8:25 Avg. Time on Site - What I did

53 replies
Hey guys,
Ive just recently made a few small changes on one of my sites and increased my average time on site from around 2 minutes to 8 minutes+ per visitor.

With such positive results, I wanted to share the few small changes that I made that have obviously had a pretty big impact.

By no means are these "anything new" or "special", theres no secrets here - just common sense.

With the right tweaks on your own site, you too can probably improve your average time onsite, reduce bounce rate and hopefully, increase conversions as well.

Heres what I did.

1. Added Images - I know this might sound obvious, but it must have made *some* difference. Basically all I did was add stock images to each article, typically under each sub-heading. Often I made the images funny. Instead of those tired, boring and now somewhat cliche images that you often see on so many sites, I used funny images, and images that related to the subject manner.

In essence, I kept it light hearted, even for a serious subject. The big bonus I found was that by adding images, my articles *appeared* longer. That is, I could take a 800 word article, add 3 images, and it would look visually much, much longer. This might help for those with shorter articles (say, around 500 words or so) It also helped to "break up the content". Theres nothing more boring than reading huge blocks of text, and while I always try to break up my content to make it more manageable, the images definitely helped to do this as well.

2. Related articles - At the end of each article I list 4 related articles. Ive always done this on my sites, but this time, I made it more prominent. You cant miss it, its directly under the article - so as soon as they finish reading one article, theres 4 more to read, that are closely related. This is a great incentive to keep them onsite.

3. I shoved my face in there - I dont know about you guys, but I at least like to know what the person looks like that wrote the article. Or at the very least, be able to put a face to the work. It seems to give me a sense of "trust". So I did this on my own site. I have my name, and a short bio of myself. Oh yeah, and of course a mug shot

4. Social widgets - This really should be a no brainer. Everyone knows that social media is the way forward. Its great for sharing content, as well as generating traffic. At both the top of my article, I have social widgets (facebook, twitter, digg, stumbleupon, google+) etc etc etc, that users can use to share the content. I also have the same buttons at the very END of the article as well (near my author bio) - and so far I *think* Im seeing more users share my articles. For those that dont have them onsite - get them on there FAST. And put them both at the top of the article AND the bottom. It not only adds a bit of colour to the page - but I think it helps build a bit of credibility too. Especially if you have your own social page.

5. Diversified my content - This is something Im yet to do, but will do so over the weekend. I recall once, James Schramko said that search engines seem to favour sites that are content rich. So as an example, instead of having one page with just flat text, (in say, an article) - provide that same article in a PDF format, or an MP3 download. Try to implement images, spreadsheets, documents, vidoes and audio. All of these things can help attract more users and increase both time onsite as well as sharing. Im pretty excited to go about converting my articles to MP3, then providing a download link on the page. Should be lots of fun!

6. Oh I almost forgot - I also implemented sub headings in bold spread throughout my content. This I feel, helps break the content up visually and allows the user to jump straight to the information they want. Its also great for SEO, too (H2, H3) Again, I used humour where possible to keep my subheadings interesting.


Anyway, theres a few pointers of what Ive done so far, and point 5 being of course what Im about to do. All of these changes have made a dramatic difference to my visitors engagement time and reduced my bounce rate.

Any questions please ask.
#825 #avg #site #time
  • Profile picture of the author Victoralexon
    Great tips!

    I have not done 2,3 and 5 at all.

    I recently started a website of mine so I will be able to implement some of these from the get-go.

    Here is a tip of my own:
    If you are in a niche that has a lot of unique terminology, you can create a page where you explain all of it, instead of having your visitors head off to Google.
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  • Yeah that is a really good site time. I thought maybe putting video games on their might help. lol. Seriously though video would probably keep people around for longer.
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    • Profile picture of the author zharfan
      Originally Posted by Resale Rights Ninja View Post

      Yeah that is a really good site time. I thought maybe putting video games on their might help. lol. Seriously though video would probably keep people around for longer.
      may be add video is the key
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      • Profile picture of the author chris1093
        Where have you been able to find funny interesting images? So far I am unimpressed with the copywrite free images I have found.
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        • In essence, I kept it light hearted, even for a serious subject. The big bonus I found was that by adding images, my articles *appeared* longer. That is, I could take a 800 word article, add 3 images, and it would look visually much, much longer.

          I like pages that have good pictures, but how did adding 3 images per 800 word article affect your site's load time?

