If you are a retailer the longer you can keep people in your store (on your site) the more likely you are, to a point, to upsell or sell add-ons. Of course there is a point at which they are no longer buying and are simply hanging out but that is beyond the scope of this short article. To define “time on site” let’s use the simplest of definitions: the number of minutes or seconds a visitor keeps your site open in their browser in a single visit. Fair enough?
It should be self evident when your average time on site, I use Google Analytics primarily to measure this time, is less than 20 seconds you are falling short of requirements. Even to read a short joke and look around your page for more points of interest should take longer than that. We already talked about “bounce rate” so when combining a time on site of say 10-15 seconds with a bounce rate of say 70-90% chances are your site can use some attention and improvement.
The first rule in time on site is to give the visitors what they expect to find. If your site is about your plumbing business the reality may be your visitors don’t care about your flower garden. Of course if that’s a tie-in with gray water recycling then it may be. What visitors expect to find on a plumbing site is (a) what area you cover, (b) what services you offer, (c) your credentials/customer testimonials, and (d) how to contact you. Beyond that it’s all superfluous and may help or harm your all important conversion rate. Conversion rate for a plumber would be how many people pick up the phone, click the chat button or use the automated scheduling system to schedule a visit to there point of need.
Cluttered web pages are difficult for visitors who need information now. If I am visiting the front page of the Wall Street Journal I expect it to be somewhat busy and cluttered. Even then the index of links and lead stories should not be buried under 3 or 4 pop-ups and drowned out by videos or audio clips which play automatically when I visit. In fact for me that will cut the time on site drastically because I will leave the page quickly if it starts making noise. Millions of others agree.