The golden rule to keep visitors on your site

the-golden-rule-to-keep-visitors-on-your-siteEverybody who has a blog or a website becomes familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media, and other ways to ensure that his or her site is visible. The objective is to get more traffic and attract visitors. Once you get them on your site, what do you do to keep them there? Or what do you do to NOT make them leave? Let’s look at the golden rule to keep visitors on your site so you can engage your audience for a longer period of time.

Why do you want to keep visitors on your site?

If you have a business website, keeping your visitors on your site longer will definitively give you more credibility, and a greater advantage than your competition. This is one of the main reasons traditional business sites have started incorporating blogs within their site. It gives them more authority.

If you are a blogger, this is the obvious – it gives you more time to engage and connect with your audience. There is a huge amount of competition in the world of blogging. You work hard at promoting your site and developing a faithful audience, being able to keep your visitors on your site once they’ve found you is a top priority. The longer you keep them on your site, the better you can connect with them and the more chances you have to get them to subscribe to your list.

The heart of the matter: How do you keep your visitors on your site?

Here is a list of things that you “SHOULD DO”

  • Develop great content in your blog. Yes, content is king. Your audience needs to get something out of your content.
  • Create content that helps your readers. This is true for blogs, but also true for websites. There are so many websites that only talk about themselves.
  • Insert beautiful images and graphics. Visuals are usually worth a thousand words. However a poor quality image can hurt you just as much.
  • Use negative space. Yes, let your site breathe, it will make your content stand out. This is also true for photography.
  • Make your site responsive, in other words mobile friendly. (Check this article: Make your site user friendly for all types of devices)
  • Use appropriate opt-in forms to grow your subscriber list. Offer something of value to them in return to their subscription. Asking them to sign-up is just not enough. (Check this article: Avoid this mistake and watch your subscriber list grow)
  • Make it easy for them to navigate your site with a logical menu.
  • Offer other related content at the end of your blog posts or website content.

Here is a list of things you “SHOULD NOT DO”

  • Insert all sorts of useless distractions, like pop-up opt-ins that keep popping up every time you are on a new page.
  • Use unreadable fonts
  • Install plugins, extensions, functionalities that slow down your site
  • Use images that are too big in size (in Kb, MB), they will slow down your site also. (Check this article: Basic photo trick that will increase your site’s speed)
  • Broken links
  • And here is my favorite one: insert external links that make your visitors leave your site without a way to come back to it.

The golden rule to keep visitors on your site

Do not have external links that open in the same browser window.

You are essentially sending your visitors to another site and making them leave yours entirely. External links should always open in another browser window.

Let’s be honest, how many of you have external links on your site that once your visitors click on them, they are leaving your site for good unless they type your domain name again in their browser?

Let’s look at this a little more in detail.

Most sites have 3 kinds of external links.

  1. Content links
  2. Social media links
  3. Copyright links (usually found in footers)
  • External Content LinksThese are found in your content, your blog posts, and various other areas of your site. They link to other websites, other blogs, other articles and posts on other sites. If you insert a link to redirect your visitor outside of your site, that link should always open a new browser window. That way it keeps your site readily accessible.
  • Social Media LinksThese are usually in the form of icons as an incentive for your visitors to follow you on your social media channels. Even though it is not as critical as external content links, the same rule applies: they are considered external links and as such should open a new browser window.
  • Copyright LinksThese are most often found in footers, but not always. They are automatically inserted when
    • You install a WordPress theme or a Joomla template
    • You use a free version of a plugin or an extension (not always)
    • You solicited a designer to create your site. Designers insert their copyrights in your footer (as an example: Website designed by ABC Company, with an hyperlink to redirect to ABC Company)Here again, it is important that you check your copyright links, decide if you want to keep them or not (there are ways to disable them), and should you decide to keep them, make sure all of those links open in a new browser window.

Now let’s check your site

5 easy steps to keep your visitors on your site

  1. Open your site in a browser window
  2. Check all external links on your home page and write down the ones that open in the same browser window
    1. Make sure to include the links in your content, your social media links and your footer
  3. Go to your WordPress dashboard
  4. Find the links and correct them
  5. Repeat for all pages

Note on changing the attribute of a link: your content and social media links should be fairly easy to change. On the other hand, for copyright links you might need to look further into your WordPress theme settings to find a way to disable them. In some instances, a plugin could be required. You should contact your designer if your site created by a designer.

A final word on the golden rule to keep visitors on your site

Sharing links with other sites and blogs definitively helps you attract new visitors and grow your audience. External links should be used with that objective in mind, however you should be careful to correctly set the attribute of those links so that they open in a new browser window instead of allowing your visitors to leave your site entirely. Keep your visitors happy on YOUR site.

Please leave a comment and share your experience.

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