Ten simple steps to make global travel websites more engagingNewsBy Viewpoints | August 11, 2010Share This article was originally published on NB: This is a guest post by Swamy Viswanathan, vice president of products and marketing at Language Weaver, a Los Angeles-based software company specialising in content translation.Ever wonder what the most popular sites do to keep traffic and grow their business? While the specific formula for success is different for each site, there are some things in common that most popular sites do.Here is a list of ten top tips that you might find relevant to apply towards your own site:1. Make content relevantWould you ever go back to a store if the store shelves had no labels and items were not grouped together?Or if the store claimed to be selling one thing, but actually sold something else? Obviously not!Likewise, make sure that your site visitors find information that they have come to see and read about. Don’t just throw content on a page in the mistaken notion that more content will automatically lead to a better page rank.More content does lead to a better rank – but only if the content is relevant.2. Make the content easy to readOne of the easiest ways to lose a visitor is with a layout that is confusing or where the content is hard to read.Content is most engaging when the visitor understands it! Sounds obvious, does it not?Research shows that consumers purchase more frequently when the content is in their own language than if they don’t understand all of the content.So make sure that the content relevant to a visitor is available in their own language.3. Make the content easy to findOne of the most frustrating experiences on the web and on a site is when a visitor is unable to find what they want.The choice of the right keywords, meta-tags and page content lets the user search in their own language and be directly taken to content relevant to them.Search on the web and on the site are two of the most powerful tools available to a site owner and making sure that a visitor can engage with this capability in their own language is crucial.4. Let your community engage with the siteThe best of sites actively encourage feedback from users. Ensure that users can rate content on the site for its relevance and utility to them. Encourage feedback.5. Don’t just make it one wayBy definition, a conversation is bi-directional communication. When a user provides feedback, ensure that they are acknowledged.Send them a message and thank them. Just make sure that the message is personalized to who they are.This includes acknowledging their particular contributions and communicating in their language.6. Increase engagementThe best of sites are not just built around content, but around a community. A community that is passionate about the content, the concept of the site and is passionate about making itself heard.Conversations tend to get siloed quickly if the participants don’t understand one another. Make sure that you encourage conversation around relevant topics by providing tools to the community to understand one another no matter the language.7. Measure everythingAs the old saying goes – what is not measured cannot be managed. Measure everything!Not just the usual things like traffic, click-throughs and time on page, but also measures of engagement like number of contributions per visitor, contributions by a visitor when content was in their language versus when it was not.This will let you make the case to yourself on the importance of investing in everything that increases visitor engagement.8. Be there for the communityWhether your site has a commerce function or not, make sure that you support your site visitors. Have some way in which visitors can email or chat with a support person.Everyone likes to be loved! And your site visitors are no different. Show them you care. And make sure that your support is actually relevant to the issues being raised.Don’t tell them “I can support you but only if you speak my language!” Nothing is a greater turn-off than support which is not really support.9. Make communication completeYour site is not the only channel for communication with your visitor community. Your visitors have email addresses, they live on Facebook, they play games online and they buy other things. Make sure that you reach your visitors across as many of these channels as makes sense to both you and your visitors.10. Don’t forget mobile.Where the wired web was in the late 1990’s, the mobile is today. In other words, the mobile web is on its way to becoming the most ubiquitous form of communication.Make sure that your site and all key functions are easily accessed from a mobile and your site is not just designed to be a computer browser only application.Remember that these tips are not in any particular order of importance and what applies to your site might be dependent on your customers, the content of your site and a host of other factors.At the end of the day, all technology aside, what matters is your ability to communicate with and promote communication between your visitors. If you can do that and speak their language, you have their attention.NB: This is a guest post by Swamy Viswanathan, vice president of products and marketing at Language Weaver.