If you run a website, you’re probably familiar with the temptation to log in to your analytics account every day to constantly check your page views.
If you’ve ever traded stocks before, you might find that the sensation is similar to sitting around waiting for a stock to take off.
In both cases, you feel like your financial future depends on the numbers you see.
But while page views are important to monitor, they aren’t the key to building a powerful platform. “Content is king” is a saying so popular that’s been almost overused, but if content is what sits on the throne in the land of digital marketing, engagement is the ambassador that escorts guests into the territory – convincing these potential visitors to put down roots in the newfound soil of your website.
It that sounds a bit extreme, stick with me. By the end of this article, I’m confident you’ll agree that measuring engagement is the key to grow your website.
A Better Way to Measure
Pageviews, as a metric, can be misleading. Just because an individual has chosen to visit your website doesn’t mean that they’re going to follow your blog from now on. In fact, some studies suggest that approximately one out of every three visitors leave without any sign of engagement. Further, out of 100,000 pageviews tracked by this research, roughly 34,000 of them left within 15 seconds of entering the site.
Pageviews must been seen as literally just that – the number of people who have viewed your page, regardless of the amount of time they spent viewing it. Engagement from visitors is a much better way to measure the impact your blog is having.
Tools like Filament can show you things like the number of comments you’ve received, how far visitors are scrolling down your pages and their general bounce rates – all of which tell you a lot more about the true level of engagement on your website than pageviews alone.
It’s a Two Way Street
Now, let’s get one thing straight. Measuring how and when visitors are engaging with your website is important, but so is making the engagement they’re showing you a two-way street.
Responding to the engagement someone has shown your website is critical when it comes to building your brand and growing your website. Imagine that you’ve come across a new website you like. You like one of the site’s articles so much that you leave a comment on the relevant Facebook post and even share it with your friends on this social network.
Which would make you feel better about engaging with the brand in the future: An enthusiastic “thank you” from the website’s owner – or crickets?
When visitors go out of their way to engage with you, make sure to respond in an appropriate amount of time. If nothing else, a simple “Thanks!” will show readers that you noticed their questions or comments and are grateful for them. However, if you really want to build a loyal audience and grow your website, use their comment as a foundation to launch a digital conversation.
Many bloggers find the beginning of their next post within the comments left on the current one. Or, if your reader has complimented you, return the favor. Who can turn down a genuine compliment? Not only did they take the time to read your latest content – deciding to choose it over one of the other 3 million posts written so far today – they actually liked it enough to leave you a little content of their own, and that deserves some recognition.
Sharing is Caring
Another form of engagement that trumps the number of pageviews you receive in terms of importance is the number of social shares your site or individual posts receive. It’s fairly simple now to share an article on any of the major social media networks, but few people automatically share everything they read. Some will share a link through their Facebook, while other visitors will opt to tweet the link of their new favorite blog posts on Twitter.
When this occurs, make sure to thank them for spreading your message and thinking highly enough of your content to share it with all of their followers. It sounds simple, but this small level of engagement encourages future interactions. Don’t forget to share other people’s content, too – especially if it comes from influencers in your field!
We’re All Human
Human interaction breeds conversation, which can lead to friendships and relationships in the long run. When you choose to respond to those who interact with your website, you transform yourself from “that guy who wrote a post on a site” to a real, live human being on the other end of the internet connection.
Things become more personal as readers realize that they aren’t just on any old website – they’re on your site, and it’s special enough to remember.
This level of appreciation takes engagement with your website to a whole new level. Not only will these engaged visitors be more willing to share your content with the world, they’ll be more likely to return to your blog when new content is posted since they feel like they know you personally. We’re all human, but we tend to lose sight of this on the Web – which is what makes genuine engagement so important.
So stop living and dying over vanity metrics like pageviews. Engagement is the best way to grow your website, as this kind of one-on-one engagement with your readers fosters digital conversations that lead to curiosity – and, ultimately, loyalty – to your site.
Show your engaged visitors some love when they choose to comment on your content or share it through their social media accounts. Time spent engaging with them will make a difference in your blog’s growth, regardless of the number of pageviews they rack up.
What other techniques do you use to build engagement and grow your website?
Comments Photo via Shutterstock
I agree. There is nothing better than having real people interacting with your website. These people bring in real referrals and bring in real sales. It is far better than just mere pageviews.
I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said Sujan!
If someone engages with a page it infers that the individual is invested with your website. The more that someone is invested with your message, the more likely they are to remember your brand when it comes to buying time.
Very well written. Engagement happens when users/visitors know they’re dealing with real human being, especially if they feel they are treated well and their efforts are rewarded.
But it shouldn’t stop at engagement for the sake of fostering conversations. You’ll want to really help the users solve their problem based on your value proposition.
Thank you for that insight on website engagement. I will definitely keep this info in my back pocket as I build my site.
PS I didn’t know where else to put this but paragraph 5 has a typo. I believe you meant the 1st word to be “if” not “it”.
“We’re all human”. I think that pretty much sums it up. In the end, who is generating all of those analytics statistics and social channel insights? People. But people don’t want to be treated like a statisitic. They want to be treated like a person and they want to feel special. The key to customer and brand loyalty, word of mouth referrals and brand advocacy is making folks feel like they’re part of the club, the family. Nice post! Sharing!
Sunjan, Well Done. You are right: Reader interaction is the true measure to learn if a site visitor is buying our ideas.
Running the numbers down the funnel is still important — and it is still a control measure. If my content generates 100,000 page views then how many comments will I get?
And the numbers can be reversed: for every comment, I need to get X page views.
The variable that needs to be added is the content, as you suggest.