Internet Business

Internet Business Statistics – Visitor Time on Site

by doug on 16 April, 2009

Internet business statistics are essential to keeping tabs on the performance of your website and your internet business.

One key value worth tracking is the time visitors spend on your site, and on each page.

How long should a visitor be spending on your site?

That depends on your site, the purpose of your site, and how your internet business works.

Internet Business Based On Content Sites

If you have a large content site aimed at a niche, you can measure the success of your content by how long people spend reading the content, and how many pages they view.  That may make you feel good about your site.

If the purpose of your site is a free public service, than visitor time and page views may tell most of the story.  But that does not sound like a business.

If you have an internet business, the goal is to convert as many visitors as possible into paying clients.  If you are monetizing using click-through ads such as Google AdSense or a CPA (cost per action) network, then short visits to your site may be a good thing – if people are clicking the ads.

Imagine: someone lands on your site and starts reading.  Within seconds, an ad attracts their attention and they click it, taking them off the site.

Was your internet business successful?  Yes!  A visitor clicked and ad, making you money.  How long did they spend on the site?  Just a few seconds.  In this case, visitor time does not correlate to the success of your business.

If you have few click-throughs and very short visits, then you know something is wrong with your site.

What could be wrong with your site in this case?  Maybe the content  or layout are turning your visitors off and driving them away as quickly as they arrive.  Or it could be that the content on your site does not match the interests of the visitors you are attracting.

Internet Business Based on Selling Product

If you are selling something directly, then you need to look at visitor time in a slightly different way.

For this type of site, the measurement of primary interest to you is conversion: how many visitors arrived and how many of them took the action you wanted them to take on that particular page.

If you are sending visitors to an optin page (highly recommended) and the optin page is well designed, you should expect people to spend very little time on the page.  Such pages should make a quick impression, and lead to a quick decision: either visitors enter their name and email address and click the submit button, or they leave.

In this case, visitor time is meaningless.  If they are spending a lot of time on that page, then you have to question your page design.

There are exceptions to this.  If you have audio or video on your page (using one or the other is highly recommended) you may expect visitors to hear you out before making a decision.  You may be able to find out where you are losing people by finding out how long they stay on the page and correlating that to how far into the audio or video most people get before leaving.

The problem with this approach is that the reported visitor time on the page my not be very well synchronized with the media player.

On the whole though, the main thing you want to look at with an optin page is what percentage of visitors opt in.  If the numbers are low, then you need to make changes to the headline, appeal, and/or nature of your audio/video.

If your visitors arrive directly on a long-copy sales letter, your primary concern is still conversion.

View time is of some interest.  If view times are short, then you are failing to grab your visitors’ attention.

Conversion is still the primary thing to look at.  The lower the conversion, the more you need to do to engage visitors.

Visitor Time Conclusion

The amount of time visitors spend on your site is interesting, it it not the most important metric to measure.

Dwelling on visitor time is not an internet business accelerator.  On the contrary, it is a distraction.

Keep an eye on this number, but focus your attention on conversion.  That will accelerate your internet business.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita D. 04.16.09 at 15:57

Hi Doug
I am setting up “WP to twitter” plugin for the wordpress, it looks like it’s very straight forward.
Is there anything special needs to be done in order for it to give maximum traffic from twitter?
Please share it


Doug Samuel 04.16.09 at 18:18

Thanks for the question, Rita.

You must be referring to my first article on twitter.

Here is the first in a series of Twitter Tip articles