If you are like me, you probably check your Google Analytics daily. I always check the traffic and where it is coming from. The one stat that I always pay attention to is the time on site stat. I get so happy when I see some visitors spending 20-30 minutes on my blog. To me, that tells me that I am doing something right.
As bloggers we are always trying to attract new visitors to our blog, but that is only a piece of the puzzle. Once you draw them in, you need to engage them, and then impress them so they will want to return.
Why is the time someone spends on your blog important?
There are several reasons why it is important to increase the time that people spend on your blog. The biggest reason is it helps to establish the connection. The more the reader is engaged, the more they will learn, and the more they will connect with you and your blog.
If you deepen the connection with your readers, you greatly increase the likelihood of them taking a positive action like subscribing to your newsletter, buying your product/service, or buying a product/service that you recommend.
Ten Tips to keep them on your blog longer:
Fast Loading Blog
If your blog takes more than a couple of seconds to load you will surely lose visitors and will never have a chance to engage them. To increase the speed of your blog, you can reduce the size of your images, tweak the coding on your theme, cut down on some graphics, and get rid of some of your widgets.
You do not have to have a premium theme to have a professional looking theme. One of the biggest turnoffs for me when I am visiting a blog is a junky theme. A clean, easy to navigate theme will create a favorable first impression and entice the visitor to stick around and explore your content.
This one is a no brainer, if your content stinks or is nonexistent, the visitor will bolt and never return again. Quality content that educates, entertains, or brings value to the reader will keep them on your blog to read other posts and hopefully subscribe to your blog.
Easy on the Ads
Most people want to make money with their blogs (I do!) and you have to walk the fine line of enough ads without over doing it. I recently eliminated the Google ads in the middle of the post because I decided it was too much. You will have to decide what the right blend is for you and your audience. As a general rule, I would stay away from popup ads. I find them highly annoying and it always leaves me with a bad impression of the blog.
Have links open in a new window
We all have external links and exits on our blogs. It is wise to set them to open up in a new window; this will increase the chances of that person coming back to your blog.
I recommend installing a plugin that will show related posts under your content and right above the comments. This is an easy way to keep that visitor reading your posts. I am using “Microkids Related Posts” and it work great.
Another great technique is to install a popular post widget. New visitors are likely to check this out as it serves as an example of your best content and probably the posts that provide the most useful information. I have my widget displayed front and center.
If you takes steps to increase the number and quality of comments this will help make your blog stickier and keep readers around longer. They will spend time reading the comments and also if they write a comment this will increase their time as well. I recently wrote an article on how to get more blog comments if you want to check it out.
Create a “new readers” page
I was in the process of doing this and it actually spurred the idea for this post. I will be making a page and adding a tab in the header that is geared towards first time visitors. It will be kind of like and about page but will focus on the top posts in each of the categories. This will provide a nice overview of the blog and hopefully get your new visitor exposed to dozens of your top articles.
Add video, audio,etc..
This is an area I am still working on but the reality is that providing video and multimedia is an easy and effective tool to use to help you connect with your readers. There are very few bloggers who do this well. I see that the Problogger finally just updated his video of the week. Prior to this update he had the same video displayed for two months.
There you have it, 10 tips to make your blog stickier and keep your readers reading.
What do you do to increase the amount of time visitors spend on your blog?