There are plenty of reasons to keep users on your website longer. The more time they spend there, the more they’re enjoying your site, or at least finding it useful. They’re more likely to buy something or contact you, remember your brand and develop trust for it, and even refer others to your site.
The length of time visitors stay on your site—and where they stay—helps you understand the quality of the online experience you’ deliver. And a high bounce rate is a clear sign that something’s wrong. If this is a problem you’re having, begin by taking a look at these common reasons for a high bounce rate.
Then, once you address any of these issues as necessary, you can focus on other ways to keep users on your website longer.
How to Get People to Spend More Time on Your Site
- Follow web design best practices. Users have deeply ingrained expectations for how sites should look and operate. When they quickly realize a site doesn’t meet these expectations or that it’s more trouble than it’s worth to figure out, they leave.
- Use intuitive navigation. This goes along with the above, but it’s important enough to single out. Visitors don’t stay on websites that are confusing to navigate or that don’t make it quick and easy to find what they want.
- Keep website pages scannable. Web readers don’t want to slog through a lot of copy to get answers; they appreciate pages with clear purposes, bold subheadings, and short paragraphs. This lets them scan the page to find what they need quickly. And, perhaps counterintuitively, helping them find things faster ultimately keeps them on your site longer.
- Incorporate helpful internal links. Use text to link to other pages on your site. But don’t get carried away—two or three per page is usually good. Use these in relevant, useful ways. Link at points where visitors are likely to want the additional information you’re offering.
- Set links to open in a new tab, especially when linking to a destination off your website. This lets users bring up more information without navigating away from the current page. This way, you don’t disconnect them from your site or the page they’re reading, which often results in them leaving sooner than they would’ve otherwise.
- Add valuable original content. Publishing blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, audio, or other content that’s of interest to your visitors and target market gets them to stick around and check it out. If it’s good and delivers something they want, they’ll stay longer and look at more.
- Showcase your popular content. If you regularly add original content, share it on social media, and track your analytics, you know which content your audience really likes. Highlight it on your home page and elsewhere to encourage people to click over and explore.
- Use tags or a “related posts” feature on your blog. This allows readers to see what else you have on a topic they’re interested in. They often take advantage of this, as it’s more convenient than having to scroll through or use a search function to find more pages of interest.
- Have a search function. The previous entry not withstanding, it’s still a good idea to have a search bar, at least if your site is fairly large or covers a lot of ground. Visitors appreciate an easy way to track down what they’re looking for, and catering to that keeps them around longer.
- Include calls to action on every page. CTAs don’t have to tell people to buy or sign up for something. They can send them to “learn more” or do just about anything, and they keep some visitors from leaving your site after they finish with a page. Think about the intent of those reading a particular page and use that to direct them elsewhere on your site.
- Build thank you pages with CTAs. Once people move fully through one of your site’s funnels, they usually leave. Keep users on your website longer by bringing them to a thank you page that shows your gratitude and also uses a call to action as described above.
- Review your site analytics regularly. Pay attention to which pages people go to often but leave too quickly. Focus on improving the experience on these pages. Also, note which pages are “sticky,” or that retain visitors well, for insights into what’s working; apply these insights to other pages of your website.