Web Tip: Time on Site/Page

One of the ways to measure traffic quality is to look at how long people spend on your website. Do they look at your website for just a few seconds? Or, do they spend a few minutes looking at your website? Chances are the longer a person looks at your website the more likely that person is to become a customer.

Defined: Time on site is a quality metric. You want to look at this number in two ways. First, you want to know how much time was spent on the site. However, it is also useful to know the time people spent on each page (on average). That way you know how long people spent on your website but also the time spent on key pages of your website.

Ideal Time on Site: The time will vary depending on your product or service. Some products and services take longer to understand and, as a result, there should be a higher time on the site or time on the page. There are two simple ways to get to know the amount of time people need to spend looking at your website.

Option one works best for the typical small business budget. Ask a dozen or so people you know (but who do not know your business) to read the content of your website until they understand what you sell. With your stopwatch at the ready, time how long it takes each person to reach that level of understanding. Track the times for each person then take the average. This average is your ideal time on the site.

The second option is more involved. Using an analytics program, you can measure certain activities on your website against the time spent on the website. For example, in looking at this report in the analytics program you might find that people who spent 2 or more minutes on your website are more likely to email you. In that example, your ideal time on the site would be 2 minutes.

In general though, the more time a person spends reading your website, the more likely that person is to become a customer. If a person spends more time on the website, the more they read and look at on that website giving them a deeper understanding of the products and services you sell. If they were not interested in your website, they would have left quickly.

What It Means: A long time on the website typically indicates strong interest in your content by people reading your website. Those people looking at the website are curious and interested in your products and services. This means people want to spend more time reading and looking at your website to get a better understanding of how your company can help solve their particular problems.

Time On Site In Use: A regular problem QW Consulting encounters in the free website reviews is short times on the website. When we see this short amount of time on a website there are almost always these three problems involved:

  1. Too few links. The website’s home page contains no links to interior pages. In this scenario, people are not sure how to continue looking at the website even if they are interested in what you might be selling. Since there are no links to continue, that person chooses instead to leave your website. Instead, provide a few clear and obvious links on your website helping to guide traffic into the pages of your website.
  2. Uninteresting content. Beyond the obvious content writing problems, such as grammar or spelling mistakes, the content might be presented in an unfriendly manner. Many people are unwilling to read large blocks of text so instead of reading the large blocks of text, the person decides to leave entirely. To fix this problem, try editing and adjusting your content to make it appear friendlier.
  3. The website is too busy. This is the opposite of the first problem: the website is too busy. Too many links overwhelm and confuse people causing them to leave your website. Instead, provide links that give clear direction on where a user should go next. Doing so almost always increases the amount of time spent on your website and, as a result, the quality of the traffic.