Think about the last time you had friends over for dinner. Let’s imagine they arrived at 7pm and left at midnight. What made them want to stay so long? I would suggest that some of the ‘pull’ factors would have been the good food, the great company and the interesting conversation and/or entertainment (perhaps you danced for your guests?!).
The situation is not too different in the online world. In our experience, websites whose visitors stay an extended period of time have the following things in common:
1: Interesting content is posted on their website on a regular basis.
Organisations are moving away from the ‘push’ approach to a ‘pull’ approach – this means they continually update their websites with news relevant to their audience; make mentions or shout-out to other organisations that are doing great work in the industry they are working in; and post images of their team, products or completed work. This content is also disseminated onto their social media platforms. The ongoing creation and dissemination of interesting content is aimed at strengthening engagement with their target audience. As a result they manage to create meaningful threads of conversations around topics relevant to their audience and therefore position themselves as a leader in their specific industry. It works!
2: The links to their social media platforms on their website do not take visitors away from their website.
Many organisations make the mistake of linking their social media buttons to their presence on the actual social media platform. For example, an organisation may have a Facebook icon on their website and when visitors click on this button, it takes them to the Facebook page of the organisation. While the prospective customer is on the organisation’s Facebook profile, this action has a very serious consequence – they have been taken away from the organisation’s website (one of the most important online marketing tools for generating leads) and are likely to be distracted by the world of Facebook. The reality is that they may not return to the website that led them to Facebook in the first place. To address this, I suggest that organisations put a Facebook ‘like’ box on their website. When people click on the ‘like’ button, they will remain on the website and will also be able to see who within their network have also ‘liked’ the page.
3: The website is clean and accessible.
Websites that are easy to navigate and well designed are a pleasure to browse. A visitor to a website does not have to be a graphic designer to know a good website from a not-so-good one – it’s an instinctive or gut feeling. The information provided on the website flows, is easy to read and is combined with images and other media such as videos. None of this is difficult to do – it just takes planning and website expertise.
Why is it important that prospective customers stay on your website for longer?
The longer a prospective customer spends on your website, the more likely it is that they are interested in your products or services. At the end of the day, that’s the whole purpose of your website – it is a marketing tool designed to stimulate interest in your business and ultimately generate leads.