Having an engaged audience is every webmaster’s dream.
But most of the websites are clicked by users, only to be closed a few seconds later.
The technical term for the same is bounce rate. It is the engagement time between you (through your content) and the reader on your website.
What could possibly go wrong with an increased bounce rate?
Well, the biggest drawback is that the majority of the readers won’t even reach your ever-so-important CTA (call-to-action).
Visitors don’t come across your services, and you lose conversions.
Plus, consistent bounces notify Google that your website isn’t addressing the searcher’s queries. Soon, the rankings dip and your website loses visibility in the search results.
Why focus on increasing visitors on-page time?
Evaluate the efforts that you have put into building and marketing your website.
The writing, the research, the SEO techniques, the promotions, and the list.
It just goes on and on.
Focusing on increasing visitors on-page time is essential to validate the content of your website and justify your hard work.
A survey from Brafton indicated that the average on-page time for over 180 websites was around 2 minutes and 17 seconds.
For some, this might sound too less. But readers don’t necessarily read the whole content. They rather skim through it and look for their area of interest.
Therefore, it’s critical to ensure your user finds what he is looking for, engages with it and takes an action you want him to take.
All this takes time, and an improved on-page time ensures you are moving towards your marketing goals.
13 ways to increase visitors’ on-page time
Since on-page time is important for improved rankings and increased search traffic, it’s time to get a hold of the approach.
You can accomplish the same by inculcating the following 13 methods into your content outline.
1. Optimize your headings
Keeping the visitors engaged is no walk in the park.
According to Copyblogger, only 20% of the visitors will scroll below your first fold. Harsh but true. Therefore, write a heading for your page that incorporates:
- The exact information that is covered
- Is catchy and captivating
- Comprises the necessary keywords
Apart from the main headline, use multiple subheadings in the content to make the appearance structured and appealing.
When you divide the content into heading-based blocks, it becomes convenient for the reader to navigate through the blog. More convenience implies increased on-page time.
Headings bring a structure to the content.
But, how about a table of content at the beginning of the blog to delight the visitor?
Through the table of content, users can easily grasp the whole outline of the content and if needed, jump straight to their point of interest.
2. Write awesome introductions
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” – a renowned saying we all have heard every now and then.
But for your website content, that’s precisely the case.
The visitor will judge your content based on the introduction you serve them. To maintain a lower bounce rate, ensure that your content hooks the reader right from the beginning.
Gather their attention by throwing a question on the table. You can mention a couple of quick remedies then and there to entrust the reader and establish engagement.
You can also include a story-based introduction to increase the reader’s curiosity.
It’s the curiosity that you create at the starting of the content that keeps the reader’s car moving throughout the course of your website.
As mentioned earlier, follow up your catchy introduction with the table of content, and from there, your quality content should take over.
3. Provide useful and quality content to the users
Any investment needs to result in productive output. When the readers invest their time on your website, they need to have the utmost clarity on their query.
When users resonate with what you have written or shared, it’s likely that they’d stick to your website even for future references.
If that’s not the case, your content needs quality improvement.
Including quality information doesn’t imply you have to compile tomes of articles filled with jargon. The language needs to be simple and engaging, and the information needs to be precise and to-the-point.
Try to stay relevant to the topic as much as possible.
When you deviate from the topic, so does the reader. While you come back after a few paragraphs, the reader doesn’t.
Use images, videos, infographics, recent statistics, etc., to offer the visitor some variety with quality.
For the written part, consider each word as an opportunity to impress the visitor and strike a conversion.
4. Improve readability of your pages
Readability is the flow of content in your blog.
The tonality, vocabulary, grammar, and many more contribute to the website’s readability.
More readability, the easier it becomes for the reader to parse through the content and you achieve what you want – improvement in on-page time.
Unnecessary information, difficult words, breaks in the language, etc., reduces readability and increases the bounce rate.
Include short paragraphs, headings and subheadings, and bullet points. Keep the font-size large enough, and the font style simple and clean.
If you are adamant about using a small font-size, ensure that you affix a magnifying glass at the beginning.
Internal linking is the key to the kingdom of organic traffic, SEO and increased on-page visitor duration.
NinjaOutreach stated in their recent case study that they were able to increase the organic leads on their website by a whopping 40%, all thanks to internal links.
How did it all pan out? Understand this with an example.
Roy has a keen interest in cars and engines. He opens a blog and starts reading until he comes across a hyperlink that points to car engines.
