Friday 25 July, 2014
A successful website is one that engages its visitors. They don’t just come and passively read or watch whatever is there, but interact with the website somehow. This is what’s known as ‘engagement.’
Engagement is extremely important. It makes it more fun to visit a website. This keeps people coming back again and again. Furthermore, it creates a relationship or bond between the site and the visitor. It’s great for branding your site.
Engagement also offers SEO benefits. When your site keeps visitors engaged, they spend more time on it and come back to it frequently. These are both indications to the search engines that your site is worth referring traffic to. In some of the examples below, your users actually create content for your site. Fresh content is also an SEO bonus.
Here are some interactive website elements you can put on your site to keep visitors engaged.
A wiki is a collaborative software program that allows web pages to be created and edited using a simple web browser. This means that visitors to your site can edit it from their browser. The most famous example is Wikipedia, but if you look around, there are all kinds of other wiki sites.
Create a wiki on your site based around some topic of interest to your visitors. Allow them to create and edit the information there. This is a great opportunity for engagement and also adds fresh content to your site.
Attach a forum to your site. A forum is a place where people can join and create a profile through which they can start discussion threads, post comments, and interact with other members. All of the activity is moderated by the website owner, who can impose rules and restrictions in order to make it a valuable place for all involved.
There are software programs that allow you to add and manage forums. This feature is also standard for some webhosting services. Like the wiki, you’ll get plenty of fresh content, although it takes some maintenance on your part to keep a forum running.
Some websites allow users to register in order to get exclusive content, special deals or other benefits. This is a simple way to get people engaged. They feel like they’re part of an elite group, sort of like a club.
However, most people don’t want to register to a website. Don’t make it mandatory for visitors to use your site. Offer plenty of content that’s free to everyone. Make the exclusive content or deals really valuable as an enticement to sign up.
An email newsletter is a great way to keep your visitors engaged. Offer them a freebie or something of value in exchange for their name and email address. Then, stay in touch with them through email messages that offer free content, much-needed help and links to your site where there’s new content and promotions. Email is still the best way to build a relationship online because it’s so personal. Put a newsletter sign-up form on your site.
Put social media buttons and add-ons on your site so that it’s totally integrated with all of the major social media sites. This makes it easy for people to share and like your content. There are also add-ons that do things like show your site’s social media followers and what they’re doing.
When planning a website, try to incorporate as many interactive elements as possible along with your regular content and SEO keyword considerations.