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How We Improve Website Engagement

Website Metrics

Increasing engagement with your visitors is about the most important component of developing a successful website. So many blogs and marketing gurus tell you amazing results are available just by changing a button text from red to green or adding a friendly stock picture massively reduces bounce rate by 7700%. This might be the case with miserably performing websites but I've never seen anything to suggest so, and I've tried nearly every suggestion. We still focus heavily on website engagement so we thought we'd share the methods we use to successfully reduce our bounce rate and increase average time on site.

How We Develop Experiments to Run on Our Site

It's vital as a webmaster you know which changes result in meaningful improvements. We've often discovered that changes we think are obvious improvements don't increase our website engagement and it's not entirely uncommon for our user metrics to take a backwards step. This is why we always run split tests or A/B experiments on our visitors. 50% of our traffic see version A, 50% see version B which includes our updates. You can set this up with Google Analytics. The problem is there is often too little a difference to accurate quantify improvements. In order to overcome the noise you need to run the test so long you might manage a couple of small updates a year.

Big Bold Experiments Rule

Try a massive design overhaul which places everything above the fold. Reduce your page download size by at least half. Triple the content length, add 15 new features. Big bold experiments are capable of producing big and bold results. The question you're now asking and the one we're constantly asking is what big bold experiment can I design?

How We Improved Our Experiment Design

For an embarrassingly long time we utilized only our gut instinct to design experiments before realizing we developed a tool perfect for this job. Thousands of our Polling tool users had managed to use our tech in a smarter fashion than we could.

Imagine being able to creepily sit with each one of your website visitors and listen to their thoughts as they browsed your site? Surely you could design a site which perfectly matched the majority of your visitors needs. Well polling your visitors is about as close as you'll ever get to this kind of insight. Everyday Youtubers are seeking ideas for their next video from their subscribers. Bloggers are asking visitors for content ideas and giving visitors a voice. Keep in mind people are far more likely to comment than vote. Even small blogs often reach votes in the thousands, it's quick and anonymous. We ask for feature ideas by allowing voters to fill in their own options. It's amazing to see features requested by thousands that our team have never even thought of. We still test the ideas suggested by our visitors, it helps us form a hypothesis for the next round of development and we never trust any change without evidence of improvement.

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