In 2016, consumers have shorter attention spans and less patience than ever. That means in order for your website to be an asset, it has to hook your audience without placing any roadblocks in their way. If your site doesn’t do this, you will notice a drop in traffic and a floundering in the engagement rate. With the holiday season just ahead of us, now is the time to set up your website to be successful in the months ahead.
When it comes to addressing the problem of low engagement, the solution to turning an audience into raving fans is something that can be summed up in a few words: give them a better experience. After all, no matter who they are, if a customer has a pleasant experience, they’re more likely to come back and do business with you again.
Design and branding are important, but creating a pleasant experience goes beyond that. Your site needs to marry speed with personalization. Though site speed and website personalization are two different things, when you bring them together on your website, the level of engagement you receive can skyrocket.
Speed is to a website as cement is to concrete. Whereas cement is what binds everything together, speed is the ingredient every site needs in order to have a solid foundation for all of its functions.
Besides the fact that Google uses speed as a ranking factor, there are many reasons why you should focus your efforts on gaining speed if you want a more engaged community. People browsing the web expect sites to load quickly. If it doesn’t load fast enough, they may not stick around to read your blog post, sales page, or any other copy on your site – and forget about actually making a purchase. Simply put, if your website does not load instantaneously, the contents simply don’t matter because visitors won’t stay long enough to see what’s there.
One main thing to consider is the total number of images or total size of the image files on your site. The bigger the files, the slower they load. You should also set up an appointment to discuss your site speed — and what you can do to increase it — with your web hosting company. If you haven’t already taken the steps to speed up your site, then be sure to put this one on the top of your list.
Take a moment and imagine your website as a person. If you were to greet your site in human form, would it come off like a cold, gruff, salesman or a personable and friendly guy you’d like to buy from? This is where website personalization comes into play.
Personalization adds that human element that many websites lack. However, the sites that use it see amazing results. Personalization means taking into account the time of day, location of your visitor, how they got to your site, and what products they look at to offer customized messages and suggestions. A successful example of this is Amazon and their product recommendations. They use previous purchases to suggest new products, and use the current products in your shopping cart to suggest add-on items. On your site, be sure to add an automated Thank you for every purchase made, and you can also think about adding a pop-up or pop-over window asking for an email or offering a free coupon or discount.
When you make your message about your customers — or at the very least, relatable to them — then people are more likely to engage with and return to your site.