When the iPhone was first released, everyone marveled over its amazing simplicity and user experience. The world fell in love, and the mobile industry was changed overnight. Other phones, if they weren’t smartphones, were suddenly viewed as cheap and not very useful.
We have all experienced this same truth at the websites we visit. We inherently equate a great design with an upstanding company and a bad design with a company not quite as reputable or as good.
Because of this reality, building a great user experience across every platform is extremely important for generating leads and conversions. Conversion optimization isn’t just about tweaking campaign landing page design, ad copy and form layout. In order to motivate a visitor to fill out a form or buy something, trust must be established.
The way an entire website looks and how it communicates its message can have a big impact on visitor trust and your conversion volume.
The problem is that most companies rarely have the big budgets or large teams of people to create truly engaging websites that drive lots of customers. Resources are often thin in both IT and Marketing at SMBs; so, let’s look at some things that can be done, without a large team or budget, to easily improve visitor engagement.
Tools For Measuring Visitor Engagement
As in all good testing, you have to measure the impact of changes to be sure you are adapting your website to visitor needs and not simply creating new roadblocks to conversions. The following metrics are commonly used to determine the impact of changes on visitor engagement.
- Page Bounce Rate. Your bounce rate is usually a simple measurement of how many people land on a specific page and don’t visit any more pages during that visit. You typically look for as low a bounce rate as possible. This tells you that people found your content interesting enough to read more pages on your website. If your site is just a blog, though, changing the bounce rate is extremely difficult to do since visitors are usually there just for the one article.
- Site Bounce Rate. This is the average bounce rate for all webpages combined that people visit. Like the page bounce rate, you want this number to be as low as possible.
- Pages Per Visit. Obviously, this reflects how many pages per visit that people read when they come to your site. The goal is to drive this number higher. One word of caution: if you don’t update your site much, returning visitors metrics will drop because there isn’t anything new to read. So, as you change and test, be sure to regularly add new content to keep people coming back for more.
- Exit Rate. This measures the percentage of visitors on any given page that didn’t view more pages. The rate per page is dependent on your goal for that page; but generally, this should be a low number, especially for your popular pages. A high exit rate will show you where people lost interest or failed to find what they expected.
- Average Time On Page. The average time spent on a page is tricky. You would think you want people to spend more time on a page, but if they are given a good experience, they may spend less time on one page and more on multiple pages. For instance, a page that is hard to read but interesting may cause people to slow down and spend more time reading because it is simply harder to read.
- Goal Completions. If you have set up Goals (in Google Analytics, at least), then every page has the ability to participate in affecting goal completions. GA will show you how often a page impacts goal conversions. If it does, your objective is to positively impact that number.
Increase Engagement With 4 Easy Tests
There are a lot of great things you can do to improve visitor engagement. Most SMB companies don’t have the resources to do a lot of the big UX projects that the Fortune 500s can do; but, there are some simple things any company can do that can impact Web conversions really quickly. These tactics will not suddenly skyrocket your lead generation efforts; but, if you haven’t started any effort to improve visitor engagement, this is a good place to begin.
1. Playing With Your Fonts
One of the very first things I look at with new customers that want to increase conversion volume is the readability of their page body copy. If body copy is small or doesn’t have good contrast with the background, it is hard for people to read. I personally find smaller body copy looks better, but that is just my opinion — every time I have increased body font size to 13 or 14px, the bounce rate reduces (average 11%), people spend more time on the site (avg by 17%) and total conversions go up.
Other font changes to test would include the font type and color. A good rule of thumb is this: if you think your mom is going to have trouble reading it, try making a change and see how your visitors respond.
Below is the result of changing the font size from 10px to 13px for one of our customers. The conversion goal was simply the number of people that filled out a particular form on the website. The Control was the original 10px font and the Variation was at 13px. Even though the overall conversion rate is only 2.22%, this was a big improvement for such a simple change.
Now, don’t go overboard with this; but, creating links between relevant webpages help to keep people on the site longer. The longer you can keep their attention, the more they are typically drawn into your story. It also helps interested readers find valuable content more easily, without having to search your website.
3. Creating Better Page Headlines
A good page headline helps people decide whether to read further or not. Use your Web analytics to determine what your top entrance pages are, not counting your campaign landing pages. Now, look at the headlines for those pages. Do the headlines match up with the page content? Do they grab your attention?
Hopefully, your page title is more than simply “About Us” or “Services.” Get creative with your page headlines so they stand out and instill your brand in the mind of your visitor. You may only have a few seconds to capture a visitor’s attention, and your page headline is the first thing they will read.
4. Changing Page Content Structure
Too often, I see pages with nothing but one headline and a bunch of paragraphs. This type of page is difficult to scan for most readers. Break up the content with multiple subheadings that describe the upcoming paragraph, or use bullet lists and graphics to make it visually more interesting. This can make your content easier to read and scan. The headlines define what the section is about as well as capture the visual attention of your reader.
Just The Beginning Of Engagement Testing
These are just a few ways that you can improve conversion and engagement on your website. They are things that even resource-challenged marketing teams can easily implement and have a quick impact on your business. But don’t just take my word for it. A winning website must be able to continually adapt to changing customer needs, technology and design trends. Always test and measure changes on your audience to create an adaptable and constantly improving website.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.