          Google cares about that now. You can actually be penalized in search if your site takes too long to load.

          fLufF
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        • Profile picture of the author Nickro
          Originally Posted by chris1093 View Post

          Where have you been able to find funny interesting images? So far I am unimpressed with the copywrite free images I have found.
          check my signature
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Hlatky
      Originally Posted by Resale Rights Ninja View Post

      Yeah that is a really good site time. I thought maybe putting video games on their might help. lol. Seriously though video would probably keep people around for longer.
      This is true. I own an online arcade that has an average visit time of 7:22. The CPC is terrible, but it there is a high CTR and a ton of traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author zharfan
    wow, amazing time... for me, 2 minutes is enough
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Did these changes result in an increase of sales and profits for you?
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by lisakleinweber View Post

      WOW! 8:25 average time on site is *amazing*. I will have to read this a few times and see what I can do.

      So you aren't putting your images to the left or right of the content but actually in between paragraphs or directly under subheadings?
      No, the images are just kind of positioned between chunks of text.

      Originally Posted by kiwiviktor81 View Post

      Good ideas. Have you noticed an improvement in the SERPs following an improvement in the time sent on the site?
      Its probably too early to tell in terms of search placement. Some have moved up, whilst others have dropped off slightly.

      Originally Posted by chris1093 View Post

      Where have you been able to find funny interesting images? So far I am unimpressed with the copywrite free images I have found.
      I get some from shutterstock and others from a stock photography CD here that I bought years ago.

      Occasionally Ill use images from Google, but I try to avoid that when possible due to copywrite reasons.

      Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

      In essence, I kept it light hearted, even for a serious subject. The big bonus I found was that by adding images, my articles *appeared* longer. That is, I could take a 800 word article, add 3 images, and it would look visually much, much longer.

      I like pages that have good pictures, but how did adding 3 images per 800 word article affect your site's load time?

      Google cares about that now. You can actually be penalized in search if your site takes too long to load.

      fLufF
      --
      I always resize each image before adding it to the page. At most Ill add 3 images, but only to the longer articles. Load times arent an issue. I check everything to make sure its okay.

      Originally Posted by Randall Magwood View Post

      Did these changes result in an increase of sales and profits for you?
      Good question

      Well, the site was already pulling just over 2% conversions Randall, so conversions werent the only reasons for doing this. Its more about protecting the asset, and ensuring that Im not penalized for "thin content."

      Before making this change my site was pulling 2 minutes time onsite and had a bounce rate of almost 80%

      Im hopeful of course that given a bit more time, my positioning improves and the conversions follow.
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffster
    That's a big improvement from 2mins to 8mins. Interested to hear how conversions go. I also try to add images to my articles. It can be hard to find something light-hearted and relevant to the topic.

    Do you use a plugin to show related posts under your article or do you add them in manually?
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by jeffster View Post

      Do you use a plugin to show related posts under your article or do you add them in manually?
      No. Everything on my sites is custom programmed. I dont use CMS.
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  • Profile picture of the author Thomas Smale
    How large is your sample size (of traffic)? 8 mins is huge! I don't remember ever seeing a site that high (and I've looked at hundreds).

    Would be interesting to see what happens to conversions/revenue as that's all that matters.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by Thomas Smale View Post

      How large is your sample size (of traffic)?
      Snapshot is taken for the past 5 days. 100 visits per day.

      Ive only just recently made these changes, so I expect it to even out, but still, its a dramatic improvement from 2 minutes.
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  • Profile picture of the author ttteee
    these are all things that I'm planning to do myself

    btw hello everybody, new member here !
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    By no means are these "anything new" or "special", theres no secrets here - just common sense.
    Funny how far something so misnamed can take you. "Common" sense isn't as common as it used to be.

    Great reminder that the fundamentals will always be the fundamentals; magic beans, silver bullets and miracle 'easy' buttons conspicuous in this list by their absence...
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    When people get to my site (rockhoundstation1.com) they stay forever and a day - because I have what people interested in the field want to see. Simple as that. They will stay there all day if they think they can find hints of how and where to look for rocks or gold - and there's plenty on there.

    Basically I always figured if you want people to stay on your website, just put stuff on there that they wanna see.
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  • Profile picture of the author DianaHeuser
    Sigh ... thank you John. Not just for the tips but I went to check my Google Analytics on one of my sites so that I had a bench mark to test against when I made some changes as you suggested above. I discovered that I had not inserted the code into my site. Talk about blonde.

    If it was not for you I might not have checked until next month

    Di
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by DianaHeuser View Post

      Sigh ... thank you John. Not just for the tips but I went to check my Google Analytics on one of my sites so that I had a bench mark to test against when I made some changes as you suggested above. I discovered that I had not inserted the code into my site. Talk about blonde.

