How Much Engagement Do Your Visitors Have? 60 Comments
How Much Engagement Do Your Visitors Have?

One of the most neglected areas of online marketing is paying attention to the experience the users have on websites. By this I don’t mean how well your content is written or how awesome your videos are, but more the overall impression the visitor gets when they first land on your page.

People take about 1-2 seconds to make up their mind about a website, and decide if they’ll stay and engage in the site or leave.

A lot of webmasters don’t realize this and think that the visitors will love their site as much as they do, and read every last word on the pages and be begging for more. Unfortunately this is not the case and most people will not even read one whole page on your site.

With that said there are things that you can do to help improve the engagement level of your traffic and reduce the difficulty they have when attempting to engage with the site.

Below is a useful image that Google put out, that shows you where the most important parts of a webpage are. The deeper orange the color the more important, as this is where more people spend time viewing.

As you can see the most important areas of the page are the center middle directly above the content, and also the top left and top center. Interestingly right down the bottom is also a hot spot, as this is where people look after reading the content. A good exercise to do is look at your websites and see how they relate to this diagram. Ask yourself if the most important elements on your page are in the right spot. Far too often I see people, and I too am guilty of this, wasting the most important real estate of their website.

For example  if we look at this blogs home page, you can see that I have used the hot spot at the top to drive people to my email list, and I also use a flying pop over which is right in the firing line of eyeballs. This is the main goal for this website so it is an important thing for me to optimize for.

However, like I said, I am guilty of not doing things the best I could, and I have no problem admitting that, as I’m only human too, but I’ll be working on changes over the next few weeks. Anyway, my point being that on the inner posts of this site, I do not utilize the hot spots at the top of the page very well. So what I will do is get a space created for ads at the top, where I can also test having a horizontal opt in box.

I should also have a horizontal opt in box at the end of the posts, to make sure I make the most of this prime real estate also, although I do place my social sharing links there and they get a good response there.

Too Many Messages

Another common mistake that I see people making is having too many calls to action for the visitor to decipher. What you need to establish is what your primary goal for your websites pages are, and make sure you optimize the pages for this.

For example, I saw a website recently that had sign up box, then it had links to special deals, then it had three columns of information each one with a link at the end of the column encouraging the visitor to click them and learn more. What this creates is way too much ‘noise’ on the page. With too many options the visitor will not find it easy to know what to do, and this will only lead to more people leaving the website without doing anything.

Make sure you keep it simple and easy for people to work out. Avoid having multiple columns in your website, as this immediately makes it hard for a visitor to know where to place their eyes.

Hate your day job? Build an online business with my free 12 part internet marketing video training course now!

We take your privacy very seriously. Your email address will never be shared or sold.
Hi, my name is Matt Carter and this is my blog. I write about various topics to do with Internet Marketing and strive to provide the best free resource for people wanting to develop online businesses. More about me..
Enjoy this post? Save it, or Share it with the world! -> Bookmark and Share Comment

44 Comments to How Much Engagement Do Your Visitors Have?

  1. August 7, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    As always, good post. Thanks for the hotspot graphic. This is a little off topic, but one thing I also do now is to put interesting videos on my sites, so that users are not only engaged ad the video offers value, but also it seems to help with my bounce rate and users spend more time on my site, which Google likes.

    Queenlin Reply:

    This is what I have not really thought about – videos on my websites. Thanks Ryan for the reminder.

  2. August 7, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Great post, Matt! Highly informative as usual. I have been guilty of having too many messages on the page so am working on improving the user experience on all of my sites. Thanks!

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Good to hear Joan, I’m sure you’ll do well with it, as I know you know your stuff!

  3. August 7, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Great post Matt. Like this blog, the purpose of my website is to educate and to get people to become a subscriber. Like this blog I have my form on the top right of the screen and I am wondering if, based on this post, I should look to place it on the top left instead?

    Matt Carter Reply:

    You could try that, see how it goes, or maybe just try a horizontal one at the top and bottom like I am going to test.


  4. August 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    G’day Matt, great post as usual, and a nice bit of lateral thinking.

    I’m only a beginner with two basic sites to my name, but I’ve had the blinkers on, thinking only about the words to use.

