According to Experience Dynamics, 52 percent of users said a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company while 79 percent of people who don’t like what they find on a site will go and search for another site. User engagement governs the success or failure of a website, and one of the best indicators is average time on page.
So, how do you increase time on site? A lot of marketers think it’s through publishing long-form content. But increasing user engagement is about creating synergy between copywriting and SEO web design. Simply put, your bad copywriting and design harm your time on page.
Engaged users spend more time on your site than unengaged users, and engagement comes down to compelling content. Focus on the way a user experiences content flow and engagement instead of making small design tests, like changing a button’s color. It’s true that users like to scan content and that general aesthetics matter, but if they find the specific info they want, they’ll start reading word for word, which increases time on page.
See your site the way shoppers experience a brick-and-mortar grocery store. Without aisle signs guiding them around, visitors are forced to wander until they find what they desire, which is inconvenient. Content that isn’t easy to access or understand makes visitors frustrated; they’ll click off your site in search of another site that gives them what they want.
To that end, content formatting is critical. If users land on a service page with a wall of text, they are more likely to leave because no one has the time to sift through all that content. When your content is easy to scan with clear headings and sections, users can skim to find what they want rather than bounce.
Specifically, useful headings break up articles into the “why,” “how” and “conclusion.” The “how” section often requires the most headings to separate different tips, information and examples. In turn, this makes it much easier for visitors to digest your content.
Now, let’s talk SEO design tips. How do you combine copywriting with search engine-friendly web design for a cohesive experience?
For starters, you can leverage data-driven design. Use heat maps, user recordings and Google Analytics to discover your most engaging pages, sections and calls to action. Use these findings to uncover opportunities. Initially, users may be going down the wrong path, so learn where they are misstepping and guide them to the right place to achieve their business goals. For example, most desktop users read with their cursor. If you see heat map engagement up to a section of the page, that drop-off may signal you need a heading in that section to better organize the text.
If you focus on user experience, the right design decisions become more apparent. To optimize the web design for time on page, avoid anything distracting. For instance, don’t congest your page with pop-ups, push notifications, slide-ins and hello bars.
Just because somebody doesn’t spend a ton of time doesn’t mean that they aren’t getting what they need. Some people look for your contact information and want to find it in as little time as necessary. Therefore, use these tips on pages where time on site is clearly important, like long-form blog posts.
If you’re thinking to yourself that these tips are obvious, think again. Most people who say this are making these exact mistakes on their site. Common sense is not common. Check your site out from an objective perspective and see what can be improved.
In the end, it’s about having a cohesive strategy that incorporates both copywriting and design to increase time on page and, ultimately, revenue. There are websites with long average times on page but imperfect designs. With strong synergy, you don’t have to be perfect—if the text and design make it easy for users to find what they want, they’re going to stick around and read it.