Now, he is redirected to a web page having information on car engines spare parts and finds exactly what he needs. He wants to make an instant purchase and follows the CTA. So, the website got:
- On-page time on 2 different pages
- Increase in traffic for both the pages
- A conversion from an internally linked page
That’s the power of internal linking.
Thoughtful internal linking is nothing but moving your website visitor down your sales funnel.
6. Add relevant and optimized images
Images have the power to narrate a story all by themselves. They keep the visitors interested in the rest of the content and also engagingly deliver the information.
Images also have a higher memory retention rate, and a research by HubSpot concludes that 65% of the readers find images coupled with written information easier to remember.
Optimized images demand proper alignment, alternative text and no copyright issues. Include original, informative, and attractive images and see the difference in on-page time yourself.
7. Include videos for higher engagement
Videos work like magic when it comes to engagement.
Some people have their own video channels, and they embed the relevant videos from their channels only. If that’s not a luxury you can afford, nothing to worry about.
More than 90% of the bloggers embed videos from other channels, as per a report by HubSpot. However, you need to make sure that the video is engaging and doesn’t deliver any false information.
Don’t include videos just because everyone else is doing so. Embed them to make a difference and make it easier for the visitor to understand the topic concerned.
Search for videos across various channels and include the ones that you find most relevant. The time visitors spend watching the video also adds to your on-page time.
8. Provide the best user interface
You don’t have to offer a fancy-looking multicoloured welcome page to gain the attention of the visitor. In fact, that very rarely works.
The website should rather be easily navigable and not pinch the eyes of the reader. Keep in mind that today’s traffic is mobile-heavy, and the interface you provide should be mobile compatible as well.
Place the advertisements and other sign-up portals separately from the content and don’t take the route of hard selling.
If you make the visitor close two popups, the third one might be your website. Clean and easy to read content with no popups does the trick smoothly.
9. Include call to actions and comments
If you are able to avoid the “bounce”, there’s a great possibility that the visitor will read your CTA.
According to Protocol80, 90% of the readers in 2019 who didn’t bounce off initially reached the CTA as well. Therefore, including an appealing CTA is a no-brainer.
The content you publish should make the readers curious, and in blogs where you don’t offer any service, you can open a discussion via the comments section.
Healthy discussions in comments often provide you with other topics to write on.
10. Update your pages
Let us take an example to see why it is crucial to update your pages regularly.
Roy made a list of all the countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and published it on his website.
However, several other countries also got affected by the virus after his page went live. He didn’t bother updating the same and ended up having a high bounce rate.
Readers want crisp, accurate and up-to-date information. If you fail to deliver the same, visitors won’t mind educating themselves from other websites.
So, make frequent page updates a habit and enjoy the compliments from the visitors for giving the latest information.
11. Improve your page speed
Make sure that you don’t keep the visitor waiting for longer periods of time.
Interestingly, the definition of this “longer period of time” is extremely short i.e. just 3 seconds (as per Bluecororna). That means you’ll lose visitors if you make them wait for any longer than 3 seconds.
Improve the speed of your web page to make sure that whatever information you have to offer is at least presented to the audience.
Read this detailed Page Speed Improvement Guide to know further.
12. Avoid pop-ups everywhere
Do you like honest opinions? Ask your reader-base about pop-ups and what they feel about it.
While some might find them unnecessary and off-the-topic, most will deem them straight up irritating. Too many pop-ups is the perfect recipe to having a disastrous bounce rate.
Use pop-ups smartly and don’t impose them on the reader’s face.
A research by PopupSmart tells that the conversion of pop-up ads is a whisker above 3%. Therefore, it definitely does the job when appropriately implemented.
However, if you want to play safe and don’t want any dents on the on-page time, avoid pop-ups.
13. Limit ads for better user experience
Ads are your medium of monetization.
However, just like pop-ups, they don’t go well with the visitors.
While completely removing ads may not be a wise man’s approach either, limiting them definitely is.
By reducing the number of ads that run on your website, you give the reader much needed privacy.
Let the user peacefully read the content without any distractions, and the on-page time will rise as per expectations.
Individually, these 13 suggestions might look like a lot of work to you.
But once you start implementing the advice, you’ll discover that all of these go together.
Optimized images and relevant videos go together with quality information. Providing the best user interface implies a reduced number of pop-ups and ads.
When it comes to improving on-page time, put your user first and forget about the search engine. That’s how the search engine algorithm will reward you with higher rankings.