Where do you suppose your website visitors spend most of their time? Surprise: it's not your home page. For the most part, they're looking for the information that's buried in the interior of your site. If you want them to hang around, then, you need to let them know that there's more on your site to pique their interest – right from the interior pages.
This means that you need to build interior web pages that are more dynamic. The traffic that arrives at your web pages probably got there from a Google search. When Google gives its list of web pages in response to a search, it delivers the most relevant results; these typically aren't home pages. They're the pages that contain all that wonderful content you've built to rank high in Google in the first place.
So if your visitors aren't showing up on your home page, how do you get them to stay? How do you let them know that your website features all sorts of other articles and comments and content that they might like to read and interact with? There are a number of strategies you can use. Some of them involve widgets and plug-ins that are simple to add to your site, depending on which content management system you're using and how you've set it up. They're great ways to let readers unobtrusively know you have more fun stuff for them.
For example, one site I think of as a guilty pleasure is Cake Wrecks. At the end of every new blog post, you will find three thumbnails captioned with tantalizing titles for related posts. A post on wedding cake disasters might include a thumbnail and link to another post on ugly wedding cakes, or even one with exceptionally well done wedding cakes (the site hits both ends of the bell curve with its “Sunday Sweets” feature). Inevitably, one click leads to another. As Jesse Friedman explained in a post for Search Engine Journal, “show me interesting articles, or what other people are commenting on and I will be more than happy to stay on your site all afternoon.”
So what should you show your visitors, and how? As Friedman says, “All I need is a provocative headline or proof that my peers find something interesting.” You might add to your pages widgets or plug-ins that show which posts are most popular (getting the most views), or are specifically related to the current post. How about a list of posts that have received the most comments? A lot of blogs include a list of recent posts, and many readers like to be able to find those easily. You can also hook your site in with your social media landing pages, connecting your social stream to your site to show visitors how popular you are.
Most of your site's visitors will arrive at an interior page, and once they've gotten the answer to the question that brought them there, they'll move on – unless you give them a reason to stay. So make sure they know what else you have to offer, no matter what page they're on. Good luck!
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