The question isn't much time SHOULD someone spend on your website, but how much time DO they spend? And the answer is, a lot less than you think. Research shows the average time spent on a website is about 45 seconds.
Is that enough time for you to share what you offer your prospects? Probably not.
Qualifying the 45-second statistic.
Time spent on a website depends on a lot of different things: On a mobile vs. a desktop users. On B2B vs. B2C websites. On a news site vs. the weather site. Whether someone's visiting a site for a high-end service (like plastic surgery) or product (like a home builder site) vs. a site that sells hard drives.
Bottom line is, you want people to spend a lot of time on your website. But how much time do YOU spend on a website? Knowing the average visit to a website is only 45 seconds, does your website convey what you offer in that time? What about the 5 - 10 seconds someone will spend on your home page? How about your competitors websites? Do their websites tell a story in 45 seconds?
What should you say in 45 seconds?
If you think your prospects want to learn something about your company, you'd be wrong. The consensus in the world of marketing is: prospects don't care about you (or us). They care about learning what you do helps them. They want to know whatever you're offering solves their problems.
So if your homepage isn't talking about the benefits you offer your audience, it's time to update your website.
How much time do people spend on our website?
Here's a screen shot from our Google Analytics. It shows the average time on our site is about a minute and a half. And we should be happy with that.
Two reasons why it's so critical to get a prospect to spend time on your website:
- The more you engage someone, the more they'll see you as an expert in your industry, and the more trust you'll build with them, and
- Time spent on your website (also called "Dwell time"), is a ranking factor for Google's algorithms.
The more time someone spends on your website, the more "bonus points" Google's (and other search engine's) algorithms give your site. If someone spends time on your site, search engines' algorithms know that, and believes your content is interesting, which equals an educational, informative website. And that's a website search engines want to rank high in their search results, because if some people find it beneficial, others will as well.
The Nielson Norman Group, whose research focuses on user experience, summarizes it very well. They say "Users often leave web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people's attention for much longer. To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds."
Their research shows the average visit to a website lasts less than a minute.
How do you get someone's attention in 10 seconds?
There's no simple answer to this, but the factors we've found works for the websites we build, are:
- Make your message about your audience, not about you. No one cares about you (or us), they just want to know "What's in it for me? How is this company going to make my life better, easier, or help me make money?" (Or something like that.)
- Your website should make you look more evolved and professional than your competitors' websites. As we say: If you're better than your competitors, shouldn't your website be better than theirs?
- Tell that story in as few words as possible. Or better yet, images.
Two examples of showing your benefits with images.
For a produce distributor:
We developed a website for a produce company who didn't know how to show what differentiated them. Together, we helped develop those points, came up with a way to showcase those benefits with headlines and images, then built their website around those messages. (We took original photography - shown below - for their marketing.)
For a home builder
For a home builder, we focused on what their audience enjoys as much as the builder's homes. So between each section of the homepage, we had lifestyle images with benefits of what American Heritage Homes brings to the table. See the website for American Heritage Homes here, but below are screen shots showing the lifestyle images and benefits:
If you don't know what to say about your company, how to say it, or how to show it, talk with a Columbus web design firm who has done it for others. And assuming you like what they've done, maybe they can help with your website and marketing message.