Many blog owners and Webmasters put a great deal of emphasis on traffic. Most of the time these numbers are enough to grab advertisers, but some want to know that those landing on the page are actually staying there, reading the content, and moving forward in making a real decision. After all, it doesn’t really matter how many people click on your blog if they are in and out in less than five seconds. Who has time to look at an advertisement or read your content in five seconds?
This makes what is known as “time on site” very important. You want to create a sticky website, or a website where readers will want to stay for a long time. There are a few different ways you can make this happen.
How to Create a Sticky Website
For those who are unfamiliar, time on site refers to quite literally the amount of time, in minutes, seconds, or hours, that someone is looking around a website even if they keep bouncing from one page to another (your bounce rate refers to the percent of visitors who come to your website and leave without navigating to any other pages, so it’s slightly different).
Below are a few different ways to improve your time on site numbers:
- Utilize internal linking so that your readers know exactly where to go to learn more. The idea is that they turn to your site to learn more and not back to Google search.
Linking within the body of a piece of content is a great way to keep readers on your site. These are called “internal links,” and you will want to make sure they are related to the topic of the text. Readers will typically be very annoyed if they click on a link within the body of the text and it has absolutely nothing to do with what they’re reading. However, if you can make sure the links are of value to readers, they will like want to click every link within the body in order to gain as much information as possible.
- Include lots of video content and infographics to make your text more interesting.
Videos are naturally more interesting than traditional content, so this is sure to increase your time on site. You may want to consider putting your video in the middle or at the end of an article so that readers have an idea about what they can expect to see. Typical Internet users are not interested in waiting around for a video to load when they don’t know what to expect, so it’s best to create some engaging content and then create a video for users if they want to learn more.
Infographics work the same way—they make complicated information easier to understand. It draws readers in and because an infographic is easier to read than a block of text, your visitors will stick around and read it.
- Use a Related Articles widget to show at the bottom of each article you write.
Creating a section the bottom or on the side of an article with “related articles” is a great way to keep your readers engaged. Most visitors are naturally drawn to photos, so if you can create a photo for each related article you’re sure to get a few more clicks that if someone had to find the related articles on his/her own. I like to think of this like YouTube—you keep clicking and clicking and before you know it you’ve been on the site for hours.
- Improve your load time so people do not get frustrated and leave immediately.
There is a chance that your webpage hasn’t loaded for a visitor yet and they leave, but this will count toward your time on site number. A good way to improve your loading times is to get rid of unnecessary plugins, optimize your code and images, get started with a content delivery network, etc. You can visit this article we wrote in the past that gets into detail (extra tip: that was an internal link to help you stay within our website).
You can measure time on site through Google Analytics and hopefully watch your numbers improve. A good rule of thumb is 3-8 minutes for a blog driven website, a little bit more for other types of websites, and even more for websites centered around video. Of course you want to continually create great content and keep these numbers growing, but it’s a good start.
Worrying about time on site will make for a better website overall. It will help ensure that visitors are gaining all the information your site has to offer on a particular topic, and it will only help your case when you go to talk with advertisers.