When designing a website, a lot of decisions must be made to ensure your site gets the attention it deserves.
Attracting users to the website is only the first step, the main concern of your design should be to encourage visitors to stay longer and view more pages. The global bounce rate in 2012 was 47% with an average time of 5 minutes and 23 seconds spent on a website.
There are many ways you can use website design to reduce your bounce rate. It goes without saying that the design of a website should be easy to navigate and attractive, grabbing the users attention whilst also being relevant to the industry.
Here are a few specific ways to keep your visitors attention for longer:
Provide links for visitors to share content
Enabling visitors to share content or add comments directly to articles and blogs engages them by allowing them to interact with the website. Many websites use social media icons, making it easy to share content by providing a direct link to facebook, twitter, linkedin or google+.
A visitor is more likely to stay on the website for longer if they have an outlet for sharing interesting content and this in turn will boost your visitor numbers. Visitors that comment on blogs will also be inclined to return to the website more often.
Use internal links to related pages on the site
A visitor is far more likely to spend longer using the website if they are given direct internal links to other related pages. Provide links between articles using keywords to allow the user to further their search on a particular topic.
Visitors will scan pages and if they don’t find what they’re looking for they may leave the site, however if they are given the option to direct their search to another page they are highly likely to use these links.
Incorporate multimedia content into your website
One sure-fire way to guarantee visitors spend longer on your site is through the use of video or audio content. A video may contain the exact same content as an article but far more users will view the video than read the content because it is easier to access and relate to.
Any type of multimedia content can encourage users to stay on the site; try incorporating image galleries, embedded video clips or podcasts to name a few.
Reward visitors for signing up to an email newsletter
If you want visitors to sign up to a mailing list you need to give them a reason to do so. People visiting the site will stick around if they see readily accessible content that is of interest to them, but aren’t likely sign up to the site unless more is offered.
Give details of the up-to-date content that will be included in newsletters and any competitions or prizes to be won. You also need to assure visitors that their information will be used safely and securely and inform them of their options.
Make website content interesting and relevant
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the website content. No matter how many methods you use to encourage visitors to stick around, if the content doesn’t interest them they’ll realise pretty quickly.
Content needs to be readable, dynamic and inventive, both appealing to the user’s interests and surprising them. One way to do this could be including personal stories that the visitor can relate to.
Make sure the target audience is identified and provide them with accessible content that will give valuable information, answering questions they may have been searching for.
All these aspects of web design are difficult to implement when attempting to design the website yourself. Hiring an expert web designer will make it easier to attract your target audience and increase the likelihood of visitors interacting with your website through the outlets you will be able to provide. Most web design companies should implement these technical features whilst allowing you the freedom to create your website the way you want it.
These hints should give you a guide as to what to look for in a web design company.
What methods have you found successful in keeping visitors engaged with your website?
About Author: Joy is a geography graduate working for an independent book retailer. She is a keen traveler and avid reader and aspires to experience as much in life as possible.