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How to keep customers on your website for longer

With so many distractions and things to see across the web, it’s a huge achievement to have someone land on your website.

Diane Hall


Mock up of cartoon screen with mans hand

They may have arrived there via Google search results, from a link on social media, a backlink on a third party’s website, or because they typed your web address directly into the search bar on their screen.

However they’ve found you, the last thing you want is for them to click away again. If you’ve created signposts that actually get them to your website, make sure to keep them there.

The average time we spend on a website is 15 seconds. 

I’ll say that again…15 seconds.

How the heck can you absorb or understand what a business does in 15 seconds? How do you research their products to decide what to buy from them? How do you get a feel for a company’s culture and what kind of experience you will receive in that amount of time?

The answers to those questions could fill a book.

The more time someone spends on your site, the more they will begin to understand those things mentioned above. The more they will be likely to buy something from you. 

So, short of perching on the shoulder of every person connecting to your site and giving them the dead-eye if they reach for the mouse, how do you ensure visitors remain on your site?

Make sure your site is speedy

If your visitor has to wait hours for each page of your site to load, or if your Homepage gets halfway down their screen then freezes, they won’t wait—they’ll just click away. Images with large file sizes will cause your pages to be slower when loading, as will an outdated site. Compress your images before uploading them and stay on top of any updates to your site. 

Make it visually appealing

If your site looks like it was created when we still had dial-up internet, you’ll not keep visitors for very long. An outdated design will give the impression that you’re either uninterested in your online traffic or your business—or both. This won’t give visitors a warm, fuzzy feeling…they’ll hop over to your competitors’ sleek, up-to-the-minute-designed sites and stay there instead.

Make it easy to navigate

Particularly so if visitors have followed a link to get to you, make sure whatever the link promised they would find is right there when they land. If your site is confusing, if it doesn’t give the right information in the right place, if it’s all adverts and pop-ups with no substance behind them, your visitors will navigate themselves elsewhere.

Make sure you’re contactable

Whether this is via a contact form, live chat, or just your phone/email details displayed at the top of the screen, make it easy for your visitors to get in touch. You could have some fantastic content and product descriptions on your site but there may be one question you’ve missed or not thought of…let your visitor ask it via the communication method of their choice and they will reward you by sticking around. If they believe Mr. Nobody is behind your site, they won’t bother trying to find you.

Whet their appetite

Engage their attention with video content—not only does the inclusion of video drive more people to your site in the first place, if it’s a video worth watching, they’ll stay. Few of us have the time to read lengthy introductions or detailed product specifications, in the blink-and-you-miss-it world of today, our attention spans have shortened. It’s much easier to grasp the concept of how a product can be used by seeing it in action, rather than reading through a lengthy instruction booklet. Humour can also make a difference and increase visitor engagement. 

Gather visitors’ details

What if that visitor clicked on your site then left without saying goodbye? How would you ever know who they were, what they were after, and if you could have done something to help? Add a contact box as a pop-up or give something away in return for your visitors’ information. That way, you can keep in touch with them even if they do disappear from your site. 

Show that they’re not the first…

If a visitor logs onto your site and sees evidence that others have been there before them, they’ll be more inclined to see what all the fuss is about. Customer testimonials, integrated social media feeds, case studies…these all provide social proof of your company. You may say on your homepage that your product/service is the best thing ever, but they’re just empty words if they come from you. If your customers are saying the same, however, visitors are more likely to believe them.

A visitor to your site in 2020 is hard-earned—discoverability went the way of the dodo a long time ago. If you’ve spent time creating signposts for visitors to click onto your site, why wouldn’t you want it to mean something when they’re actually there? 

Once you’ve ensured your website is fast, visually-appealing, engaging, helpful and verifiable, keep on top of it. Google changes its algorithms many times a year, and social proofing needs to remain current if it’s to have an impact. 

Keep your site’s content current, keep its design sharp. Maybe, just maybe, you may succeed in keeping them on it.

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