5 ways to keep visitors on your website longer

We live in a world of instant gratification and infinite distraction. From steady streams of information to constant interruptions from our phones, it’s not surprising that the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish.

Every website’s goal is to cut through that noise, grab a user’s attention, and hold on to it for as long as possible. Longer visits don’t just translate to more engagements and conversions — they also mean better search rankings on Google.

With that, here are five ways of engaging users and keeping visitors on your website longer.

1. Put your best stuff above the fold

When people are making judgments about websites in 50 milliseconds, you can’t afford to do anything but lead with your best content. Remember: visitors come to your site in search of something. Include key information up front to show that they’re in the right place and that the content is relevant.

2. Prioritize credibility

You should establish yourself as an authority on what you’re offering, writing about, or selling. Do this by looking professionalchecking grammar and spellingkeeping ads minimal and your content fresh.

Credibility is a slippery slope. It’s one of the hardest things to achieve and one of the easiest to lose — just like your visitors’ attention — but it’s a hallmark of pretty much any successful website.

3. Make your content readable

If you’ve ever clicked a seemingly innocuous link only to find an unwieldy block of text, you should understand how important readability is in keeping visitors. If the simple act of reading your content feels laborious, users will leave your website in search of the same information somewhere else.

To make information easy to find, try using bullet points and descriptive subheadings. It’s pretty well known that most people don’t actually read on the web — they scan and pick up the bits and pieces they’re looking for. By tailoring your format to suit online reading habits, you can create more engaging elements for your visitors and significantly reduce bounce rates.

4. Dare to be different

With all the cookie-cutter templates and listicles your readers wade through on a daily basis, it’s crucial to make your site stand out from the crowd. Grab visitors from the get-go with great aesthetics, and hold their attention with clear messaging and relevant content. Don’t fall victim to content mills and syndicated content — be imaginative in your posts and develop a unique voice for your site.

5. Experiment with multimedia

It’s rare to find a visitor who’ll sit captivated by a 2,500-word article, but present the same story in a video, infographic or image gallery, and you’ll find a whole lot more willingness to stick around. Who doesn’t love a good animal video?

Our brains gravitate toward novelty, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new and unusual ways of getting your message across. Here’s an interactive bag of tricks to get you started — and some examples of sites and storytellers that are nailing multimedia publishing right now.

Remember that none of these tips will mean anything if you’re not tracking engagements and using all the data at your disposal. Dig into your analytics, make some changes and see what sticks. Almost all analytics providers will give you data on pages visited, time on site and bounce rate. Some will even tell you where users clicked or where their mouse hovered.

By monitoring your stats and employing some of the tips above, you’ll be better equipped to fend off distractions and keep visitors on your website longer.

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