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The length of time users spend navigating your website can reveal whether they’re enjoying their stay there or not. A shorter session often indicates that something is forcing them to leave: that could be slow site speed, poor-quality content, unappealing design, technical errors, a mismatch in expectations or a combination of these factors. A longer stay, on the other hand, indicates that visitors are finding a site useful and are enjoying the experience provided. Marketers, of course, are continually looking for ways to boost stays; the more time users spend on a site, the higher the chances that they’ll consume content, develop trust in a brand and eventually convert into quality leads.
Let’s look at 11 methods of encouraging visitors to do that:
1. Tidy up design
The average user spends between 10 and 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, and also makes it easier for users to find information since it’s uncluttered with unnecessary elements and graphics. And once they find that information, they’ll spend more time consuming it.
2. Make navigation easy
If your site is difficult or confusing to navigate, visitors won’t stick around to figure things out. They’ll leave immediately, never to return. Luckily, you can avoid this by including only the most important pages you want users to visit in the main navigation menu. Also ensure that the search bar is clearly visible and easy to access, enabling people who already know what they want to find it quickly and avoid wasting precious time.
3. Stay true to your headline
Some website owners have a habit of writing compelling headlines to attract people to their sites, but once visitors reach the content, they find it’s about something totally different or that there’s too much fluff before the main issue is addressed. This is one sure method of driving an audience away for good, so don’t do it.
“Staying true” means that you discuss what you promise in the headline of the body content. Always start with a short introduction and then go straight 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 that a site isn’t providing them with enough value. To prevent 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 your product’s value, encourages them to stick around longer and (hopefully) convinces them to buy from you instead of from competitors.
5. Publish fresh content regularly
No one wants to spend time on a site that has old and outdated content, so make it a habit to add original and relevant copy or other material regularly. It’s also a good idea to create different types of content to cater to varying tastes. For instance, consider blog posts, articles, ebooks, audio, videos, social media posts, webinars, infographics, etc., as consumption preferences vary widely.
Another way of providing fresh and valuable content is by repurposing already published material. If you have some old blog posts that might otherwise have been forgotten in the archives, update them with new information and use them to create an ebook. This helps to reduce the time you spend creating, exposes your material to more people and drives more traffic.
6. Make content more scannable
Online users rarely read copy word for word. Instead, they prefer to scan through pages to pick out information they’re looking for. What this means is simple: If your content consists of large chunks of text that are difficult to scan, few will stick around to read through it. But, if you make pages scannable, it will help visitors to find information faster, which in turn will encourage them to spend more time.
A few tips on how to achieve that:
• Keep sentences and paragraphs short to make content appear less intimidating.
• Use line spacing and font sizes big enough to allow visitors to read without eye strain.
• Use headings, subheadings, lists and bullets to break 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.
7. Improve page speed
Most people will exit a website to look for information elsewhere if pages are taking more than two to three seconds to load, so improving page speed is vital. You can do so by:
• Compressing large images.
• Investing in a content delivery network to reduce server response time and improve load time.
• Removing or replacing plugins that might be slowing the site down.
• Removing unused codes.
• Reducing the number of times you redirect visitors to other pages.
• Leveraging the power of browser caching.
8. Incorporate internal links within content
Internal links come in handy when you want to provide more information to the reader on a certain topic. For instance, if you’ve written a post entitled “Effective Marketing Ideas for All Businesses,” and one of its subheadings is “Publishing Great Content,” you can link the phrase “great content” to another page within your site that discusses in detail what that means.
Internal linking isn’t just important for driving visitors deeper into a site, it also helps to increase page views and boost SEO. Just be careful not to put too many links on one page (two to three are usually enough).
9. Add robust visual elements
High-quality and relevant photos, videos and graphics on appropriate pages help readers understand content better. The best of these aren’t just easy on the eyes: they’re also engaging and interactive, which is why people increasingly prefer them to written content. They boost user engagement considerably and increase the amount of time visitors spend.
10. Use strategic pop-ups
“Exit-intent” pop-ups detect when visitors want to leave a website and provide them with a convincing reason not to. When used correctly, they can be very effective in reducing bounce rate and boosting overall conversion rate.
A few ways to apply them:
• Suggest other posts that your visitors may like to read.
• Ask them to join your email 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 media.
• Inform them about a new product or service.
11. Include call to action buttons in content
Most online users will 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. This is why it’s important to include a call to action (CTA) at the end of every post to give them a good reason to stay. Clear, relevant and enticing examples can be effective in retaining the attention of visitors and leading to conversion, just make sure that each CTA aligns with the theme of the page it’s placed on so it doesn’t look forced.