sticky_website_imageWhen someone lands on your homepage, then leaves within a few seconds without clicking to other pages, it’s called “bouncing.” Not what you want. When people come to your site and stick around, visit other pages, and come back again and again. That’s called “sticky.” Definitely what you do want.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “your first impression is the last impression”? According to a TIME article, you only have 15 seconds to grab people’s attention. If your website is full of ads or very big, bright pop-ups, you probably won’t even get that 15 seconds — people will close their windows immediately and you’ll never see them again.

After all, people aren’t reading content on the web the way we think they are. So what can you do to make them want to spend more time on your website? How can you make it more engaging for visitors?

Put Your Best Face Forward

The first piece of content or images that load must clearly communicate what you’re offereing and the benefits that they will get. According to research done by Nielsen Norman Group, website users spend 80 percent of their time looking at the information above the page fold.

Most website visitors won’t bother reading through all the paragraphs to find out what you have to offer — they expect to see that right in front of them when they arrive. So choose clever, crisp headlines that highlight your offerings, and don’t hesitate to try a couple of variations — A/B testing is a great method to figure out what gives you the best result.

Make sure your web content is consistent with your ad copy and other promotional materials. People will leave your site if they’re confused or don’t know what to do. One of the most common mistakes is to give people too much information. Remember: less is more when it comes to website content.

OK, Got Their Attention, Now What?

Research shows that people spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. It’s simply easier for people to digest a complex concept by watching a two- to three-minute video versus trying to read a webpage full of text. So consider adding videos to your webpages as much as you can. Infographics, done well, are also effective in communicating concepts.

Cross-linking your webpages will increase the chance of getting people to stay on your website. But do this only where relevant and where you will enrich their experience on your website. Have linked pages open new tabs to make it easy for people to track their steps.

So you got their attention, got them to spend a little time on your website… what’s the next hurdle? That’s right, you want to turn first-time visitors into regulars.

Blogging is a great way to bring repeat visits, because a blog allows you to add fresh and original content to your website as often as you have something meaningful to say. Also, since blogs are content-oriented, they have the double-sided effect of naturally attracting search engine traffic AND keeping users busy on your website.

Websites Are Just Like Humans

Think about the people you enjoy talking to and people you avoid running into. Websites are just like them. If they are boring, no one will be interested in them. If they always talk down to people and make you feel devalued, you will not want to engage with them. So make your web content smart, human and personal.

Here are some tips:

  • Refer to the reader as “you”
  • Refer to yourself as “me/us” or “I/We”
  • Know your readers (e.g., how to make them happy, how to solve their problems)
  • Be personal
  • Use humor
  • Use pictures
  • Tell a story
  • Use clear and simple language
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs
  • Clearly answer “Who, What, Where and Why”
  • Use simple, plain, clear, big and bold fonts
  • Use a clear outline
  • Include clear Calls-to-Action at regular intervals

Getting A Little Techy

Did you know a one-second delay in your site speed can result in a 7% reduction in conversions, and 80% of your traffic will leave your website if it takes more than 2 seconds to load? So check your webpage’s average load time especially for the pages that have high visit duration and organic traffic.

Is your website mobile friendly? Nearly half of all internet users access content via a mobile device. Google has announced that it will be improving the ranking of mobile-friendly websites. This means, by consequence, that not-so-mobile-friendly pages will receive lower rankings. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, people won’t see it and won’t read it. It’s just that simple.

You must avoid any kind of distraction on your webpage. Check your website’s health with the help of tools like Google Analytics or Clicktale and make sure there are no errors on your webpage. Are all hyperlinks working properly?

Also, the biggest turn off for any visitor when he/she lands on a webpage would be an auto sound. Do not bombard them with pop-ups as soon as they arrive, or with pop-ups that stick and do not go away until the time the desired action is taken. Avoid using a lot of animation or flashy graphics to showcase your creativity; they will only act as a continuous source of interruption and detract from your important messages.

How Trustworthy Is Your Website?

With so many websites around, it’s difficult for people to identify which one to trust. To make your website look more credible, consider adding security seals and other elements like Better Business Bureau (BBB)’s Seal of Approval.

Third party validation tells people that your website is secure. Show that your website is public and active in social media. Having recognizable logos like Facebook, Google and Twitter demonstrates that the website has nothing to hide. It’s also important to have a detailed privacy policy.

Finishing Touch — Just A Little Bit of Twist

In a groundbreaking study, University of Pennsylvania researchers asked the question: ”What makes online content viral?” Their answer — “physiological arousal.” To put it more clearly, “Emotion shapes virality… Content that evokes high-arousal positive (awe) or negative (anger or anxiety) emotions are more viral.”

So make your content emotional. Surprise them. Make them smile. Make them cry. Make them think. Make them angry. Viral Marketing is proven effective. With a little twist, your web content could go viral too!