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12 Tips to Improve Website User Engagement

June 23, 2020
Kevin Donahue
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User engagement directly affects your website traffic and sales revenue. Make your site more engaging by following best practices. Read on to learn:

  • What user engagement is
  • How to track user engagement metrics
  • How to increase engagement on your website

We’ll walk you through 12 strategies to help you increase your website engagement:

  1. Create engaging content
  2. Use a mobile-friendly design
  3. Make your site easy to navigate
  4. Provide a personalized experience
  5. Offer recommended content
  6. Invite visitors to become followers and subscribers
  7. Include interactive features
  8. Offer social proof
  9. Use calls to action
  10. Offer self-service tools
  11. Provide chatbot support
  12. Track engagement performance

Read on to learn how to use these strategies to increase user engagement on your website.

What Is User Engagement?

User engagement refers to how actively visitors interact with your website or app. It can be quantified in terms such as:

  • How many users visit your website
  • What they do when they arrive
  • How frequently they perform specific actions such as opting into email lists or purchasing products
  • How long they spend on your site and on specific pages

User engagement correlates closely with your marketing and sales performance. Engaging sites are more likely to attract visitors, keep them clicking and convert them into followers, subscribers and buyers. In contrast, low-engagement levels indicate that visitors are leaving your site without reading your content, joining your following or buying your products. For your website to serve as a successful marketing and sales tool, you need high engagement levels.

How to Track User Engagement Metrics

To evaluate your audience engagement objectively, it’s important to use measurable benchmarks. Some of the most important engagement metrics include:

  1. Social interaction
  2. Click-through rate (CTR)
  3. New vs. returning visitors
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Page views
  6. Top content
  7. Time on page and time on site
  8. Dwell time
  9. Opt-ins
  10. Sales conversions
  11. Goal tracking
  12. Customer service metrics

Here’s what each of these metrics means and how to track them.

1. Social Interaction

User engagement often begins before visitors ever arrive at your site, when they’re viewing your content on your social media profiles. Engaged users perform actions such as liking, commenting and sharing content. These types of actions lead to more visits to your website and more engagement with your site. 

You can track social interaction by using tools such as Facebook Page Insights to monitor likes, comments and shares. You can also integrate tools such as Facebook Analytics with your website to track likes and shares of your site on social media.

2. Click-Through Rate

CTR measures the percent of digital users who click on a link to your site after viewing the link in search engine results, a digital ad, a social media post or an email. 

Your CTR, combined with the volume of users who see your link, directly correlates with how many visitors arrive at your site. This makes it serve as a good indicator of how effectively your digital promotions are attracting visitors to your website and setting a stage for engagement on your site.

Your CTR is calculated by taking the number of times your link is clicked and dividing it by the number of times it is displayed. You can track this and most of the other metrics mentioned here by using a tool such as Google Analytics. You can also use analytics tools to see reports displaying specific metrics or applying metrics to specific pages of your site.

3. New vs. Returning Visitors

If visitors return to your site, this indicates engagement. You can gauge how often visitors are returning to your site by comparing your number of returning visitors with your number of new visitors. Google Analytics lists how many total users and new users you have under the sections of your dashboard that describe your audience overview and audience behavior.

Bounce rate measures how many visitors only view one page of your site without engaging in any other actions before leaving.

4. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate measures how many visitors only view one page of your site without engaging in any other actions before leaving. It is calculated in Google Analytics by taking the number of website sessions where visitors only view a single page and dividing it by the total number of sessions. You can view this information in your audience overview.

5. Page Views

Each time a visitor loads a page from your site, Google Analytics counts it as a page view. More page views indicate more engagement. Sometimes visitors may refresh a page they’ve already loaded, so Google Analytics allows you to see unique page views as a separate statistic in your content overview report.

6. Top Content

Some pages on your site will attract more engagement than others. Ideally, the pages that you want to showcase to visitors should be the ones getting the most views. In Google Analytics, you can track which of your content is getting the most views by viewing your top content report.

7. Time on Page and Time on Site

Time on page measures the average amount of time users spend on a given page on your site. Time on site tracks this across your site as a whole. Google Analytics tracks this by using timestamps to measure time and then dividing the total duration of all sessions by the number of sessions. You can see these stats in Google Analytics reports under the headings “average time on page” and “average session duration.”

