One of the most frustrating measurements that I encounter when analyzing a website is the time a visitor spends on the website. Honestly I hate it when someone asks me how Google Analytics can track a visitor to a page, but yet that visitor stayed on the page for a total of zero seconds.
Like the pages per visit metric I explained yesterday, the amount of time someone spends on your website is also a measure of how successful your website is. I've measured the average time someone spends on a jewelry store's website is 6 minutes. You can find your own measurement in Google Analytics by clicking on the left navigation for Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic and looking for the number listed next to "Avg. Visit Duration."
The amount of time someone spends on your website really does depend on the type of content you have on the site.
A jewelry store with a large product catalog might only show an average visitor duration of 5 minutes even though the average number of pages viewed is 14. In cases like those I usually find that people are clicking quickly through a product catalog because the product descriptions are very short or nonexistent. Users have no choice but to rapid click through the catalog, and they will click even faster if your product photographs are really bad.
I've also found that jewelry stores with a lot of long blog posts will have average visitor durations less than 2 minutes. This actually shows that people find the website, read the blog, and then leave. What's actually happening is that the jeweler is spending time writing blogs and posting them to the site, but the blogs are not enticing people to click too deep into the site.
As you can see, there are several factors that tie together to make a website successful. No single metric can be measured without taking into consideration several others. Although my measurements of sites with large catalogs and large blogs do make sense when you compare them to the average time a visitor spends on a site, there's a much deeper level of investigation that's also needed.
It turns out that the time someone spends on your website is directly related to the type of content they are looking for. Repeat visitors might only need to know your store hours or services you provide. They might leave your site within 1 minute, therefore bringing your entire average time down. New visitors might quickly brows through your selection of earrings and leave simply because you don't show pearl drop styles on your site. Again, that's a fast navigation through your catalog before leaving.
There's no reason to force someone to stay on your website longer than it takes for them to find exactly what they are looking for. On the other hand, you could design your site to keep the casual visitor occupied for more than the average 6 minutes.
Here are some ideas for increasing the average visitor duration of your site:
1. Write longer product descriptions.
2. Write product reviews as a blog entry and link the products and the individual blogs together. This technique only works if your blog is hosted on the same domain as your website, i.e. www.jewelrystores.com/blog/ instead of blog.jewelrystore.com.
3. Create a "suggestions" feature on your site so visitors see other product they might be interested in based on products they've already viewed.
4. Include a link in your top navigation that will call attention to current promotions. Perhaps the link could say "Special Offers" or "Current Promotions" and leads to a dedicated page of promotion details. In turn that promotions page should link back into the product catalog.
You have a better opportunity to convert a first time visitor into an eventual customer if you can figure out how to make them stay on your website a little longer. One of those 4 suggestions should help but you will need to talk to your SEO professional to measure your own website metrics.