Getting people to stay on your website and, more importantly, engage on your website is difficult. But if you succeed the results are explosive.

Many online studies have been performed (like this one from HubSpot), estimating that 55% of online visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website per visit. Personally, I think the percentage is much higher and the time per visit much lower.

What can you do, then, to get people to stay on your website?

Well, you can do a couple of things actually. There are a few web design tips, tricks and rules for converting online visitors into “stayers.” Do these and you’ll see your conversion rates and “time spent on your website” go up in no time.

 7 Ways to Increase Website Engagement

1. Clear Navigation

Having a structured and well-mapped website is essential for converting online visitors. Without it, visitors will get lost quickly and leave your website even quicker. The navigation bar at the top of every website should be clear and easily navigable.

The key principle here is that nothing important should be more than 3 clicks away.

Let’s say, for example, that your company sells hats and you really want to push your new line of Santa Claus hats (since Christmas is right around the corner)…

Then you better make sure that it doesn’t take more than 3 clicks until they’re looking at the “Buy Now” button. If it works within your sales pitch to have them “buying” with the 2nd or 3rd click that’s even better.

2. Call-To-Action (CTA’s)

7 Things to Convert website VisitorsCall to Action’s are the most important part of every website because they’re the very thing that gets someone to DO something on your website.

It’s vital, then, to make your call-to-actions stand out on your website (check out this website as an example) 3 things are important in your CTA’s:

  • Verbiage – Use words that invoke action “Click here,” “Sign Up,” or opt for positive/personal language like “Get My Free Copy” or “I want to make more money”
  • Color – There are many colors that make for good CTA’s: red, green, blue, yellow, orange…. However, there are some you need to avoid: brown, pink, black.
  • Spacing – Having the proper spacing or padding around your CTA is important to make it stick out from the rest of the page. Remember, you want people to click on your CTA not scroll past it. This leads us to #3…

3. Squint Test

Many top-tier web designers use what’s called the “squint test” to make sure that their CTA sticks out on the page. How does the test work?

  1. Look at your web page and see it through squinted eyes (make sure things are very blurry).
  2. Identify and ensure that only 1 major thing sticks out because of color, size, and spacing on the page (this 1 major things should be your CTA)

4. Spacing, Easy To Read

This is basically the same principle as #2. The days of HTML web pages, with long paragraphs of text, are gone. Modern web design should focus on creating smooth layouts that contain elements that are easy to focus on. This requires spacing.

In other words, instead of having 500 words of text all in one paragraph break it up into several paragraphs. If you want to take it to the next step, give each smaller paragraph a bold title heading.

You want to make sure elements–like pictures, paragraphs, buttons, etc– have enough space between them so that they don’t all get jumbled together and ignored by the viewer. (Example: Paypal’s homepage)

5. Conversational

One of the best ways to begin designing your website is to sit down (either by yourself or with another person) and explain who you are as a company and what you do. Record yourself or write what you say down.

Why do this? Because, your website is a conversation with the viewer. From the first moment someone arrives on your website you should be having a conversation with them, explaining either who you are or what you do.

Your website is a salesperson. It should sell what you do 24/7 and the conversation should clearly flow from section to section and page to page. (Example: Enable, our website!)

6. Website Copy and Pictures/Videos are the most important parts of your website

Web Design Best PracticesMost people underestimate this. They think: “well, I’ve got a mission statement and a logo and a sentence about each one of my services so I’m ready to build a website.”


The copy (“text”) and visual pieces of your website are the website. It’s what separates your website, your service, and your company from the competition. You need to have a unique message and engaging pictures that stand out.

7. The Most Important Things go in the Most Important Places

One common problem of many websites is that they struggle to put what it is they are trying to “sell” in places where online visitors will see them.

If you want someone to buy your santa claus hats then you need to make sure the CTA or link that leads to them is seen immediately by visitors who come to the website.

Another example: let’s say you really want people to sign up for your newsletter/email list. Then you need to make sure some opt-in or signup form to do so is easily seen on your sidebar or as a pop-up.

QuickSprout is a great example of this type of conversion.

Jeremy Minick

Born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina. Spent high school summers running sandwich deliveries through the streets of Asheville, NC. Has a strong interest in helping small businesses do big things. When he’s not designing or marketing websites, you’ll find him spending time with his wife, family and friends.

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