Visitor Viewing Time!
Web Success Team
Field of Dreams
By now you probably have read numerous articles about driving
traffic to your web site by implementing some proven techniques,
such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Keyword Marketing, Google
AdSense, Pay Per Click, among others. But how many articles or
techniques do you read on “How to keep visitors from leaving a
website?” Chances are very few.
The adage, “If
You Build It, They Will Come” may work for the movie “Field of
Dreams,” but not necessarily in the real Web World. Like in the
movie, there has to be a raison d’etre — a reason to keep watching,
a baited hook. If you remember, the film featured baseball greats of
yesteryear that tapped into the consciousness of the fan, giving
people something of value, a need fulfilled or just plain curiosity.
They will watch the game/movie transfixed for hours.
As They Say… “Timing Is Everything”
It’s the same
when designing a website for maximum effectiveness and viewability.
You want visitors to be “mesmerized,” wooed, and guided. Make them
believe in something… even if it is as practical as selling a
product or service.
There are what I
call “Web-niques” that will orient the visitor, engage and direct
them to action — either passively or actively. Passive Action is
having the visitor give your website a thorough viewing and when
they leave, they will either bookmark it, send it to a friend or
colleague as a site of interest, and/or download something of value
onto their desktop. The Active Action is having them send you an
email, call for your services, or make a purchase directly from your
shopping cart. And when they eventually leave, it will have been a
So how do we turn
viewers into fans, visitors into buyers, the inattentive into
passive to active participants?
10 “Web-niques” to Quadruple Visitor Viewing Time
First you want to
understand the viewing habits of visitors. Numerous studies have
been done to explain this process along with statistics to back up
how often viewers stay on a website or webpage, what part of the
site they are most interested in, where they are clicking through
and what links are the most active. The same holds true for shopping
carts —why they leave before completing the buying process, and the
when and the where. You see, a website has personality traits.
When you meet a
person, first impressions count BIG; then as you continue to visit,
you find more information about that person starts kicking in and
you determine how much time your conversation will last. So how does
this analogy translates to the web? The short answer is that your
website takes on a personality of its own. The more engaging the
personality, the longer the interest level will be for the viewer.
Here are 10
Proven Web Techniques to increase your visitors viewing time:
Impression ¬— The look and feel of a landing or home page should be
immediately digestible in less than 5 seconds. Imagine leafing
through a newspaper and an attractive ad or headline catches you
eye. Why? Because it grabs your attention and you can relate to its
2. Seek the
Balance — The landing page should look designed, not over designed.
This may be a matter of “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but
there has to be substance, not just beauty marks. For example, flash
or music elements can enhance, but also annoy. Remember most viewers
want to roll up their sleeves and “window-web shop.” They are
looking for something. The question is whether it is “your
3. It Speaks! ¬—
“Silence is not always golden.” A website with an audio message that
is carefully crafted will give your site added personality, engage
the viewer and give them more information in that precious 5 seconds
of decision time — whether to stay or vamoose. They can even walk
away from the screen and still listen to your site!
4. Fresh Is Good
— “Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish wrap.” Make certain your content
is relevant, concise, crisp. No bloviating. Use sharp headlines,
sprinkle in informative sub-headlines that orient the reader and
lead them into the text, and use a smattering of graphics or photos
to reinforce the image.
5. Break the Mold
— Celebrate your differences. What is it that makes you unique from
the competition. Your viewers should know up front they came to the
right place. Give them a feeling they haven’t experienced before. An
out-of-the- box solution. But don’t get too far from the core.
Remember Clinton’s move to the center to capture more winning votes!
Unless of course your products or services demand an “off-the-wall”
6. Something for
Nothing — You should offer a viewer a caveat for just visiting your
site (such as a downloadable report, free offer, etc.). And by the
way, while you’re giving it away, capture their name and email for
further marketing outreach. We call it in direct response web
marketing lingo, an op-in. I always like downloadable pdfs, branded
with your contact information. That way your branding is on their
desktop and they can refer to the article or content, revisit your
site, or contact you. You remain a top-of-mind presence on their
7. It’s Not about
YOU — Well it ultimately is, but in this web technique, your viewer
wants to see “what’s in it for them.” So it is important to address
their needs and concerns, to be the solution to their problem. If
you make them feel like they can relate to your site, you are half
way to a sale or call.
Somewhere? — Remember, the idea is to engage the viewer and keep
them navigating through your site. The navigation should be logical
and easy to maneuver. Some nav bar headings should be creative, not
just the simple who, what, where and when. For example, instead of
putting a special offer only in the body, put a nav that says
Limited Time Offer and in a different color to attract their
9. Dear Abby —
Communication is a two-way street. Give the viewer ample opportunity
to communicate with you. Not just “Contact Us.” Rather develop an
ASK page that asks them to tell you their biggest single question
about… (whatever it is they need answering) or an online survey. You
capture their name and email in the process and can email a response
to their question or result of their survey. This also helps you
build your email list and develop a relationship with that list.
10. Your Alter
Ego — The use of testimonials is important for credibility. Call
them rave reviews. It gives the viewer some recognition that people
are satisfied with your products and services. Use of audio to
accompany the written testimonials is also a novel way to present
11. The First
Step — It is never too late to implement effective direct response
web marketing techniques. As in the old Chinese proverb, “The
longest journey begins with the first step.” The beauty of the web
and web marketing is that it is a fluid environment. See what’s
working for your site, revise it, hone it and improve it. Be clear,
talk straight and shoot from the hip.
The Right Foot
This article is
intended to give you a good push in the right direction. (Left turns
are allowed, and creatively encouraged, but do test and track)! The
Web Success Team has helped a variety of businesses and
entrepreneurs experience web success. For more information, tips
and examples on how the power of Direct Response Web Development and
Marketing can work for you, log on to
Bob is Co-Founder, President of
Web Success Team and
Speyergraphix Design Studio.
Bob and his team can handle all of your offline design and
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