The story repeats itself over and over. A WordPress site owner writes content, people visit the site and, within a short period of time, visitor interaction falls off. There are many different reasons why this might be the case.
- Increased competition from like-minded content rich websites.
- Stagnant content publishing.
- Attention span of visitors continues to grow shorter.
Site owners who use these five methods of increasing visitor interaction will not only see an increase in visitor traffic but also experience users staying longer on the site and acting upon the actionable goals that have been built into the site.
Visitor Interaction Method #1 – Audience
Know Who Your Audience is and What They Want.
The concept of “understanding your audience” is sometimes a missed opportunity among website owners. If a site owner doesn’t take the opportunity to learn more about their users they will miss out on methods of encouraging visitor interaction to increase. How do you know who an audience is for a site?
- Make sure you track traffic analytics. Do you know what other sites your visitors come from before visiting your sites? Do you know what types of keyword searches bring in the most amount of traffic? Do you know how your visitors use your site? Where they click? How long do they stay on your site? Once a site owner understands more about their visitors they can begin to target ways of increasing visitor interaction.
- Try using A/B testing to see if certain colors work better for your call to action areas? Try a minimal blog post layout vs. a more cluttered (with lots of sidebars) to see which keeps your visitors interacting with your site longer.
- Is it better to remove all ads on a website or limit ads to only one location?
- Consider offering a survey with a “giveaway” at the end of the survey to ask your visitors about how they interact with a site.
- It is also important to re-evaluate your visitor analytics every few months to understand if your demographic and visitor site usage changes over time.
Once a clear picture is built around who a visitor is for a site and what type of content/design/feel they are looking for in a website it becomes apparent for site owners how to structure the site to increase visitor interaction.
Visitor Interaction Method #2 – Email
Building an Email List for the Express Purpose of Interaction
For many site owners the process of writing content, publishing content, and announcing the publishing of such content is a linear system. In each step, there is no assurance of the intended user of such announcement will hear that request for visitors interaction. This is where email comes into the process.
For years, most email gurus have equated building an email list with the ability to sell into that list. While this is an excellent usage it is missing one of the primary use cases for email lists. If a WordPress site owner works at building an email list of people who are already familiar with that site’s content, it is so much easier to send regular emails about new content and events that are happening on the site. In those announcement emails it opens the door to request visitor interaction and to direct visitors to the specific areas of your site that you want people to interact with.
Here are several suggestions of content to include in an email:
- Don’t simply let readers of the email know that new content has been written on the website, make sure you ask a question and encourage people to visit the website to respond to that question.
- Ask your email readers to perform a task (Facebook Like, Retweet, Share) some sort of specific piece of content.
- Use an email newsletter to encourage people to get involved in your website comments, contents, and have the first-shot at upcoming deals/content on the site.
Visitor Interaction Method #3 – Links
Internal Linking is not just for SEO, it is also for your Visitors.
The generous usage of internally linking to multiple pieces of content within other content is vital to both SEO as well as visitor interaction on a WordPress website. There are many different ways to implement internal links within a website.
- Most site owners find that adding links within current content (“blog posts”) is the easiest way to keep visitor interaction at a high level. Referencing a similar post or linking a concept word that is explained in further detail in another post are great ways to get started. It is important to not forget to use an anchor tag that describes the interlink hyperlink.
- Another location that is a popular location to place internal links to increase visitor interaction is to place links at the bottom of a blog post. This is sometimes referred to as Related Posts. One of the reasons this area works is that visitors to a website have just finished reading a post it is easier to convince the visitor to continue navigating a site by providing them with additional posts that might be of interest.
- The sidebar or top of page are excellent locations to place a WordPress widget that highlights popular posts, most commented posts, or even important posts that a site owner might want to promote.
Visitor Interaction Method #4 – Mobile
Mobile Traffic MUST be an Integral Part of the Design
Internet traffic is now heavily focused on mobile devices. If a WordPress site is not mobile friendly then achieving better visitor interaction on a site will be an uphill climb. Some studies report that mobile traffic has now surpassed 50% of total traffic to regular business websites. So what are the top things a WordPress site owner can do to make sure mobile visitor interaction can be enhanced:
- Make sure a WordPress website is completely responsive and has been tested on multiple devices and resolutions.
- Consider eliminating areas of a website that are not needed for a mobile visitor. This might require hiding of sidebars, widgets, featured areas to mobile users.
- Make sure that all forms, calls-to-action buttons, and comment areas work and are easy to use on a mobile device.
Visitor Interaction Method #5 – Actions
Ask for a Single Actionable Step to be Taken
If a site owner never asks for their visitors to do something it is not surprising when nothing is done by the visitors to that site. It is also true that when a site owner asks their visitors to do too many things and is all over the place in terms of focus it is not surprising when nothing gets done by the visitors to that site.
To increase visitor interaction it is important for site owners to focus in on a single actionable step in key areas of a site. Several suggestions to focus a website’s call-to-action:
- On the homepage your primary goal might be to get visitors to interact with your email signup form. This could entail explaining the benefits of subscribing as well as highlighting the “free gift” that comes with signing up with the email list.
- On a blog post the primary goal might be to get visitors interaction to remain focused on content consumption and getting visitors to click on related post links.
- On an about page the primary goal might be to get a visitor to fill out a contact form. This might require removing a bunch of sidebar ads that normally appear throughout the website so as to not distract a visitor from interacting with the contact form.
While these five methods of increasing visitor interaction are an ongoing process, the more you focus on interacting more with your audience (your visitors) you will begin to experience site loyalty and soon you will not be the only one promoting your site but your visitors become some of your best advocates.