Digital Marketing Step 2: Keep Visitors on Your Website

October 6, 2016
Peter McEllhenney

When we discuss marketing with clients, I like to say this about websites:

“Good design keeps web visitors from leaving in 10 seconds.”

“Good content keeps web visitors interacting for 10 minutes.”

Good design keeps website visitors from leaving

Good web design has a lot to do in 10 seconds. It must look professional and please the eye. It has to express a mood and make an emotional connection. And it needs to help tell people who you are and why they should care – fast.

This is because web users are often highly task-focused, particular when they are looking to buy goods and services. It’s also because a list of ten of your competitors is one click away from your website.

So your web design has to make people think and feel you are a good choice, in a few seconds, or they will move on to the next site.

Design is also important to keeping visitors engaged with your site. Making sure the copy, images, video, and other elements of each page are well laid-out encourage visitors to stay.

Each page needs “focal points” or elements that the eye sees first. Focal points make your page layout clear, and avoid overwhelming visitors with twenty visual elements, all the same size, and all demanding the same attention.

These are the principles we stress to people when discussing their website design:

  • Pick one message
  • Pick one emotion
  • Keep your logo simple
  • Use colors to express mood
  • Select focal points with care
  • Select photographs with more care
  • Make navigation choices prominent
  • Limit copy to 250 – 300 words per page
  • Make sure pages load fast and are easy to index

Good content keeps web visitors interacting

Once the design has earned a visitor’s attention, it is the job of content to keep them engaged.

One easy way to create good content is to answer the questions your clients and customers commonly ask.

Remember that most website visitors – particularly for businesses – are task-focused. They are looking for information that tells them whether you are the best choice for their needs. So make sure you give it to them.

For professionals like doctors and lawyers, this information will be details about your education, experience, and areas of expertise. For restaurants, menus and wine lists. For retail stores of all types, what you sell.

A person visiting an e-commerce site wants to find compelling details on the products available for purchase as well as shipping costs, return policies, and other guarantees.

Brick-and-mortar businesses will want to include information about their hours, locations, types of payments accepted, parking, and driving directions.

All businesses will want to highlight client quotes, good reviews, awards, and certifications.

Good content can also be about providing information on topics which are relevant to what you do.

For example, an e-commerce site that sells kitchenware probably wants to offer cooking tips and recipes. A law firm that drafts wills could include basic estate planning advice on their website. Plants shops can provide information on how to maintain healthy gardens.

Answering these types of questions will keep visitors on your pages, increase awareness of your work, position you as an authority in your field, and create a positive feeling toward your company, all of which can lead to a new business relationship.

Keep in mind that your content can be video as well as images and text, and that video is more engaging to more people than words alone.

Humorous or entertaining content is also a good way to keep visitors on your website – but I would only use humor when it fits the personality of your business and then I would do it carefully.

A pet grooming business could have photos of its most satisfied customers. Businesses where there is a lot of personal interaction – barbershops, for instance – could include jokes that are appropriate for general consumption. A comedy club definitely wants to have videos of upcoming performers being funny.  But be careful not to present anything that might make people not do business with you. Because hiring you, doing business with you, is the whole idea.