5 UX Design Ideas to Accelerate Website EngagementCorrectness Tone suggestions Full-sentence rewrites
Say you wanted to engage in online activities, maybe making a purchase or reading a blog post. You performed a search, and bang, there is a result!
You clicked through to it, but then…
…upon landing on the site, something repulsive got in the way.
Maybe tons of annoying, irrelevant ads, half-baked product information, or even five different colours that don't complement each other. Anything!
I imagine you'd immediately zoom off to find another website. And you are not being mean. You are not even alone. According to statistics, Seventy-nine per cent of people who don’t like what they see on one site will go back and search for another location. You don't want people leaving your website to look for your competitor's site, yeah? Then you need to optimise your website to keep users. You need to introduce elements that hold attention. You need to design a badass user experience (UX).
If you do this correctly, your website user engagement will fly, making you feel like you've got superpowers.
In today's guide, we will discuss some user experience design (UXD) hacks you can use to make your website engagement go through the ceiling. But why is this important? Why should you work on improving your website engagement rate? It turns out that the better your website engagement, the better your search engine rankings. Want to see how?
Engagement, SEO, and User Experience — How they relate
First, it's essential to understand that a great user experience consummates your marketing efforts. Imagine putting all the time and resources into marketing your website, but when visitors come around, they leave a wrong impression because your website UX sucks. That'll be a bad investment.
SEO is one of such marketing efforts that user experience can consummate.
Both user experience and engagement directly influence search engine rankings.
The longer your website engages a user, the better chance your site has to rank higher. As a point of reference, Google uses “Dwell Time” as a ranking factor. Dwell time measures how long a user stays on your website’s pages before returning to the search results. The more time someone spends on your website (a derivative of great UX and engagement), the better your pages will perform in the search engine results (SERPs).
Google’s algorithm tracks and monitors this metric. If your pages consistently keep people on them for longer than average, the algorithm will adjust the search results to favour your site. Although this occurs page-by-page, the collective performance of individual pages contributes to how Google generally ranks your site. And the most recommended way to ensure users stay engaged long enough on your website is to beef up your user experience. The better your UX design, the better your user engagement. And ultimately, the better your SEO.
Poor UX design results in a low level of engagement and lowered ranking.
Engagement becomes even more critical when you realise that the first step to the art of selling online is to engage the user. Without first engaging the user, you aren't going to sell. The takeaway? Paying attention to your website's UX design and engagement will catapult. And SEO, too. But, there is a general misunderstanding of the true meaning of UX design among small business owners.
Understanding UX Design
One mistake website owners keep making is this: They often think of design as merely the colours of a website. But there's more to it than colours. Design encompasses everything you see on a site — the text, the site structure, and even the unused spaces. Creating a great user experience requires that you understand this because UX design is how you take all these stuff, entwine them together and make them work collectively in a way that's visually appealing and beneficial to the user.
And what's more, UX is more than design. To explain this, let me show you a small illustration put together by the team at Smashing Magazine:
These are the factors that make up and influence the UX of a website.
Furthermore, here's another illustration. It shows that UX ensures users find value in your offering. Again, that's more than design. ,Peter Morville put it together and he calls it User Experience Honeycomb:
Peter suggested that to create a great user experience that offers value; your website must be all of the following:
Practical: Your site content must be helpful and answer users’ questions.
Usable: Your website must be simple to use and easy to access.
Desirable: Images and other design elements should be used to excite emotion and appreciation.
Findable: Customers should be able to find and navigate content.
Accessible: Content must be accessible to users, including those with some form of disability.
Credible: Your information and message must be trustworthy and believable.
Improving Your Website Engagement through UX Design
Here are our top 5 UX design hacks you can use today to create a fantastic experience for your website visitors, supercharge your engagement rate for increased rankings, and turn passers-by into loyal returnees.
1. Chuck Out Every Irrelevant Element
Before we even start talking about what you need on your website for a great experience, let's first talk about what you don't. It's like having to purge your room of all the clutters before bringing in new stuff.
Here's a quick list of things that turn off readers and knock down site engagement. You'd want to get rid of those from your website:
Blank or “Under Construction” pages
Irrelevant or out-of-date demo/testimonial/review
Irrelevant or out-of-date images
Endless service offerings
Unnecessary or unmaintained social media accounts
Links to any of your websites and blogs that you don’t actively maintain
Each of these comes with unique challenges. But let's focus on the last one — broken links. Four hundred four errors frustrate users and impede their intended actions. This kills engagement faster than you'd imagine. When a user reaches a 404 page, they feel helpless. They can't do what they want to do. And so the only option is to leave to a competitor's site to buy. Ultimately, your search engine ranking suffers because your site has high bounce rates, poor UX, and a de-escalated engagement.
What can you do to fix this?
Redirect visitors automatically. For instance, if your website runs WordPress, a tool like All 404 Redirect can automatically redirect visitors to the homepage or any other page on the website if the page they are looking for isn't available.
Allow them to contact you. From live chat to getting forms, you have multiple options for this.
Make the ‘errors’ continuable. You can do this by suggesting some specific links to help them continue to some other pages:
Provide a search reference. A search feature on a dead page can save you from losing another customer.
2. Streamline “Points of Engagement.”
How easy is it for users to use your site? Can they complete actions without feeling like it's another herculean task?
If people find it challenging to use your site, they'll leave.
