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How To Increase Website Engagement?

Most businesses tend to think of their website as a corporate brochure.

A place for visitors to come read about their company, products and services and leave behind some contact information just in case they might be interested in what’s on offer.

There may still be some amount of budget invested towards drawing traffic towards their website ... and once that’s done, the focus shifts off the website to other areas.

Is that really making the most of a business website?

Can't it be a lot more than a corporate brochure?

Several companies think ...

"Well…we’ve got the traffic on our website, we have a whole lot of information for those who may be interested in what we have, why isn’t all this translating into new business for us?"   

Traffic statistics can be quite misleading on business websites.

Knowing you have 8000 visitors and 14,000 page views on your website is half the story.

Knowing how long those visitors spend on the website will give you a better understanding of just how much content on your website is actually getting consumed by those visitors.

The “bounce rate” and “average time spent” are great indicators of how sticky your website is for visitors. It tells you how many of your visitors really spend time on your site, how many return and how many simply land on one of your pages for a few seconds and leave before absorbing any message from your site.

If you have a very high bounce rate and less average time spent, it probably means your website doesn’t provide enough incentive for visitors to stay there.

So How Do I Increase Website Engagement?

Social features built into a business website can be the hook to grab visitors and keep them on your website.

Social networking sites are sticky and great at being able to retain visitors ... simply because they encourage visitors to communicate, interact, and invoke action, rather than them simply reading your sales pitch and moving on.

Discussion forums, blogs, commenting, videos and and photos are all features that keep you on a website ...

Wouldn't you agree?

Think of the top 5 websites where you spend your time "browsing" and see if they incorporate features like this. The point is, almost any business (large or small) can incorporate these features into their website and create the incentive for visitors to spend a longer amount of time on their sites.

For example, consider a musical instrument store who has a typical business website. They have the homepage, the about us page, and maybe a few pages listing their products for sale.

Most visitors are more likely to check out a page or two to see what products they have ...

Now, consider the same company has designed their website to include some of the trappings of social networking ... such as a discussion group for users to talk about and exchange views on the latest signature series guitars, exchange tips on how to how to improve drumming skills, and so on.

That’s an incentive for potential customers to keep coming back to the website and spending more time there.  It helps build a social community around the business and most importantly, it makes the website sticky and engaging.

Any business can achieve this by looking for the right components to build into their sites. There are a lot of lessons one can apply from social networking sites.

What can you do to make you business website stickier? — And better yet… What are you doing to make your business website stickier?

We’d love to get some ideas and feedback, just simply post them as comments below.

Tim Eisenhauer
Written by Tim Eisenhauer

Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.

Work Happens Here: Communifire Intranet Software
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