Increasing the time visitors spend on your site can have some real benefits, especially if you are an ecommerce site owner. Below are some tips and tricks to increasing the amount of time your visitors spend on your pages and the overall effectiveness of the site to convert.
1. Visitor flow
First, dissecting the paths that visitors take to and through your site is important. Use your reporting platform to best determine which pages are bringing in visitors. Normally the homepage tends to dominate this category, however, there could be deeper, sizeable paths to your site via organic search, PPC, or other channels.
2. Information segmentation
Next, examine the page content and options that users are presented with when your site first loads. Does the content reward them with unique information or is it just a bunch of ad copy? Do pages have numerous unrelated (or alternatively, duplicate) links?
These elements are critical to keeping visitors engaged and on-site. If the page content is not what visitors are looking for or if there are too many options for them to navigate, they may not make it to a conversion point. It is critical to evaluate the informational structure of the site in order to get the best user experience and guide visitors to an established KPI.
3. Related articles
One often over-looked strategy related to information segmentation is the creation and utilization of “related articles” and other content creation strategies. It seems all too popular for sites to create these content-rich pages in order to target long-tail organic traffic, but bury them in the global navigation, homepage footer or HTML sitemap.
These pages could be better positioned to drive organic traffic and improve overall user experience if they were incorporated into more localized navigation modules across the site. This allows content targeting long-tail keywords to be “spoked” into a “hub” page which targets a core term using optimal internal linking tactics.
4. External links in new windows
A truly underrated strategy, opening external links in new windows is a great way to keep your visitors close while also providing them with external resources.
Many websites fail to open external links in new tabs or windows and the result is a user being taken off-site without a clear path back. This creates extra steps for visitors that may already be in the purchase funnel and thus, they are less likely to convert.
Alternatively, by opening external links in new tabs, a site can offer consumers the type of unbiased off-site resources they need to make a final purchase decision while offering an easy and clear path back into the conversion funnel.
5. Internal links
Contrary to external link optimization, the goal of internal link optimization is to build relationships between key pages across the site by using anchor text relevant to the keyword opportunity of a given page.
Optimizing internal linking is still all the rage in SEO world but there are potentially major pitfalls if one fails to look at the site from a holistic perspective.
One glaring issue is the overall user experience. If a content-heavy page is attracting visitors to a site via organic search and the links on that page do not guide visitors into the conversion funnel, there is no real opportunity present. To this end, it is critical to ensure that internal linking optimization tactics do not obstruct the visitor’s path to conversion.
6. 404 Pages
404 pages mark yet another potentially major entrance point for visitors to your site and thus, another opportunity to keep them on-site longer. This is especially relevant if your site has a lot of product turnover or inventory changes.
In some scenarios, visitors may be landing on these pages through a myriad of different channels so it is important to help them discover what they need. One of the easiest ways to do this is by incorporating a site search function on 404 pages. This allows visitors to easily navigate through the site while also providing site owners with precious insights into visitor expectations.
Was this content useful? Be sure to come back again next month to read part 2 of Little known ways to increase your visitors time on site.
For more tips on optimizing your website, download our complimentary eBook, The Business Owner’s Guide to Responsive Website Design.
All the best,
Alex Giebel is the Director of Digital Marketing and Web Merchandising at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.