7 Tips for Making Your Website Content Interactive
Whether you’re a news publication, a travel blogger, or a digital advertising platform, being aware of what drives or deters readers on your site is a marketing skill essential to any successful business. While we all can intuitively differentiate websites that speak to us from their not-so-pleasing counterparts, it’s not so easy to pinpoint the features that make or break a good site.
Of all the features that clue us into whether a website is good or not, reader engagement is a significant contributing factor. A good website, then, can be roughly defined as one that keeps readers engaged. And, of course, it’s important to remember that the number one reason that customers don’t engage is irrelevant content.
While there are a few different strategies to improve your engagement rates, one of the most important is to ensure your website content is interactive. Interactive content maximizes reader engagement by ensuring that your reader isn’t just visually engaged, but that they’re also physically engaged using their keyboard or mouse.
In this blog, I’ll cover seven of my favorite strategies for making your web content interactive.
Ask for Ratings
Asking your audience for feedback, whether through ratings or comments, is a great first step in driving user interaction. While many sites are already doing this, some methods are more effective than others.
The typical pop-ups that ask for ratings can easily come across as annoying, disrupting what should be a seamless user experience on your website. To make the rating question less intrusive, you can experiment with placing it at the end of your content pieces rather than as a pop-up. You can also use emoticons rather than the typical 5-star ratings; since emoticons have become a standard part of our everyday digital language, users tend to perceive them as entertaining rather than annoying.
Incentivize with Gamification and Rewards
Gamification is the incorporation of gaming elements, such as points or levels, into non-game contexts. Gamifying your articles and blog posts encourages users to interact with your site by giving them an incentive to engage. In addition to generating user comments with calls to action, you can also get users to comment by providing rewards. Once users get points or coupons for commenting on articles, they’re motivated to read and comment even further.
Just as leaderboards have proven effective in games, they’re also a useful tool for your site. Publishing a ranking that highlights top commenters and ranks users with high rewards is an effective way for getting users to interact with your site on a regular basis. Giving users badges for obtaining a certain commenter status is also effective, as it’s the equivalent of incentivizing users to reach a higher level in a game. TripAdvisor is a great example of a site that effectively uses appropriately themed badges, offering users Passport badges for reviewing places in multiple countries and Explorer badges for being one of the first to review an attraction or location.
Incorporate Quizzes, Polls, and Stories
In addition to gamifying your site itself, you can embed interactive forms of entertainment generated by third-party platforms.
Incorporating personality quizzes, which exploded in popularity through BuzzFeed and other sites, is a great way to draw in readers. If you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of plugins available that you can use to build and add thematically relevant quizzes to your web pages. WP Pro Quiz is one of the most popular quiz plugins, with a simple style that boasts lots of customization options.
Apester is another useful platform that lets you incorporate visual storytelling as well as quizzes and polls. Visual storytelling is an effective supplement for your content since it involves telling stories in a way that requires user participation. Embedding visual storytelling into your websites encourages your readers to connect with your articles on a personal level as they scroll and click-through the narrative.
Encourage Reader Feedback
When it comes to encouraging comments from your audience, it often isn’t enough to just open a comments section. Instead, you should use creative calls to action to drive your users to make comments. These can range from telling your readers to respond to a question you pose at the end of your post, to asking your readers to add to your post’s numbered list.
Comments aren’t just good for getting users to respond to your content; users also tend to read the comments of other users, so they’ll tend to linger longer on articles that are full of comments. On top of that, comments add clout to your articles and are great for SEO, as they naturally add additional keyword variations to your articles that help you improve your search rankings.
Post User-Generated Content
Incorporating user-generated content signals to users that their input and engagement is appreciated and valued. This feeling of value and appreciation, in turn, incentivizes users to engage even more.
There are a couple different ways to display user-generated content. One way is to write articles that specifically address top-rated comments in existing blog posts. You can even begin these articles by directly quoting the user who made the comment. This will give users an additional incentive to make top comments on your site while helping you center your articles around the issues most relevant to your audience.
If your site sells products directly to customers, encouraging customers to post images of themselves using the items is another effective way to drive user interaction. You can even create Instagram campaigns and not only re-post customer-generated Instagram photos on your company’s Instagram account but also feature the images directly on the company site. This will get users scrolling through your Instagram feed, navigating to your site, and perhaps even posting images themselves.
Include Social Media Buttons
You should always keep in mind that with every valuable piece of content should come an option to share it with friends and followers. Tools like Sharethis.com and Addthis.com let you install social media for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels on your site.
There are a few techniques for incorporating social media buttons in a strategic way. The buttons should be placed in locations that are intuitive on your site, like at the top or bottom of a blog post, or on the sidebar of your site. You can even go a step further and creatively integrate the buttons into the design of your site. Well-designed social media buttons can create a seamless transition between your content and the sharing buttons, making it more natural and intuitive for the reader to click on the sharing buttons as they navigate your site.
Don’t Forget About Internal links
Once a user is reading one of your blog posts, it’s essential that you get them to scroll through your additional pages as well. To facilitate reader interaction with your site, provide relevant links within each of your posts that navigate to other articles on your blog. When readers see a link to an article that promises to provide further information about the same topic, they’re likely to click to learn even more.
The best place to incorporate links within your posts is at the end of each post or within the articles themselves. If you choose to embed the links within your paragraphs, be sure to link to words that adequately describe the content of the post you’re linking to. Another option is to add a question at the end of each post (e.g., “Interested in learning more about social media marketing?”) and provide links to the articles that can provide the users with that information.
Getting your readers to interact with your site should be an integral part of your website design and content strategies. While it’s essential to continue to generate informative and insightful online content, your web pages should be bolstered with features that make your content easily shareable and enjoyable to read.
What strategies have you used to increase customer engagement with your content? How might you utilize the techniques I’ve suggested in your 2018 content marketing plan? Tell me about your plans in the comment section.