    I guess that, while good content is paramount, it’s also important to focus on a reader’s first impressions.

    You’ve given me a reason to stop wracking my brain for a while about what to write.

    Instead, I’m going to spend some time changing colours and breaking up the slabs of text with more spacing.

    I tend to have about four calls to action per post. Reckon I should reduce that to about two.

    Cheers, Leon

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Good stuff Leon!

  5. August 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Outstanding article Matt. The graphic was really helpful also. It was information that was very timely for me. Thank you!

    Matt Carter Reply:

    You’re welcome Jenni

  6. August 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    This is from for my site. I’m assuming it’s good but I’m not sure. I started blogging about 6 months ago. So I’m fairly new at this. Any comments would be appreciated!

    Estimated daily time on site (mm:ss) for
    Time on Site Change
    3 month 14:34 –

  7. August 7, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    For my site I respect the rule of 4: max of 4 colors, max of 4 fonts, max of 4 lines in paragraph (idea from Marlon Sanders in a newletter).

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Nice add Paul, Thanks!

    Richard G. Lewis Reply:

    Most psychologists would argue that the “Law of Three” is a better guide 🙂

  8. August 7, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    One word… Excellent! People often forget the real purpose of their website, and work under the assumption that everyone is going to love it instead of looking at the facts.

    Google analytic took things to the next level with the user engagement metric that allows you to see the percentage of where people look on your page. Real marketers do their home work.

    Thanks Matt

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Anytime Dexter, and thanks for your comment.


  9. August 7, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the email, Matt. So much to do, so little time…

    Yes, I definitely have a couple of websites that need updating, so I’ll keep an eye out on what you do to your site.


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Good stuff Joshua

  10. August 7, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Aloha Matt, great pointers you illustrate here on your post. With all the hoopla in what to look out for, it sure makes it hard to focus on what is really working. It’s probably better to Keep it simple for viewers and the bots. I like the heat map information, I really haven’t tried this tool yet, but I may possibly do so now.

    I’m glad I came by and thanks for sharing! Mahalo, Lani 🙂

    Matt Carter Reply:

    hi Lani

    Nice to hear from you again, and glad you found the post helpful!

  11. Jon's Gravatar Jon
    August 7, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Totally agree. First 3-5 seconds visual perception is critical. I simply want my visitors to read the article/post they came to via SERPS or Twitter or wherever, without any distractions. Where I want them to go will be within the article/post in text links.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Jon

  12. August 7, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks Matt

    Yes I agree that a horizontal opt in box will reap increased rewards if placed in the body of your article. I have seen it work better even placed more than once…..provided the article length allows it of course.

    Not sure about the “pop ups”. I tend to see them as annoying. Yours is one of the better ones I have seen tho. How well does your work for you?

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Peter

    Yeah that pop up of mine doubled my opt in rate, now its about almost 6% which is high.


    Suresh Reply:

    Even I used the normal in-line box for a long time thinking that users would find it irritating. But the pop-up seems to increase the opt-in rate, at least it did in my case. I think it also helps if the popup loads after a delay of a few seconds, as the users get a chance to glace at the content.

  13. August 7, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Great post – where visitors focus their attention discussed here is new to me. Again, thanks Matt for the helpful tips…as always!

  14. Thomas's Gravatar Thomas
    August 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Matt for points to keep in mind for improving a website’s visitor experience and response: Google’s graphic and Analytics, overloads of calls to action, and a website’s colors.

  15. August 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Most of my traffic is personally generated. Once there I get positive response and do keeping improving both my sites. also. This is where I was hoping to get some help from you but not the case so far.

    I’m not finished with either one but can’t sell anything if don’t get the traffic.

  16. August 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Also a little off topic, sorry! Howimportant is the RSS feed? I notice you have it in the top right which is not a hot area. My thoughts are that if people subscribe to your feed, then they’re not visiting your blog as much?


  17. August 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I check analytics everyday and never realized there was an ” engagement” section…ooooops, Thanks Matt for another useful tip. You’re the man!

  18. Joe's Gravatar Joe
    August 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great post. I’m in the process of building a site and this is really helpful.

