You’ve poured your heart into the content on your site. So, it’s not surprising that learning how to get people to stay on your website longer is near and dear to your heart. And, it can be a puzzling issue, right?
We all want to find effective strategies to engage our readers and get them to extend their visit. The longer visitors stay on your website, the more likely they are to convert or subscribe. But the reasons for increasing dwell time run even deeper than that.
Minimizing your site’s bounce rate is crucial to improving your search engine rankings and driving organic traffic. And, there’s little doubt that Google takes note and negatively judges the value of your content when visitors routinely click away quickly.
Are you ready to make some changes to keep visitors on your site?
Great, let’s roll!
9 Tips for Keeping Visitors on Your Site Longer
Here are some actionable items that every website owner can implement. These steps can pay dividends in terms of extended “stay times,” better rankings, and increased user engagement.
As you move through the list, think about how well your site performs in each of these strategic areas. Drop us a line in the comment section and let us know where your site excels or what areas might need some attention.
(1) Captivating Blog Headlines Are a Must But Not Enough
Headlines matter a lot. An attention-grabbing headline can shout “choose me” when your post appears in the SERPs as one choice in a list of ten. But that potential advantage can be a double-edged sword. Never confuse traffic with true engagement!
Does your content deliver on expectations promised in your title?
Readers consume content that has a perceived benefit to them and provides desired solutions. But few things are more detrimental to your bounce rate than exaggerated headlines followed by an article that under-delivers. The potential readers lured in this fashion will bounce back in milliseconds.
The key: Don’t overpromise!
(2) Use Visually Appealing Images That Are Relevant
An aesthetically appealing website and post can play a significant role in capturing readers because most people are visual creatures. Moreover, visual images provide breathing room in a lengthy post and an opportunity for concepts to “sink in.” Just make sure the picture adds value and is related to your topic.
Infographics can be particularly compelling because they concisely summarize ideas in a way that’s easier for many people to process than text alone. There are many sources of free images on the Web that can enhance your articles.
(3) Fix Your Site Speed
Studies suggest that Internet searchers have attention spans that are shorter than those of goldfish. Users won’t have the patience to wait more than seconds for your site to load.
The moral of that story is you need to be aware of your page loading times and deal with any issues causing unacceptable delays. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to test your loading speeds today and monitor your results on a regular basis.
Factors to avoid are things like:
- A theme that isn’t mobile ready
- Images that aren’t correctly compressed and optimized
- A slow web hosting provider
- Too many WordPress plugins
(4) Write With Purpose and in a Conversational Tone
Readers don’t have time for articles that ramble or hop from one topic to another. Make your intent clear from the outset and then guide your readers to your conclusion with each additional sentence, paragraph, and salient point.
And, remember you’re not writing a thesis!
Build your argument in a conversational manner as though you were chatting with a friend.
(5) Format Your Content So That it is Easy to Read and Scan
Most folks searching for information on the Internet don’t read blog posts from beginning to end. They scan in search of interesting and useful tidbits. So, make it easy for people to follow their natural inclinations.
Do visitors to your site spot a massive blob of text? Or, can these easily cut to the chase and jump to the topics that interest them the most?
Easily scannable articles:
- Have short paragraphs surrounded by lots of whitespace
- Include a lot of subheadings that make it easy to jump to the most exciting bits
- Use bullet points or numbered lists to state things concisely
- Are written using easy-on-the-eye font styles and sizes
- Are peppered with transitional phrases or “bucket brigades.”
Moreover, you may want to test the readability level and get some evidence that you haven’t made it needlessly strenuous or tiring to read. One tool you might consider using for this purpose is Yoast SEO. This plugin will assess the readability level of each page and post you write and suggest improvements.
Your readers will hang out longer if you make the reading environment more comfortable!
(6) Be Sure to Use Internal Links
Internal links entice readers to expand their knowledge and further explore your site to see what else you have to offer. So, go ahead and show off your valuable stuff! You can flag related content for your readers in a variety of ways. Here are a few options:
- Create text links within the body of your material to call out articles devoted to key topics
- Display related post images at the bottom of each post
- Include a list of popular posts in a widget in your sidebar
As visitors dive deeper into the depths of your website content, several positives occur in addition to an increase in dwell time. You build trust with readers who begin to see you as more of an authority, you increase credibility with Google, and you encourage people to bookmark your site and come back for more.
Can we agree these are all super outcomes?
(7) Use the Power of Video
For millions of consumers, videos are the primary way in which content is consumed every day. Videos are engaging and easier to digest than text. For these reasons, videos should clearly be part of your content marketing strategy.
If you’re ready to begin creating your own video tutorials, consider the use of a simple and intuitive program called Screencast-O-Matic. This software sports a minimal price tag at $18 per year and also offers a free version.
Not ready to record your own videos yet?
You can still unleash the engaging power of video and encourage readers to linger on your site by embedding one of the thousands of educational or entertaining videos that are freely shareable through Youtube. Just search for video content that is highly relevant to your blog post and target market.
Hard to navigate sites drive people away. So, it’s imperative that we make navigation as intuitive as possible. Create clear menu structures at the top and in the sidebar that highlight your most important pages and posts.
It’s all about creating a positive User Experience (UX)!
Adding search functionality can also increase page views and session length while improving UX.
(9) Be Cautious in Your Use of Pop-ups
One final caveat has to do with the aggressive use of pop-ups to encourage readers to sign up for your email list. Pop-ups are annoyingly intrusive and distract potential customers from reading the very content you drew them in to view.
Consider pop-up placement carefully and ask yourself this question. Why would a first-time visitor to your site be willing to give you their email address before they’ve had an opportunity to see what you have to offer? Something to consider is a more subtle exit pop-up request.
At the point where users are leaving your website, they’ve had ample opportunity to check out what you have to offer them and are far more likely to be interested in a subscription. Just food for thought!
Do You Know the Average Dwell Time on Your Website?
If you don’t already have one set up, you can go here to create a Google Analytics account for your website. Your free Analytics account supplies invaluable audience insights including the number of users, sessions, average session duration, bounce rate and the number of pages viewed.
A Google Analytics account is a critical resource for every webmaster. Determine your current statistics and then monitor your stats carefully as you implement tweaks to increase your audience engagement.
Enjoy the video below to see a handy overview of this powerful analytical tool.
We’ve just explored 9 vital considerations for how to get people to stay on your website longer. Based on research of best practices and personal experience in implementing these techniques over the past two years, I’m confident these techniques will positively impact the performance of your website.
If you found these tips useful, I hope you’ll share them widely. There may be others who are struggling with the myriad puzzling aspects of user engagement. And, I encourage you to check out the online platform where I started my blog and continue to reap benefits on a daily basis.
I wish you all much success!
Over to You
Are you currently employing all of these tips? What additional tips do you have to share for keeping people on your website longer? Please jump into the comment section below and tell me what I’ve missed!