In a nutshell, running a website is very similar to running a restaurant. If you want to stimulate people to visit your establishment more than once and try out your goods, you need to think about everything; all the smallest details.
These details are usually the ones that make or break businesses, both online and offline.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m selecting a restaurant for lunch I don’t just focus on the quality of the food. Sure, I won’t eat garbage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m willing sit in a vermin infested hole just because it serves, for example, tasty lamb chops.
When I’m choosing a restaurant for dinner, I look at the ambience, quality of service, hygiene – basically everything that affects my overall dining experience.
The same goes for websites. It doesn’t really matter if a certain site offers quality content, I probably won’t come back to it if other elements aren’t to my liking. If the site is slow, ugly, and filled with dozens of highly interruptive ads and popups – I will immediately abandon ship and look for alternative resources where I can get the information I need, without being forced to tolerate things that are frustrating.
But this isn’t just me; this is basically how most people behave on the Internet today. Regardless of what you search for, there are literally thousands of different sites that basically offer the same things as you do on the Web. The competition is fierce these days, so it’s imperative that we as digital business owners focus on providing our visitors with less and less reasons to take their business or attention elsewhere.
This is where the whole idea of monitoring and controlling bounce rates comes to light.
What are Bounce Rates?
Before we can even conceptualize how to improve the quality of our site visits and provide users with enough reasons to keep coming back to our domain, we first need to understand bounce rates.
Bounce rates are a Google Analytics metric that measure the percentage of visitors that come to your website and leave after only viewing the page on which they have entered.
These metrics tell us precisely how successful is our website at retaining visitors. Through bounce rates, we can easily understand our overall visitor satisfaction. We can determine if the people who are coming to our site are finding the content useful and whether or not they are properly engaged to conduct any of our desired actions.
Having high bounce rates is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on the type of site you’re running. If you, for example, run a website that’s aggressive about making sales, then you probably don’t want to see your users going through a maze of content. No, you want them to land on your page, take a call to action, and move on.
If that isn’t the case, however; then you may have to start worrying about the number of people leaving your site after a single page viewing.
Even though bounce rates are tricky to handle for most inexperienced online marketers and web administrators, there are still a couple of ways you can keep your site visitors in the loop and ensure that they visit your other web pages as well, before completing their session.
1. Produce “Contagious” Content
Apart from standard UX and UI tweaks, nothing can improve your bounce rates like quality content that’s built for the purpose of allocating traffic from one page to another.
This is always a good start. If you’re to produce “contagious” content that basically keeps the users engaged, you need to consult your Analytics account. Open your Google Analytics and start going through your Site Content and Pages.
Single out the results that have been generating the biggest numbers of views in the last 30 days and then focus on their bounce rates.
The idea here is to replicate their success. Sort the bounce rates from lowest to highest percentages by clicking on the column and then look at the results that are on top of your list. You should focus on those results that are under 50 percent.
If you focus on the results, you can easily determine which content leads your visitors to more pages on your website and which is the first and last they see before ending their session. From there, you can also register which pages need improving and what type of content model should you be pursuing in order to spike up your visitor retainment numbers.
2. Add Links to Other Pages Within Your Website in Your Content
If you want to keep your visitors engaged, you need to provide them with material that has the ability to capture their attention. You cannot just write a single post and expect from them to organically start browsing through your previous pages. Of course, that sort of thing happens, but it cannot be left to a chance.
One of the best ways to stimulate your users to visit your other pages is to level up your internal linking structure. Don’t just overstuff your blog posts with links that have nothing to do with the content you’re promoting on a particular page. Create those so-called “content hubs” and feed your users with enough reasons to actually click on additional pages to learn more about a subject that got them interested to visit your site in the first place. The “if you liked this, you’re gonna love this” method can do wonders for your user site retention.
3. Focus On The User – Don’t Go for The Hard Sell
Regardless of what you do or sell online, you cannot just bombard your users with “buy now,” “click here,” and “sign-up” call-to-action buttons. Sure, your end goal is always to make money and get as many site visitors as you can to become your actual paying customers, but in this day and age, getting people to convert is not an easy task. We live in a day and age of intelligent shoppers. If you want people to buy your products, you cannot be aggressive about it. Today’s Internet users like to be wined and dined, before they conduct any of your desired actions.
That’s why some of the most successful brands today do their best to allow their benefits to sell their products for them. If you’re running an online business, you need to understand that some of your ideal leads may not be just ready to purchase products, but they want to learn more about them.
Instead of feeding them with aggressive popups, banners, and sales-oriented content, try creating new site pages. Use product manuals, how-to guides, use cases, case studies, and success stories. Provide an actual reason to your potential clientele to stay on your site and go through the material that can truly be of some genuine help in forming their decisions to buy your products and services. Otherwise, they’ll look for the thing they need on some other site.
4. Make Good Use of the Sidebar
If you want to keep your users on your site, first and foremost your need to think about what actually pops in front of them when they land on your site or pages. Even though most people don’t really think about them, sidebars are extremely powerful tools for those who are interested in keeping their targeted audiences in the loop.
If your design comes with a sidebar that runs all the way through your site, you can use it to your advantage. Make sure to fill your sidebar with links that your users would be interested in pursuing.
To be frank, a new visitor could end up on any page of your website without knowing anything about your or your company. Wouldn’t it be smart if you had an About Me page linked to the sidebar, so when new people visit, they could easily learn everything they need to know about you, your products, and services?
You could also add guides to your sidebar, or even top post, best products, etc. Basically anything that could instantly get your users to pages that matter the most.
5. Work on Your Branding
As you probably know, 99 percent of people adore stories. For most of us, it’s far easier to remember a compelling story than a sequence of numbers. That’s why quality branding and storytelling is something that demands serious work. If you want to stimulate your users to keep coming back to your site, you need to be transparent with who you are and what you do. You need to make your story public, so that your site visitors can instantly get a fill of your uniqueness and overall value.
Storytelling can bring your brand to life. If you want to make your story a magnet for your potential users, you first need to recognize how people actually digest your content. Are they reading it, or just scanning it? If it’s the latter – then your need to come up with something that really stands out. You need to promote your story through subheadings and powerful images. Make it catchy and exciting. Display your banners and images in places where you know your visitors will be tempted to click on them.
Over to You
Thank you for taking the time to read this article from the beginning to the very end. I hope it helped you understand how to keep your site visitors engaged. That’s it for now. See you again soon!