Internet searchers move quickly. They’re on the hunt for something – a service, a product, an answer – and they’re going to keep bouncing from site to site until they find it.
If your website doesn’t immediately give them what they need, they’re likely going to leave after less than 30 seconds of interaction. This can lead to issues with conversions, SEO, and site traffic.
You don’t just need to pull searchers into your website – you need to keep them there. So, how can you increase the amount of time spent on a website?
There are many ways to keep people interested and engaged with your website for longer than a few seconds. In our experience as both web developers and marketers, here are five of the most effective methods.
1. Make Your Navigation Easier
Almost all web browsers (an estimated 94%) say that easy navigation is the most important feature a website can have. Searchers are willing to do a littlework to find what they need on your site, but their journey needs to be relatively straightforward and painless.
If it seems like most visitors are dropping by your website only to leave seconds later, it could be that they’re overwhelmed or confused by your website’s navigation. No one wants to deal with a disorganized site that frustrates more than it helps.
Tips for quickly improving your navigation:
- Keep your pages neat, clean, and easy to understand.
- Ensure that every visitor can easily find your navigation bar.
- Make the search feature clear and accessible.
- Place your most popular answers, products, and services upfront.
- Avoid wall-to-wall text, cluttered images, and other distractions.
To boost the average amount of time spent on a website, think like a visitor and predict how they’ll behave. It’s up to your website designers and developers to make navigation a simple task, not a taxing chore that sends searchers fleeing in seconds.
2. Clearly Market Your Value on the Homepage
Our next tip: remember that you need to attract your visitors and encourage them to stay. If the average searcher can’t immediately tell what your brand offers and why it’s valuable, your website isn’t doing its job properly.
In a couple of sentences (or less), your website should tell visitors about:
- The brand
- The products/services it offers
- The benefits of sticking around
This doesn’t mean including lots of advertorial statements and opportunities to make a sale. In fact, focusing too heavily on sales can actually detract from the value proposition.
Instead of focusing on getting people to hit the “purchase” button, prioritize answering their questions and explaining how your products/services will benefit them. Explain how you’ll solve problems, improve lives, or help visitors increase their own revenue.
At Inbound Studio, we recommend that brands display their value proposition front and center on their home pages, as well as on individual product pages. Typically, the proposition should be a hard-hitting headline, subheadline, or an eye-catching visual element.
The last thing you want is for a potential customer to visit your website, only to leave feeling like they didn’t understand what you were truly offering.
3. Create Scannable Content
If your website is neatly organized and your value proposition is clear, but the duration of customer visits is still low, there could be a problem with your content. The average amount of time spent on a website depends heavily on website readability – or rather, scannability.
Research indicates that web searchers mostly scan the content on websites. Very few (less than 20%) actually take the time to read blocks of text word-by-word.
Instead, visitors are skimming for:
- Important keywords
- Headings and subheadings
- Bulleted lists
- Infographics/media elements
Unless a visitor is extremely invested in the topic your website covers, they’re likely looking for quick solutions and easily digestible information. To help them find that, you should ensure your font sizes are large enough for readers to skim but small enough to see without scrolling. Break large paragraphs into smaller chunks and ensure things are neatly sectioned off, not clumped together.
Don’t get caught in the trap of over-designing and crowding your webpage. Although people like media elements and pretty designs, they appreciate plain, clear, scannable content more. That’s what will get them to stick around.
4. Improve Your Website’s Loading Speed
It would be remiss of us to skip talking about loading speeds in relation to time spent on a website.
We all know that websites should load in one to two seconds in order to capture visitors. Still, many brands underestimate just how much one additional second can affect the duration of customer visits. If your website is glitchy, slow, and frustrating, searchers will head out before they’ve even taken a true look around.
Keep in mind that we’re not just talking about desktop sites. Research indicates that the average webpage takes up to 87% longer to load on mobile devices than on desktop computers – and that could be seriously affecting the amount of time spent on your website.
If people seem to be spending minimal time on your website, even though you’re appearing in search results, check your loading time. Tools like Pingdom can help you quickly see if it takes longer than a few seconds for your website to fully load.
Tips for improving problems with slow-loading webpages:
- Optimize your images to be smaller and manifest faster
- Use caching plugins to deliver pages to visitors quickly
- Compress your site’s data to expedite loading speeds
For more help troubleshooting slow pages, especially on mobile devices, you may want to reach out to a professional web development team. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint hiccups in the loading process and shave seconds off your load times.
5. Strategically Include Internal Links
Our last tip is to ensnare visitors once they’ve landed on your page via internal links. You don’t want the average searcher to click on your homepage, look around, then depart. You want them to keep exploring your website, and internal links will push them to do more digging.
On your homepage, you should have links to your:
- Popular product pages
- “About us” description
- Contact information
- Blog articles
- Other pages you want people to visit
Internal linking is beneficial for your site’s SEO, too. Not only do they keep people clicking through multiple parts of your website, but they also help Google better understand your website and rank it in relevant search results. In turn, this can boost your traffic alongside the time visitors spend on your website.
The Wrap Up
As much as we’d like to say that visitors don’t judge your website by its cover, they do. High bounce rates are detrimental, but even quick visits can decrease the likelihood of landing page conversions and repeat customers.
To boost the amount of time spent on a website, think like an online searcher. What do they want from your website? What frustrates them, and what provides them with the value they’ll appreciate?
If you need a little help understanding what’s keeping your visit duration times low, consider talking to our web developers at Inbound Studio. We help small and mid-sized businesses like yours adopt more effective, efficient marketing strategies – and that includes optimizing websites. Send us a message online or call 844-222-4503.