Web Design: 5 Rules for Driving Engagement

Do you have a solid foundation in place for attracting and engaging your target audience? Before you look at the latest trends and tips for improving attraction, engagement and retention, you need to make sure that you have the basics covered and a foundation for engagement in place. These rules let you confirm that you have a great starting point that you can build upon.

Content-Focused Design

Website visitors may appreciate the design elements that you use, but they aren’t the main attraction. Your audience wants to go through the valuable content that you provide on your site. A content-focused design highlights your articles, videos, graphics and other offerings so they’re easy to consume. Make sure that they take center stage to encourage visitors to engage with these pieces.

Ease of Sharing

Social networks offer excellent engagement opportunities with your audience, and they even do part of the work for you if you make it easy for them. Incorporate social sharing features into your website, so all your visitors need to do is click a button to post a particular piece of content or a link to your site on their social profiles.

Social Proof

Visitors don’t suffer from a lack of sites to visit, so you need to give them a reason to stick around on yours. Social proof provides a recommendation that has a similar effect as word of mouth. You show off how many people are talking about your site and why they like it. Testimonials, social media posts, media mentions and hard data help you reinforce the fact that your site is a desirable internet destination.

Search Engine Optimization

You can’t work on getting better engagement out of your visitors if you don’t attract them in the first place. Search engine optimization uses practices designed to get your website results to the top of the search results for particular keyword phrases. A few of the ways that you make these improvements includes highlighting the words in title, header and sub-header tags on the page, using it in your content, including it in the page URL, and building internal and external links to the page.
SEO practices have come a long way from including the keyword phrase as much as possible on the page. You need to focus on the user experience while still encouraging Google to choose your page as a top result on the search engine results page. Other ways to help with this goal include putting together a sitemap, building on top of an SEO-friendly content management system and putting Google Webmaster Tools to work on your site.

Fast and Usable Site

People lose attention quickly, especially when they’re used to fast-loading sites that allow them to dive into the content right away. Maximize the speed of your site by using a web host that’s known for quick response times and limiting the coding overhead in the design itself. Visual-heavy designs might look flashy, but that doesn’t mean anything if everyone closes the tab before it loads up all the way. Caching technology is another way to improve this metric.
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