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8 actionable strategies to improve website engagement and UX
Sometimes a website has all the bells and whistles necessary to engage users, but still fails to capture their attention or meet their needs.
It’s not enough to add all the website elements you think users want. To drive real engagement, you need to understand what actually engages your users, monitor how they interact with your site—and benchmark your efforts against tried and tested website engagement strategies.
Last updated21 Sep 2022
Let’s explore eight website engagement techniques that'll help you create a product experience (PX) your users love. We’ll give you tips on the best tools to use, and how to measure success along the way, so you can boost your website's engagement, user loyalty, and revenue.
Want to increase engagement on your website?
Hotjar’s Observe and Ask tools reveal the context behind user engagement rates, so you can optimize for success
8 website engagement strategies to improve the user experience
Tracking website engagement shows you how users engage with your website by measuring specific website engagement metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you how successful your site is at engaging and retaining visitors.
Understanding how your visitors are interacting with your site and identifying blockers to engagement helps you better meet your users’ needs and improve their customer experience (CX). And by using effective user-centered strategies to help benchmark your website engagement efforts, you save time and resources by analyzing metrics supported by a customer-first approach—and making decisions that add to the user experience UX).
Let's take a look at how to implement these website engagement techniques, including the tools you can use to measure their success:
1. Streamline your user experience
Part of improving website engagement is making sure your site's performance is up to par with your customer's needs by enabling them to easily solve their problems. Your users should be able to easily navigate your website, find what they’re looking for, and perform tasks and actions that add value and help them achieve their goals.
Ways to streamline your website's user experience:
Improve your website's speed:
A key component of streamlining the user experience and increasing organic traffic to your site is improving your website speed. Your website should load in three seconds or less to rank on search engines like Google—so make sure this is one of your first engagement optimizations.
Track your website loading time with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to determine your website speed
Use website analytics tools like Google Analytics or GTMetrix to give you actionable suggestions on improving website speed
Keep your website’s UI and UX design simple
The way you design your website should reflect your customers’ needs, how they search and browse online, and how they interact with content. Poor website user interface (UI) and UX design prevent your audience from achieving their goals and engaging with your website by distracting them or making it hard to complete an action.
Base your design goals on displaying website elements, like calls to action (CTAs) and content, to your users in a way that makes sense for them and lets them easily interact with your product.
How to simplify your site’s UI and UX design:
Keep your navigation, layout, checkout pages, and drop-down menus straightforward and easy to find
Make categorization intuitive and ensure your most important links are accessible from your main navigation bar
Use Hotjar (hi, there👋) Session Recordings to watch how real users browse your website and see if you’re fostering an effortless customer journey. Use your insights to optimize your website design and enhance your customer experience.
Enable an interactive product experience
To compete in a saturated market, businesses need to look for dynamic ways to convey how their product meets the needs of their audience, and serve visitors before they become customers.
To enable an interactive PX on your website, you can:
Offer virtual product demonstrations that showcase how your product adds value to your customers. For example, a SaaS startup might include interviews of product power users to display its ease of use and establish credibility.
Create an interactive product catalog that shows customers how the product will look or perform in real use cases. For example, an ecommerce company might look to Asos for inspiration, and steal their ‘virtual catwalk’ idea where they display clips of models wearing their products and clothing to inspire visitors to purchase.
Create an immersive onboarding experience with product guides, tooltips, learning centers, or video tutorials. Guide your users through product adoption with dynamic pop-ups and content that takes your audience deeper into your product’s features.
Improve internal linking structures
An intuitive website experience guides site visitors from one page to another with a predefined purpose. An internal linking strategy helps make sure your visitors keep engaging with key site pages and experiences by inspiring them to keep clicking.
By including links like ‘Products you may like’, ‘Because you read…’, or ‘People also bought’, you’re compelling visitors to keep exploring and add more items to their cart based on similar user behavior. This is especially useful for ecommerce companies using AI algorithms to track user browsing and purchasing behavior, as they can offer personalized recommendations that drive engagement.