8. Dwell Time

Dwell time measures how long a visitor spends on a page on your site after arriving there from a search engine results page (SERP) before returning to the SERP. This indicates how well your pages are engaging search engine visitors in particular, making it more specific than bounce rate. Google Analytics doesn’t directly display dwell time. However, a web developer can create a custom script to integrate with your Google Analytics data to track dwell time.

9. Opt-Ins

When a visitor to your site fills out a form to provide their contact information in order to subscribe to your email list, this is known as an opt-in. Opt-ins reflect a higher level of engagement with your site than merely viewing pages, and they can represent a step towards purchasing a product, so they’re important to track. Most email autoresponder app services track opt-ins for you. You can also track opt-ins in Google Analytics by using the goal feature, which allows you to identify a particular user behavior you want to track.

10. Sales Conversions

Sales represent one of the most important types of user engagement activities. Your payment-processing software will provide you with reports on your sales data. You can export data from these reports into a spreadsheet format for analysis in financial software such as QuickBooks.

11. Goal Tracking

You may wish to track other types of visitor engagement behaviors, such as logging into a website portal or using an interactive feature on your site. You can use the Google Analytics goal feature to define behaviors for customized tracking and reporting.

12. Customer Service Metrics

Another important way visitors engage your brand through your website is through customer service interactions. For instance, visitors may visit your frequently asked questions (FAQ) page or request support through your help page. You can use website analytics data to track these types of behaviors on your site.

You can also use customer service key performance indicators to track important metrics that reflect engagement with your site and brand. For instance, tracking the average amount of time it takes one of your representatives to respond to a site visitor’s request for support can tell you whether you’re handling customer inquiries in a timely manner that promotes engagement.

How to Increase Engagement on Your Website

Tracking your engagement levels provides a baseline you can use to measure how well your site is holding your visitors’ attention. You can build on this baseline by using proven strategies to increase engagement. Here’s how to engage customers through your site by applying some best practices.

1. Create Engaging Content

Engaging visitors from search engines and social media starts with creating content relevant to their needs. Use market research and keyword research to learn more about your target audience, what their needs are and what keywords are of interest to them

Develop unique content that addresses these needs in a way that goes beyond what competing sites offer. Research what other sites are already saying about topics of interest to your target audience and identify ways you can make a new contribution to the conversation.

You can use a number of strategies to develop unique content:

  • Use original research to present new information
  • Apply existing research in a new way
  • Tie a topic into recent news or trends
  • Organize previously published research into a new presentation with a fresh angle or a more complete treatment
  • Use a new name to identify an emerging idea, process or product
  • Provide an original analysis of how your subject relates to another topic of interest to your audience
  • Address information to a specific target niche
  • Challenge popular assumptions about a topic with new ideas
  • Discuss practical applications of an idea or product that have not been widely covered
  • Repurpose content for a different format, such as repurposing an article topic as a video
  • Use stories and case studies to give your topic an original spin
  • Engage audiences with a practical call to action

Using these types of techniques to develop unique content will help your site stand out from competitors in the eyes of your target audience and search engines.

2. Use a Mobile-Friendly Design

Because so many internet users use smartphones to view websites, building an engaging site means using a mobile-friendly design. Make sure your web designer follows best practices for making your site mobile-friendly. These include:

  • Using a responsive design that adapts to the screen size of your user’s device
  • Compressing file sizes and minimizing memory-hogging features so that your site can load quickly on mobile devices
  • Choosing images and font sizes that are easily visible on a mobile screen
  • Simplifying navigational features to make them easy to use on mobile devices
  • Avoiding pop-ups

Following good design practices to make sure mobile visitors have a positive user experience will help make your site more engaging.

3. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

For both mobile and desktop users, your site needs to be easy to navigate. Keep navigation menus simple and well-organized to make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Use other navigational features such as links to related topics to guide visitors towards relevant content. Include a search bar to allow users to find topics by keyword. Use tags and categories to index blog content.

Visitors feel more engaged when you deliver a more personal experience.

