How to keep people on your website for longer

By Spectre Creative | 16th September 2019

How to keep people on your website for longer.

User retention is often overlooked. It’s assumed that because you have a website with some information on it that people will automatically be drawn to it. That isn’t the whole story, what you want to do is give people lots of compelling reasons to browse around your website.  You’ve put in all that fantastic and heroic effort to build a product or service, you want to maximise your chances for people to see what you have to offer. We’re going to cover some tactics for making your website content captivating and impossible to ignore.

Use Beautiful and Charming Design

Everybody loves great design, you don’t need to be an expert in design to recognise it. The design of your website is so important in demonstrating to your new potential customers that you are what you say you are. Your marketing only leads them to your website and once they are there it’s time to make an impression. Your website is your online shopfront and just like in the physical world if you walked into a shop and the decorations were bad or didn’t fit the service, you’d doubt the businesses quality and probably leave. Good design indicates to your customers that you care about quality and want to represent your business in the best possible light.

Give the people what they want

Have you ever landed on a website looking for something specific and thought, where is it? Why is this so hard to find? Do they not want me to buy the thing? Yes, we hate that feeling too. Just put the purpose of your business upfront. In journalism, they have a phrase for this: ‘don’t bury the lead’, basically put the content front and centre. A practical way to achieve this is to explain what the gist of your offer is at the top of your website’s landing page and if there is a specific call to action you want the visitor to take that should be clear and visible on that introduction. 

Useful and Interesting information

This seems obvious and straightforward, and it is. Respect people’s time, they’ve come to your website either to get some information that will help them make a decision or to aim the achieve a goal. So make the content worth looking at. It’s easy to overfill a website with content because you are worried about your website looking bare. Focus on giving users something of value. 

We like to ask the question does the visitor need to know that and is this useful? If not, then we drop it, delete it, it is waffle. This little exercise is a good way of keeping our copy concise and to the point. Most people don’t have the desire to read a novel on your website so get to the point as soon as possible.

Use easy to read font.

Using the correct font,  font-weight, antialiasing the jaggy bits, and good line-height will make a world of difference to how clear and, dare I say it? enjoyable reading text on your website. Sometimes it is necessary to give a detailed account of something using text if you’ve got a case study or whitepaper that is quite dense in text then using web typography techniques to improve the experience is obligatory.

Make it easy to navigate whilst looking at content

It’s so easy to get lost on a website, especially if you are on a giant website with lots of caves and areas to go exploring. It’s important to give your user the ability to move around with ease. Make it so easy that even if the user is four or five levels dead the feel confident that they can navigate anywhere

Don’t assume that every visitor to your website is as comfortable with navigating around a website as you are. Make the navigation clear, Navigation links should be clearly positioned and appear in a consistent position on every page of the website. 

Give the user a way to browse around the site when they reach the end of your content. For example, when the have reached the end of a blog, but other similar content at the bottom, this encourages people to keep browsing on your website.

 Adding the main pages as links in your website footer helps users find content that usually is not visible from the main navigation.

Use different kinds of media.

The web has come a long way from Darpa where researchers could only share information using text and links almost 50 years ago. We have so many options available on today’s modern web. Video, images, animation, there is a lot of choices when it comes to communicating with your audience. 

I personally would rather watch a video and look at images rather read text, I’m lazy that way and a lot of people on the web are just a lazy. 

Cisco released some fascinating statistics surround the use of video in a recent study:

  • Over 50% of company decision-makers, 59% to be exact, would rather watch a video ad of your product or service than reading text ads or a blog post about that product.
  • By 2020, about 80% of all traffic on the web will be directed to video content. That’s nearly all of the World Wide Web.
  • By simply adding a video to the marketing email you send prospective customers, you can easily boost your click-through rates by some whopping numbers: between 200% and 300%!
  • By embedding videos on your landing pages, you can increase your conversion rates by a whopping 80%.

Link to other content on your site

You’ve put the effort into making content for your website show it off by linking to previous posts on your site. If you mention a service in you content then link the keywords to the page. Internal link building has the added bonus of improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by increasing the views that your pages receive.

Open external links in other tabs

You’ve got the user on your site and the aim is to keep them on the site for as long as possible so if you want to show them content from another website, make the link open in another tab on their browser, that way they can return to your website after looking at the link you’ve given them. This is really helpful to the user, it reminds them of how they got to the website they are viewing, especially handy if they had lots of tabs open. 

Reduce manual labour

Does anybody enjoy admin work? I can’t imagine that anybody really enjoys filling in forms on websites, It’s repetitive and boring. Where possible automate field population. Use validation to show the user they might make an error before they actually make the error. Guide the user through a process and show them their progress as a mini achievement for completing the tasks. These little gestures reduce frustration for people and can even make something that’s normally tedious pleasant and painless.  

Custom 404 pages

We’ve all done it, we got a webpage expecting it to load and we are met with a message that says:

“Sorry, we couldn’t find what you’re looking for.”

This is actually and opportunity to keep the user engaged, where normally they might give up and go somewhere else. A great example of this is Pixar’s 404 page.

If a little bit of humour suits your companies tone of voice then this is a great opportunity to defuse what is normally a point of frustration for your users.

Increase load speed

Just like in a restaurant you want your service to be efficient, if you have to wait around for a long time eventually you’ll leave. It’s the same for a website. Users can be unforgiving of a slow loading website especially if the user is connecting from a mobile device.

Speed is the aim of the game.

Here are some statistics from machmetrics.com:

Your performance goals should roughly align with these rules:

if your site loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of the web.

if your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the web.

if your site loads in 1.7 seconds, it is faster than approximately 75% of the web.

Some techniques to achieve this are:

  1. Compress images and video where possible
  2. Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  3. Reduce the number of redirects that occur when your web address is accessed
  4. Remove render-blocking JavaScript
  5. Take advantage of browser caching
  6. Improve server response time by looking for performance bottlenecks like slow database queries, slow routing, or a lack of adequate memory and fix them.
  7. Use a content distribution network (CDNs, for the devs)

Web push notifications

Modern browsers ability to push notifications to the user. This is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. Just as with superheroes and superpowers, with great power comes great responsibility. Be respectful of your customer’s attention. Don’t ping them absolutely every time something changes. Use it sparingly and when you fell users will get something of value from interacting with the notification. 

Update your site regularly

Keep your content fresh, constantly refine your offering and your content should be continually evolving. Give your fans and evangelists a reason to keep returning and to find the changes and improvement on your website

We’ve only scratched the surface of the technique and methods or retaining users on a website, there are so many ways to improve your web offering.

To summarise:

  1. Beautiful and charming design
  2. Give the people what they want
  3. Useful and Interesting information
  4. Use easy to read font.
  5. Make it easy to navigate whilst looking at content
  6. Use different kinds of media.
  7. Link to other content on your site
  8. Open external links in other tabs
  9. Reduce manual labour
  10. Custom 404 pages
  11. Increase load speed
  12. Web push notifications

If you are in need of help getting people to stay on your website and make enquires we are always happy to help and create a website that dazzles and performs

Reach out if you have any questions

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