When improving your internal linking structure, make sure:
All links have a descriptive, hyper-relevant anchor text (or the text that’s visible and clickable to visitors), so visitors know exactly what they’re clicking on.
Link placement is separate from your main navigation view, and integrated throughout key moments and pages (like checkout, product, and landing pages) in the customer journey.
Pro tip: use session recordings to watch users explore and experience your website. See where they click, what they engage with, and how they engage to tailor the user experience to real user needs and sessions.
For example, a SaaS company might watch user sessions on their website to see how users understand and interact with their product experience, and then use their insights to improve their product onboarding media kit.
Hotjar Recordings give you access to key user insights as they navigate your website or digital product.
2. Improve mobile responsiveness
To make sure you’re not alienating customers who access your website from their smartphone or tablet, you need to create a responsive website experience that adapts to multiple devices.
Increasing your mobile responsiveness helps your website rank on search engines, making it more accessible to users no matter where they are. This improves their experience with your brand and their ability to engage with your products and content.
To optimize mobile responsiveness for your website:
Use Google Mobile-Friendly Test to determine if your website offers a responsive mobile experience.
Minimize the number of steps it takes a visitor to complete an action by removing unnecessary information or content.
Make CTAs, buttons, and menus less text-heavy and resize buttons to match the screen size.
Place the most important information above the fold (or before the point where the visitor starts scrolling).
Use the Hotjar Feedback widget to ask your users about their mobile experience, and what elements you could improve.
3. Identify and understand your target audience
To engage your website visitors, you first need to identify which audience your product is best suited for and understand their wants, needs, and pain points. By taking the time to pinpoint your ideal audience, you can create a personalized experience that directly speaks to user problems and helps them find value in your solution.
One way to do this is by analyzing various sources of information and weaving them into a user persona to identify and understand your target audience. Here’s how:
Conduct market research to better understand your product’s unique selling point and industry trends. Compare how your product stacks up against competitors, and the type of customers it attracts and appeals to.
Interview and survey customers. Ask them questions about how they use your product, what problems it helps solve, and what they’d like to see more of.
Identify patterns in user behavior with tools like Woopra or customer analytics software, and combine insights from social media profiles, website traffic, and hashtag use.
Gather your insights to develop your Ideal Customer Profile based on trends in your ideal customer's buying behaviors, pain points, characteristics, and demographics: including income, job title, relationship status, and geographic location.
Segment your customers into the user persona that fits them best to make sure you’re creating an engaging experience for each customer type. For example, you could create a self-service user onboarding experience that helps each user persona find their way around your product—with customized pro tips and tooltips that add value to their individual experience and engage them from the start.
4. Add strategic CTAs
Placing strategic call-to-action (CTA) buttons at different points in the buyer’s journey helps visitors better navigate your website and follow a logical route through your sales funnel. But CTAs don’t work if they’re only focused on your desire to sell, rather than the customer journey and experience.
Instead, make your CTAs engaging and strategic, so their placement, content, and buttons encourage site visitors to explore your website without putting them off. For example, instead of telling people to ‘Buy now’, you can motivate them to ‘Learn more’ and link to a related blog post with valuable information, or ‘Subscribe’ to your newsletter and learn about your product that way.
To add strategic CTAs to your website, it’s important that you:
A/B test your CTA buttons, copy, color scheme, and other variables to determine which version of your CTA converts. If you’re using Hotjar Integrations, you can merge insights from Hotjar with A/B testing tools like Optimizely and Google Optimize and filter A/B test sessions by user type.
Write CTA copy that offers genuine value and guidance to your target audience, and isn’t pushing a hard sell. Then watch recordings of user sessions on your website and observe if your CTAs make sense in the users’ flow—and motivate customers to complete the next step in their customer journey.
Place CTAs in key engagement areas on your web pages and website. Then use heatmaps and scroll maps to see where users click, how deeply they scroll, and where they engage, to determine if your CTA placement attracts and engages customers.
5. Optimize website search
To promote website engagement, your site visitors should be able to quickly search your website and find what they’re looking for.
Help users explore your website with interactive search options that prevent them from manually digging around your website to find what they need—and dropping off when they don’t. Simply having a website search bar isn’t enough to engage visitors if it’s difficult to find or use.
