Encouraging visitors to stick around

How to encourage visitors to spend more time on your site

Alex Johnson
Owner, Designer & Strategist

The whole point of a website is to gather visitors from around the web and match your offering to their needs. But if your website is not keeping people around for long, it’s pretty hard to accomplish anything. Your website becomes a time and money suck instead of a benefit.

When someone lands on your website, you have seconds to capture their attention. Your site needs to offer something to keep their attention before the urge to hit the back button takes over.

You want your website to be inviting and assure them that your business has the right solution they need. So how do you keep someone around for longer than just a few seconds?

Provide valuable content above the fold

The term above the fold refers to the visible screen without scrolling the page. You have to hook the visitor quickly without forcing them to scroll. And the best way to do that is to provide valuable content.

This section of your site has great power. Visitors will normally read the first paragraph or two of a site to decide if they wish to stay. If you can convince them that they are in the right spot, they will read on.

Think about the key questions visitors could ask to have arrived on your page. Try to provide a brief answer to those questions before they would have to scroll. You don’t have to provide every detail, but help them feel that they are in the proper place.

Entice them with images or video

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, great images are vital in keeping your visitors around.

Use high quality photos
Use high-quality photos

Images or videos can add context to the written word and help the visitor see themselves in the solution. Being able to visualize themselves with your solution is key to keeping visitors around.

Visual content can also help build trust or entertain the visitor, furthering the chances of keeping them around longer.

Link to other good content on your site

A great way to keep any visitors you get around longer is to keep providing them with more valuable content. If you link from one page to another page on your site with similar content, they will likely follow the breadcrumbs and continue to hang out on your site.

Think about all the relevant content that you have on your site. Can article A link to articles D and F?

Each time you create something new, spend a few minutes and add a couple of links to content that you made previously. This helps your new visitors hang around longer, and search engines like it, thus increasing your S.E.O. ability.

Address your reader

When you create content for your site, speak to the visitor. Instead of writing generic content that will speak to no one, or using generic terms, find a way to speak directly.

Talk to your visitor directly as if they are in the room
Talk to your visitors directly as if they are in the room

Would you feel more connected if I said, “Small business owners should write directly to people who visit their site” or “You should write directly to your visitors and speak their language?” I bet you feel more connected when I say “you” over “small business owners.”

Point your content to the visitor as well. Avoid the uses of “we” and “I”. The more your content focuses on the guest (“you”) the more they will feel like you know and talk to them. This is common in most of my articles. It’s not about me, but rather what I am teaching you.

It’s ok to give examples, such as when I say these are the services we use or provide. But don’t go overboard on yourself and focus on them.

Be relatable

A key factor in generating trust is to sympathize with the visitor. If you can share stories of your situation which was just like theirs or stories of how you help someone who is just like them, it can help them trust you.

Answer their questions. Show them you have been there and that you understand where they are coming from. As an example, on my about page, I give a short story on how we got into website design. It started with running our small business and the need to grow my marketing skills. I then explain how we had similar problems to most business owners and not knowing where to turn.

By sharing a story and being relatable to the visitor, you encourage them to stick around and learn more. You also make it easier to cross the bridge and purchase from you. You understand them and they want to work with someone who understands what they need.

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