If you’ve been following our best practices in web design series, you know there are quite a few rules governing what makes a business’s website stand out from the competition. In part one, we covered messaging and content, and in part two, we covered design and navigation. In our final entry, we’re going to dive into one of the best ways to use your website to engage your audience, as well as one big website turn-off that will send visitors fleeing back to Google.
Getting visitors on your website in the first place is hard enough, but keeping them there is equally difficult. If you look at your website analytics, you can see the bounce rate of site visitors. The bounce rate shows who leaves your site without visiting any pages other than the one they landed on, and the time they spend on your website before leaving. To lower your bounce rate and raise your visitor session time, consider these two best practices:
Engage Visitors With Interactive Features
A website visit is a two-way conversation between your business and a potential customer. Keeping your website fresh, making information dynamic and removing outdated information are the keys to enhancing website interactivity.
For example, a calendar feed on your homepage alerts visitors to upcoming events — preventing stale, outdated events pages from staying up for months and making your business look inactive and indifferent. A live reviews feed pulls from trusted sources, such as Yelp or Trip Advisor, using social proof to give visitors confidence that your business can meet their needs.
Social media feeds are also very effective, so long as you regularly update your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. They not only make your website look fresh and active but also drive traffic by including links to different areas of your website, such as your blog, that a visitor may not have sought out just by coming on your website off Google.
To further engage visitors and keep them on your site, you can also implement a chatbot or live chat feature to answer questions about your business and help potential customers make the decision to purchase. Chatbots work off of a prepopulated list of answers to the most common questions prospects tend to ask. They are cost-effective, efficient and engaging. Live chats can be integrated in a number of ways, including messaging systems already being used by your audience, such as Facebook Messenger.
Read more about why your website needs a chatbot
What we are also starting to see more of are pop-ups that trigger when the browser senses that a visitor is about to leave the website. The pop-up encourages them to stay by providing an offer for a free demo, a coupon or some other incentive. They can be very effective at conversion.
To see how one of our clients leveraged interactivity, click here to view Oro Lomo Sanitary District’s website redesign. Their homepage includes event calendar and news feeds that keep visitors up to date and informed. They also link to a gallery that shows off submissions to their popular annual school poster contest, directing visitors to engaging content and keeping them on their website for longer. Their site is also responsive, which further decreases the bounce rate of mobile device users.
Eliminate Technical Issues
We’ve told you what keeps visitors on your site, but what about the biggest thing driving them away? That would be technical issues. Potential customers leave your website when it loads slowly, uses plugins that aren’t supported anymore, contains links that don’t work and is just plain difficult to use.
Internet speeds are getting faster, and our overall patience is getting shorter. To increase website load times, make sure you optimize your images, don’t use auto-playing videos on your homepage, update your plugins regularly if you use WordPress and keep your pages on the shorter side. It’s better to link to other pages than to have a page that seems like it goes on forever — and takes just as long to load. You can check your site’s current load times with services such as Pingdom.
As for broken links, those not only are incredibly frustrating for visitors but also negatively impact your SEO ranking. It’s important to leverage a tool that scans your website and informs you of any broken links.
There’s also a trust factor with website users. It seems like every day there is news about another data breach exposing customer information. Users are concerned about security, which means anything you can do to assure them your website can be trusted will keep them from bouncing off. Adding an SSL certificate is one important way to boost your website security and show visitors you’re serious about protecting their information. (Click here to learn more about why you need an SSL certificate.)
Lastly, a technical issue you may not have considered is ADA compliance. Meeting the needs of those with disabilities includes, for example, designing your website in a way that is accessible to those who use reader tools to listen to the content on a web page. Many health care organizations, nonprofits and government agencies must be ADA compliant to receive funding. Plus, no matter what industry you’re in, your customers may include those with disabilities, and excluding them is never worthwhile when you can easily make your website accessible.
For a website redesigned with accessibility in mind, look at Pinal Gila's Head Start program. The nonprofit wanted to make their website more accessible to the community and easier to find information and resources. We streamlined their site navigation, formatted the copy for better readability and added multi-language translation functionality.
Make Your New Website Irresistible
Is your website up to date, interactive and easy to use? Is your content engaging and your design attractive? We’ve gone through our eight best practices in web design (read part one and part two), and if you’ve seen room for improvement with your website, it’s time to get started.
Wipfli Web Marketing specializes in designing engaging, targeted websites that turn prospects into customers. Contact us today to learn more.