Dwell time, otherwise known as the length of time a user spends on your website before going back again on the search results to look for something else ‒ is a crucial user experience metric.
It gives you an idea of whether or not users find your content useful, and if it meets their needs.
According to a study by Search Engine Land, the average dwell time for sites that rank on the top 10 of Google search is as high as 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
8 Web Design Tips To Improve Customer Dwell Time On Your Website
But the question is, how do you retain users once they visit your site? Use these eight design tips to encourage visitors to stay on your site longer.
1. Use Clear Navigation
To channel customers through your sales funnel, it’s crucial to make a distinction between you as the business owner and your customers. What you think is essential to your business isn’t always what is important to your customers.
For instance, while you may think your company history and other background information is vital for your business, most users are not visiting your website for this reason.
Instead, they came to learn more about (and hopefully buy) your products and services. Providing the easiest path to this information is essential if you want to hook your customer’s interest.
A site that is easy to navigate provides the following benefits for your visitors:
- Extended ‘per visit’ duration – If both your desktop and mobile sites are easy to navigate, users won’t keep on asking the question, “where am I?”.
- Lower bounce rates – The less time customers have to spend time on your site looking for the information they need, the less likely they will be frustrated and bounce away from your site.
- Clear, concise information – Your site structure is essential. By keeping your navigation menu simple, with clearly labeled content, customers can easily search for what they’re looking for.
2. Engage Visitors
Since your primary objective is for visitors to spend more time on your site, you need to capture their attention quickly and keep them engaged with the content on your website.
Most users prefer pages that:
- Are quick to load ‒ ideally 2 seconds or less.
- Have a straightforward and visually appealing design.
- A clean and user-friendly layout
If you have a website that’s tailored to be responsive and easy to use, it’s highly likely that users will be prompted to navigate through multiple pages, thereby increasing dwell time.
3. Offer Better Content
To encourage visitors stay on your site longer, you have to provide material that’s worth their time. Therefore, you need to understand who your target audience is, and then create a type of content that satisfies their needs. Use multiple visual elements such as images, texts, audio to video to make your content stand out and immediately catch the viewer’s attention.
In all website design, the point is to highlight the content. If you know up front what type of content you plan to use, you’ll be able to craft a better design that focuses on the content and brings the content to life. Making the design point toward and highlight your content will increase your sales exponentially.
4. Keep It Simple, Yet Informative
To increase customer dwell time, keep it simple, yet informative. Make your content relatable and maintain a friendly tone of voice. Avoid using overly-complicated words that will force users to open a dictionary just to understand. Let’s face it, if customers do not understand the language used they will leave your site altogether.
Instead, using short and simple sentences is the key.
Sytian, a company that specializes in web design in Manila, makes it plain: “Simple websites convert better because they tend to focus on delivering the message first. Simplicity always wins when it comes to making sure that your website visitors understand your company, product, and services.”
5. Utilize White Space
Once you choose the types of content that you want to include (and don’t worry, you can always add more types later), you can focus on the format that each element will be showcased. The layout of textual content matters as much as the layout of graphical content.
White space, also known as a negative space, is actually a positive aspect in web design. In its most basic form, it’s the empty spaces in between the elements of your site.
The judicious use of white space and other elements are paramount in creating a user-friendly experience that enhances your audience’s life, rather than simply distracts them.
Focusing your attention on all forms of white space in your site makes everything scannable, easy on the eyes, and legible. As a result, this leads to increased customer dwell times.
6. Modify Loading Speed
You only have seconds to grab the attention of your site visitors. This is especially true of first time visitors who are not yet familiar with you. The loading speed of your site has a direct impact on dwell time.
According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, 47% of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.” – From Kissmetrics
This is why you need to monitor your website’s speed. Otherwise, visitors will leave your site and move on to your competitors. Tools like Pingdom make checking your website speed a simple process.
7. Make Your Colors Matter
Colors tell a lot about you and your brand. Color has the power to grab the viewer’s attention and even modify their purchasing behaviors.
After all, colors have proven time and time again to provoke different human emotions. Understanding the psychology of colors and how different colors are used for marketing in your niche can help you to improve your customer experience.
Therefore, using contrasting colors can make critical elements on your site, such as your call-to-action (CTA) buttons, testimonials, banner headlines, etc., to stand out. Be sure all links you want visitors to click are in a contrasting color and easily visible.
You can also utilize highly contrasting colors in the background, as well as highlighting hues on different page elements that you want to draw attention to.
8. Optimize for Mobile
A lot of people these days browse exclusively on their phones and tablets rather than use a desktop or a laptop. In today’s world, this proves why it’s crucial to create a mobile-responsive site. Mobile-responsive is no longer an option, it is a necessity.
Mobile-responsive simply means that your site’s layout and design changes so that it can accommodate tablet or phone screens.
A huge chunk of your web traffic will come from mobile users. This is why most sites today have adopted a “mobile first” orientation.
Ever experienced landing on a site where you have to pinch and zoom and scroll sideways constantly? It’s a pain, right? Chances are, you’d likely give up, bounce from the site, and look for another source instead. You don’t want your visitors to experience this on your site!
Dwell time isn’t the only ranking factor, but your site and the content you publish can significantly benefit from it. By applying these tips in your website, you can dramatically improve the overall user experience, content quality, and improve the dwell time of your website.
This is a guest post from Kenneth Sytian, Founder and Owner of Sytian Productions, a company that specializes in web design in Manila. Kenneth has worked in the web and app development scene for almost a decade. Click here to connect with Sytian on Facebook.