To earn their attention–and keep it–the following hacks can help you take immediate steps to increase customer engagement on your website.

By Jacel Booth

A few weeks after implementing your new online marketing strategy, you log into Google Analytics and notice a happy spike in your website traffic. Hooray! Your efforts to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and organic search are starting to work. Then you realize only a fraction of your visitors are actually clicking through and navigating your site like you want them to. What’s going on?

Although increasing site traffic is important, in order to ultimately boost online sales, your visitors need to engage with your content. And the stakes are high to make a positive first impression–88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

To earn their attention–and keep it–the following hacks can help you take immediate steps to increase customer engagement on your website.

Decrease your page load time.

It’s hard to keep people on your site if they’re stuck waiting for it to load. More than half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. And if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, they will abandon the site altogether.

Perhaps most importantly, Google seriously considers page load time in its search rankings.

To make sure your pages load quickly, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to conduct an audit of your website pages. This tool runs a diagnostic test on the specific URLs you input and gives you load speeds. Then it provides suggestions on how you can optimize them.

To make your page as fast as possible, convert your HTML web pages to AMP pages. This new framework strips away any clunky code that will slow down your site. It will also help boost your search rankings.

Promote new content on your site.

Ecommerce stores are the champions of implementing marketing tools to increase website engagement and get customers to stay on their sites. Check out how Madewell immediately offers a discount code using a link promotion banner at the top of the page.

You can use the same techniques they do to help increase engagement and conversions on your site. Banners and popups can nudge visitors to a new piece of content, get them to join your email list, or convince them to close that sale.

Increase internal linking.

An often-overlooked part of content creation is promoting other posts from within your own site. When you’re planning which topics to write about on your blog, consider opportunities to cross-promote. The benefits of internal linking include:

  • Contributing to a cohesive site structure
  • Improving SEO by making it easier to crawl and index your pages
  • Potentially increasing the amount of time visitors are spending on your site

An easy tool to make sure you have internal links within your posts is the Yoast plugin. If you scroll to the bottom of your Post draft in WordPress, the plugin will notify you if you need more links to other pieces of content within your site.

Offer an irresistible lead magnet.

The name speaks for itself. Offer your visitors a valuable piece of content they can dig into at their convenience – a discount, an ebook, a free assessment, etc. Whatever valuable information you have to offer, exchange it for their email address.

This is a great strategy because web visitors get their hands on something they can reference or use right away, and you’re able to nurture that relationship further through email marketing. With increased credibility, you’ve opened the door to engage them with new content on your site they might find useful.

Solicit user-generated content.

You don’t have to bear the burden of producing all the content yourself. Tap your customers to share their insights and feedback. Ask them to contribute reviews, images, video – any piece of content that fits within your marketing strategy.

Asking customers to contribute isn’t just an effective method to produce more content and boost website engagement, but it’s also a simple way to build a strong community for your brand. It gives visitors a reason to keep coming back to your site.

Besides, 70% of people say that online reviews are their second-most-trusted source. In fact, 92% of people say they trust recommendations from others, even strangers, over branded content. Rent the Runway has done an exceptional job encouraging customers to post pictures of themselves in the pieces they rent and submit honest reviews.

See for yourself.

Now that you’re armed with some tactics, you can take action to increase your website engagement. Test a few of the techniques to see which ones work best. Even something as simple as including a link promotion banner at the top of your homepage can drive visitors to take the next step.

Jacel Booth leads content at AddThis. She has more than 8 years of experience in marketing and communications across the nonprofit, startup, and tech industries. You can find her on Twitter at @jacelebooth.

Customer engagement stock photo by Tashatuvango/Shutterstock