How to Use Website Design to Inspire Your Visitors to Engage

When it comes to your website, the goal must be engagement, not just traffic. What’s the point of driving hundreds or thousands of visitors to your website if they just turn around and leave? Your website’s design plays a large role in either connecting or deterring people from engaging with your business online. No matter your design preference or industry, there are a few tools, tricks and tips you can use to help increase visitor engagement and create a website that works for you and more importantly your visitors!

If you’re starting from scratch, don’t fret. You don’t need to have extensive web design experience to actually create a website that can carry your business. You can take advantage of web building services that offer all-inclusive plans~from domain creation to layout optimization. These days, more and more businesses prefer to use pre-built templates designed by industry professionals. These templates have been tried and tested to yield results, so your knowledge of web design (or lack thereof) shouldn’t be an issue. You can easily customize them yourself based on your business needs and create an aesthetic that fits your brand identity.

As business owners we have our own ideas of the way we want our website to look and feel. Our site is a direct reflection of our brand and a place to showcase our company mission to the world. But our websites are not for us, they are for our customers and prospects. Before ever contacting your company or small business, a majority of people will first visit your website. So let’s take a look at how to optimize our websites to ensure better engagement.

Creating Your Baseline

engaement bounce rateTracking how your website is performing is essential. Google Analytics is a free tool that many site owners have enabled, but very few ever look at, much less understand. Understanding the metrics is key to determining what to do next. One of the most important factors in determining whether or not your visitors are engaging is the bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. Statistics show that you have very little time to engage visitors. In fact, a stunning 55% spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page.Tony Haile.

In order to transform your website from an online brochure into an active marketing and sales tool, engagement is the key. If your site has a bounce rate of 70% or more, you should take a hard look at your design. Below are a few baseline metrics for bounce rates according to industry.

Product Information Pages

  • Minimum Bounce Rate ~ 3.24%
  • Maximum Bounce Rate ~ 50%
  • Average Bounce Rate ~ 33.03%

Lead Generation Sites

  • Minimum Bounce Rate ~ 5.24%
  • Maximum Bounce Rate ~ 81%
  • Average Bounce Rate ~ 47.38%

Web Stores and E-Commerce Sites

  • Minimum Bounce Rate ~ 14.3%
  • Maximum Bounce Rate ~ 68%
  • Average Bounce Rate ~ 33.9%

News and Media Sites

  • Minimum Bounce Rate ~ 25%
  • Maximum Bounce Rate ~ 81.4%
  • Average Bounce Rate ~ 55.56%

Other Types of Sites

  • Minimum Bounce Rate ~ 13%
  • Maximum Bounce Rate ~ 85%
  • Average Bounce Rate ~ 41.13%

By looking at these numbers, you can set your own target baseline for what you consider an allowable bounce rate for your website. This way, it’s easier to determine which pages are irrelevant, confusing, or difficult to use for your visitors.

Determining the Issues

Once you have established that you have an engagement issue with your site, what’s next? While Google Analytics does give a ton of great data, it leaves many of the next steps open for interpretation. Engagement has to do with the user and their behavior on our site. The statistics tell a story, just not the whole story. To truly understand how and where your users are falling off, we need a better tool. This is where Hotjar comes in. There are a few other great heat mapping tools out there, but after our research, we found this tool simply offers more features at a much better price! (Sign up for free here)

In a nutshell, a website heat mapping tool creates a visual click map that breaks down the patterns of your users’ mouse activity. It monitors clicks, taps, and scrolls that land on different pages of your website. Using Hotjar you can see how real users are interacting with your site. One of the best features is the recording tool. This logs user visits for you to go back and watch later. Focus on the visits that leave quickly and compare them to the ones that engage. Take notes and see if you can find any patterns.

A Growth Driven Solution

The old way of “setting it and forgetting it” no longer works when it comes to having a website. With over 644 million websites out there, why should a user engage with yours? Creating an experience that engages the users and drives them to take action is what sets the growing companies apart from the ones falling behind.

Growth Driven Design is the process of building and growing your site around your users. Unlike the traditional approach of launching a full-blown website at once, the growth-driven design uses an incomplete launchpad website and uses data from web analytics to make regular touch-ups. By analyzing where your site is failing and succeeding, you can tweak and change your design to better fit your visitors’ needs. If you think about it, it’s easier to follow your users’ behavior and give them what they seek instead of continuously trying to convince them to accept what you’re offering. The main thing to remember here is that you’re never done. Your site is a living and breathing part of your business, and it’s time to start treating it that way!

Humans are visual. Good design moves us to engage and take action. If your website is not working for you, it’s time to take a look under the hood. Use Google Analytics, or whatever other analytics tool you use, to understand if your users are engaging. Try Hotjar and get a real look at how your users are actually using your website. Finally, embrace a growth-driven solution to your problem. Your website is for your users so it needs to be designed in a way that encourages them to connect. Increase your engagement, and you’ll increase your conversions.

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Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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