Have you ever gotten to a webpage and thought, “Wait … this isn’t what I thought it was”?
Or perhaps all you wanted to do was get to a specific page, buy a product, or find the company contact information. But as soon as you landed on the right page, you found it too confusing (and too frustrating) to navigate, causing you to leave.
Chances are, there are pages on your own website that confuse your users. This could potentially cost you visitors and even conversions in the long run, if not addressed.
When reporting on analytics, you may notice “time on site” is a key performance indicator (KPI). Time on site, in this case, literally means the number of minutes your users spent on any page of your website.
Understanding time on site also can help you scout out pages with a lower time than all the others. For example, if your home page has an average of three minutes, but the featured link on that page is only getting 0.6 minutes of page time, this indicates some issues need to be addressed.
Here are three ways to increase your visitors’ time on site:
1) Improve content layout
If you’ve ever landed on a web page loaded with text, you know the importance of a “visual break.” There should be a certain amount of white space to rest your eyes while you’re reading.
Nowadays, most people skim content. If your writing is crunched together, it’s harder to skim, causing many to bail before they get to the good stuff.
Whether you own a blog or product pages, you can implement this strategy by placing lines of larger paragraphs on separate lines, bolding certain portions of the text, or making text different sizes.
You also can add images to the text to create more visual breaks, illustrate your content, or enhance with graphics to change up the page.
This is especially important if your page has a high volume of text. But even smaller amounts of text should contain a few visual break techniques to ensure your readers can digest the content quickly and easily.
2) Check your site design
The second most important part of increasing time on site might not have anything to do with the actual text at all. If you’ve cleaned up your copy, added visual breaks and images, there might be a challenge with the overall user experience (UX) needing to be addressed.
An easy way to check if your UX is user-friendly is to see it on mobile. Many people access websites from their phones, which of course is a smaller screen, impacting their experience on all pages (Google can assess your site here for mobile friendliness).
So if you’ve been working mainly in a desktop view, it’s helpful to understand how your customers access your site and if you have a high amount of mobile traffic. Your analytics reporting system should tell you how much of your traffic is on mobile, tablet, or desktop.
Additionally, does your design use many high-res images? While they might look beautiful, images above 500px take longer to load—and most users are expecting sites to load in record time these days. Taking a full minute to load may decrease your time on site.
Lastly, make sure your design makes sense. Colors, themes, and navigation are important considerations. Ask your team—or if you’re a small business, perhaps some of your peers and networks—to try out your site. Pay close attention to feedback: Which pages caused them to abandon ship? Which pages did they enjoy spending more time on? Then, make updates accordingly.
3) Stay interesting and relevant
Even if you have the best design and perfect amount of visual breaks to your text, there are two final considerations—relevancy and interest.
Let’s say there’s a page on your site that’s getting a very low time on site average. That could be because of the content itself. Has it been updated since 1997? Are the images outdated? How relevant is the information to the user?
For example, take a page on how to register for email alerts. But when users land on this page, the description to sign up for emails mentions a newsletter that no longer exists. Or, there’s insufficient information to get users to take an action on the page.
Make sure your content is up-to-date, and when users land on a page they get what they came for. Don’t try to bait-and-switch, either—if you promised a white paper, deliver it. If you said “click here for a video” and the video isn’t there or is too old, update it. It’s all about giving your users the ultimate, relevant experience!
By following these three tips, you put your users’ experience at the forefront and create a positive relationship between your website and your brand. Ultimately, this will escalate time on site and create a better brand association and increased conversions.
Take advantage of our free Related Posts tool to boost your on-site engagement. The Related Posts tool recommends content not only by what’s popular but also what’s most relevant to your visitors.
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Last modified: January 9th, 2018