  19. JW's Gravatar JW
    August 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Hey Matt:

    Geeeez. There was one comment when I came on. Got pulled away for several hours, and now I see 25. GREAT! More insight –I love it.

    Here is what I initially picked up with your article, Matt.
    This “engagement” is a new science / a new discipline. Yes, attracting the viewer so to hang around has been there all along. Yet now we’ve models & time-tested proofs so to design our sites by. COOL!!! {that is WAY COOL!!! out here in Cal-eye-4-knee-ya}

    Because the NET is still growing & developing, there have been arenas that HAVE taken hold and grown –i.e. S.E.O. And still, such specific arenas such as S.E.O. have morphed & hybred into what is happening today. Yet tomorrow brings No gurantee that it will be the same nor be here at all.

    And with what I heard what the Bay (e-Bay) is NOW going after (direct affiliation with the big name / old name store-fronts & sites), I smell even more change just before the horizon.

    This is becoming such a science out there in the WEB that it truly is feeling as if a survival of the fittest. History showed that the Mom & Pop stores got gobbled-up by the bigger. And then the bigger got gobbled-up by the even bigger. So, is this what we are about to witness within this decade?

    Great article that incites the imagination thoughts & ideas.
    Thanks Matt

    “To summarize, I think we all should be thinking of what our value add is, and aim to make awesome sites, even if there were no search engines like Google to please anyway.“
    – What’s Your Value Add? Article by Matt Carter

  20. Rosina's Gravatar Rosina
    August 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Matt for a very informative blog. When building a website it is very easy to get caught up in your own world and not put enough thought into how other people will view it. Back to the drawing board!!

  21. August 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey Matt, do you know any theme that is known to get good CTR? Since I am not good at HTML so I wont be able to personalize/customize my site according to the diagram you shown ?

  22. August 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Spot on again Matt. Really great for ads images but not that profitable with Adsense though.

  23. August 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Great post Matt, rarely comment but almost always read your work..
    Colors are so important you’re right..I know this when I go shopping for clothes washing powder in Thailand.. I can’t read Thai much but what does it matter..I’d be the same in UK..
    Colors which speak straight out of exhilarating freshness I’ll buy..I even admit it to myself.. then if I like the smell there after I’ll continue to buy
    Just one thing..Had to fleet past all the comments.. on lunch..why do you have you sidebar right still now?

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Rob

    Thanks for commenting.

    As for the sidebar, well some thing I don’t have time to focus on and that would be a rather large overhaul, but its a possibility.



    Richard G. Lewis Reply:

    The psychological power of color is immense – there is even a color that, when used correctly, has been proved to increase significantly conversion rate. Color psychology (chromodynamics) is an area of persuasion we research at PsychoProfits.

  24. August 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    First impression is the best impression. The eye that caches at first in a webpage is most important and need to take care that. Thanks for this article.

  25. August 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Great article Matt. Some really good points about the importance of the layout, colour scheme, calls to action etc.
    Thanks also for the info about CrazyEgg. I’ve been meaning to find a good heat mapping service for a while now.

  26. August 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Goog Article Matt, like you I have not really worked out the new analytics, and havent notice the user engagement button, so thanks for pointing it out to me.

    I tend to use videos quite a lot, as I think that people really don’t read articles anymore they just scan them over.

  27. August 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    There is so much to learn on this topic, right from improving site metrics with greater user engagement, to improving conversion goals. Its one of my favourite IM topics actually.

    Your point about colors on a site having an impact is a good one. I have an ecommerce store that used to have a dominate red design, which I suspected was harming conversion, and engagement. So I chose to soften the design with some other colors which has seen the sites conversion rate from about 2.5% to 3.5%-4%. But as always its a case of test and measure.

    I have also found other obscure factors that can help engagement such as font size, thumbnails with links (related content) and organizing your content and navigation around topics.


  28. August 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    You’re right, this is something we all tend to neglect. In the same vein, Terry Kyle forwarded me the following link, which I think your readers would also find mighty useful:



  29. August 8, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    Great post! I especially liked the google heatmap. As a web designer myself, ease of use is the first thing I look at when review a website.

