The following is a guest post by Nadav Shoval. Nadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM, an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Spot.IM is his fifth venture. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict.
Depending on your industry, a high bounce rate can be your SEO team’s worst nightmare. Practically speaking, it is reasonable to assume that if a significant portion of the traffic that comes through your site leaves without action, your content must not match user expectations. Therefore, when people visit your site, but fail to perform actions within 30 minutes, your bounce rate will likely increase.
The actions needed to prevent a high bounce rate can vary — including anything from social sharing, to clicking a link or button, to downloading information. Unfortunately, if nobody takes even a second of their time to interact with your site, it doesn’t make a very good statement about your website’s value. As a result, Google may place your site much lower in their search results depending on the competition — certainly far from your ideal scenario.
Thankfully, there are a few simple tricks you can incorporate on to your site to ensure browsers not only stay on your site, but return for more:
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1. Develop UGC (user generated content)
Simply put, your users are looking to be active. Gone are the days of people passively digesting information. Instead, many users are looking to get involved in your brand and be a part of your story. Hence, the growth of user generated content.
In essence, user generated content consists of creative, actionable campaigns driven by your users. This includes contests and posting pictures or videos on social media channels often under specific hashtags. One example of this was Target’s recent commercial consisting of user’s homemade videos of teens opening college acceptance letters. The campaign was extremely successful as it encouraged real customers to get involved with the brand, while also delivering a real experience people could relate to. Asking users to add their own data, experiences, and conclusions is also of key importance to you UGC campaign.
Because 50% of millennials tend to trust user-generated campaigns as a key source of information before making major purchases, UGC has proven to be a highly effective marketing strategy in recent years. In addition, the strategy is extremely significant when it comes to user retention, proving that when you feed users the activity they crave, first time browsers become avid, loyal readers and followers–which is exactly what you need for your website to perform.
2. Create a Social Experience
Nowadays, it’s not enough to post information and leave it as is. Today, people want to communicate with you by stating their opinions, leaving comments, and simply getting involved. Make it easy for them to do so by installing a comments section on to your page. Including this feature shows your users that their voices matter to you which ultimately encourages them to engage in conversation.
Asking for user feedback is also key to your site’s performance. Your visitors most certainly have opinions. Therefore, asking for them shows that you are serious about taking those opinions into consideration and finally turning it into action.
Finally, add the features of social media sites to your own site, by designating an area for communication, pictures of friends with your products, social statistics, birthdays, and more light-hearted forms of engagement. Don’t be afraid to think out-of-the-box with the social media tools you implement. After all, features such as the “newsfeed” and “like” button, are highly overused. So think of of unique ways to accomplish the same objective. Doing so will make your social strategy appear more genuine and allow you to create a social community right on your own site.
Additionally, including media such as pictures and video will add further social interest, keeping your customers engaged while also supplying them with content to share with friends. Video, in particular, has shown tremendous effectiveness for online social interaction. In Fact, just this year, video posts have increased by 75%. While creating video content for your site may seem like a mission, collaboration tools like Lookat for example can make the task easier and far less time-consuming.
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3. Mobile Compliant
Because our society is constantly on the move, mobile compliance is an absolute must. Approximately 3 billion people browse the internet on mobile devices, the majority of which are accessed via apps. For some sites, the majority of their overall user base actually comes from mobile. Taking this into consideration, in order for a site to keep users hooked, it must be specifically geared for the unique needs of a mobile user.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find information on-the-go and needing to adjust your screen to be able to read the site. So make your mobile site less wordy, and straight-to-the-point, in order to ensure users receive information fast and have no need to make manual adjustments. On a similar note, it’s important that all calls-to-action are simple, and logical in order that users easily find exactly what they are looking for. Lastly, because mobile users are generally multi-taskers that browse many sites and apps at once, it is especially critical that your mobile site loads fast and allows for easy transitions between various sites.
By using these tips to make your site mobile-friendly, you are ensuring people are able to actively engage in their free time and in a manner that best suits their lifestyle.
In many ways, website browsing is like dating. Though you may find individuals physically attractive on the outside, if they don’t have substance within, the relationship won’t go far. Therefore, to ensure your relationship thrives, you need to give your users the information they are looking for on an individual level.
The first step, of course, is analyzing your user’s demographics. By knowing the basics such as age range, gender, income level, interests, and so on, you can begin to deduce why they would be attracted to your site, and what content they are seeking. For further customization, don’t be afraid to use surveys. After all, nobody knows more about what your users want to read than your users themselves. Furthermore, asking your users what they want to learn and read about will make them feel heard while also helping you to develop the solutions to their problems. If surveys don’t help, try researching common questions pertaining to your industry on sites such as Quora or Reddit.
Lastly, try segmenting your users and developing content unique to each segment. If your site can appeal to a range of people, tweaking your material to suit each type of user can yield significant rewards. In order to do this properly, first develop specific sections for each niche. Then, organize the sections logically in a manner that will encourage people to select the specialized sections. Finally, track your results through analytics, seeing for yourself where people clicked, how long they stayed on each page, and the order in which they viewed each section. This gives you excellent information on what your users are looking for as well as which strategies are working for you.
Attaining user-retention on your site is no easy feat. The competition is fierce, the web is crowded, and your users are constantly demanding more to prove you’re worth their time. However, by creating content that encourages conversation and online community, keeping your site mobile-friendly, and making a personal, social experience, you have increased the likelihood of keeping your users happy and loyal — ensuring the dreaded bounces remain a thing of the past.