Engaging your site visitors
Even though this post is primarily targeted at ecommerce, it’s worth a read for anyone with an online presence. Ever struggled with this issue? You might be an already established brand or a startup, and you’re already well set with your marketing and SEO, but chances are at some point you’ve thought “My site may be search engine bot friendly and marketing is top notch, but how are my visitors experiencing my site?” and you were right to.
Because site engagement is what makes the difference between a one-time customer and a new member of your brand community. In this post, we’re going to approach this in two parts: first we’re going to talk about a few points to help you engage your visitors and then after we’re going to talk about how to measure engagement on your website.
Tell us what you’re about
I will with confidence state that every site needs an “About” page or section, in some form or another. Telling your visitors about you or your brand is what makes it more personal and trustworthy, because people engage with people. If you need some help with creating an “About” page, Neil Patel has a thorough guide on “about” pages in general. But if there’s one thing you should take away from this, it’s that your “About” page should be about the visitor, not the site. Which means forget about SEO, metatags, and trying to stuff slogans and keywords in there. Focus on what information you think your visitor would like to know about.
Now, This point is leaning less towards the website, and more towards brand marketing, but it’s also an effective method and further builds on your brand (and thereby also your site’s) trustworthiness. I’m talking about brand ambassadors and you know what I’m talking about, even if you don’t think you know, because whether you’ve noticed or not, you’ve most likely seen them. Have you ever seen commercials, billboards etc. with celebrities? Nike and Adidas use popular athletes, Chanel and Dior use popular actors and supermodels. Those are brand ambassadors. By using familiar faces as your brand ambassador, visitors will see your brand as more trustworthy. Now if you’re a startup you must be thinking something in the lines of “how would I ever be able to get a celebrity, athlete or supermodel to be a face for my brand?”. Good news. You don’t have to. You just need people with outreach. And where can you find that? On social media. There are tons of people out there who run blogs and Instagram profiles, with outreach. You might not reach as many as Nike and Chanel, but with a few posts and pictures promoting your brand in exchange for ROI or some sponsored products, these people can get you up on somewhere between a few thousand and a few hundred thousand visitors depending on the volume of followers.
Building a community
A lot of sites lack interaction. By creating a space for interaction, not only between your site and the visitor, but also visitor to visitor, by creating a form of forum or comment sections. This way, if you’ve created a great site with a lot of commenters, it’s going to be though for you to answer every single comment, but other visitors will be able to, through your community. By being recognized, visitors will feel more part of the site and more inclined to become returning visitors.
I know what you’re thinking. Sending newsletters is a dying trend. I would argue, but our thoughts on the matter don’t matter, what matters is their ability to bring visitors back to your site. Therefore, creating newsletters that visitors can sign up for on your site, can be a helpful tool to drive visitors back to your site whenever you have important news or great deals to share, maybe even some that are exclusive to subscribers. A free platform you can use is Mailchimp, for which there exists easy to use plugins for your site if you’re using a common framework, like WordPress or Joomla, but it also offers more advanced tools if you’re a bit more experienced.
So, how do we measure if our work actually makes a difference for visitor engagement?
Google Analytics is a free service offered by google, all you need is a google account. You can read a bit more about Google Analytics in a previous article, if you’re not familiar with it. You can connect your website to Google Analytics through different plugins or by inserting a tracking code generated on your Google Analytics account in your, I suggest using MonsterInsight for WordPress if you’re an inexperienced user, it allows you to see simple data in your backend, and you can visit analytics.google.com if you’d like to see more in depth data. Google Analytics allows you to see the average amount of time your user is “engaged” on your site, but also for individual pages. You can also see which pages get the most visits and which are never visited. That is a smart tool for you to use to get an idea of what your users generally like and don’t like, and if there are pages with higher exit rates, that bring the average engagement on your site down. If the exit rate is significantly higher on some pages, you will know that you’re doing something wrong on those pages. You can also see whether people are being referred to your site from another site or social media. Maybe you’re getting many referrals from you Facebook page, but your LinkedIn is basically inactive, then you can take a look at what you can to create more activity on your LinkedIn page.
Your take away
on visitor engagement should be that there are a lot of good ideas, both mentioned in this article and on the internet, and they’re easy to implement, but often overlooked. Try for yourself and share this post, if it made a difference.