[This article was written by Sarah Saker.]
Getting viewers to your website is one thing; keeping them there is another! The tips below may be basic, but as in sports, fundamentals count! Nail those and the fancy moves can come later with winning results!
Website Design Elements
When it comes to content, use quality and well thought out ideas. Keep ideas fresh, current, relevant, and put the most important information at the top of your home page. It is what users see first, and it will encourage them to follow the content to the lower portion.
Provide an abundance of information, offer exceptional service, and be overly helpful. To accomplish that, include an easy to find FAQs page, a site search tool, or hierarchy or category maps. All these tools build staying power for your guests since easily accessible info equals longer page views.
It’s been said before, but it still bears repeating: keep it simple! Use a white background for a clean look. Keep the amount of text low – cut to the chase and be intentional with what you want to communicate.
In the body of the text, give the reader’s eye a place to rest by using white space; insert extra lines between paragraphs. And, speaking of paragraphs, use shorter length (2-3 sentences). As needed, use subheadings, bulleted/numbered lists, bold or italicized keywords and phrases. It gives the viewer the ease of scanning your website to find what is most relevant to them.
Look professional: It sets you apart as reputable, trustworthy, and not spammy. A stress-free way to insure you have achieved this is to get visitor feedback, use quality photography & edited copywriting. If photography and copywriting are not your strong suit, invest in those services.
From page to page, keep design elements consistent, including fonts and colors. Choose a font and colors that are gentle to the eye and clear to any reader. Consider the visually impaired visitor and you’ll be on the right track.
Maximizing your website as a revenue stream is a fine idea, but you’ll need to be careful. Use minimal ads so that you maintain fast loading pages – test it – often. When you choose to monetize the site, remain considerate of user experience.
Know Your Audience
Providing quality content is most successful only if you know your audience. Define for yourself or your company who you want to reach, research where to find them, then tailor your message to them.
The best way to know who you’re talking to is to learn and watch your analytics. Look for trends to see what works and when. When you decipher the pattern, repeat it or decide on a rotation for repurposing the info. If you find missed opportunities, consider improving your message. Decide how to leverage the existing data, page views vs. retention stats, and the content favored by target audience.
Engaging Your Guests
When creating ways to hold users on your website, think: straightforward engagement. Clever techniques can be fun, but some viewers may not understand and think it is not user friendly. It could be considered exclusive and leave the site.
Everyone wants to standout online. Good. Do that. Be different, but not weird. There is a fine line to be sure. Using a distinctive colors or fonts is an effective way to do just that. Catch phrases or slogans can also achieve distinction and memorability.
Two common ways to further absorb viewers are through:
Shrewd use of multimedia formats are valuable tools for inviting guest retention on blogs and websites. Video is the most popular method while other mediums include slides, podcasts, image galleries, and infographics. These are all simple to make yourself and can be personalized or generalized as much or as little as fits your purpose.
If you choose not to make your own multimedia, always double check that they fit with your desired audience and that the information being portrayed is accurate. Scatter multimedia throughout the website and link to appropriate text.
Blogging continues to be a fantastic way to meet most needs of visitors to your site. The importance of the basics of blogging are much like the basics of a website; they warrant repeating:
- Make blogs longer than 500 words (800-900 avg) – remember to be overly helpful
- Keep topics relevant
- Start conversations – use questions, request for opinions, comments, feedback or controversial topics (with caution)
- Personalize your tone – if it’s fun to write, it’s fun to read
- Use in-site links and keep them obvious to the viewer – use related topic plug in tool(s), incorporate internal links and have them open in new pages, showcase top posts/pages, apply a comment redirect tool via Yoast,
- Make your contact info obvious
- Create a call to action
- direct users to specific, related topics or posts
- ask for comments on individual blog posts
- direct viewers to free videos, signups, services, alerts, etc.
- Respond to all questions and comments to build visitor trust
- Thank new followers – they like to be noticed
- Optimize your website for mobile traffic
- Check for 404 error messages and correct them immediately
Cover your bases by focusing on the fundamentals of website design, knowing your audience, analyzing your site data, and engaging guests with multimedia and quality blog posts. It ensures that visitors will want to stay on each page of your site longer. By staying, users will engage with you and purchase your product or services in a natural and organic way.
About the Author:
Sarah Saker is a business coach and freelance writer that specializes in helping SMBs setup processes for customer support and predictable growth. When not writing or coaching, Sarah can be found on her (small but growing!) family farm. Connect with Sarah on about.me/ssaker for coaching or writing help.