To fix this, you need to streamline the “points of engagement” on your sites. This goes from page load time to navigation, to calls-to-actions… in short, any point in the browsing process that requires user-website interaction.
So what should you do?
Get your pages to load super fast.
About half of us don’t wait up to three seconds for websites to load, according to data from a study.
And that’s not all: Almost 80 per cent of online buyers say they won't return to a site with poor performance, including slow load time.
If anything, those numbers are telling you one thing — that speed is sexy.
A recent Aberdeen Group study found that every one-second delay in page load time results in the following:
7% decrease in conversions
11% decrease in page views
16% decrease in customer satisfaction
Websites with fast load times rock, not just at user experience and engagement but also at keeping your bottom-line profits attractive.
Moreso, Google loves speed.
In 2017, Google made the statement below with regards to crawling and indexing websites:
“For Googlebot, a speedy site is a sign of healthy servers so that it can get more content over the same number of connections. Conversely, a significant number of 5xx errors or connection timeouts signal the opposite, and crawling slow down.” Google in 2017.
In plain English, if the Google engine tries crawling your site and finds it slow, they'll rank less of your site content. Google once saw a 20 per cent decline in traffic because of a 0.5-sec delay in load time, as shared by Google’s Marissa Mayer at a Web 2.0 conference a while back. In another study, Kissmetrics observed that about 30 per cent of mobile users wait between 6 and 10 seconds before abandoning a site. That time is pretty short, and you should do every good thing possible to keep users in less time.
Kissmetrics also found this:
You can use Google’s Test My Site tool to test your mobile site speed.
1. Create a seamless navigation system
Clean and simple navigation makes it easy for users to locate what they need quickly. So, here's the idea: Think of what customers will look for on your site most frequently. Then make them findable. For online people, a well-arranged navigation menu is a godsend. Categories are a wonder!
Search boxes are fantastic, too.
Side tip: Do remember to track your site search statistics. You can use the most frequently searched keywords to re-organise your content for a better user experience. Then, there's internal linking. Internal linking is not only important for SEO but for your site visitors as well. Frequent use of internal linking allows visitors to navigate your website more easily.
Then you’ll be able to generate more page views with each visitor and decrease the bounce rate. Both are essential for website user engagement.
2. Make it feel like a child's play to complete actions on your site
Let's say you have a CTA form on your site. Do you need to ask users for their first name, surname, country of residence, city, phone number, how they found you, and a thousand other unnecessary pieces of information? Studies have found that keeping your forms short and straightforward (email ID and, sometimes, first name) converts far better and engages much more than long forms do.
Checkout processes also fall under this category.
3. Humanize Your Website
Humanising your website creates a human-to-human feeling through your design and content.
Most businesses want to sell. So they create a machine site with no human element to it. People like and trust things that seem more human and less robotic. And that leads to better UX and engagement. To help you understand the importance of the human element in UX design, here's a case study: 37Signals (now Basecamp) ran a page for their Highrise product. The page was just plain regular with no human feel on it. Then they created another variation of the same page, but in this one, they added a picture of a person. They then split-tested the two pages.
The result? A 102.5 per cent increase in sign-ups.
Here's what the old and new designs looked like
The simple way to humanise your website is to appeal to emotions. While you can appeal to emotions through copywriting techniques like storytelling, when it comes to design, you can do this through people, amongst other tactics. That's because most actions are based on emotions, and people convey emotions. Do you know why fashion houses use charming models to showcase their products? They want to make you think you'll look just as fabulous as the models. Hopefully!
So to ameliorate UX and engagement, show customers how other people feel using your products or services.
And this is easier than you think. Add high-quality images of happy, smiling people.
Or add a video of real people. This will put a face to your brand and make it look more human and less of a machine.
4. Design for Users’ Screen
For Internet marketers, building responsive websites is critical to engaging desktop and mobile users.
It could be frustrating to navigate your desktop website on a mobile phone, preventing good website user engagement. You must ensure that you engage as many people visiting your site as possible, irrespective of the devices they use.
5. “Design” Engaging Content
Publishing content is not a design-based endeavour, but the content is probably the most effective tool for engaging a user. If you create unique content that hooks people, they stay engaged and even come back for more. Sometimes, that's the only thing you need to engage site visitors.
So instead of grinding out lacklustre content that can be found anywhere on the web, write thought-provoking, unique content that can touch the deepest part of your readers’ minds. And to increase engagement, even more, include relevant images in your content. HubSpot reports that articles with photos receive 94% more views than articles without images. In addition, don't forget to structure your content right. Well, because readability affects user experience hugely.
Poorly formatted content is harder to read. Use subheadings and bullet points, and break the block of texts into smaller chunks with lots of whitespace for ease of consumption. This makes it easier for users to scan a page for specific information.
And talking about scanning, look at this:
Beyond quality and formatting, also tailor your content to enhance interaction with the audience. Commenting and social sharing features are essential for engagement.
While website user engagement deals with a website's ability to hold a visitor's attention or induce the visitor to navigate, user experience talks of the cumulative experience a user has when interacting with a website.
For stellar user engagement, designing a killer user experience is critical. Excellent user experience and attention will ultimately lead to better rankings and an improved bottom line for your business. If you have any SEO questions, drop them in, and we'll try our best to provide answers. If you need help with any SEO tool, feel free to check out our arcades of different SEO tools for small businesses.