How to increase the amount of time users spend on your site

Andy

Andy
Written on 14th November 2019

Research has shown that you have only 15 seconds to engage a customer before they click onto the next search result. How do you grab their attention?

So you’ve got a website, and your content and page structure has been finely honed to pull you to the top of the results page on every major Search Engine. Surely that means that your SEO work is done?

Well ... nope.

In the world of online computing, there is a thing called dwell time. This is defined as the period of time between clicking on a search engine result and returning to the search engine results page. In other words, the time it takes for a customer to decide that you are not what they are looking for - and you may have less time than you think.

Studies have shown that a typical user will scan a page for less than 15 seconds before quitting. So you have 15 seconds to convince that user that they have found what they are looking for and that it is worth sticking around a little longer.

That’s not long – so how do you grab someone’s attention and make them stay? Here are a few simple tips to grab those users before they click through to the next Google result.

Loading Speed

This one is a no brainer. If the website takes 20 seconds to load, then those impatient “gone in 15 seconds” users have quit before the exquisite logo or your engaging content has even hit the screen.

There are many ways you can improve speed including making sure your hosting platform is up to the job, and optimise your images for the web. Don't overuse plugins and tracking scripts as that can eat into those precious seconds.

Design

Again, this should be obvious. If your design is amateurish, cluttered and incoherent then people are not going to stick around. If it’s crisp, clean, modern, engaging and visually appealing, then you’ve got a shoe in the door. 

Accessibility

A design that looks great on a 26” 4k monitor isn’t necessarily going to translate to a 4” mobile screen. Or a text-to-speech screen reader. You need to think about how your customers are going to be consuming your content and make sure it works for them – on their device, using their browser.

Keep Content Simple

Remember, you’ve got 15 seconds. Don’t make your customer read a novel before they can figure out what they are looking at. Show them who you are, and what you do. Don’t waste precious seconds on a well-intended welcoming preamble. Don't clutter the page with every option under the sun.

Target Your Users

Make sure that SEO is taking your users to a page relevant to their search. Demonstrating your full range of wares to visitors is great, but too much cross selling of unrelated items will convince the user he’s come to the wrong place. So make sure you show them what they expect to see based on the search they used. Careful use of promoted or related content in banners and sidebars is great for sucking in the waverers - but remember the Keep Content Simple rule (see above). 


To summarise, it’s all about user experience – deliver they page they asked for, create a good first impression, and show them content they want to see in a way they can easily see it. Simple!

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