Getting visitors to your website is good, but it is definitely not good enough. When users arrive, the objective becomes to have them engage, explore, and most importantly, absorb the content within your website. Content absorption equals success because not only will the visitors remember the information for themselves, they will be more likely to tell others about it! So how is this success achieved? We’ve narrowed down the top three attributes that make a website both engaging and easy to absorb.
- Aesthetically pleasing design. Eye catching design does much more than make a website “look pretty.” Research shows that there is a direct relationship between web design quality and a user’s trust of the information presented on the website. A professionally designed layout will highlight the most relevant content and enable users to engage with the website in a variety of ways, be it looking at an online gallery, signing up for a newsletter or filling out a contact request form. In contrast, outdated and cluttered designs are known to have a significant negative impact on website performance, as they cause bounce rates (users immediately clicking away) to be high.
- Sound site structure. A main navigation that organizes website information in a logical manner is crucial for a user friendly website. Visitors must be able to easily find the pages that offer answers they are looking for, and no sub-page should be more than three clicks away. In other words, there is no reason why a website should have pages buried deeper than the tertiary navigation. On a related note, visitors are more likely to engage with your website when they are presented with clear instructions. So, go ahead and try including CTAs, subscription forms, links to resources, downloadable documents and submission buttons. Don’t forget to pair them up with explicit directions indicating what is expected of visitors.
- Continuous content updates. A beautiful design that also offers an enjoyable user experience will prove effective in engaging visitors the first time they click through your website. However, most businesses and organizations would agree that return visits are a desirable outcome, if not a goal. In order to keep visitors coming back, your website must offer something valuable. For instance, product pages may offer the option to sign up for updates. Calendars may allow for event registration. Newsletters and blogs may invite visitors to become subscribers. The possibilities are endless. The key is to identify what content visitors find valuable and communicate to them that they can come back to your website and find more.
It is quite evident that first impressions matter when it comes to websites and visitor engagement. Take a few minutes and click through your website. If any of the elements mentioned above are missing, there is no need to panic. It’s never too late to take a step in the right direction and make sure that your website visitors are having the best possible experience.