How to increase visitor time on your website

by | Feb 14, 2019

We all know that the main goal of most websites is to convert more visitors into becoming customers.

It doesn’t matter whether your business has an online shop website  or uses its website to generate more leads, the same goal exists.

It goes without saying however, that all websites should be there to educate, inform and inspire its audience and should look amazing – that’s a given! But, how do you know how well it’s doing this?

What methods do you use to judge how well your website is being received by its audience?

You can do many different things, such as, checking your analytical software, send out customer surveys, or to try and get feedback on how people feel about your website.

There is one key stat, however, that should always be looked at first and that is ‘how long do people spend on your website?’.

For the time being, put everything else to one side, it doesn’t matter how many visitors your website has, where it ranks in SERPs or what type of functionality it has.

If people visit your website and then a second later click off it and ‘run for the hills’, it’s a sure sign that something isn’t right.

Why do you need to keep visitors on your website?

How long someone spends on your website is more that just a metric or a figure to be glanced over. It’s a great indicator to tell you how valuable your content is and the quality of your web design.

Your website should have a low bounce rate.

A high bounce rate equals a lower conversion rate (less customer enquiries or sales). For example, if someone is only spending one second on your website, they aren’t giving you chance to impress them.

If this is the case, something is terribly wrong with your site and it needs serious attention NOW!

Image showing website bounce rates

Why aim to increase visitor time on your website?

Whatever business you’re in, you’ll have targets and goals you want to achieve, and your website should be there to help you reach them.

The simple fact is, the longer someone spends browsing your website, the more chance you’ll convert them into clients.

There is another bonus with having visitors spending more time on your website too. The longer the time, the more it says to search engines like Google that what your site offers is great.

As a result, Google and other search engines are assured you’re an amazing source of information, in turn it can help your website rank better.

In reverse, if your visitors instantly click the ‘back button’ when landing on your website, it also sends out signals to Google. It shows that visitors didn’t like what they saw, or they didn’t get what they wanted.

Which can hurt your website ranking!

How to increase visitor time on your website

Look at the general design of your website

This is a fundemental first step.

All visitors on your website will firstly see what it looks like, before they even contemplate reading the text or continuing to browse further.

So, it’s really a case of ‘first impressions’ do count!

If you have a very high website bounce rate and a very small visitor time on your site, then this could be to do with the fact that people don’t like what they see.

Design is totally subjective and web design is no different. However, there are certain design principles that all websites should aim to achieve. Here are a few examples.

  1. Is it obvious on first glance what you do?
  2. Are the pictures used crystal clear and instantly convey to right image for your business?
  3. Is the website uncluttered and easy to read?
  4. Does the design look consistent through all your web pages?

The design of your website should be there to help keep visitors on there for as long as possible. It should look pleasing to the eye, polished and complement your business message you’re trying to convey.

By getting the design of your website right, it will better engage with your audience and help to increase visitor time on your website.

There are plenty of other factors you could look at to improve the general design of your website.

Engage with your website audience

Get rid of anything unnecessary in the design 

One of the top ways to increase the average time spent on your website is to get rid of clutter that brings no benefit to the visitor.  

Make it easy for a visitor to find what they want in the fastest manner possible.

Keep text concise and written with the audience in mind.

Also, If you have a complex image carousel, scrolling testimonials or other elements that serve no real purpose, have a think whether they are needed or not.

Optimise Your Images 

Images are still one of the most engaging parts to a website. The images that you use need to be relevant and look slick.

Don’t use stretched or squashed images
Don’t use images that are fuzzy and unclear

The file size of the images used is also important.

The larger the file size, the slower a browser will load your web page.

The slower the web page, the more chance a visitor will navigate away, the less time they will spend on your website.

A great tip is to use images that are interesting, eye catching and make you want to carry on browsing.

If you don’t have a budget for professionally taken shots then use some great stock photography sites to get images.

Images on websites are important

Look at usability 

How user-friendly your website is, is a critical aspect of any website.

If your web visitors can’t find what they are looking for because you have an overly complex or confused navigation that could frustrate and lead people to click away.

There are also many other elements that can cause a bad user experience both ‘on the page’ and from a technical perspective such as:

  • If your website is slow to load
  • If visitors struggle to understand how to use your website
  • Buttons and clickable parts can’t easily be distinguished
  • Broken links
  • Not having a mobile-responsive website
  • If they feel their website data is unsecure
  • If a visitor must go on a long customer journey to find what they need
  • If the website’s ‘tone of voice’ doesn’t engage with its intended audience, e.g. written too complex

There are many other aspects that can cause a bad user experience.

A great tip is to get a few unbiased people that don’t know your business too well to look through the site and feedback to you.

Ask them to be brutal and totally honest, you could ask them some key questions like:

Did you easily find what you were looking for?
Was the website easy to navigate?
Did you have any problems with using the website?
What improvements could the website do to make it a better experience?
Was the website easy to read and understand?
Would you reuse the website again?

This feedback is gold dust in helping you increase visitor time on your website.

Business getting feedback on their website user experience

Ensure you have great content

If your website has mediocre text and wording that is uninteresting or uninspiring then you can’t expect it to have much of an impact on your audience.

The wording that you use on your site needs to engage, it needs a visitor to be excited, interested and inspires them. Not only that but it should be easy to read.

Make sure your website content focuses on:

Using benefits – why should they buy your products or services
Written specifically for its intended audience
Use emotive phrases backed up with facts  
Be ‘non salesy’ – no one likes to be sold to
Tell a story that visitors would love to read
Short sentence structure
Shorter paragraph length
Use bullet points
Use headlines to break up sections that are short and concise
Avoid jargon
The correct order for your content structure

Have strong CTAs (Call to actions)

The main purpose of your website is to get your visitor to perform an action, such as, buying online or picking up the phone and calling you for instance. This what CTAs are, they are there to help a visitor perform the action what you want them to.

Make sure they are well positioned and standout to encourage a visitor to take the appropriate action.

If you want to see if your CTAs are easily found, a good test is to look at your monitor and ‘squint your eyes’ – bear with us!

Stand back a metre or so from your screen, squint your eyes until everything on the webpage is blurred, if your CTA is still recognisable then you’re good to go.

Summary:

These are just four simple ways that design, userbility, content and CTAs can increase visitor time on your website. There are many other areas to look at also which we’ll cover in later posts but include the technical side of the website build, customer engagement, remarketing etc.

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