The internet is the greatest information resource in history but with more web pages online now than there are people in the world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for website owners to attract and retain users.
It’s well-proven that users normally spend a maximum of 15 seconds on a web page before clicking back for other options. With the vast majority of internet traffic being generated by search engines, users are spoiled for choice when it comes to content and the temptation to click back can be huge if they aren’t immediately presented with the information they’re looking for.
- Content is – and always has been – king
More than any other factor, creating interesting, well-written content for your website should be the starting point to gather users. The statement, ‘Content is king,’ was first coined by Bill Gates in an essay written back in 1996 – but its relevance stands just as true today as it did then. Having well-researched, well-written content on your pages will drive visitors, encourage links and generally work wonders in helping promote your site.
However, sometimes just having great content isn’t unfortunately enough and you may find yourself looking for other ways to generate visits and grab users. Here are a few extra ideas you could employ to improve the interactivity of your site and engage your visitors:
- Search Engine Optimisation
As stated, the majority of internet traffic is generated by search engines so being at the top of rankings under particular searches related to your site’s topic is essential. If you haven’t already, start engaging in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – either by yourself or, preferably, using a dedicated SEO and web marketing company.
SEO is a highly detailed, highly skilled process which involves a huge number of skills and tactics so, for the best results, you should really think about hiring the skills of an agency. As a starting point, however, make sure your text contains frequent keywords or phrases you think visitors might use to find your site. Also, try to establish inward links to your site and be sure to set up social pages (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram) as another potential way to be found.
- Encourage comments and feedback
If you’re using WordPress (the world’s most popular website Content Management System (CMS)), you will already have built-in commenting and feedback as standard. However, if you’re not on WordPress, consider installing a plug-in to your existing CMS to allow users to leave feedback to your articles. In either case, remember visitors are unlikely to just write on a page without prompting so include call-to-action text in your pages – like asking specific questions or promoting the idea that you’d appreciate their feedback.
- Directly incorporate social media share buttons
You should make it as easy as possible for your visitors to share your content so think about including social media share buttons, directly on pages. Services like sharethis.com or addthis.com make it easy to incorporate buttons allowing users to share content to all the major social media platforms. Remember to include the buttons in the most natural way possible – typically at the top or bottom (or both) of features.
Shared content is one of the best ways to bring new visitors to your site so be sure to make your share buttons prominent and easy to use.
- Think about adding chat systems to your pages
Perhaps more than any other tools or technique, live chat can help bring a website instantly to life and engage users. While it used to be quite a technical process to add live chat to a site, modern systems can be integrated in a matter of minutes to bring a whole new level of interactivity to your pages and make your users feel truly valued.
Chat systems are particularly effective for e-commerce operations and have been proven to increase conversion rates by as much as 48%.
- Add internal links to your pages
If you’ve already got people visiting your site, you might as well make the most of the opportunity to direct them to all that other great content on your pages so consider adding internal links to point them in the direction of other related articles. Internal links are a great way of demonstrating to users your breadth of knowledge on a subject and can help keep them browsing your site rather than just clicking away elsewhere.
Also, internal links are a particularly good way to encourage search engines to reference your entire site. The way search engines work – with ‘spiders’ traversing the various links on the web – having internal links will actively push these small automated robots to find more of your content.
- Use video
Video has by far the highest engagement rate of any media on the web and, since the advent of HTML5 and CSS, it’s now easier than ever to incorporate video directly into web pages – as a standalone player or via YouTube, Vimeo or other online video providers.
Having well-produced video on your site provides an instant attention-grabber and can often lead visitors into exploring your pages further. Also, YouTube allows website owners to add entire playlists, meaning your users could watch a complete catalog of your videos, all accessible from the same in-built player.
- Add quizzes or polls to your site
If you’re looking for true interactivity and a way to involve users, there can be few better tools than online quizzes or polls. Polls are particularly effective if an article is discussing a highly contentious or controversial subject while quizzes can also prove a fun way to engage your users and lend an extra level of interactivity to otherwise passive-experience pages.
If you’re using WordPress try searching the plug-in area in your CMS for ideas – there is a huge number of pre-existing snippets of code you can add very quickly to your site (both quizzes and polls). For other CMS, try searching Google for plug-ins.
Generating traffic to a website is one of the biggest challenges facing site owners today, however, the rewards can be substantial if done correctly. In 2020, it’s quite feasible to earn a very respectable living running a website – whether that be blogging as an influencer, selling physical products or relying on fees from advertising.
First and foremost, spend some time thinking about your audience and what they’re likely to be looking for and might enjoy. This should help you work the best hooks and tools into your content to keep them coming back for more.