Every company has them. Those discussions at the water cooler about work. They’re usually informal, fun, but still where the “meat” of workplace conversations happen. Often times, some of the most insightful things said are “off the cuff” in these environments.

Here at AE, we’re no different. Even though we’re often mobile, and our clients range across the country — our internal discussions serve as a way to discuss digital marketing as a whole, and our ideas of how we can improve.

The conversions (via Slack, our chosen messaging tool) tend to relate back to two areas of digital marketing: strategy and execution. So, we decided to create a blog series taken from the transcripts of messages between our Director of Creative Services, Jonathan Olivo, and our Director of Platform Development, Aubrey Berkowitz. For the series debut, we wanted to discuss a subject matter that is a blend of the two departments: website interaction and user experience. Users expect websites to be more interactive in the current media landscape and as a forward-thinking company — we’ve got to be ahead of the curve. So without further adieu…

How to build an interactive website.

*Disclaimer- if you do not like candid conversations about digital marketing and websites, you can probably stop reading here. We won’t use profanity, but we can’t promise GIFs won’t be involved.

Aubrey: Hey Jonathan, I know you’ve been working on the new AE website this week. One of the trends in digital marketing I’m seeing is that sites are no longer just an “online brochure” but are now becoming an interactive tool for businesses.

Jonathan: Hey Aubrey, correct. Businesses are now using websites as a tool, instead of an “online brochure.” Your target audience should not only find your website interesting but be able to interact with it. 

Jonathan: An interactive site gives you a number of ways to deliver content while giving users the option to add or contribute to that message.

Aubrey: So… when you say interactive and interesting, what are some tactics that you find effective?

Jonathan: Well, there are a handful of ways to make a site interactive, but it has to be a  personalized experience that goes beyond the normal browsing and viewing. Quizzes, for example, are a good tool for this.

Aubrey: I like quizzes.

Jonathan: Yeah, they are great because they’re also a really effective, yet subtle, lead generation tool. They can help a brand build smarter email lists for re-marketing campaigns as well.

Aubrey: When you’re designing a site — part of interaction has to do with conversions, right? How do you balance being “too interactive” and potentially lead them away from converting?

Jonathan: Correct, conversions are important!

Jonathan: But in this case, quizzes themselves are incredibly conversion-focused. It’s probably one of the most effective elements you can put in your site.

Jonathan: I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as being “too interactive,” but you want to make sure your quizzes are brief and offer incentives after completion. At the end of the day, you want to increase audience interaction and engagement.

Aubrey: I’ve seen quizzes work especially well for speakers, thought-leaders, and sites where the brand revolves around a particular idea or concept.

Aubrey: What are some other ways to make a site more interactive?

Jonathan: Something that doesn’t necessarily deal with the design but is important are frequent updates!!

Jonathan: When you keep your site theme, pages and content up-to-date, it encourages user engagement. Users are more likely to view it as a reliable source of information and visit more frequently.

Aubrey: You know, if there’s one thing that I can’t stress enough it’s the importance of regularly updated content!

Aubrey: There are SEO benefits as well. If a business owner could spend just thirty minutes a week updating content, it keeps a site much more relevant.

Jonathan: So Aubrey, there’s a big one that we haven’t talked about yet…SOCIAL MEDIA.

Jonathan: Social media has become a lifestyle, a way for people to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world. It has a huge role in making things trend or go viral. Adding a Facebook like button or the option to share a post from your site is a way to interact with users. With social media, you’re able to reach new users, funnel more traffic to your site and grow your online presence.

Aubrey: You’re totally right. We use social media for more than just pictures. We use social media as a life tool now.

Aubrey: You ready for a “Did you know moment?”

Aubrey: Did you know: in the year 2017, 25% of all referral traffic came from social media networks. That means that 25% of all web traffic that came from an outside source came from a social media platform.

Jonathan: :scream: 

Jonathan: Another way that you can make your site more interactive is by having a newsletter. Newsletters keep users engaged by sending shareable content they can forward to their friends and colleagues through email.

Jonathan: Your newsletter can include a link to a new post that you might want to promote or a link to a thread where other users can further discuss the content of your newsletter.

Jonathan: This increases both visits and interest in your site.

Aubrey: I think the key to a successful newsletter hinges on two factors: consistency and quality content.

Aubrey: It’s hard to follow a brand when you don’t get consistent updates. And who wants to open another email when they don’t care about the content?

Aubrey: So overall, we’ve focused on two things for a more interactive website  — quality content on a platform that provides said content in an accessible, aesthetically pleasing manner.

Aubrey: So, next week we’re going to have our 80’s Hair Metal Frontman Nick Alter with us to discuss creating a “Mobile Friendly” site in the current media landscape. Last question Jonathan…

Aubrey: What in the world is going on with Manchester United?

Jonathan: They’re awful and I hate everything they stand for. Weiss might have a different opinion though.

— DEFINITION: Nic Weiss is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Alter Endeavors known for his Manchester United fandom and Jonthan Olivo is on the opposing side as a FC Barcelona fan.

Aubrey: Well we should probably get back to work…