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Reader Retention: How To Increase Pages Per Visit

The average number of page views per visit to your website indicates whether your site has compelling content and is easy to navigate, or whether the content is dull and navigation is a nightmare (leading to low reader retention).

If visitors get carpal tunnel syndrome from trying to navigate their way around your site, they're not likely to return or bookmark it.
If visitors get carpal tunnel syndrome from trying to navigate their way around your site, they're not likely to return or bookmark it.

In general, more pageviews per visit is a good sign. To figure out your pageviews per visit, simply divide the total number of pageviews by the total number of visits for a particular time period. Keep in mind that if you get a lot of visitors through social media sites, these viewers tend to get what they came for and leave, so you may not get lot of pageviews per visit from these visitors. Fortunately there are many things you can do to help increase the number of pageviews per visit to your site. Here are 10 of them.

1. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

An unusually high number of pageviews per visit can indicate that your site is hard to navigate and readers are getting lost in a maze of navigation before giving up and exiting. If your site is easy to navigate, however, you'll get more page views for the right reasons: because visitors find it easy to get around your site.

2. Add Site Search if You Don't Already Have It

Being able to search your site for particular topics is a big convenience and can noticeably increase pageviews. It's easy to add Google Search to your site and customize it to coordinate visually with your site design.

3. Use Internal Links Within Posts

If a blog post hits upon a popular topic and you have a former post about that topic, link to it. This is a great way to help readers who want more depth find the information they need.

4. Add a List of Related Posts at the End of All Blog Posts

WordPress sites can do this automatically, but it's good to be able to manually add posts to your related posts listing too, to get more attention for older posts that could use it.

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5. Make Sure Sidebars Are Helpful

While many people ignore sidebars, enough readers look at them to make them worth your while to design well. Sidebars that simply list the archives by date aren't very helpful. Instead, use categories or a list of most popular posts.

6. Ensure Pages Load Quickly

A site that loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and that has great content is one readers will enjoy exploring and will bookmark.
A site that loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and that has great content is one readers will enjoy exploring and will bookmark.

It doesn't take much navigation of a site to determine if pages are going to take a long time to load. If a visitor knows he will be cooling his heels waiting for the next page to load, he's less likely to stick around.

7. Improve Upon Your ''Greatest Hits''

Periodically go back to your most popular posts and see if you can update them with links to newer posts that weren't around when the original post was written. This encourages more views of both old posts and the newer posts that are linked in them.

8. Plan the Occasional Multi-Part Series

While you shouldn't do this too often, having the occasional multi-part series can generate extra interest and more pageviews. If your industry has a busy time of year (such as spring for tax specialists), you could coordinate multi-part series with these times, announcing them in advance and reminding readers when they're coming up.

9. Make Your Site Easy to Interact With

Encourage discussions in comment threads. If your site develops a lively interactive community, site visitors will want to return often to see what others are saying.

10. Avoid Pageview Gimmicks

Sometimes it's good to divide a long article over multiple pages, but when it regularly takes three page clicks for a user to get through a 600-word article, you'll turn them off and discourage return visits.

The stickier you make your site, the more users will spend time exploring and the more will return repeatedly. If you're interested in increasing traffic and exploring ways to monetize your site, check out what RealMatch can do for you.

Photo Credits: sixninepixels / freedigitalphotos.net, photostock / freedigitalphotos.net

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