3 reasons you want people to stay longer on your website
- The longer they stay on your site, the more likely they are to be reading your other content and getting a better picture of whether you are the sort of person/business they would like to do business with.
- People who stay longer on your site are more likely to interact with you by sharing your content or commenting on a post. Sharing means more people will see your content, including Google, which is always good stuff!
- Google uses the speed at which someone goes to a site from a search and returns to their search results as a measure for how well that site matched the person’s search. That might hurt you later on in search engine rankings.
8 ways to encourage visitors to stay longer
- In-house links (i.e links in your content that go to other pieces of your content) can draw visitors through your site and make them stay longer.
In-house links also make it easier for Google’s spiders to navigate through your site which helps Google index your site easier and might make you go up in their rankings.
- Show them other content to encourage them to read more and stay longer:
- Add a list of related articles to the bottom of each article (we use Yet Another Related Posts Plugin)
- Add a list of categories or tags to the side of your articles (these widgets come as default with WordPress)
- Have a list of popular or featured posts to the side of your articles (again, these widgets come as default with WordPress)
- Make your content easy to read and put the most important information first. When laying out your page include lots of
- bullet or numbered lists
- Do a “Best Of” series where you pull out your best content (maybe via popularity or visits or comments or the ones your mum liked the most) and put it into a new post as a list.
- Don’t give them too many chances to leave your site – that means no ads that aren’t advertising your products! Linking to authoritative websites is good but make those links really count and don’t just send visitors to another website for no reason.
- Have good content! Ok, that’s self-explanatory but if your content isn’t any good then people aren’t going to stick around. Experiment with different writing styles or different pieces of content – writing, podcasts, videos, info graphics – and different posting schedules to see what encourages people to stay longer.
- Have a faster site. Online attention spans are short and a slow loading site is going to drive people away very very quickly. Google analytics can show you how long your site is taking to load.
- Create an easy to navigate website – make it simple for them to discover new content. Include a search box in a prominent place so they can find information on their own.
How to fix problem leaks
First you’ll need to know where people are leaving your site from and how long they are staying in the first place. This is where Google Analytics is more than worth its weight in gold (it is free!).
If you have not already installed Google Analytics on your WordPress site, there is naturally a plugin for that. We use Google Analytics for WordPress on this site.
With this information you can start looking at how to maximise the time people spend on your site.
Some quick ways to fix a slow site include:
- reducing the size (and perhaps number) of images, video and audio on your pages and
- reducing the number of plugins that are loading on your page if possible.
In the worst case you might have to change web hosting providers. Cheaper ones are often cheaper because they stack lots of sites into the one server slowing down load times.
There’s a lot of information here, and it doesn’t have to all be implemented at once. Take your time, try out different ways to encourage people to stay on your website longer and remember – the easiest way to get people to stay on your site is to offer them content that meets their needs!