Getting Visitors To Spend More Time On Your Website

Filed in Content Creation by on December 17, 2009 0 Comments


The big deal about time spent on a website

Some websites have millions of visitors each month. What many people fail to note is that many of these visitors stay for less than a second on the site. They land on a page, see that it’s not what they are interested in and click away.

In contrast, there are some sites that have only a few thousand visitors per month, but  a large percentage of their visitors are return readers and spend several minutes each visit consuming content.

When people spend time on your site it means they trust and value your content. If you are giving great value to your audience through your content, then you are in a strong position to capitalize on that by asking them for a sale or other action.

To get started

My first recommendation is to track and monitor what is currently happening on your website. Google has created a great free tool for this called Google Analytics. Once you set up an account you can take a piece of web code and place it on your site to to track all types of statistics. You can monitor the number of visitors, where they came from and how long they spent with with your content. It should take your webmaster only about 10 minutes to install on your page.

Once you have monitored the visitor activity on your site for a few weeks, it’s time to develop a strategy for keeping people on your site longer.

In a nutshell your basic strategy should involve the content you create, helping people find that content easily and capturing their information to help attract them back to your site later. But it starts with content. Without great content on your site, you really have no value to offer visitors.

Content to create

How to content

Online “how to” content is a great start. People spend a good amount of time online searching for information. If you can synthesize and package information around your industry or niche you will be able to keep people reading or watching once they find your website. The goal is to create helpful articles, podcasts and videos that are massively valuable to people. Your stuff should be so good you could sell it if you wanted to.

“Keep them watching” technique

Television networks are brilliant. They scrunch up the credits at the end of a movie or show and begin plugging the next show that is scheduled to come on. We know why they do it. It’s to keep you watching their channel by teasing you with the next piece of content.

You can also employ what I call the “keep them watching” technique on your site. By having headlines for a related blog posts or articles at the bottom of the one they are reading you will drive traffic internally to more and more content. If you are using popular blog software like WordPress to power your content, there are several plugins that will do this for you automatically.

Think Harry Potter

The first Harry Potter book had to find an audience. J.K. Rowling was a nobody before the first Harry Potter book was published. But by the last book in the series, she was a multi-millionaire. Did she have to go out and create an audience from scratch for each of the Harry Potter sequels? Of course not. She created a series that built on itself which in turn kept her audience red hot to continue consuming her books.

You can do the same thing with your online content. Create a series of posts or articles that build upon each other…. part 1, part 2, part 3 and so forth. This is an easy way to get people to continue reading.

Get early buy-in

A very critical step to getting customers to spend more time on your site is to get them back to your site on a regular basis. I recommend to my clients that they need to get “buy-in” from site visitors as early as possible.

When a visitor lands on your site and begins to read your articles, they are the most interested they will ever be in your content. They will most likely forget you once they click away to another site.

Your number one goal is to get them on your email list as soon as possible. You can do this in a few different ways. One of the best ways I’ve found to work is offer something free in exchange for their email address. A free training video or coupon works well. Then by placing the email sign up form at the bottom of the article they just read and in the sidebar you will begin getting subscribers. Once you have their email address you can follow up with them, provide more great content and drive traffic back to your site.

Your next steps

There are three steps you should take right away to increase the time visitors spend on your site.

  1. If you aren’t running Google Analytics on your site, you need to have your webmaster install it for you. You can get all the details by visiting the Google Analytics page.
  2. Begin pumping out massively valuable content for your website. Think of ways to help people based on your business or industry. Your content itself is a huge magnet for keeping people on your website.
  3. Place email opt-in forms on your website, sidebar and a the bottom of your posts and articles.  The idea is to get “buy-in” as early as possible to drive repeat traffic back to your site. If you don’t have an email service provider we’ve listed four great email service providers here. Currently we use Aweber on this site and are very happy with the results and low cost.

Getting visitors to spend more time on your website is very important. The more time they spend the more they will trust you and the more influence you will build.


Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter.


Get the book “21 Days To Twitter Leadership” The Step-By-Step Guide On How To Twitter, Get Twitter Followers And Position Yourself As The Leader In Your Industry In Less Than 10 Minutes Per Day.

*Photo by Menage a Moi

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