      If it was not for you I might not have checked until next month

      Di

      Ive done that before. Or Worse, put the wrong snippet of code on there completely.
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  • Profile picture of the author makemoneywizz
    Some good advice here. I think having pictures is especially key. People like pictures, especially funny ones.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim3
    That's great going John congrats.

    When I put my mugshot on the page the bounce rate INCREASED
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
      Nice list, John. And I'll add one more important one to the list ...

      7. Add target="_blank" to any outbound links you have (ie affiliate links).

      That way when they leave your site via one of your links, they're still on your site.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
        Originally Posted by Brandon Tanner View Post

        Nice list, John. And I'll add one more important one to the list ...

        7. Add target="_blank" to any outbound links you have (ie affiliate links).

        That way when they leave your site via one of your links, they're still on your site.
        Yep. Im doing that. Thanks for noting it
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      • Profile picture of the author cwilliams6009
        Originally Posted by Tim3 View Post

        When I put my mugshot on the page the bounce rate INCREASED
        LOL!

        Originally Posted by Brandon Tanner View Post

        Add target="_blank" to any outbound links you have (ie affiliate links). That way when they leave your site via one of your links, they're still on your site.
        Wait, what? someone explain that? :confused:
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        • Profile picture of the author Jere Kuisma
          It makes the link open up in a new tab and this way the user will still have your site open. Without it the link would open up in the current page and the user would be left from your site.

          Originally Posted by cwilliams6009 View Post

          LOL!



          Wait, what? someone explain that? :confused:
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        • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
          Originally Posted by cwilliams6009 View Post

          Wait, what? someone explain that? :confused:
          The target="_blank" attribute goes inside the a tag. It tells the browser to open the link in a new tab or window. For example...

          <a href="http://www.website.com" target="_blank">Click Here!</a>

          It won't work for all of your site's visitors (depends on the browser and user preferences), but it will work for most of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author WriterWahm
    Thank you for sharing these tips John. I'm curious though, where exactly did you place your mug shot? I've been thinking of doing that but can't decide. I see some on the header (and that is so... not moi). Then there are some on the right side bar...so where did you place yours?
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by WriterWahm View Post

      Thank you for sharing these tips John. I'm curious though, where exactly did you place your mug shot? I've been thinking of doing that but can't decide. I see some on the header (and that is so... not moi). Then there are some on the right side bar...so where did you place yours?
      I put my mug shot at the end of the article. (so far I havent had any complaints )

      Im not sure if this is the best place for it - but it just kind of "felt" right. Plus it fitted the layout of my site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Yulia from DNP
    Related Articles!- Can keep visitors on your site forever. :- )
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  • Profile picture of the author stevenfabian
    This is such a useful article, thanks a lot for sharing! All of the above points have been proved to be of grate help before, too! Thanks for reminding us that it takes WORK to succeed! All the best,
    Edward
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  • Profile picture of the author Ankesh Kothari
    Thanks John for sharing these tips.

    I'm curious - how did adding social sharing buttons help people spend more time on your website? They are awesome with getting new people on your website. But making people spend more time? Not really sure about that. Would love to know if you do anything different - like maybe opening the twitter and facebook share boxes in a popup or something...
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by Ankesh Kothari View Post

      I'm curious - how did adding social sharing buttons help people spend more time on your website? They are awesome with getting new people on your website. But making people spend more time? Not really sure about that.
      You're right, they probably don't.

      Sorry, I guess I got a bit carried away there and went OT.

      Still, thought it was worth a mention
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  • Profile picture of the author Ankesh Kothari
    Here are my thoughts about average time metrics.

    1. The quickest way to increase average time is add videos to your website. People will spend 20-30 minutes going through interesting videos.

    2. The quickest way to decrease average time is increase your unique visitors. If your average time is too high - it could indicate that you're not marketing aggressively enough.

    Yes this is counter intuitive. But it makes sense if you think about it. Your average time will be high only if no one buy the right people to visit your website. If no wrong people visit your website, you're not aggressive enough with your marketing.

    3. That is why, average time is a metric with very little value. Unless you are segmenting your audience based on behavior. And then tracking and improving average time per segment.
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn619
    The only thing I have not focused on few of my posts are the related articles, also i usually use images but have never thought of using funny ones. Plan to give it a try.
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  • Profile picture of the author harrymcclaire
    actually there could be one other thing though.
    Correct me if im wrong.

    If one joker stayed on your site and didnt close the site. It will still be counting the clock.

    I open some sites and leave it there.
    Just because im busy and i will take a look later. And i end up closing it at night.
    By the way i opened it in the morning.

    I happen to do that to my site, because you open your own site and stare at it sometimes to see what changes you can do.
    It adds up, working on my site everyday for 3 days, opened for 14 hours each day.
    THat is 42 hours.

