Web Design vs. Engaging Web Design

generalmorganinn-dot-comWhat’s the difference you may ask?  With a focus on your target audience, a well designed and engaging web site will not only hold your visitors attention, but is much more likely to convert that visitor into a potential customer.  Below we outline how we greatly improved website performance for a customer of ours.

The Stats Tell The Whole Story

If you aren’t tracking your website with a tool such as google analytics, you’re really missing out on crucial information that could mean the difference between your site just “existing” and really providing value and building your business.

Recently, we launched a redesigned website for The General Morgan Inn in Greeneville, TN.  We began tracking the visitor behavior for this site prior to our redesign.  This is a pretty common thing for us to do – as we alway want to make sure that the changes we make for our client’s sites are purposeful and will truly make a difference that has real business value.

Breeze In, Bounce Out…

If you’re not familiar with the term “bounce rate” then here is the basic gist.  If someone comes to your site, and leaves before exploring any of the pages, that’s a bounce.  Similar to a window shopper that never comes into your store and just walks on by… doesn’t even slow down!  The Bounce Rate is a very common stat that can give you valuable insight into the overall effectiveness of your website, and a clue as to how well you are connecting with your audience.  If your visitors aren’t compelled to at least click on “something” and explore further, that tells us that they aren’t interested, for whatever reason, in what you have to say or offer.

[easychart type=”horizbar” height=”50″ width=”200″ maxaxis=”100″ title=”Bounce Rate – Old vs New” groupnames=”Old Website, Newly Redesigned Website” groupcolors=”005599,229944″ valuenames=”Bounce Rate (percentage)” group1values=”45″ group2values=”28″ ]


When we started this redesign process, we looked closely at the bounce rate for the General Morgan Inn’s web site and we found that 45% of their audience was checking out the site, but leaving without actually looking at anything beyond the front page.  Not Good!  One of our main goals during this redesign was to make the website more engaging.  We did this by putting several sections and calls to action on the home page, to offer a variety of information for their varied audience.  It has been almost a month since we launched the new and improved website and we’re proud to say that the bounce rate has held steady at 28%! The site went from almost half the audience leaving after the first page, to almost 3/4 of their audience sticking around for more.

Length and Depth of Visit

Another key indicator is the average length of visit, and how many pages they view during that visit.  Our preliminary stats for the General Morgan site indicated that the average view time on the home page was a little over 3 seconds.  Our new redesign is coming in at over 1 minute on average for the home page alone.  A 95% increase in reading time.  This tells us that our new design is, as we planned, engaging and interesting.  We felt that the old design lacked enough elements on the home page to draw the reader in and encourage further exploration.

[easychart type=”horizbar” height=”50″ width=”200″ maxaxis=”100″ title=”Length of Visit Old vs New” groupnames=”Old Website, Newly Redesigned Website” groupcolors=”005599,229944″ valuenames=”Length of Visit (Minutes)” group1values=”.45″ group2values=”3.13″ ]


[easychart type=”horizbar” height=”50″ width=”200″ maxaxis=”100″ title=”Pages per Visit: Old vs New” groupnames=”Old Website, Newly Redesigned Website” groupcolors=”005599,229944″ valuenames=”Pages Per Visit” group1values=”.1.8″ group2values=”4.5″ ]


As far as depth of visit goes, the old site sported an average total visit time of 30-40 seconds.  The new site is averaging over 3 minutes, with an average of 4.5 pages viewed per visit.  This is a tremendous increase that will become even MORE valuable as they use it to get more information to their audience, and in the end, convert more site readers into customers or referrers.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Traffic, as we have seen here, isn’t everything.  1000 visitors doesn’t mean a whole lot if they only stick around for 3 seconds.  What we want isquality of visit.  The real icing on the cake is when we get both high traffic AND high engagement.  For the General Morgan, the ultimate test is how many viewers we can move from the home page to their reservation page.  So far, the stats are showing a drastic improvement here.

What Does This Mean For You?

While this particular case study is about a local hotel, the concepts here apply to any website.  Even if you don’t actually sell items on your website, your website should be acting as your representative and driving customers to either call or visit your business in person.  Conversions don’t have to be an online transaction.  A conversion could be filling out a quote request form or a survey.  A conversion could be having the visitor sign up for a newsletter so that you can get their information for future marketing.  in this case, the conversion is filling out an online reservation form.  We can track all sorts of things through stats and analytics and we hope that this case study gives you a good glimpse into HOW we work.  There is a lot of structure and method to our madness.  We don’t just make “cool looking” web pages – we develop strategically designed business tools that help our customers grow!

ITD Interactive is an interactive company in Johnson City TN, specializing in Web Design, SEO, Internet Marketing and Content Management.  For more information about our services, or to schedule a free consultation, fill out our contact form or give us a call.  We’d love to hear from you!