Here are some ways you can optimize website search for your business:
Add auto-complete and faceted search options (like product filters based on type, color, or brand) to your website to predict what users are searching for and make suggestions for related products or services. This way, users can misspell the name of a product and still find it.
Turn frequently asked questions into a comprehensive stand-alone FAQ page.
Use merchandising and AI algorithms to suggest similar products and maximize sales.
Ask users if they’re able to find everything they need, or what could be streamlined, with a feedback pop-up.
6. Create compelling content
Since you’ve already identified and taken the time to understand your target audience, you can create compelling content that meets users’ needs, adds value to their experience, and educates them on key topics.
Crafting useful content that resonates with your audience can help drive organic traffic to your website by ranking for user queries and keywords. It also builds user trust by establishing your brand as a thought leader in its industry.
To create content that engages your audience:
First, determine what type of content you’re creating based on your audiences’ needs and preferred content type. Pick anything from educational videos, blog posts, podcasts, or webinars.
Then, define the search intent of your user and the piece of content—make sure you’re directly speaking to their pain point, and offer actionable insights and tips to help alleviate it.
If it’s a blog post, use headlines to help summarize your article’s main points, so visitors can quickly scan it and still gain value.
Create and publish your content regularly. Use content management systems like HubSpot to publish on a schedule, and stick to it.
Reference industry or subject matter experts where possible to drive credibility and topical authority.
Let’s explore some other ways you can create effective content that benefits and engages your audience.
To engage your audience, craft personalized content that aligns with their customer journey, including previous searches and interactions with your brand. You can:
Use AI algorithms to recommend relevant content and products to users based on their buying behavior. For example, an ecommerce company might send a follow-up email to a website visitor who recently abandoned their cart—proposing similar products, or bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content like user testimonials and case studies that might help them make a decision.
Personalize the user onboarding process with user guides, blog posts, videos, and tooltips that relate to the users’ particular onboarding stage and product needs. And make sure you’re engaging users with multimedia content that varies from stage to stage, for an exciting learning experience.
Provide personalized content based on previous user interactions and browsing behavior. For example, after receiving a new signup for its webinar on digital transformation, a SaaS company might send a follow-up email with content related to ‘what is digital transformation’ or ‘how to automate your business’, to engage users before the webinar and start building a relationship with them.
7. Highlight social proof
Including and emphasizing social proof on your website helps potential customers fully understand the value of your product by demonstrating how it’s helped other users solve their problems.
While social proof is crucial for the decision-making stage of your marketing funnel, it’s also useful throughout the customer journey and can drive visitors to engage with your website or product at any stage.
Here’s how you can highlight social proof on your website:
Display visual evidence of your product in action on key landing and product pages.
Include customer testimonials on your website and spotlight glowing reviews on relevant product pages. For example, an ecommerce website might include product reviews for every product to promote user transparency and engagement.
Showcase your best numbers and clients on your homepage and link to case studies that support your results. For example, a startup might highlight its most popular clients on its homepage to quickly gain credibility and user trust.
Use surveys to ask power users about their experience with your product and post their responses on your homepage or landing pages.
8. Integrate chatbots or live chat
Part of driving website engagement and getting users to understand your product is supplying them with the resources they need to ease their frustrations and improve their experience.
Chatbots or live chat software can help you pre-qualify leads, build rapport with your customers, and consistently provide value by answering their questions or offering additional resources. Use chatbots or tools like LiveChat to connect with your customers on their terms, and engage them with useful tips, information, and possible solutions.
Power website engagement with user-backed insights
The way visitors engage with your website and their level of engagement depends on your ability to align your content, web design, and site elements with their specific customer needs and journey.
Use our guide to the top website engagement techniques to inspire you in your website engagement efforts and spot potential areas of improvement. By measuring the success of your strategies with user-backed insights, you’ll be able to find out what’s working and what’s driving or blocking engagement.
Want to increase engagement on your website?
Hotjar’s Observe and Ask tools reveal the context behind user engagement rates, so you can optimize for success