the site. In fact, if the site is that bad I subconsciously judge that the company is either small or is not bothered about their public image.
I recently reviewed a company specialising in train refurbishment. This is a BIG company, over 70 staff turning over £10 million a year but their website suggested they were working out of their parent’s basement. In no way did it showcase the company’s experience and expertise, but not only that, it was losing them potential clients. It’s something I see ALL the time.
You only have 8 seconds to make the right first impression. Make it a good one.
Mix up the layout a bit
Have you ever gone to a website that’s got the same sidebar on every page that runs for infinite scrolls? The same old sign up boxes, the same related blog posts blah blah blah. Boring! By mixing up the layout of your pages and serving different content that relates to the page content you are on with different colours or words will be instantly more engaged because the design has changed and the brain has to process something new (a bit of science for you) and the content isn’t the same as the last 10 pages they’ve looked at.
People buy from people and if you can talk to and relate to the visitor of your site, the more interested people will be in your business and what you have to offer. Get yourself some good quality pics taken of yourself and the team and get them around the site. Stock imagery does serve a purpose but don’t use the same good looking brunette holding a phone that every other site uses.
The content you want people to read needs to be easy to find, useful to the user and not over complicated. Studies show people read content differently on a website than they do a newsletter or article.
If they see a page with tons of copy they will usually move on looking for shorter chunks of information to digest. If you are selling a product or service and have a sales page with the only purpose of the page being to sell, you can get away with a lot of copy as long as it’s engaging and offers a benefit to the reader.
Video, is without a doubt one of the most engaging tools you can put on your website. Why? Because the simple sound of a human voice speaking to us has an amazing way of converting information into meaningful content, and the movement certainly grabs people’s attention.
It’s been built into our DNA since the Stone Age, we’ve survived by noticing things in motion – looks like we still do! People are also lazy, we naturally find video easier to consume than trawling through masses of copy.
Just throwing any old video on your website won’t work, though. Filming in your living room wearing your comfy clothes with EastEnders playing on the 42inch just won’t cut it. It needs to be professionally put together to deliver your message in a unique and personalised way.
Navigation & Calls to actions
Can people find their way around your website quickly and easily? Does the content they’ve found link them to the service, product or the information you want them to go to?
A common mistake I see with many websites is that they simply rely on the top navigation bar only. It’s better to use multiple points of navigation around your site, as it will enable users to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and easily, without even having to think about it.
You also need to tell people what you want them to do on your website and why. A good call to action isn’t salesy, it simply backs up the content to help you to get the user to either click the button or to give you a call.
Ever heard the term mobile responsive? What does this mean? Basically, how your website looks on a mobile phone, does it respond to the screen size of the device it’s being used on or do you have to pinch and zoom on your phone to view the content? By making your website responsive to the device the user is looking at it on this will give them a much more enjoyable browsing experience on your site allowing them to find and read the content they are looking for. This will bring them back to your site again and again. If you’d like to find out more about responsive websites you can check out our more detailed post here.
So to make your website engaging you need it to look nice, to be easy to get around, to be mobile friendly, personable and your content needs to be interesting and have some personality. All of these things can make a huge difference to your website and your conversions.
Have a Great Day
PS. We’d love to hear what you think makes a website more engaging or if you’ve had any success with implementing any of the points we mention. Please leave a comment below or drop me an email at [email protected] and I promise to get back to you as soon as I can.