Fox Sports has been successful at increasing its audience on social platforms like YouTube and Facebook, but wanted to see a similar growth in their website traffic. The popular sports channel set a goal and achieved it, but how did they do it?
About six weeks ago, the company began rolling out a new mobile and website design, which has three key features that focus on user engagement: A fixed social bar that makes it easier for users to share and comment on articles; a semi-infinite scroll with four consecutive stories; and personalized article recommendations based on a user’s browsing history.
Prior to the redesign, the sports website had a “fundamental problem,” according to the company’s SVP of Product Development, Devin Poolman. “Whether they were coming from mobile or Facebook, in our traditional experience, we weren’t giving them a lot of opportunity to do anything other than read that story,” said Poolman. The old design was focused on URLs; user clicks on a link, user reads the story, and that was it. If the user wanted to read more stories, he or she had to proactively search for them, which led to a drop-off.
The three main new features implemented are popular website trends that several successful websites have already implemented, including the popular social news site BuzzFeed.com, and are features that almost any company can implement on their own website. Let’s take a deeper look at these features.
Fixed social bar
In the social world we live in today, people are always sharing, liking, commenting, tweeting, pinning, and more. Making it easy for the user to do all of the above not only satisfies them, but it also helps with your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), because search engines see social signals as a positive for your ranking on the search engine result pages. Every time an article is shared, it opens another door back to your website, which also helps with SEO.
Semi-infinite scroll/infinite scroll
Infinite scroll means you can continuously scroll through content without ever reaching the bottom of the page—think Facebook or Twitter feeds. Semi-infinite means it will populate articles as you scroll, but users will eventually reach an end. In terms of Fox Sports, users will scroll through four articles before reaching an end. Infinite scroll isn’t the answer for every website, as it all depends on the website’s goals, but for websites that curate a lot of content or provide a lot of user-generated content, it could be a good way to get content exposure and to provide a fast and easy browsing experience.
Based on search history and other articles you may have read on the website, a website can provide suggested articles it thinks a user may be interested in. By providing these article suggestions, it is increasing the time users spend on the website and the number of pages visited, while decreasing the bounce rate.
These additions to FoxSports.com have led to a 23 percent increase in pageviews and a 37 percent increase in time spent per visitor, as well as a 14 percent decrease in the bounce rate. These are very impressive numbers for just six weeks. If you’re interested in implementing similar user engagement-focused features to your website, give us a call! Robmark Web’s website development team is ready and able to help you reach your website traffic and user engagement goals.