Do you know how long the average visitor stays on your website? If not, pause here and go and take a look at your analytics – you may be surprised by the results. Users only spend an average of 5.59 seconds on a website before jumping ship.
So, what does this mean for you? It means you need to be doing everything in your power to keep your visitors around long enough that they’ll understand your message, what you offer, and what they can do to hear more from you and/or become a customer.
Why does time-on-page matter?
Time-on-page matters for two main reasons:
- Because you need visitors to stay on your site if they’re going to become a customer
- Because search engines use that statistic to measure whether or not your site is valuable.
A long time-on-page time tells search engines that your content is valuable enough to keep visitors around for a long time. The ultimate goal of search engines is to give searchers the best results they can. If your time-on-page time is high (almost anything over a minute, depending on your industry), it shows search engines that most qualified leads are finding something of interest on your site that’s worth sticking around for, and so are much more likely to rank your pages highly.
9 Ways to Keep Site Visitors for Longer
#1 Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
Most of you will be able to skip this section since mobile responsivity is built into most websites nowadays (some better than others…), but if you’ve never looked at your website on a phone and a tablet, now is the time to do so. Visitors won’t stick around for long if they’re having to pinch and scroll around just to read to the end of a sentence. Make sure your site is easy to view and read on all devices.
#2 Have consistent branding
Consistent branding has many benefits, but one of which is the fact that it is more visually pleasing and less distracting than branding that isn’t. Consistent branding means you’ll be using the same colours, graphics, image styles and fonts throughout your website and so people don’t have to get used to a new font every time they scroll down or click on a new page. It may seem like a small thing, but inconsistent branding pulls people away from what should be your core focus: your content and messaging.
#3 Make sure your font choice is readable
Yes, script fonts are beautiful and may be perfectly on-brand for you, but if you can’t read it easily if it’s small, it’s probably not the best choice for your website. Most decorative fonts work well for large headers or decorative text, but not in a sentence. Remember you want to convey your message quickly and/or capture the attention of visitors with your headlines. If they have to think about what they’re reading, you may lose them.
#4 Have a clear (and planned) customer journey
This is a big one and is a mistake many new businesses make; you need to plan the customer journey and make sure it is clear. Most websites have 1-3 possible customer journeys, for example, to learn about your services and then book a discovery call with you.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the different smaller elements of what a website needs that many people forget about the main aim of their site: to get the viewer to take action. Map out your customer journey ahead of time and think about where they’ll go and what they need to know to be ready to take action.
When you’ve done that, consider how you can make that journey as resistance-free as possible. Think about the placement of calls-to-action, additional information they need, and how you can make it as digestible as possible.
#5 Link to your own content
Building on our point above, make sure you interlink your own content well so customers don’t have to think too much about what action to take next. For example, if they read your about page to learn more about who you are and who you serve, make sure you have buttons or links on that page to take them further if they like what they see and are a qualified lead.
It’s also a good idea to do this within your blog posts, so people can learn more about a topic without leaving your site. You can’t rely on people going to your main blog page to see if you have what they need – guide them to it within or at the end of your blog posts.
If your blog is new, try to review it every month or once a quarter and go back to link in newer posts you’ve written since publishing some of the older posts. (This is also a good opportunity to refresh that post, which helps your SEO.)
#6 Make sure you don’t use clickbait
Before you skip this point because you don’t use clickbait, pause here just to make sure that’s true. While you may not use titles that are an obvious form of clickbait, you may not be fulfilling your promises.
Remember that your headlines are a hook and a promise to a potential reader about what they’ll find in a blog post or on one of your pages. If they start reading and realise you’re not actually going to talk about the topic you’ve set up in your headline, or you’re only going to touch on it briefly before talking about something else, they’re probably going to leave and head elsewhere. Worse still, you will have broken their trust, and they will be skeptical of your content in the future. A key example of this is when a blog post starts by answering a question that was in the headline, but after just a couple of hundred words, starts purely promoting their service. Promotional blog posts are not inherently bad, but you need to make sure your headlines set up the content on that page properly.
#7 Make sure your content is easily scanned
Of course, everyone wants a reader to stick around and read the entire page – that’s how they’re going to get the most value and the deepest understanding of what you offer or what you’re teaching them.
But the truth is most people won’t. Or at least, most people will scan the page to see if it’s worth their time before they settle in to read the entire thing from start to finish.
That’s why it’s so important to use headers, break up paragraphs (leaning on the shorter side but know your brand voice and audience), use lists and bullet points when it makes sense to do so, and use bold or italics when you want to highlight an important point
#8 Include a CTA on every page
We covered this some in point 5, but it’s worth reiterating here. Make sure your pages have a CTA on them, if not multiple (just make sure you don’t have too many, or you risk confusing your visitor). For example, you can link to a page to learn more information at the end of a blog post, link to another blog post to learn more, ask them to sign up for your newsletter, or where to go next to work with you.
If you look at the top of this page, you’ll see “work with me” – this sticky header means that no matter where someone is on my site, someone can simply click that button to learn more about working with me, the moment they decide they’re ready to find out more about working with me. This in-header CTA is something you’ll find on the majority of B2B websites nowadays, so is something to consider adding to yours.
#9 Reduce page loading times
Have you ever sat there waiting as a page loads? How long were you prepared to wait? If you’re old enough to remember the internet in the 90s, you’ll remember clicking on a link and being prepared to go and make a cup of tea while you waited for it to load. Okay, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration (though perhaps not for downloading…), but we simply don’t have that kind of patience anymore.
Provided our internet connection is strong, we’re used to having things immediately. If your site takes over 3 seconds to load, you’re going to start losing people before they ever get on your site. Because this is such an important aspect of having a successful website, I’ve done an entire blog post on just this one topic, so open this link in a new tab and head there next to find out what you can do to improve load times: 8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Site’s SEO Today.
When we think of websites, we often focus so much on the aesthetics that we don’t pause to consider what you need to do to keep visitors around – and that comes down to value. Once you have a beautiful on-brand website that provides a clear, user-friendly layout, focus on increasing on-site times, load times, and converting visitors into followers and customers.