Keep People Onsite: Content Trails and Functional Sites

4 min

The sales funnel helps pull people to your website and guides them down the content trail to a point where they can feel comfortable purchasing the things they need from you. However, there’s a little more to the process than drawing them down the funnel, to keep people onsite. Maintaining a functional site, giving your customer a clear track to follow with a few options, and helping them find what they are looking for will help you optimize the traffic that lands onsite.

The funnel

The sales funnel is an old tool, but a valuable one in content planning and getting users onsite. Great informational posts will keep people clicking on information they need, and help you rank for queries that come from people interested in your products. Creating a successful content funnel following the tips outlined the other article would lead a user through article titles like:

  • General info articles, like “How Do Waterproof Cell Phones Work?
  • Consideration articles, like “Which Waterproof Phone is Right For You?
  • Decision articles, like “Can You Afford Aquatic360 Phone?

The content funnel is great for looping in users who might search for things in your product’s niche with only a vague interest. If it’s used correctly and built well, those users stay onsite and interested (with way more questions!).

Clear tracks

Clear tracks that users can follow is important when relying on content to lead someone through your site. One good place to start is with informative and helpful landing pages. A clear call to action leading users from one place to another will reduce user confusion and loss. Something simple, like additional article suggestions at the bottom of each piece is a fantastic way to call a user to stay onsite and read more.

The “content-track” can be started with popular organic search results, which accounts for more than half of all traffic, and building around that onsite experience. If people fall from a page, figuring out why will save you valuable traffic. You can find user heat maps and behavior flow charts on Google Analytics to help determine which pages help users stay onsite and find what could be improved.

Functional site

One of the largest reasons people leave a site is because that site is broken, has links that don’t work, or is unpleasant to be on. Your site needs to be functional, consistently running, and easy to navigate. Even ugly, but popular sites, like LINGsCARS or Craigslist, still work, are always running, and are easy to navigate.


A slow site is no fun! For the ecommerce supergiant Amazon, just a second delay would cost it 1.6 billion dollars a year! People won’t stay on a slow-loading site. By the time page load time hits three seconds, four out of ten Americans leave the site, and that’s before they even see the page!

There are a few ways to speed up your website. You can try some basic tips on your own, like keeping your site updated, reducing the number of pop-ups, and fixing some confusing redirects you might have. Hiring a developer to minify Javascript, set up a content delivery network, or find places where your site is shooting itself in the foot, might also be worth it (especially if you have an ecommerce focused site).

Work for everyone (responsive sites)

If the site doesn’t work while you’re on your phone, then it doesn’t matter if it looks pretty on a desktop. Constantly changing mobile phones means that a responsive design is optimal. For example, your site might be optimized for the new iPhone 7, but not for the iPhone 7 Plus, which is significantly larger. There are new devices all the time, which makes a responsive design (or a design that can accommodate different screen sizes) the smartest option when looking to make your site work for all your users. You can try a quick check by inspecting the page and checking that small rectangle in the upper left corner (second from the left, see above picture). Google also has some fantastic, free tools in Analytics and Search Console that you can use to check on your mobile users specifically (or a Bootstrap device query).

Even the great Googlebot can crawl it

Your focus should always be on your user’s experience. If it works for your users, it should be at least decent for Googlebot. Some things that can really mess up your site include duplicate pages, 404s/5XX errors, and of course, if you get any messages in Google Analytics, deal with them.

A functional, fast site, that works for all people trying to access it, will help you keep people on-track to finding what they need, and going down the funnel. A functional site is more important than a content trail, since people will leave a content trail before they read if the site isn’t loading/working.

Content trails are great when taking people from the high volume, exploratory searches, down to product pages. You are there to provide information, your fantastic product speaks for itself. Lead them to the next logical answer before shoving a product in their face.

Want to learn more? Check out our article about onsite marketing and learn how you can convert more website visitors into paying customers!