4. Provide a Personalized Experience

Visitors feel more engaged when you deliver a more personal experience. You can use a number of techniques to make your website feel more personal for visitors:

  • Display customized content based on traffic source, user profiles and preferences
  • Provide a login portal with a customized welcome display
  • Extend personalized offers tailored for individual users
  • Personalize calls to action

Extending a personalized welcome to visitors will motivate them to feel more engaged and encourage them to interact with your site.

5. Offer Recommended Content

Another way to create a personalized experience is by offering recommended content. When a reader lands a page looking for information, providing links to related information will encourage them to read other pages on your site. 

Your posts can include static lists of links to posts that cover related topics, categories and keywords. You can include dynamic links based on what keywords a user searched on, what pages they have previously viewed on your site or other actions they have taken, such as downloading e-books. For returning customers, you can recommend content based on purchase history. Make the content relevant to users to promote engagement.

6. Invite Visitors to Become Followers and Subscribers

One of the most important engagement actions visitors can take is providing email or social media profile information so that you can engage them on an ongoing basis. You can encourage email opt-ins by strategically positioning opt-in offers at key places on your site and using incentives to encourage subscriptions. 

For instance, you might offer a free e-book or white paper to visitors who opt in. To encourage social media following, you can use icons that invite visitors to follow you. Including a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed icon is another way to invite ongoing engagement with visitors.

7. Include Interactive Features

You can invite engagement on your site by including interactive features that visitors can use. Interactive features you can build into your site include:

  • Search bars
  • Comments on posts
  • Discussion boards
  • Forms
  • Surveys
  • Templates
  • Videos
  • Audios
  • Calculators
  • Calendars
  • Apps
  • Games
  • Quizzes
  • Interactive graphics

Use these types of features to encourage visitors to interact with your site.

8. Offer Social Proof

Internet users are skeptical after seeing so many ads, and they like to see evidence of your brand’s claims. You can engage their desire for verification by providing testimony from others who vouch for your brand, known as social proof. Sources of social proof can include satisfied customers, case studies or testimonials from known figures. You can quote these sources by using text, videos, audio clips or memes.

9. Use Calls to Action

A call to action (CTA) directly invites engagement to your site. You can include CTAs at various strategic places on your site, including:

  • Banners
  • Footers
  • Landing pages
  • Sales pages
  • Blog posts
  • Videos

CTAs can be static, meaning they remain consistent for all visitors, or your web designer can use advanced scripts to create CTAs that adjust to individual visitors based on their viewing history or profile.

10. Offer Self-Service Tools

One type of engagement that can make or break your long-term relationship with customers is how you respond to support requests. Many customers prefer to solve problems themselves before trying to contact a representative because it saves them time and aggravation. You can help customers solve their own support issues by providing self-service tools on your site. These include:

  • Frequently asked questions pages
  • Tutorials
  • How-to blog posts
  • Apps to help customers estimate usage or cost levels
  • Automated quote request forms

Helping customers help themselves can help you boost engagement.

11. Provide Chatbot Support

Another support tool that encourages engagement is a chatbot. You can include a chatbot option on your support page, or you can design your site to proactively cause a chatbot to pop up when a customer takes certain actions, such as visiting a sales page. Chatbots can be used to offer both automated and live support. Routine service issues can often be handled automatically, while more complex issues requiring human support should be channeled to a live representative. To reduce customer wait time and frustration, offer the option of choosing to speak to a live support agent when a chatbot opens so that the customer doesn’t have to jump through hoops to reach a representative.

12. Track Engagement Performance

You can manage your engagement more effectively when you track it accurately. Use engagement metrics such as those explained above to track your current engagement levels. You can then set goals to increase specific engagement metrics and take steps to improve your results.

Increased User Engagement Equals More Sales

By monitoring your user engagement and taking steps to increase it, you can make your website a more effective tool for driving traffic and generating sales revenue. 


Kevin Donahue

Strategizing and planning visual identities is what Kevin's all about. In collaboration with our team of designers and artists, he executes creative plans that elevate brands and resonate with audiences. Kevin feels strongest about helping clients identify their needs and carrying out their vision. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the banjo and working on his startup.

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