We’ve always been told “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Yet, it takes (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave.
For any given Google search, multiple search results appear that match the seeker's needs. For example, a Google search for “digital marketing”, produced 3,040,000,000 results. That’s 3 billion results. So yes, websites are subject to extreme levels of snap judgments.
Your website is the face your business presents online, and no doubt you’ve put in hours of hard work to design and develop it. But your visitors decide in less than one second if your website is worth their time or not. To keep them from clicking off, you need to
(1) grab their attention
(2) deliver your message
(3) make them want to stay and check out your website in more detail
Oh, and don’t forget (4) convert them into customers
That’s a tall order to accomplish in less than a second, to be sure.
If people are leaving your site as quickly as they arrive, it may as well not exist. As we’ve discussed in various articles about , one of the metrics Google uses to rank websites is visitor engagement or dwell time, so if yours is low, you will not rank well when it comes to appearing in SERPs.
What can you do to make people stay on your site longer?
1). Your Market Dominating Position Should Be the First Thing They See
Prospects are coming to your website because they have a problem. The most important thing for them to learn when your page loads is, “Can this business solve my problem?”
If you make it hard for visitors to determine what you do, they’re going to quickly lose interest. A perplexed prospect can and will easily find another business whose Market Dominating Position is stated more clearly and how they can offer a solution to the prospect’s issue.
2.) Create Informative and Interesting Content
You can keep visitors on your site by demonstrating that you have the expertise to solve their problem. And the best way to do that is to fill your site with informative content, presented in an interesting way.
Your headlines should clearly state what a reader can expect to find on any given page. Under those headlines, paragraphs shouldn’t be longer than four concise sentences. Long, rambling paragraphs are a great way to get your audience clicking off.
After you’ve created content that’s relevant and meaningful for your audience, consider grouping it on . These pages centralize information on a given topic, which is helpful for visitors looking for answers. And as a bonus, it will increase visitor dwell time and boost your site’s SEO.
Beyond written content, you want to mix things up by using video, infographics and other ways to present information. People have different learning styles, so creating content in various forms allows you to capture the attention of all your prospects.
If you post a video on YouTube, embed it on your site. You want visitors watching it on your site instead of YouTube, because Google rewards your site for keeping people on longer.
3.) Make Your Content “Scannable”
People rarely read content word for word. Instead, they scan the page to pick out the words and phrases that relate to what they are looking for.
You need to make your content as easy to read as possible. And that may mean writing fewer words. Doesn’t that sound counterintuitive? Surely, people will stay longer if there is more text to read, right? Wrong. The truth is that the more text there is, the less likely anyone will read it.
If your content is composed of long sentences and text-dense paragraphs that are hard to scan, site visitors will leave to find content that’s easier for them to consume.
Here are a few tips to make your content more scannable:
- Font size and line spacing should be large enough to read easily
- Keep your sentences short and paragraphs to three or four sentences
- Subheads provide a visual break in your content and can pique the reader’s curiosity, keeping them from losing interest and clicking away
- Bulleted lists stand out from the rest of your text
4.) Think About Site Structure
How the information on your website is structured can help to keep your audience around. It should be logical, like a story with a beginning, middle and end. The beginning of your story is your offer to solve a prospect’s problem. The middle is the specifics on how you do it, and the end is the prospect converting to customer.
You can logically structure your website using the storytelling model. Your landing page addresses the prospect’s problem. Pages below that in the hierarchy support your Market Dominating Position and provide visitors with more specifics about how you can fix their problem. Finally, this leads them to a place where they can make a purchase or speak to your sales team.
5.) Use Calls-To-Action
Every page on your website should have some sort of that eventually leads to a conversion. For example, a blog post should include links to other pieces of relevant content within your website, or to more information about a specific product or service.
If someone is interested in purchasing, but not quite ready to click <<Buy Now>>, pushing them to additional information can be the nudge it takes to get them to convert during that visit.
The best time to ask your visitors to take action is just after they’ve finished reading a blog post.
Readers tend to leave your site once they’ve found the information they’re looking for. But with an appropriate call-to-action (CTA), you can give them a reason to stay on your site.
6.) Behind the Scenes -- Technical Elements
One of the essential things you need to do to keep your visitor on your site longer is to reduce the time it takes your site to load. How many times have you sat staring at a blank page for long seconds before clicking back to Google search results to check out the next site?
While it may be tempting to have beautiful, high resolution photos on your site, they slow page load time and cause visitors to leave.
Having a mobile-friendly site is also a must. The majority of searches nowadays happen on mobile devices, so if your site doesn’t look good on a phone or tablet, that audience will be passing you over quickly.
There are many steps you can take on your site to .
7.) Keep Things Simple
Why make your website visitors fill in a form to access info? There may be some value in collecting the data of people who visit, but if the request for info is intrusive and unnecessary, it will drive people away. For example, if you want people to comment on your blog posts, just let them comment without having to sign up or sign in, whether via a form or their social media account.
8.) Update Your Site Regularly
Since users make judgments on the credibility of your website in less than a second, your design can impact their decision. Make sure your website doesn’t look like it was built in 2002, by using photos and other images that look like they were taken this decade, and fonts that are either modern or timeless. Don’t use a formerly-trendy font like Comic Sans on your website.
The lesson here is, of course, to add new content to your site as regularly as possible.
And apart from giving people reason to stay longer on your site and visit more often, regularly updating your content is also great for SEO.
9.) Add Value
It might sound obvious, but the more valuable content you can include on your website, the longer people will stay. You know your audience best, so think about what content they might value the most. Then provide it. This might be resources or education or advice (‘how to’ blog posts or videos, infographics, checklists). If they find one thing they like on your site, they’re likely to stick around and try to find more.
10.) Exit-Intent Pop-Up Offers
Pop-ups that appear only when your visitor is about to leave your website can be effective in convincing them to stay longer. You can try different ones, depending on the page the visitor is on. For example:
- Blog posts: Content-specific exit pop-ups can re-direct visitors to a relevant blog post. Set these up page-by-page to push the visitor to additional information that could help push them toward your conversion goal.
- Product pages: If a visitor is trying to leave a product page, give them the opportunity to read reviews or informative pieces of content related to the product they were just looking at.
12.) Prove that You are Trustworthy
According to from Stanford University, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design. If there is the slightest chance your visitors don’t trust your business based on what they see on your site, they will click off.
The longer you can keep your audience on your website, the better shot you have at winning their trust and, ultimately, their business. When you take the steps we’ve outlined above, you’re setting your business up to impress visitors and hold their attention, which in turn will have positive results on your conversions and bottom line.
Sources Used In this Article