When setting up a website it is likely you have a clear idea of what you want – how you want it to look, how you want to layout the information etc. The question you really need to ask yourself is ‘what do I think my users will want’?
It is hard to stay objective but this is the only way you will be able to head in the right direction towards a successful website. Your views are obviously still important but you need to balance these with what your visitors will need from your website to make sure you are hitting the right note.
This article looks at the importance and different aspects needed to interact with your users.
1. Build a community around your website
Integrating a blog, twitter feed or Q and A section are just a few examples of building a community through your website. Allowing users to join in your discussions and comment on your articles is a great way of building relationships and sharing information. If visitors feel your website is a useful source of information, they are more likely to join in and revisit.
If you are using social networking platforms such as Twitter, it is worth integrating a feed through your website where your posts show up and also including a function to let people retweet your posts in order to attract more users to your website or twitter profile.
2. Write your content in a conversational manner
When writing your content, although you are likely to be the expert on what you are writing about, it is best to write your content in a conversational manner and avoid sounding like you are talking at your users. Also, avoid jargon and keep it simple so your users can understand what you are trying to say.
Depending on the nature of what you do, it is likely you will need to take one of two approaches to your writing style; either a formal or laid back tone. If you feel a formal tone would suit you better, make sure you remember you still need to sound approachable.
3. Keep your navigation and information clearly laid out
To keep your visitors interested in your website and be able to push them around the website you need to make sure information is readily available. Don’t over complicate your navigation and make it clear what you do from the homepage so users can quickly establish if your website relates to what they are looking for.
Interacting with your users through the information on your website has to be done effectively or you risk losing out on business. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and evaluate how they might engage their users.
4. Have a news section
Having a news section allows visitors to see what is happening in your organisation and gives them first hand access to regular updates from you. Updating your news section with well optimised articles also works as a bonus with search engines as they appreciate up to date content.
Allowing visitors to comment on your news relates to point number one about building a community around your website and can generate a discussion about your articles.
5. Reply to comments quickly
If your website visitors comment on your news articles, social networking posts, articles or submit questions to you, aim to reply within 48 hours. This is a good way of getting people back to your website, getting involved in discussion from users and potentially making conversions.
6. Include interactive features
Adding image galleries, video and audio is another way of interacting with your users without using an overload of written content. It is an interesting way of attracting attention and some users will much prefer to use these sources of information, especially as it is common knowledge that most web users skim information with speed.
7. Monitor your website traffic
When we set up websites for our clients we always integrate a Google Analytics account so we can help clients monitor the success of their website. The Google Analytics package is a great way to find out how many visitors your site is receiving, where they are coming from, how long they stay on the site and loads more useful information. It is a free service from Google and it is recommended you integrate this to monitor your website.
This can help you see if users are visiting sections on your website that allow interaction and also help you see which pages are proving not so popular. Keep an eye on your bounce rate which means the percentage of visitors leaving your website at first glance to see if people are finding your website useful and browsing through pages. You should aim for a bounce rate lower than 40%.
For more information read our article – ‘Your Guide to Google Analytics’.
8. Make sure your website follows accessibility standards
Making sure your website follows accessibility standards is really important. Aspects you need to consider include font sizes being editable, a simple colour scheme and easy to use website. Where necessary you should try and include a translation option and audio for your content for those with hearing difficulties.
This article highlights the importance of having an interactive website and keeping communication going with your website users. Your website is likely to be one of your main promotional tools so it is essential you keep it active.
If you think your website could do with an objective evaluation, why not take advantage of our FREE site review where we analyse your website and provide suggestions to take it the next level. For more information call us now on 020 8747 3274.