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How Long Do Your Readers Stay at Your Blog – Length of Stay Statistics

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of March 2005 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments
One of the very first investigations that I ever did on blogging was into the idea of ‘length of stay’ on blogs. It was 18 months ago that I began to dig into the topic and got a bit of attention with the following post. I thought I’d repost what I found here on ProBlogger as its been buried away in the archives on one of my other blogs.

Warning – the following ‘research’ is not intended as anything too serious – the statistics generated are pretty loose and there are some serious problems with how I collected them (see below for the shortcomings of these stats) – but they might be helpful in thinking about your blog. Here’s my original post:

How long does the average blog reader stay on a blog on any given visit?

I searched for the statistic on Google but couldn’t find it so I decided to do some of my own investigations.

I headed over to The Truth Laid Bear: Traffic Ranking Page. It lists blogs in order of how much traffic they attract. It is limited to blogs using the Site Meter stats package that have made their statistic public.
I surveyed 350 blogs – 25% of the blogs listed (it took me a few days on my dial up connection) and found the following results.

According to Site Meter stats the average reader spends 96 seconds reading the average blog.

The blogs surveyed came from across the board in terms of their traffic levels. (ie I took results from everything from Instapundit (who reportedly has 80768 visits a day) through to The Trouble with the Baby (who has 1 visit per day).

Other findings

The top ten blogs on the list had an average length of stay of only 37 seconds where as the bottom ten averaged 83 seconds.

– Apart from the ‘top ten’ there was not a huge difference between blogs receiving high and low traffic. For example – blogs receiving 60 visits per day had an average visit length of 100 seconds which was almost the same as blogs averaging 2000 visits a day (ave 97 seconds).

Blogs with comments scored a higher average than those without. (this might partly explain the ‘top ten’ scoring lower as most of them do not have comments) I did not collect data on this, but it became very clear anecdotally.
Implications

96 seconds is not a very long time. It is quite disillusioning to realize that after slaving over a post for hours (or days as this one has taken me) that it is likely to be skimmed over in less than two minutes)

The average blogger would desire to lengthen the stay of their reader. This motivation might be that they are trying to create community and build relationships with their readers. It might be that they have advertising on their site (the longer the stay the more chance of a click through) or it might be that they are wanting to have some sort of a lasting impact on their reader through their writing – the longer the stay the higher chance of this.

Is interaction the key?
My study is by no means conclusive in terms of comments adding to length of stay on blogs – however it does indicate that if bloggers allow for their readers to respond and interact with the writer and each other that they will stay longer. Therefore an interactive approach might be a wise move for bloggers desiring lengthy visits.

Questions and areas for further research
– Does blog design/loading time impact the the length of stay?
– Does blog topic impact the length of stay?
– Do bloggers from certain countries (with high local readership) have different lengths of stay?
– Does posting length have an impact?
– How are News Aggregators impacting length of stay?
– How do these figures compare with other websites that are not blogs?

This brief survey is limited by the accuracy of Site Meters measuring of length of stay The way they do this is by measuring the difference in time between page views on a site. Accuracy is a problems as some readers will only view the one page on a site – thus registering a time of 0 seconds for their length of stay. Once again this may partly explain how the ‘top ten’ have low averages as I guess that they would have more readers surfing in throughout the day to check for updates and not surfing through links. As a result of this my ‘study’ is not something to base life an death blogging decisions on – but is something I’m posting more out of interest than anything else. Rachel’s written a good piece on the shortfalls of Length of stay statistics. So keep this in mind – I’m not saying 96 seconds is THE average – I guess what I’m hoping to communicate is that people don’t stay very long – and its worth considering how you can lengthen their stay.

After I wrote this post I started writing a few other Blog Tips that you might be interested in (they are from the early days but still have some helpful ideas in them if I do say so myself – you can access them at Blog Tip 1 – Get to the Point and Blog Tip 2 – Keep it Simple…Stupid. I also wrote the following short post which I’ll repost here:

The 96 second window of opportunity

So we’ve established that the average Joe spends about 96 seconds at your blog. Its not long in the scheme of things – but when you think about it its actually a real opportunity.

– The average TV commercial is 15-30 seconds long. (you could fit four in that time!)
– You can learn the Tango in 60 seconds
– You can Learn to be more creative in 60 seconds
– All it takes is 60 seconds to change the world
– All it takes is 30 seconds to become Famous
– It only takes 30 Seconds to make half a gallon of ice-cream
– The world record for speed reading is 1347.81 wpm. (she could read 2156.496 words in 96 seconds!)

Get the picture? – 96 seconds is actually a real window of opportunity!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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