Surprisingly, many business owners do not look at their Google Analytics.

And the ones that do are rarely happy with what they see.

High bounce rates.

Less than one minute average duration.

Low conversion rates.

WTF.

Sure, people have short attention spans and studies prove this. On the web, you have less than 8 seconds to woo a new visitor.

8 seconds?!?

Did I lose you already? I hope not…

If so, then I am not not doing my job right.

If you are still here, enjoy these tips on how to keep visitors on your website and create engagement.

(Note: The photo of the pretty little lady on the dock is key if you are following along)

1. Get rid of any baggage

No one likes someone, or something, with a lot of baggage: not web users, not Google, no one.

Over the years, you may have heard of people keyword stuffing websites, writing almost indecipherable content to reap the rewards of search.

Those days are long gone.

Google prefers nice, easy-to-digest content. Why? Because people like nice, easy-to-digest content. Google is for the people and your website should be too.

I once heard someone say, “Clarity is power.”

In writing this article, I further realized the importance of that statement.

The content on your website should be well-structured and presented clearly. Usually, content with high keyword density does not read clearly. Focus on keeping the content on your pages short, sweet, and relevant to your user’s search.

This goes beyond text and includes images, videos, advertisements, etc.

Everything else should be scrapped. This way there’s little to no doubt in the visitor’s mind.

2. Show a little skin, but not the whole thing

An effective website must achieve three things fast:

  1. Explain to the user what your site is about
  2. Create immediate credibility and trust
  3. Motivate the user to stay and investigate further

Remember: Nobody online has the time to really read. For users, skimming is winning.

Your website needs to have an obvious cue to tell the user what your site is all about. If your cue is aligned with what they are searching for, AND instills a feeling of stature, then the user will start digesting a little more.

To put it bluntly, you do not want your website to pose nude. You want to dress it up in a simple, sexy, sleeveless, black dress that accents the beautiful features of your business.

“Good Lord! What’s under that dress? And how can I get the content behind it?” These should be the initial thoughts that you leave your website users with.

3. Lead the horse to the water

Once you have aroused your user and peaked their interest, you need to get them moving in the right direction.

Set a goal and create a funnel.

Perhaps you want your visitors to watch a video on the benefits of your product before signing up for a free trial. Maybe you want to draw attention to a new service and exclusive offer.

Whatever you are trying to sell, wag your digital finger frantically and shout, “Hey, you! Come over here! Check this out…”

70% of small business websites don’t contain a call-to-action (CTA), according to a study published in Small Biz Trends.

Give direction if you want retention.

This might go against conventional wisdom, but people like being told what to do.

The simpler you make things for people, the less frustrated they will grow, giving more time for positive engagements.

4. Make em’ drink

“You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink.”

That’s the old adage.

Generally speaking, it works pretty well.

But when it comes to your website and your business, you do not have to settle.

In the words of Don Vito Corleone, “Make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Let’s go back to the analogy of the pretty little lady in the black dress…

So far, she has done a great job of tantalizing us and has our full attention thanks to elegant dress and actionable gesture. We’ve also determined that she has no baggage, she appears to be at the party without a date.

As result, we have followed her–all the way from the dinner reception area, down to the dock.

We are feeling pretty confident, especially since she directed us to follow her, but there is still a small uncertainty that keeps us from taking the plunge into the water.

At the dock, she kicks off her high heels and tosses them deliberately into the water.

“Go get those,” she says.

“No way,” you reply, inspecting your nicely pressed suit. “I am not a very strong swimmer.”

“Well, I’ll toss out this life preserver if you need it,” she continues, showing a thin smile. “If you bring them back, we can go back to my place later…”

Bingo.

Before you know it, you are running towards the lake fully-clothed like a bull that saw a flash of red.

“Cannonball!” you scream at the top of your lungs.

That, my friends, is how you keep visitors on your website and create engagement.