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Written by Jordan Hildebrand on June 5, 2020

How To Improve Website Session Duration

What Is Website Session Duration?

Simply put, website session duration is the amount of time that a viewer spends on your website in a single visit. Website session duration is often measured as an average, calculated as the total duration of all sessions (seconds) / total number of sessions. There are many great tools that can be used to track a metric like this, one of which is Google Analytics, which most marketers will already be familiar with. 

It is important to note that there is a difference between two similar t metrics namely, session duration and time on page. Time on page is the amount of time that a viewer spends on a single page before they either click onto a new page in the website, or leave the website entirely. Website session duration is the amount of time spent on all pages of a website, meaning that it reads the total time spent on a website regardless of whether a viewer navigates to multiple pages on a website, or if they leave the visit before clicking on another page.

So Why Is That Important?

Well first of all, the more time that a viewer spends on your website, the more likely their visit isgoing to convert into a sale or make use of the content or function that your website is designed to provide.

A longer session duration also serves as a good indicator that your website is providing value to the viewer and they are enjoying the content that they are consuming.

How To Increase Session Duration

Now that the importance of maximising this valuable metric has been highlighted, it's time to dive into how you can achieve this on your own website!

1. Video

Video is quickly becoming the most engaging form of content for viewers to interact with as video is proving to hold a viewers attention much longer than normal text content is able to.

Implementing videos that are relevant to the other content present on your website is a good way to supplement the text content with another form of media, to either enhance or replace the way that the information on the website is consumed. 

Videos are particularly useful when paired with how-to or tutorial type content as these videos can serve as a visual representation of what is mentioned in text, in order to give the viewer the option to consume content in the type of media that is most effective and useful to them.

Many users feel that time is of top priority, and are therefore always searching for the fastest ways they can find the information they are looking for on a website, which usually causes them to skim read for keywords when scrolling through your website text. Videos are a good way to combat this because they are perceived as more entertaining to the viewer, and therefore are able to hold their attention for a longer duration.

2. Images

Similar to how videos are used in combination with text content, images are a great way to include visual items that are relevant to any text content as it  provides another sensory form to aid a viewer’s content understanding and consumption.

Images need to be well placed and of high quality so that they are visually appealing to the viewer. The reason why images are so effective at maintaining a viewer’s attention and prolonging their session duration is because they enhance interest in a page and if well placed, allow for a website to avoid creating a “bored” viewer by breaking up long pieces of text content.

3. Site Navigation

Another good way for a marketer to create longer lasting website sessions is to lure viewers into discovering other pages on a website by giving them good site navigation controls and placing internal links to other pages on the website.

The reason why good site navigation improves website session duration is because once a website has captured the viewer’s interest, they are more likely to want to explore the website further and discover what else it has to offer. By giving viewers the tools or controls to be transported to all the content the website has to offer, they may spend more time consuming that content.

4. Viewer Experience

To further develop on the above point, it is important to create a really good user experience on a website in order to keep a viewer engaged, and not frustrate them with bad website optimization, design and controls. A badly designed website can easily lead to the viewer’s premature exit from the website.

The key points in creating a good user or viewer experience on a website include:

  • Page reliability - making sure that each link transports the viewer to the expected page on the website. All videos and images are loading correctly. Nothing is more of a turn off than trying to watch a video on a website only to find that it is not loading and there is no way to watch it
  • Load speed -  creating a speedy and responsive website that quickly loads new pages and instantly delivers page content to the viewer without a loading or buffering time. A slow page load speed can easily frustrate viewers and cause them to leave a website. You don't want to test their patience for too long!Good formatting - proper layout of content and media in a way that is both visually appealing to the viewer and structured in a way that follows the natural flow a viewer would progress through content on the website
  • Remove distractions - creating uncluttered pages ensures you are not distracting your viewer from the main page content is a good way to keep them engaged and consume all the content a page has to offer

5. Valuable Content

This is so important! The content on your website absolutely has to be valuable to a viewer in order for them to consume the website content and create long lasting session durations. If your website does not contain the content that a viewer is looking for, or it is not delivered in a way that quickly creates value for them, they will not stay on your website.

In order to create content that is valuable to a viewer, it needs to be to the point and informative. There is nothing worse than having to read through paragraphs and paragraphs of text that waffles on before getting to the real meat and potatoes of the content that you as a viewer are looking for.Content should also be verified in some way, either through citations, links to sources, or some other way to display expertise in order to make the content trustworthy. 

Also, do not forget that using the correct language is crucial in keeping a viewer engaged so that their understanding and focus on the content is not distracted.

There are so many on-page SEO techniques such as these that will improve your viewers’ experience on your website and keep them engaged for longer durations.

6. Interactive Functions

Ultimately, one of the best ways to keep a viewer on your website is to give them something to do. That might be in the form of a quiz, a slideshow/video, discussion forums or anything of that sort that requires some form of interaction from the viewer.

These interactive functions are a good way to prolong the session duration because they not only keep the viewer engaged by peaking their interest, but these functions also provide an opportunity to link the viewer to other pages of a website, where the content consumption process can be restarted.

What’s Stopping You?

The only thing left to do is to implement these elements on your own website and watch how your viewer session durations skyrocket! 

Who knew that creating a website that viewers want to spend more time on would be so easy, and it really is!

But we're not done there, take a look at the Oviond blog for more information on how you can improve your website and take it to the next level.

Article written by Jordan Hildebrand
As part of the Customer Success Team, Jordan joined Oviond in early 2020 with the aim of learning more about the digital marketing industry. He enjoys working in a team environment that allows him to collaborate with others, and work together to achieve a shared goal. Excited by the idea of a challenge, Jordan enjoys exercising the relationship between analytics and creativity, and is always looking for ways where both of these aspects can be implemented together. He is a firm believer that we should always strive for improvement in everything we do, and embraces this mindset in both his working and personal life. Jordan loves spending time being active outdoors with his fiancée, and uses any free opportunity to grow his skill in photography.

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