Whether you’re planning to create one in the near future or have been running your own website for a while now, hopefully, you’re thinking about the amount of time visitors will spend on your website. The session length is important because your chances of converting that visitor into a customer increase exponentially the longer he or she is browsing your website. It’s clear that it’s important to keep visitors on your website for as long as possible, but what are the best methods to do it? And what considerations should you keep in mind as you put those methods into action?
I compiled a list of some helpful ways to keep users on your website using ‘sticky’ content and design. But first, let’s cover the basics of writing sticky content.
What is sticky content?
Sticky content makes your website visitors ‘stick around.’ Think of it as being so good, on-topic, and error-free that your visitor literally gets stuck in it, first reading it, then another related post, then buying your product or service.
It’s the good kind of sticky. If you’re not writing sticky content for your website, your numbers probably look something like the graph on the right–visitors staying less than a minute. Writing sticky content is a lot like writing evergreen content, except the goal becomes making the content as engaging, interesting, or interactive as possible to keep the user on your website for a longer amount of time.
How to Make Users Stay on Your Website Longer
Write natural, interesting content for your website.
Make your website content sticky content, and you’ll ensure your visitors spend more time on your site.
That means no keyword-stuffing or workarounds to rank in SEO. Don’t just write about your business or industry–find out what your audiences’ broader interests are, and write about those too. Not every piece of content has to promote your company.
Work with a reliable web hosting provider.
Nothing will make a visitor leave your site faster than slow loading speeds or seeing that your website is down. Choosing an unreliable web hosting provider means both of these issues are going to happen to your website on a regular basis, so do your research and select a web hosting provider that promises nothing less than 99.999% uptime average, unlimited disk space, and 24/7 support.
Pay attention to design and UX.
Your website’s design and UX are important factors in determining how long a user will stay on your website. If either are lacking, you’ll see it in the average session length of your website.
Avoid anything that will frustrate your visitor and cause them to leave quickly, like pop up ads or sign up forms, and a clean, easy-to-navigate design that is also optimized for mobile users.
Mix up the article lengths.
Don’t make every post and article a 1,000 word post or a too-short bite-sized nugget. It’s important to include short, medium, and longer content to appeal to visitors of every type–those that have a lot of time to spare and those that don’t, those who enjoy reading long, in-depth articles and those who like short image galleries or lists better.
If you only offer predominantly one type or length of content, any visitor who isn’t a fan is automatically going to leave your website.
Watch your outbound links.
Outbound links are necessary to rank well in search–they help prove that your content is good because it has sources to back it up and is related to other talked-about concepts on the web. But leaving your outbound links alone can be dangerous for your website because if and when a visitor clicks on it and you haven’t made adjustments to have it open in a new window, that link is going to carry them away from your site and directly to some other website.
The worst part is, if the user was engaged enough in the article to trust and click on a link you included, they probably would have been likely to purchase something on your website, or sign up for your email list at the least–had they not essentially been ushered to another website.
Moral of the story: Always choose to have your outbound links open in a new window.