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The time users spend browsing your website can reveal whether or not they are enjoying their stay. A shorter session often indicates that something is forcing them to leave: it could be slow site speed, poor quality content, unattractive design, technical errors, mismatch of expectations, or a combination of these factors. A longer stay, on the other hand, indicates that visitors find a site useful and enjoy the experience offered. Marketers, of course, are constantly looking for ways to increase stays; the more time users spend on a site, the more likely they are to consume content, build trust in a brand, and eventually convert to quality leads.
Let’s look at 11 ways to encourage visitors to do so:
1. Neat design
The average user spends 10-20 seconds on a site before deciding whether to leave or stay, and keeping your design simple and attractive will help measurably. A winning design serves two purposes: it simply looks good, which makes viewers want to spend more time admiring it, and also makes it easier for users to find information because it’s stripped of unnecessary elements and graphics. And once they find that information, they will spend more time consuming it.
2. Make navigation easier
If your site is difficult or confusing to navigate, visitors won’t stick around to figure things out. They will leave immediately, never to return. Fortunately, you can avoid this by including only the most important pages that you want users to visit in the main navigation menu. Also, make sure the search bar is clearly visible and easy to access, allowing people who already know what they want to find it quickly and avoid wasting valuable time.
Related: E-Commerce: The Essential Components Your Site Needs to Turn Visitors Into Buying Customers
3. Stay true to your title
Some website owners have a habit of writing compelling titles to attract people to their sites, but once visitors access the content, they discover that it is something entirely different or there are too many lint before the main problem is solved. It’s a surefire way to alienate an audience for good, so don’t do it.
“Stay true” means you discuss what you promise in the content body title. Always start with a short introduction and then move directly to the points you want to discuss, starting with the most important ones.
4. Have a clear value proposition on the homepage
Visitors can and will leave immediately if they feel a site is not providing enough value to them. To avoid this, you need to have a short, clear, and unique value proposition on the homepage telling people what you do and why exactly they should do business with you. Having such a proposition helps visitors understand the value of your product, encourages them to stay longer, and (hopefully) convinces them to buy from you rather than competitors.
Related: How to Develop a Winning Value Proposition (Infographic)
5. Post new content regularly
No one wants to spend time on a site with old and outdated content, so get into the habit of regularly adding original and relevant text or other material. It’s also a good idea to create different types of content to cater to different tastes. For example, consider blog posts, articles, e-books, audio, videos, social media posts, webinars, infographics, etc., as consumer preferences vary widely.
Another way to provide fresh and valuable content is to reuse previously published material. If you have old blog posts that would otherwise have been forgotten in the archives, update them with new information and use them to create an ebook. This helps reduce the time you spend creating, exposes your material to more people, and generates more traffic.
6. Make content more scannable
Online users rarely read verbatim copy. Instead, they prefer to browse pages to select the information they are looking for. What this means is simple: if your content consists of large chunks of text that are hard to scan, few people will stick around to read it. But, if you make pages scannable, it will help visitors find information faster, which will encourage them to spend more time.
A few tips to achieve this:
• Keep sentences and paragraphs short to make content less intimidating.
• Use line spacing and font sizes large enough to allow visitors to read without straining their eyes.
• Use headings, subheadings, lists, and bullet points to break up long passages into smaller sections.
• Highlight important words, phrases and sentences in bold.
• Add images, videos, infographics and other visual features.
• Discuss one main idea per paragraph.
Related: Website visitors trust concise, well-written content, but can they trust yours?
7. Improve page speed
Most people will leave a website to look for information elsewhere if pages take longer than two to three seconds to load, so improving page speed is essential. You can do this by:
• Compression of large images.
• Invest in a content delivery network to reduce server response time and improve load time.
• Remove or replace plugins that could slow down the site.
• Removal of unused codes.
• Reduce the number of times you redirect visitors to other pages.
• Leverage the power of browser caching.
8. Incorporate internal links into content
Internal links are useful when you want to provide the reader with more information on a certain topic. For example, if you wrote an article titled “Effective Marketing Ideas for Every Business” and one of its subheadings is “Publish great content,” you can link the phrase “great content” to a another page on your site that deals with detailing what this means.
Internal links are not only important for bringing visitors deeper into a site, they also help increase page views and boost SEO. Just be careful not to put too many links on the same page (two to three are usually enough).
Related: How to Step Up Your Inbound Marketing Game for 2022
9. Add robust visuals
High-quality, relevant photos, videos, and graphics on relevant pages help readers better understand the content. The best ones aren’t just easy on the eyes, they’re also engaging and interactive, which is why people increasingly prefer them over written content. They dramatically boost user engagement and increase visitor time spent.
10. Use strategic pop-ups
“Exit intent” pop-ups detect when visitors want to leave a website and provide them with a compelling reason not to. When used correctly, they can be very effective in reducing bounce rate and increasing overall conversion rate.
Some ways to apply them:
• Suggest other posts your visitors might like to read.
• Ask them to join your mailing list in exchange for an irresistible offer (perhaps a free audio or video version of your blog).
• Invite them to chat with support agents if they have questions or concerns.
• Ask them to provide feedback on your product or service.
• Ask them to share your content or follow you on social networks.
• Inform them of a new product or service.
11. Include call-to-action buttons in content
Most online users leave a site immediately after finding the information they were looking for. When they do, it increases your bounce rate, which can impact both conversions and profits. That’s why it’s important to include a call to action (CTA) at the end of every post to give them a good reason to stick around. Clear, relevant, and engaging examples can be effective in holding visitors’ attention and driving conversion, just make sure each CTA aligns with the theme of the page it’s placed on so it doesn’t seem not forced.