Your website… and why visitors assume it’s rubbish
Not very long.
The boffins at Microsoft carried out some research recently and apparently, the average page time is less than 1 minute.
One minute. Jeez…
But hang on, because this is where things get interesting. After all, we’re talking about pesky humans. We never conform to a simple average.
Those Microsoft guys crunched a lot of data in the course of their research. They looked at more than 10,000 visits to 205,873 web pages, which works out around 2 billion dwell times. The result?
The time users spend on a web page follows a Weibull distribution.
OK, 99.9% of you will be asking `What the heck is a Weibull distribution?’
What the heck is a Weibull distribution?
It’s an engineering concept that measures the`hazard function’ for machine components. In simple English, it predicts the point at which your shiny new equipment will go kaput.
The Microsoft researchers used it to predict when visitors would leave a website.
Right, bear with us here because we’re going to get a bit technical. You’ll have to pretend, for a moment, that you have a component. Here goes:
- Positive aging – Your component has been working for quite a long time. It’s wearing down and is likely to fail.
- Negative aging – Your component has been working for a really long time. It’s not wearing down so it must be high quality. Your component is unlikely to fail any time soon.
What have components to do with my website?
Nothing. Unless you sell components.
However, websites and components have one thing in common: they vary hugely in quality. Too many of them are shockingly awful. And from past experience with other awful websites, your visitor will assume yours is rubbish.
They will spend 5-10 seconds ruthlessly scanning for confirmation. Unless you change their minds within those few seconds they’re off.
Your component will have failed. But here’s the important bit:
The researchers found that when visitors stayed on-site for 30 seconds or longer, they became less likely to leave. It’s that negative aging thing. Your visitor is thinking `I’m still on this website. It must contain high quality content so I’ll stick around even longer’.
Your component is unlikely to fail any time soon.
To gain several valuable minutes of your site visitor’s attention, engage them within 10 seconds. How do you do that?
Get the content sorted. Obviously.