Once upon a time, someone could go flip through their Rolodex or open up their phone book to find your business. Nowadays, the landscape looks a little different. People looking for your business will check out your website…but not for long.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, users often leave websites in 10-20 seconds. If you can get someone to stay on your website for 30 seconds, there’s a good chance they might stay longer.
So, how do you get people to stay on your website longer? We’ve narrowed it down to these 10 effective strategies to get visitors to stay on your website.
1. Optimize Your Website Design
There are tons of tweaks you can make to the layout of your website to ensure that visitors enjoy their experience. For example, consider long-form content. Writing with black text on a white background is still the most user-friendly option. Make sure your font type, size, and line height make for an easy reading experience.
You’ll want to display the most crucial information on your site upon loading the page. The need-to-know stuff is best served without the need to scroll or click.
You also want to frequently check that everything on your website is easy to navigate. Try to minimize the amount of clicking around to find crucial information.
2. Follow Best Practices For Content In your Industry
Depending on what you’re looking to achieve with your content, be sure to follow different rules. Make sure your goals are clear. Do your research.
Your industry also impacts the decisions you’ll make. Check the leading websites within your industry to see what their strengths are and see how you can apply them to your own content and design.
3. Keep An Eye On Your Analytics
You should optimize the strategies that are working as much as possible while also thinking of ways to improve on or change what isn’t.
An idea of basic web analytics will help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Here are some key ones to look out for.
Check out the length of visits. This will tell you how long you’re currently keeping people on your site and help you to determine where you want to be.
Be aware of your visitor demographics. Knowing the audience you’re working with and the audience you’re trying to attract are crucial when determining what changes to make.
Load time is incredibly important. If your pages are loading slowly, people are likely to go elsewhere. Using a top web-host and modernized CMS will help prevent slow load times and ultimately high bounce rates.
Bounce rates will let you know how many people leave your website after visiting one page. Ideally, you want to lower this number and convert these into visits to other pages on your website.
4. Encourage Conversation On Your Page
There are a number of different plug-ins and applications to allow a comment or reviews section on your site. Having something that updates constantly on the page will bring eyes back and increase the likeliness your audience will absorb something from your content. It also increases the likeliness that your content will be shared off your page, be it on other websites or on social media.
To this end, including prominently displayed plugins of the activity on your social media pages can also increase the conversation, both on your page and on your accounts. You may want to keep it to just one plugin that shows your most active community while also keeping your design from becoming too cluttered.
5. Build A Mailing List
While prompts to join a mailing list were once considered an annoyance to readers, it’s now become commonplace. As people sign up, you’ll be able to take a closer look at trends within your recurring audience. From there, you will be able to segment efforts to catering to them and acquiring new readers.
Make the most out of your email marketing efforts as you grow your mailing list. Include links to everywhere your brand can be found and keep those links and your contact information current. These measures may seem obvious, but as many companies migrate to using templates for email marketing, these measures are the ones most likely to fall through the cracks.
6. Make Sure Links Open In New Tabs Or Windows
This quick fix ensures that people don’t have to leave your webpage to access further information. It’s easier to keep people in one place than to let them go and try to get them back.
7. Maximize Your Content Exposure
You can have a sidebar with related content. You can link to related work in the body of your content. There are a number of ways to maximize opportunities to get eyes on your content. Don’t be afraid to try new things and get creative.
One simple fix for maximizing content exposure is having internal search capabilities. Instead of allowing users to go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for, make sure your content is search optimized for internal searching so that they can find the answers on your site.
8. Make Sure Your Content Is Mobile Friendly
A study from Stone Temple found that 63% of all United States web traffic occurs on mobile. The trends in many other areas of the world are starting to follow suit.
There are several options for how you can go about this.
A mobile-friendly site will be functional in important ways, including triggering emails and phone calls in their respective applications. A mobile-friendly site may not support some plugins, as well as Adobe Flash.
A mobile-optimized site will reformat content based on the device it’s on. It will include larger touchpoints to make content touch-screen friendly. It will also often give the option to view their desktop site for their full experience.
A responsive site is a direction many are going in today. The website’s design remains flexible, regardless of the device but determined by screen size. For example, if you’re on a desktop or laptop and you size a window to half your screen, then you’ll find yourself using the tablet design.
9. Have Fun With Your 404 Errors
Ideally, you’d like to minimize errors on your site entirely. Continuously check for dead links, especially when linking to content outside of your own site. If errors do occur, be sure they are engaging.
404 errors give you an excellent opportunity for this. Errors are already repellant for website visitors, but if you can make up for it by redirecting users to a search or recommended reads page, you can turn it around.
10. Break Up Text And Make It Scannable
Long blocks of text can make it difficult for readers to focus. Using headers and lists are one way to break up texts, but an even more engaging method involves using all sorts of media. Don’t be afraid to embed a video or tweet, or include photos and graphs where they make sense.
Videos, in particular, have proven valuable in keeping visitors on a page. The key is to find the length that resonates best with your audience. Are they looking for long-form, instructive videos that feature directions in executing a project? Perhaps they prefer shorter videos that tell them what they need to know in two minutes or less. Again, knowing your demographics and the behaviour of your existing audience will be key in making these determinations.
Above all, be sure to listen to your audience. Just showing your website to a few people and picking their brains about it can give you a lot of insight into areas where you can improve. If you’re always listening and tweaking based on what you learn, you’ll always be doing the best you can do by your audience.
Guest Post By Melissa Glidden