March 21, 2014

Most Visitors Spend Less than 15 Seconds on Your Website. Are you Making it Worth Their Time?

How long do you think you have to capture a reader’s attention? 30 seconds? One minute? According to recent data from Chartbeat, you only have 15 seconds to pique a reader’s interest before they move onto the next site. What’s more, the type of content you assume works may not be. (At this point, I know you’re probably dying to click away—but bear with me.)

Chartbeat analyzed a random sample of two billion page views generated by over half a million articles across 2,000 sites to examine what type of articles got more engagement. Before we get into the meat of the study, however, it’s important to understand what “engagement” really entails. According to the company, engagement is the amount of time, measured in seconds, that a reader is actively interacting with their browser tab.

So what types of articles are readers engaging with most? Surprisingly, it’s actual news. In August, for example, articles related to Obamacare, Edward Snowden, Syria, and George Zimmerman performed well while evergreen topics such as Top, Best and Biggest, performed the worst. Initially, your first reaction may be to immediately delete every evergreen piece from your content calendar. But before you do that, consider this: story traffic and engagement rates spike when articles are newsworthy then decrease when news becomes stale. Evergreen content, on the other hand, has long-lasting relevance.

When it comes to content creation, a healthy mix of news and evergreen content is best. This way, you are driving long term traffic to your site as well as short term traffic and lead generation.  Above all else, content must provide value. Not every breaking news story will be relevant to your industry and audience. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon for engagement sake; give your audience valuable content that helps solve their biggest pain points and challenges. 

Edited by Gerald Baldino

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