We all like to think of our websites as destinations that serve to engage our prospects and customers. But this article from eMarketer — Has the Internet Made You More Productive — delivers a clear challenge to your website content.
The article quotes a Nielsen Online survey from January 2009, showing that respondents visit 131 domains per month and spend 60 seconds on a web page. Their November 2008 report showed that people visited 1,594 web pages per month, averaging 43 pages per web session.
This means your content has to be on target. Obviously people are not satisfied with limited information. Since the eMarketer article began by referencing a survey about productivity — and yes, 71% thought the Internet improved their productivity — it would probably be prudent to believe that if they're on a mission to find specific information when they launch a session, they'll be looking at a variety of sources.
The 60-second challenge requires that your web pages deliver something interesting enough to keep website visitors engaged. It also means you need to provide a clear path for them to continue to click deeper into your website. You want as many of those 43 pages as you can get, right?
It might be interesting to evaluate your website based on the 60-second challenge to learn if it's delivering the right level of engagement. Looking at your website analytics alone, without evaluating your content simultaneously, may not tell you what you need to know.
Here are some ideas for your website content assessment:
Read each page at normal speed and see how far you get in 60 seconds.
- Compare highly visited pages to those that sit idle. See any differences?
Consider that people may not dive in immediately, but look around first to see what's there before they start reading your main content.
- How long does it take to ingest all the surrounding content options? How much remains of your 60 seconds for the main content? Is it enough?
Now scan and scroll through your web pages and see what catches your eye.
- Take a look at which search terms are pulling people to the page. Is what's catching your eye related to those terms, and the expectations they set?
If you look at your website's navigational paths, which links are visitors clicking on? The ones above the fold? The ones in the sidebars? The formal navigation? Or the hyperlinks within your main text?
- The key question is, are they going where you want them to? Or are they wandering around, clearly not engaged in answer to the need that brought them?
Chances are that if the average web session includes 43 pages, yours aren't the only ones your website visitors are reading. This is one reason why it's important to spread your content around online—well, once you've made sure it's engaging.
And, consider that if the norm is 60 seconds you should consider a test by displaying a track/storyline of your content in one-minute chunks with clear paths to continue the storyline. Monitor behavior to determine if engagement with your content improves.
I'm wondering if anyone's done a study that shows the impression made by the number of relevant web pages visited? Seems to me that if each click (and they're obviously not afraid to click) delivers value, that should make a lasting impression—as well as a reason to return for more. [If you've got a data source for this, I'd love to see it.]
How's your website handling the 60-second challenge? Or, do you think this doesn't apply to your situation? I'd love to hear your thoughts.