    I had 2000 visitors during that period.
    Before i left my site open at the background, i saw that the time they spent on my site was 5 secs. [that means there is something wrong]

    But if you do the math. After i opened my site for 42hours total.
    The time spent on my site on avg was brought up to 80.5999995 secs.
    THat is over a min.

    Now if i just look at that, i will think. Oh wow, its good.

    Just something to point out.

    It could not be you, it could be your visitor open and leaves it there.


    So my conclusion, when people stay on your site, it could mean 2 things, they left it in the background, or they are really actively interacting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lucian Lada
    When using videos, I suggest using videos from Vimeo. Why? because it's harder for people to leave your website this way. They only have 3 recommendations at the end of the playback, and another link which is the author's channel, I think.

    YouTube has a "YouTube" button during the playback, not to mention more recommendations at the end of the video.
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    • Profile picture of the author kiwiviktor81
      I used your idea of adding "related articles" at the bottom of some of my posts. Too early to tell about time on the site, but I can tell that people visiting these pages are clicking through to other ones, so I guess it works. Cheers!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by MaxReferrals View Post

      Did your conversions increase or decrease?
      Conversions are constant. The site is running at around 2%.

      To be honest, I really wasnt thinking too much about conversions whilst implementing those changes. If my conversions increase because of it, then thats great.

      I implemented these features to provide a better user experience to my visitors and *hopefully* protect myself from any form of Google algorithm updates.
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  • Profile picture of the author withavision
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by withavision View Post

      I am currently getting around 2:30-3:00 per visit with a bounce rate of around 40-50%. I know you said that you use custom coding, but was wondering if anyone knows of a plug in to add "related articles" at the end of each post?
      Start here...

      WordPress › Search for related posts « WordPress Plugins

      :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sneen
    I am gonna add some pictures today!
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    • Profile picture of the author Marty S
      If my visitors come to my site to sign up for a free report (or other), because of a CTA they saw in one of my videos (for example), then that is a PERFECT user experience.

      However, that PERFECT conversion may result in 90 seconds on the site, and a bounce rate of 75%. I am so OKAY with that, but it just depends on what your goals are for the site, NOT the bounce rate or time spent imho.

      Such metrics may be examined IF there is a conversion problem, as opposed to concern about what Google thinks.

      For those of you getting all excited about adding more pictures, related articles and other elements, I would take a VERY close look at what you ACTUALLY want your visitors to do on the site.

      Time spent is NOT a goal for most websites.
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  • Profile picture of the author rooze
    Good OP. Refreshing to have some real practical feedback.

    I'm always surprised at how seemingly small changes can make a big impact. People are impatient, you can switch them off your content by making one dumb mistake in the opening line, and they're gone. It doesn't matter how brilliant the rest of the page or the rest of the site is.....get it wrong at the start and your efforts can be for naught.
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    • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
      Wow - 8 minutes on your site is absolutely amazing! Thanks for posting this and letting us know what you have done to achieve this. In the past, I'm happy if people spend half that time on my site.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

      And who the hell cares how long someone spent on my blog
      Dude, I simply posted these tips here in hope that it might benefit other members. Not because I wanted to blow smoke up my own arse.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
      Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

      And who the hell cares how long someone spent on my blog?
      Google cares. From an SEO standpoint, the amount of time that your visitors spend on your site is important. I guess if you're not interested in your site's SEO, then it doesn't matter.
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      • Profile picture of the author Marty S
        Originally Posted by Brandon Tanner View Post

        Google cares. From an SEO standpoint, the amount of time that your visitors spend on your site is important. I guess if you're not interested in your site's SEO, then it doesn't matter.
        Let's not get silly here. Of course he is interested in SEO, just like the rest of us, but that is a traffic issue. If your site already ranks AND converts, worrying about viewer time spent on the site may in fact, be time wasted by you. It simply depends on the goals of your site.
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        • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
          Originally Posted by Marty S View Post

          Let's not get silly here. Of course he is interested in SEO, just like the rest of us
          LOL. That's quite a blanket statement. There are a lot of people out there who could care less about SEO, and get most (or all) of their traffic from other sources.

          I was simply stating that for those who do care about SEO, that time spent on site is important.

          I don't see what's "silly" about that, but to each their own.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      I'm a strong believer in showing your face.

      It allows you to connect with your audience on another level.

      Not to be underestimated!

      For the shy (and ugly) you can have a cartoon of yourself developed!


      Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author gojiberryman
    Great job John. Every method to making your website better that you have listed are the very same ones that have been effective for many IMer's including myself. Your success does not surprise me. Keep it up
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