5 Web Design Strategies that Can Supercharge User Engagement
Designing a professional-looking website today is easier than ever — thanks to availability of a wide range of tools that can be used.
Although flashy visuals can indeed capture your target audience’s attention, a website is essentially meaningless if it doesn’t deliver a meaningful experience that can motivate users to take action, like subscribing to an email list, sharing your content on social media, or making a purchase.
If you believe your website is well-designed but can’t generate traffic or conversions, here are the puzzle pieces you might be missing:
1. Improve Your Page Loading Speed
Believe it or not, your website could shed half of its traffic if you don’t shoot for faster loading speeds. If you have a WordPress website, read 21 Easy Ways to Speed Up WordPress in 2019.
According to a study by Kissmetrics, up to 40 percent of online users would leave a site that takes more than three seconds to finish loading. This high abandonment rate is worsened to 53 percent of users on mobile devices.
Fortunately, improving a website’s loading speed to be on par with the online community’s expectations isn’t rocket science.
A tool like GTmetrix will help you analyze your website for performance bottlenecks — you just need to provide your website’s URL and give the tool some time to complete its assessment.
Additionally, GTmetrix will supply you with actionable recommendations you can follow to rectify the detected issues. Yes — you don’t need to spend a single dime for these valuable insights.
For content-heavy websites, such as online stores and photography sites, a reliable solution is to subscribe to a CDN service to optimize your site’s bandwidth usage.
Short for Content Delivery Network, a CDN leverages multiple proxy servers to spread the workload of storing and transferring website data. These server groups are distributed across key locations to keep the site’s performance consistent for users — regardless of where they live.
2. Reduce Distractions
Another way to improve your website’s loading speed is to remove clutter and prioritize the visibility of core conversion elements.
Your main value proposition, for example, should be the first thing that comes into view. Other page elements you can emphasize include your site’s call to action and trust indicators like star ratings, certifications, and testimonials.
Of course, you can focus on the absolute barebones of a goal-oriented web page — as what many marketing thought leaders nowadays do.
Here’s an example from Neil Patel’s website, which utilizes a concise value proposition, a clear call to action, and a background image that just screams authority.
3. Refine Your Keyword Strategy
The next vital component of a great user experience is, unfortunately, one of the most overlooked.
Although keyword research isn’t exactly a part of the design process, it’s role in user engagement is simply too important to ignore.
Remember, keywords are directly tied to the intent and expectations of online users. If there is a mismatch between those factors and the information you provide in your content, you could be looking at droves of unsatisfied visitors abandoning your site.
The takeaway here is to make sure pages, along with elements like headers, titles, and meta descriptions, are optimized for long-tail keywords that signal a specific intent.
For example, you can target the keyword “how to train for a marathon” on a long-form fitness guide. But for the sales page of your branded running shoes, you should go for keywords like “running shoes sale” or “buy running shoes.”
You can scoop up these keyword ideas using a tool like LongTailPro. All you need to do is use the filter feature to spot keywords that contain certain terms that are indicative of intent, such as “buy,” “sale,” or “price.”
4. Spy on Your Top Competitors
If there’s one web design strategy that can guarantee tangible results, it’s conducting competitor research.
This approach skips all the number crunching and zeroes in on tactics that are proven to work — as demonstrated by the top brands in your niche. It’s such an effective strategy that digital marketers, web designers, and SEO agencies are pretty much required to include it in their value proposals in order to stay relevant.
Everything, from preferred visual styles of your target audience to the specific content types that pique their interest, can be revealed by looking at your biggest competitor’s website. You just need to identify who they are and understand the elements you should “borrow.”
A quick Google search with your target keywords should allow you to identify competitors worth spying on. Once you do, evaluate their design and pay attention to recurring strategies that multiple competitors use.
Below are some examples:
- Search bar
If your website contains truckloads of content, featuring a search bar is a surefire way to simplify the navigation and improve the overall user experience.
- Image carousels
Image sliders allow you to load more photos in less space. It makes sense for online stores and freelancer portfolio sites.
- Explainer videos
Just like carousels, video content lets you present more information without using up too much screen real estate.
- Content cards
The use of content cards is a fairly recent web design trend that lets you organize sections of your website in an intuitive and responsive manner.
5. Use Google Analytics
Always remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to web design.
Taking a peek at your top competitor’s strategy is a step in the right direction. But if you want to cut the guesswork and make data-driven decisions, you need to learn how to track your own results.
Let’s face it, you can never really tell if your design works or not if you don’t take it out for a spin. And for this, you need a tool that will help you monitor certain Key Performance Indicators or KPIs that measure user engagement.
Google Analytics is one of the platforms that fit the bill. Not only is it free, but it also gives you a bird’s-eye view of all the metrics you need, such as your total pageviews, average session duration, and bounce rate.
The tool also tracks the engagement metrics of each individual page. This will allow you to identify the page design layouts that appeal the most to your audience.
Ultimately, web design isn’t meant to have a single blueprint or formula that anyone can use.
Every design elements you incorporate into your site should be tailored to your brand’s specific goals. That’s why the guide above is structured in a way that it encourages you to let data show you the way — not tactics that may have worked for some, but not you.
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