    Can the users find what they are looking for? Can they easily navigate around the website?

    These are questions I have been asking for years and now google has finally started taking these things into account with the latest algo updates.

    User engagement is now more important than ever in the SEO game. So thanks for sharing your thoughts Matt.

    Ian from im Graphic Designs

  30. Jz's Gravatar Jz
    August 8, 2012 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    I have to admit. You impress me!

  31. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    August 8, 2012 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Great post! Thank you, Matt!

    I am a newbie TO THE MAX! I presently have a web-designer working on a site for ‘super-foods’ site because I want it as a blog. I will put up some affiliate sites too (that should be interesting).

    The colors have put us in a standstill. And I don’t love green.

    This article was packed full of great info, especially the diagram, but I keyed in on the colors! I am glad to know that I wasn’t just being PICKY, but that it is really important!

    Thanks for all your great work! I always wish you the best! Mary

  32. August 8, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Another outstanding post Matt. I really appreciate you sharing your insights on the things that are working today in our fast changing world!

  33. August 8, 2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Matt what plug-in do you use for the popover and the opt-in box? Thanks

    Matt Carter Reply:

    popup domination

  34. August 8, 2012 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Great post Matt!!! 🙂

    I will have to take all of these things into consideration!


  35. August 8, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Another great thought provoking article.

    Colours: black and red are dynamic but likely to put off the majority of people, blue is calming and very suitable for many products, but as you say orange is warming and a colour I use on one of my sites.

    The graphic is something about which I have always wondered and now I can look more objectively about where I place my content.

    Many thanks



  36. August 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Hey Matt,
    Thanks again, this was very informative. So interesting to hear about the importance of colours used on a site. I am always very hesitant to change up my sites, usually when I do I seem to slip in ranking for quite some time, however I do see the logic in what you say.

    Thanks again

  37. August 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    This is the perfect information for website owners. I have been guilty of all of these offenses, especially the too many messages. I am currently rewriting and limiting it down to 1 message per post.

    Also, it is great to know to check the behavior/engagement as this has much to do with the Panda.

  38. August 9, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink


    My website is RED!!! I have to either reduce the red or change it. Thanks for the tips and I need to update my hot spots.

    All the best. Trevor

  39. karim's Gravatar karim
    August 10, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    great post matt, looking forward to more valuable infos here!!

  40. August 10, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    Yes your pop over is the best I have seen and often wondered what you used. Popup Domination, will have to check it.

    But hey that graphic from Google you show is spot on.

    Now just to convince the clients that it is true, as this is a big obstacle to getting the write (sic) stuff happening on their sites.

  41. August 11, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt
    Great post I’m really interested in the colors and might have to change mine I currently have a lot of red on my site. I didn’t think at the time that it would give a negative response to viewers. I get back to you on that one.

  42. Iain's Gravatar Iain
    August 11, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Great post Matt.

    There are two bits of information I,d like to share.

    For website colors look at the hard copy magazines about your topic and the colors they use. These mags are usually put out by big publishing companies that test everything.

    Also I have friends that don’t even spend a second on a page. If the page does not look like it is easily readable they will bounce back to Google search without having read a word.

  43. August 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Matt for this info, it keeps us on our toes and is great information. Re: Colors, I worked in press for many years at “the West Australian” and we had teaching on colors for targeting markets. One color you didnt mention and people prob would never think of is brown shades for seniors.

  44. Alan's Gravatar Alan
    August 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey Matt, wonderful post as usual man,

    I want to ask you question about the Penguin update, I was making my Back-links as %20 (pictures and exact domain anchor text ) – %80 anchor text by the exact match Keyword/s that I’m targeting.

    Now after Penguin what do you think is the right percentages I should use?

    Thanks Man for your great support as usual.

Free Video Coaching Series

Enter your details now for instant access...
your email will never be sold and
you can unsubscribe anytime.

About Matt

Hey, Matt here, I'm a full time Super Affiliate, 33 years old, and live in New Zealand with my wife and son.

The internet is a brilliant way to make money. I encourage you to sign up above and start with my free 12 part affiliate marketing video course, and follow on facebook