One of the most important metrics to track when trying to understand the effectiveness of your business website is time on site. While this metric is ignored by many, it’s a strong indicator of whether your website is pulling its weight in the marketing equation. Before we get carried away, however, let’s quickly take a look at what time on site is and why it’s so important.
What is Time on Site?
As the name says, time on site is a metric that measures, well, the time a particular visitor spends on your website. You can get this metric from Google Analytics or other website analytics tools.
The time a person spends on your site can be influenced by a number of factors. It can also reveal a lot about:
So, let’s dive a bit deeper and look at what influences time on site and what valuable information it reveals.
Factors that Influence Time on Site
People come to a website for one main reason - information. And, in a nutshell, that’s the biggest factor that influences the amount of time a person will spend on your site. In most cases, when they find the information they are looking for, they leave your site.
Let’s take a look at these 2 scenarios to see how different types of information influence the time a visitor spends on your website. Let’s say, for example, a visitor comes to your website for the sole purpose of getting your contact details. Once they have them, they have no reason to stay on and thus leave. On the other hand, another person may want to know your business a bit more, so they’ll read your core pages (home page, about page, services page, etc.) and maybe a couple of blog posts. This visitor will spend more time on your website than the one who was simply looking for contact details.
Other factors that can also influence time on site include:
- Website design. A poorly designed website is a total turn off. Visitors will immediately click out of your website.
- Information architecture. Information architecture has to do with how you structure the flow of information on your website. If it is confusing, a visitor may spend more time on your website looking for something. They may eventually leave in frustration.
In both instances, when a visitor leaves because they are not satisfied, getting them to visit your website again is next to impossible.
Also, as you can see, different people will spend different amounts of time on your website for different reasons. Which brings us back to our question - what is the optimum average time on site?
Time on Site - How Long is Long Enough?
In order to answer the question of how long the average time on site should be, you need to understand that a business website has one main function - to get a visitor to take the next step. The next step could be to book a consultation, call, send an email, or even download a lead magnet. Not only should an effective website get a visitor to take the next step, but it should get them to do so in the shortest time possible. Failure to do so could lead them to be distracted and not completing the action.
So what is the optimum average time on site?
In my experience, I’ve found it to be between 1-5 minutes.
Anything less than a minute is an indicator that the visitor bounced a few seconds after getting to your site. Longer than 5 minutes could probably mean they are:
- Struggling to find what they are looking for
- Bored and have nothing better to do than go through every page on your website
- Left the browser window open and are not reading your content
All things being equal then, a good average time on site is anything that lies between the 1-5 minute mark.
Time on Site - What Does it Have to Do with My Business?
Now that you understand what time on site is and its implications, you’re probably wondering what it even has to do with your business. Well, in short - everything. As a business person, one key that will help you succeed is understanding your audience. And the time they spend on your website gives you tons of audience insights as you can see. These are insights you can use to improve your:
- Website design
So, don’t ignore this important metric as it can help you improve your conversions and, ultimately, grow your business.