Here at Go Fish Digital, we spend a lot of time tweaking websites and increasing traffic to a client’s website as much as possible. One factor that often gets overlooked is dwell time, or how long a visitor spends on your website before that person returns to the search page they came from.
Time on page is a real metric that Google, Bing, and other search engines use to evaluate the quality of a webpage, and we should all take it into consideration. So how can you increase the time that your visitors stay on your website? The answers I describe below may not be easy to execute, and will most likely involve a web developer, but I believe the following examples will lead to better overall user engagement and longer visit times.
Choropleth maps & interactive data visualizations
We recently finished a very large, interactive map project for an economic think tank in Washington, D.C. The traffic results each year have been tremendous for our client, and the on-page time has increased as well. The interactive map we did, which charted state, county, city, and congressional district data across the entire United States, was widely-received and circulated in many local, and national online publications.
That success makes a lot of sense when you consider the fascinating nature of interacting with large datasets. It’s not enough to simply display some data in some innocuous graph, but the end-user wants to “touch” it, “move” it, and “change” it. Consider any election season. How many people go to national websites, like the Washington Post, to view what’s going on in the polls at any particular moment? Most of these websites automatically update the information so that the user can stay on their site. Creating and displaying maps, and interactive data visualizations are an awesome strategy to increase visitor traffic and time on page.
You may be thinking: “But my website doesn’t do anything that would merit a map.” That’s OK. Is your brand a little bit more playful and open to entertaining your guests? HTML Games may be a great option for you!
I recently attended the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, NC. One of their booths was an organization known as Open Jam. Open Jam is essentially a contest that runs every year before the conference and features video games made by developers in a short amount of time. The idea is to expand knowledge of how to create games and to create a wealth of playable HTML-based games for end-users to enjoy. HTML games can easily be used by brands to increase time-on-page metrics. Just consider The Littlest Pet Shop HTML game.
I don’t know about you, but my kids would play games like this all the time online. And quite often, kids will influence their parents’ buying decisions, whether it’s a toy, cartoon cable network subscription, or even some educational service like ABC Mouse. Not to mention, it’s becoming more common for adults in the US to play games online. Whether it’s kids running up your on-page time, or adults, chances are that your service and/or product has higher odds to convert to real sales if a user is spending more time with said product or service. Ultimately, HTML Games and informational maps provide for quality user interactivity.
Near the intersection of mini-games and large data-intensive projects, lies the interactive project. It’s not exactly a game, but the user gets a warm, fun feeling from it, and it can be very persuasive when it comes to a business’ bottom line.
Last year, we did an interactive project for a company that sells Christmas trees, holiday decorations, and more. Essentially, the user would select which Christmas tree ornament that they liked, and they would drag and drop it onto a virtual Christmas tree. After they were done with it, they could see who else selected the same ornament and placed it where they did. It was a fun little project, with links to the respective ornaments purchase pages on the main website. It was a good example of using interactive content campaigns to push brand awareness and product interaction. Ultimately, it would take the user a few minutes at least to finish decorating their tree, which increased the on-page metric for the client.
We haven’t even scratched the surface of all the cool ideas that you could use for your next content campaign. Though not exactly falling under the category of “awesome content pieces”, content generators, domain name generators, and various online calculators can increase user interaction and on-page time. We’ve all used them from time to time, like mortgage calculators, but these little interactive forms can do a lot for a website, especially in a niche market.
Bonus: Generators & Calculators
Just consider domain names. Often times, you’ll have a few small business owners sitting around the room talking about their next big idea, and they need a snappy domain name to go with it. They could spend a considerable amount of time playing around on a website looking for a high-quality domain name, then checking to see if it’s available for purchase. But, they can save time by doing all of this on a website with a domain name generator.
Did you know that many accounting and tax solutions offered online calculators to calculate your 2018 tax refund? 1040.com, H&R Block, Turbo Tax, and even the federal government, via the IRS website, offered a calculator to help users. Typically, people spend some time on the website and learn more about the products and services that these organizations offer, which in turn increases revenue.
At Go Fish, we’re always trying to improve on meaningful metrics for our clients, on-page time being one of them. Whether it’s an intricate map showing off large datasets, or enjoyable HTML mini-games, you now have some additional ideas that will increase that metric for your users. So, what are you waiting for? Create your own brand’s awesome content piece, and tell us about it below!