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How to get users engaged in your website

27 February 2011 / 13:02:32  GRReporter
6968 reads

Ivan Petkov 

As GRReporter already wrote, it is not enough just to bring the user to your website. Websites are no longer just a source of information and users are not only consumers of this information. Apart from useful information, users want to actively participate and to be provided with an opportunity to express themselves. In addition, some websites want as many users as possible to perform any particular task - these are indicative online stores whose owners would like every visitor to become a client or what in more realistic terms - as many users to buy from the site as possible. 

Ask yourself two simple and fundamental questions whose answers will save you much time and effort in the wrong direction: 

1. What particular action do i want the user to make on my website or on a separate page of it? 
2. Is what I personally like, valid for all people? 

The first question clarifies the basic concept behind a website or page of it. The more clearly and precisely worded purpose of a website, the easier it will be realized in practice, and of course its goal. 

The second question avoids the subjective element that every owner of a new website is inclined to do. Remember that your website is done not for yourself but for your users, who have different expectations and user experience on the Internet. Do things suitable for most users and not in a way you, your partner or your wife will like them done. Remember that in any event,  if you pay, you will be able to override the advice of the website designer who will do your website. However, this does not mean that your opinion is correct. 

Let us go back to the various ways on how to get users to engage in your website. 

Clicking on ads 
Advertising is essential for financially supporting most types of websites. More advertising - more revenue. New technologies have allowed any kind of advertisement, in different shapes and different contributions from the users. Cars buzzing around the screen, beautiful women wink at us, we are poured by all types of sounds, pop-ups, we can click on any word in a text and this can turn out to be an ad... The possibilities are many! BUT! Here comes the great and big "BUT"! Well, users now have the means with which to remove annoying ads and more of them will resort to these means. And those ads are annoying when they prevent the user to read or view any content on the website, for which he/she came. Do not overdo it with ads. Statistics indicate that the effectiveness of online ads is decreasing and websites are having increasing difficulty to bring clicks for their advertisers. In their effort to have more advertising positions, many websites overload their visitors. The matter of advertising is the same as with everything else - moderation and correct approach is needed. 

Register online 
For one reason or another, many websites want their users to register with them. Registrations are a tedious job, no matter how simple they are made. Here are two ways to get your users to register: 

1. Give them a reason to do so - give them more interesting features on your website if they are registered: make a game that requires registration; give only registered users the opportunity to comment. 
2. Use OpenID or Facebook connect – this way it will be much easier and faster for your users to register your website with an already existing universal account. 

Online store page 
Perhaps the online store page is the one, which had brought the greatest confusion among users. The most important rule is: every word and every page element should lead to the Order button! Several tips on how to achieve this: 

1.The top of the page that presents each product and from which the purchase is being made, must give all the initial information to a potentially interested buyer. This includes an image (or a gallery is best) of the product, a short description (maximum of 1-2 short sentences), video presentation of the product, product price and any additional elements that would lead the user to make a purchase: discount/sale, if any, free shipping, a gift etc. 
The rule of thumb is that if in the first 3 seconds, the user does not see the above mentioned information, which will keep him/her on the page, because this information is scattered and he/she needs to look for it, it is very likely the majority of users to close the page and go to the next search result in Google—or in other words—to your competition! 

2. Additional products, which are associated with your main product. If you are selling a dress, add a belt, scarf or shoes, which would be appropriate or which other users have combined it with; if you offer male perfume, add a kit-bag, cologne or a whole set, which is suitable for this exact perfume, and why not a proposal from the female series of the same brand – it is hard for men to choose gifts for their sweethearts and every advice in this direction will be greeted with approval and will distinguish you from your competition! 

Additional items would certainly bring you more sales, and would save you on advertising because the consumer is already on your website. 

3. Recommendations from other users. If used correctly, recommendations from other users can be very useful because they encourage people for more purchases. The social element is enhanced and people prefer to consult the views of other users as well. Why not do it on your website? This would also distinguish you from your competition (in case it has not already done so) and increase the consumer confidence in your store. 

4. Order button and the overall purchase process. Okay, you have brought the user to your website, he/she remained pleased and wants to buy. By pressing the Order button, the user is now confident that he/she wants to buy and... if here things do not happen the way they are supposed to, everything so far has gone to waste. The most important action - the purchase - never took place! Be sure that at every stage of purchase, the user will be aware of: 
- Exactly what item is being purchased 
- What quantity 
- How much delivery costs, even if it is free – show it 
- What is the method of payment 

At any point in time, users should be able to easily delete products from their carts, without having to start everything from the beginning. The same goes for quantity as well. 

In conclusion I would like to say the best websites are the ones, which think from the position of the users.

Tags: website new technologies internet user online store
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