Latest posts by Liz Hull
You’ve taken all the right steps to build an engaging website and draw get customers to your site. You’ve SEOed the living daylights out of your store. You’re writing regular blog posts, and you have solid metadata for every post, every product and every page.
Now that you’re finally getting the traffic you’ve fought so hard for, you recognize a new problem. Customers are leaving your site after just a few minutes or seconds. Some never even get beyond your landing page. They find your site, and then they just, well, bounce.
If you have particularly high bounce rates and exit rates, you need to consider a few new tactics to entice customers to stay on your page a bit longer. After all, customers can’t buy your products if they don’t stick around long enough to see what you have to offer.
Here are three ways to build an engaging website and keep your customer’s attention:
Dynamic web design
In order to engage your customers, your site has to be dynamic in every sense of the term. Not only should a site be navigable, it should also be visually appealing and intriguing. When you’re designing your website, make sure to consider the following.
Mobile responsive design
In order to have a sleek, stylish site, make sure that your web design is fully mobile responsive. Haven’t you heard? HTML5 is the new black. In years past, mobile responsive design was just a trendy feature; in 2017, it is a necessity.
According to a recent study by Salesforce, 47 percent of all online traffic comes from mobile devices, and 27 percent of orders are placed on those devices.
In order to harness that traffic, your site must be both attractive and fully functional on a small screen.
Fortunately, most e-commerce platforms have figured out the importance of mobile responsive design. Many cloud-based shopping carts, like Shopify and BigCommerce, offer an array of fully mobile responsive themes. Licensed options like Magento feature a community of web designers who sell themes on the platform’s marketplace. You just need to make sure the design you choose looks great on every device.
Aesthetically pleasing, image-focused pages
As social media becomes more and more image-focused, consumers expect all web pages to feature the compelling imagery they see on their Instagram feeds. Large, interesting pictures are a great way to snag the attention of your site’s visitors who are used to visual stimulation while browsing.
Of course, it’s always best for your images to depict your actual products and services. Invest in a photographer who can accurately and beautifully capture your highlighted products. If you don’t have enough available resources to hire a photographer (or if you need to fill a little empty space), try browsing through sites like Unsplash for free, beautiful images.
If a site doesn’t load within four seconds, potential customers are quick to direct their browsers elsewhere.
In order to capture those shoppers, you need to make sure your site loads before those four seconds elapse. There are many ways to go about this, including:
Utilizing a content delivery network (CDN)
A CDN (like Amazon CloudFront) is a system of servers located worldwide that stores your site’s information. When a customer goes to access your page, the most proximate server delivers your store’s files to their computer. Closer servers result in faster delivery times.
Prioritizing your loading
HTML loads from top to bottom, so you can rearrange your code to determine the order in which elements of your page load.
Arrange your HTML so that the most important aspects of your web page load first. Have everything “above the fold” (at the top of your web page) load before everything below the fold. You should also make sure that written content and products appear before less important images. Advertisements should be last to load.
Exit intent pop-ups
Full confession: I hate pop-ups. I hate them so much. So I was a little gleeful when Google announced it would penalize websites with annoying pop-ups on their mobile apps. That said, as much as I despise pop-ups (and as much as I hate myself for presenting them to you as an option), pop-ups work.
If you’re going to use pop-ups on your site, specifically exit intent pop-ups (which trigger when a customer’s mouse movement indicates they are leaving your site—see OptiMonk) you should at least try to make them as effective as possible. Here are a couple ideas:
Make your pop-ups page specific
Your pop-ups should always be relevant to the page your customer is leaving. Entice them to stay with an offer that would appeal to the type of person visiting your page.
For example, if a customer is navigating away from a product page, why not offer a discount before they leave? Or, if someone is skimming through your blog, invite them to join your email list so they can receive notifications when you publish new material.
Include a call to action
This is a basic of any type of promotion. Whether it’s on your site, in a marketing email or on an exit intent pop-up, you should always include an explicit call to action. Tell your visitors the next step they should take (and conveniently provide them with a button so they can complete that step).
Onward with engaging website content
As you begin making these changes, make sure you test out each new approach to find out what works. Monitor your traffic and bounce rates regularly (Google Analytics can help with that). Keep what works and ditch what doesn’t.
With a little luck (and lots of diligence), these tools will encourage your customers to take off their coats and stay for a while. Maybe they’ll stick around long enough to spot something they like and take it home with them. We can only hope.