Living RoomWhen company comes, you invite them in, offer them a drink and something to eat, and then you go into the other room and ignore them. No?

Of course not!

When company comes, you make your home as attractive as possible, you ensure there is ample seating, the temperature is comfortable and there are some snacks. You plan activities and fully intend to entertain your guests for as long as they are in your home.

Why should a visit to your website be any different?

Your Website is Your Company’s Living Room

When visitors come to your website, they should feel welcome. If they don’t feel welcome, they’ll bounce and you’ll be part of this disheartening statistic from Kissmetrics: “96% of first time visitors to company websites aren’t ready to buy and won’t return.” That means if only 4% are going to engage with your site, you’ll need a 100% conversion rate to stay afloat, and that’s not very likely to happen.

average_visitThe longer a prospect stays with you, the better chance you have of converting them to a customer. Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative says, “Engagement can be measured by time on site; it’s one of my favorite metrics. I want to see that go up as my clients get better at content marketing.”

So how can your company’s “living room” generate engagement and keep prospects on your site?

  • Make your site as attractive as possible
  • Ensure ample seating and comfortable temperature
  • Provide something to eat and drink
  • Have interesting activities and entertainment

Make Your Site as Attractive as Possible

Plan out your landing pages so that they invite viewers to stay and explore. Use fonts that are easy to read and include coordinated color schemes while avoiding clutter. It’s tempting to try to cram everything on the home page in case the prospect goes no further, but don’t. It’s a good thing to have a snapshot of who your company is, how to contact you, and definitely the information that brought the searcher to your site. If they don’t find an answer within about 10 seconds, they’ll be gone.

Website no-no’s:

  • Music that loads automatically and/or is loud
  • Distracting images or animation
  • Pop-ups that hide the information or content your prospect came for
  • Screaming headlines
  • Hard to read text due to font or color choice
  • Totally unrelated content

Ensure Ample Seating and Comfortable Temperature

Metaphors, of course, but on your website “comfortable” would relate to an overall user-friendly experience.

  • Navigation ease–site map and clear direction
  • Keep tabs to a minimum
  • Visual cues to take action—contact forms, comments, sign ups, subscription or buy
  • Fast loading times for pages or other links
  • No broken links
  • Social sharing buttons to facilitate a user inviting friends to view your content
  • Smooth navigation from page to page

However your website’s navigation is designed, it should provide a clear and easy path for the search engines and your visitors to follow. This makes you easier to find in search and will increase the time a user spends on your site.

Provide Something to Eat and Drink

BeveragesThis is your content. Everything you place on your website should be created with your target audience in mind. Images, video, articles, blog—all content should be relevant to your audience’s interests and needs, containing helpful information and value rather than attempting to manipulate the search engines. Content they want to consume is what will keep them on your site: following links, reading, engaging, commenting and sharing.

Here are some suggestions from The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online by AudienceBloom on the types of content that will enrich your user’s experience on your site.

Best used to educate

  • Press releases
  • Infographics
  • Trend reports
  • White papers
  • e-books
  • Articles
  • Checklists
  • Product features
  • Data sheets and price guides

Best to inspire your audience

  • Community forums
  • Special events
  • Convey company reach/touch
  • Pictures

Best used to convince your audience

  • Case studies
  • Reviews
  • Ratings
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Success stories
  • Interactive demos
  • Webinars

Best for entertainment

  • Quizzes
  • Games
  • Branded videos

Have Interesting Activities and Entertainment

JD Lasica of places great emphasis on the power of good content and how it translates into engagement: “I think that people come for the content and they stay for the conversation.”

Content can take many forms as evidenced above. High value content will provide information and answers to the questions your audience has. But not all content needs to be “serious,” there’s always room for entertainment as long as it aligns with your audience and your brand. (Just because something is funny or popular, you don’t want to place it on your website if it will alienate your audience.)

Using quizzes, games and videos can both provide entertainment and, at the same time, be used to gather information on your audience. Ultimately, your goal is to provide your visitor with a positive experience, with a deliberately planned website that drives awareness, engagement, and ultimately conversions.

Join the Conversation:

  • How can you make your website more user friendly?
  • Do you know the average length of time people spend on your website and what pages are most viewed?
  • How do you ensure that website content is aligned with your content marketing goals?

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