Analyse Average Time on Site to Identify Opportunities
Increasing visits to a website is an ongoing process which can involve paid search marketing, SEO and social media and other online and offline initiatives but the desire to increase time on site is often misguided.
We sometimes encounter website owners desperate to increase the amount of time people spend on their website. Immediately, an offline comparison springs to mind – do you want shop visitors who spend all day in your shop looking at stuff but never buying? It’s unlikely. Unless you own a museum, or an aquarium – but most of those charge upon entry.
Average time on site only becomes meaningful if site visitors who spend longer buy more of your product or service. That’s why it’s important to analyse the time people spend on your website – what average time delivers the most paying customers.
With E-Commerce sites this is easier to measure because there is a trail between the site visit, the page views, time on site and eventual spend. If you don’t sell directly online, it’s more difficult to measure, so it’s important to have the right calls-to-action on your site ‘request a quote’, ‘call for more details’, ‘download a free whatever’. Offline efforts can still contribute to measuring what the best time on site is – ask regular customers if they spend time on your site and how long. Collect and collate the data over time. It will prove useful.
Measure Average Time on Site on individual pages and set up goals and funnels
Google Analytics data is the best tool for gaining an insight into how much time people spend viewing a website. It doesn’t matter whether you have a bland old site or a brand new website – what matters is the percentage of visitors that convert into customers.
You may have landing pages in which the call to action is to make a phone call or fill in a form – the average time on site in this instance is going to be significantly lower than on an informational page. If you can set goals around who views your Contact Us page after viewing a Prices or Products page, then the likelihood is that the path they followed is something you want to use as a template for success – much more significant than the time they spent viewing a webpage.
Less Is More When It Comes To Content
Unless you are providing an informative article, or detailed technical guidance, keep content on your website short and simple. White space is good. Web visitors don’t like clutter and large slabs of boring, repetitive content – get your point across quickly and accurately.
Interactivity such as video and allowing comments on articles is also a good means of increasing time people spend on your site. Video may or may not be relevant to your industry but you may be surprised what customers want to know. The most important thing to remember about trying to improve average time on web pages or across your site is this – don’t do it blindly, there has to be an end objective, whether a purchase or a phone call or whatever else you deem important.
Keep content fresh and appealing to improve average time on site
If time on site is an important driver of success for your online business, keep content fresh and interesting. You may have repeat visitors who continuously click on a landing page but get annoyed and leave again because they read the same thing they read four years ago – they almost know it off by heart. Keep it fresh and try to appeal to the bulk of your audience – perhaps different demographic groups interpret your communication differently and unless you are targeting one specific niche, you will need to communicate to a wide range of people. If in doubt on this, keep it simple and to the point.