6 Ways to Make Your Site More Engaging

Can we all agree that being spammy (even just a little bit) is a no-no? We all know that Google certainly thinks so, although isn’t always that good at spotting it!

You’ve probably seen some of the worst offenders: plain pages full of hot-blue text links, crappy ads crammed everywhere, machine-generated content or even no content at all. That’s what the Panda and Penguin updates were all about. With these new algorithms, Google is attempting to more accurately predict how engaged a typical visitor to your site might be so that (in theory) higher engagement translates to a higher ranking in their search results.

But how do you make your site more engaging? Here are six relatively easy things that you can do to raise your engagement:

1. Make It Easy To Get Around

When it comes to getting around your site, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. This whole internet thing has been around for a while now, and every internet user on the planet has been conditioned to look for certain things in certain places. Put the main navigation either across the top or down one side. Use normal words that are easily understood by your target visitor. Use colours that contrast enough so that your text can be read without straining the eyes. Put your content near the top of the page, above the fold. Let your visitors know immediately that they have come to the right place.

2. Speed It Up

The fastest way to lose someone is to do nothing for a few seconds. About 50% of all people on the web will hit the BACK button if your site hasn’t loaded in two seconds. By four seconds, that number jumps to 80%. Getting a quick load time may be as simple as removing images from your background and using only colour. Try eliminating rich media ads that are loaded from other websites. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you can install a plugin such as WP Super Cache to serve cached content, eliminating the time it takes to query the database.

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3. Format Your Articles For Easy Viewing

Long blocks of text simply do not work well on the web. Use images and break your text into short paragraphs to keep the reader interested and occupied. Break medium and longer articles into smaller pieces separated by sub-headings. Do not place ads in the main body of the text. You will be tempted. Resist the urge. Remove all obstacles that interfere with the ability to consume your content.

4. Use Video

Now that your visitors can easily find their ways around your lightning-fast and informative website, what can we give them to keep them happy and coming back for more? Sometimes a great idea is creating custom videos on relevant topics. If you have products to sell, make your own 30-second commercials. You might want to make a feature film, but you have to control that impulse. Keep it short. Make it funny. A good laugh can make a friend out of a stranger. Use that.

5. Use Interactive Polls

Nothing gets people engaged as much as asking a question. Use polls to find out more about who your readers are, what kinds of opinions they hold and what they might want from you in the future. Let them know you care what they think.

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6. Waste Some Time

It doesn’t have to be all business, all the time. Consider adding a section with only photos, or one with some simple games or puzzles. Give them a place to unwind, a place with no “purpose”. If you think this would be a waste of your space, just ask Mr. Zuckerberg.

About The Author

Matt is an SEO Consultant based just outside London and also runs Pet365. His focus is on creating great content to drive engagement, and in his spare time enjoys long walks in the country (with his dogs) and noisy drives on a track (in a go-kart)!
Connect with Matt on .

13 Response to 6 Ways to Make Your Site More Engaging

  1. Zoe Alexander on May 19, 2012

    Matt, thanks for some great tips! I hadn’t realised the bounce rate was so high at just 2 seconds! I must admit your other points were familiar to me and there is no doubt that quality content is key to engage with quality readers. Which plug-in would you recommend for social shares on WordPress for 3.3.1? This is something I haven’t sorted out yet!

  2. dlysen on May 19, 2012

    Making good impression to the visitors is must. Good contextual information are sometimes boring and adding some attractive images and videos can give wonderful experience to your visitors.

  3. Felicia @ No Deposit Poker on May 19, 2012

    Hi Matt,
    These are great tips on making your site more engaging. I just hate it when I go to sites that open up a new tab each time I click on a link and still won’t be able to go to the article I want to read. You need to click another link on the newly opened tab to be able to go to the article. What a pain.

  4. Sylvia @ Daily42 on May 21, 2012

    I agree with your post, especially #3. Readers will actually have the impression that you are an organized writer if you write in a way that is easy to read (there are paragraphs, there are pictures, subheadings, etc). I have come across blogs before that I seldom or never visit anymore because they post their articles with content that is continuous, no commas, and one whole sentence takes 5 or more lines in the page! One sentence already looks like one whole paragraph. It really is hard to read that kind of formatting.

  5. Becca on May 22, 2012

    Nice info which will be prove so useful for all blogger and online marketers.
    Thanks again, I plan on reading, comprehending and wrapping my head around all of this.

  6. Jake on May 23, 2012

    Totally agree with the tip number 6. You have to make the balance between work and play. Your clients also need some rest, nobody wants to be at work all the time. So this is a really brilliant idea.

  7. Ricardo Woods on May 23, 2012

    There are many ways to entice interest towards your site. Content plays a huge part and also user-friendliness of your site’s navigation and features.

  8. Sylvia @ Daily42 on May 28, 2012

    I agree with you Jake, the tip #6 is just as important as all the other tips mentioned. Most of us, after all, need to take a break once in a while a day. Also, incorporating a humorous photo, joke or quote in an article makes it unique and interesting to read.

  9. Mike Jones on June 12, 2012

    Making good impression to the visitors is must. Good contextual information are sometimes boring and adding some attractive images and videos can give wonderful experience to your visitors.

  10. minitar on June 13, 2012

    I agree with you Jake, the tip #6 is just as important as all the other tips mentioned

  11. Alok Chowdhury on June 22, 2012

    Great article Matt!

    Interesting to see such a high bounce rate after only 2 seconds… just goes to show how impatient people are on the internet. Besides the layout.. which you mentioned.. I think a visually “appealing” design is also necessary. Most people are doubtful when they stumble upon a new website.. making a good first impression will encourage the reader to consume more of your content.. which hopefully rocks too!

  12. Mina from Premium SEM Australia on November 15, 2012

    Nice Work Matt! concerning your first point of ‘Make It Easy To Get Around’ in addition to the display elements that you mentioned, let me add that adding a ‘web search’ feature could facilitate the navigation for better engagement.

  13. Mark Kens on December 5, 2012

    Its true that if you are able to engage visitors on your website, you will get upper position in serach pages. Website engagement is one the many factors for better ranking of a website. Its always been said that pictures speaks a thousand words. So its always beneficial to include some interesting and relevant images in your website. These days Infographics are becoming popular, its better if sometimes you make an infographic post on your website. Website speed must be higher enough to prevent visitors being bored. I just liked this post for its tips for making website more engaging.

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