Striving to increase page views per visitor is ironic because most website publishers want to ultimately maximize revenue, which means for many publishers, we want visitors to click an ad or click an affiliate link.
Table of Contents
- 1. Filtered Search (a.k.a. Parametric Search)
- 2. Use Custom Sidebars with Category-Relevant Navigation
- 3. Ajax Search Pro
- 4. Thumbnail Related Posts Plugin
- 5. Text-Only Related Posts Plugin (in-content)
- 6. WP Post Navigation
- 7. Mobile Responsive Menu
- 8. Opinion Stage Polls (with Redirect)
- 9. Google Matched Content Unit
- 10. Best-Of Posts Page
- 11. All-Posts Page
- 12. Plenty of Internal Linking
- 13. Sticky Sidebar Widget with Navigation
- 14. Exit Intent Related Posts
- 15. Custom Banners Promoting Popular Content
- 16. Email Sign Up to Access In-Demand Content On Your Site
- 17. Embed Videos with Annotated Links to Other Pages on Your Site
- 18. Pagination
- 19. Link Images to Open in another Page
- 20. Tabbed Widgets
- 21. Quizzes
- Use Your Head
Yes, we can dream.
Sadly, the realty is a very small percent of visitors will click an ad or click an affiliate link and buy something.
Besides, for many websites, we also must pay some attention to the Big G (Google). We love free traffic and Google can send it in droves.
Google likes websites with a low bounce rate, high page views per visitor, long time on site… all the metrics that make for a good user experience on a website (so I’m told).
At the end of the day, I’m fine with striving to increase page views and improve all those other UX metrics. In many cases it can also increase revenue because the more ads and affiliate links that are displayed, the more likely they’ll be clicked. Consequently, I play along which means I’ve spent countless hours working to increase pageviews per visitor.
Fortunately there are many free and low-cost ways to increase pageviews per visitor. Here they are:
1. Filtered Search (a.k.a. Parametric Search)
This is a new addition to this post. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to add this to existing niche sites because existing infrastructure isn’t amenable for it. However, I have 2 new niche sites that are built around filtered search capability for most of the content.
What is filtered/parametric search?
It’s not new. Most large e-commerce sites have it and have had it for years.
Filtered search enables visitors to filter down results usually via check boxes, range sliders, etc.
Amazon has amazing filtered search capability. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Filtered search is much more granular than organizing via Categories and tags.
It’s usually done badly with WordPress
There are many directory themes out there, but they aren’t very good. They don’t really filter down very well and even if they do, the levels are limited because it’s still organized with categories and tags. In some cases, it may be a little more robust such as with real estate themes… but even then unless you can code to customize the built-in taxonomies, they’re very frustrating.
Here’s how to find out if it’s the wrong set up:
If you must drill down and each time you drill down you must go to another page, that’s the wrong set up.
How to do it right
The right set up will permit visitors to click multiple criteria at the same time to truly drill down their search instantly.
It should be set up with custom taxonomies and if your site has multiple categories, to also set up custom post types. You essentially want to create a database where each item is properly tagged with applicable custom taxonomies and created with the applicable custom post type.
This type of set up takes planning, but it’s enormously powerful and effective for more page views per visitor.
But that’s not even the best part.
The best part is that when you set up your site as a database, you can mix and match the content with display filters to create hundreds or thousands of long tail keyword targeted content that is excellent.
Not all niches
Obviously filtered search isn’t ideal for all niches. It’s great for a lot of niches, but all.
If you’re in a niche, such as real estate, recipes, photography, fashion, health, fitness, reviews, investing, gardening and many others, filtered search is a must-have feature for your site to increase page views per visitor AND to produce a lot of outstanding content quickly.
This is my 2016 approach to niche websites. While common with e-commerce, it’s novel for niche content sites. In Niche Tycoon I provide a full batch of training videos showing you exactly how I set up these sites, including the software I use, how to plan them and when they’re the right set up for your niche.
Recently I published a post about how I’m restructuring my bigger sites by organizing the big mass of content into silos as suggested by one of my favorite courses RankXL. I’m still working on it. It will take a while.
For each silo (a group of 5 to 100 posts), I’m creating custom sidebars. In each custom sidebar I’m customizing a set of navigation within the silo.
Not only does this create tight internal linking, it also offers very relevant navigation options for visitors. Better relevance means more navigation menu clicks.
How do I create custom sidebars?
If you don’t use Genesis, you can use the custom sidebars plugin.
3. Ajax Search Pro
I have a love/hate relationship with the Ajax Search Pro plugin. I love it because there’s nothing that comes close to creating such fantastic auto-suggest search bars on a website. I’ve tried a lot of search forms on my sites (including Google Custom Search) and nothing comes close to the level of visitor engagement I get with the Ajax Search Pro plugin.
I hate this plugin because some of the custom design features don’t work. I’ve tried customizing colors and it doesn’t work. The documentation offers a number of things to try such as adjusting permissions, pausing a CDN and other technical tweaks, but nothing worked.
Therefore, I’m left with the default form. The funny thing is the default form is better than anything else I’ve used.
Moreover, the search results it generates is amazing.
4. Thumbnail Related Posts Plugin
Currently I don’t have native ads on my bigger B2C sites. Instead, I create related thumbnail posts promoting content on the same site.
My favorite widget for doing this is Content.Ad. It’s free, offers nice customization options and it’s fast.
On each page on my site I have anywhere from 2 to 5 related posts widgets in an effort to get more page views. The longer the post, the more widgets I use.
FYI, I embed related posts widgets in the middle of content using the AdInserter plugin.
5. Text-Only Related Posts Plugin (in-content)
Not only do I use Content.Ad for thumbnail image related posts widgets, I use it to create text-only related posts widgets and also embed them in the middle and end of my content.
WP Post Navigation is my latest addition to my sites in an effort to increase page views. It’s simple and it works. It adds “next post” and “previous post” links to the bottom of my content. You can customize the style or you can upload your own images. It works well and is super easy to use.
7. Mobile Responsive Menu
I spent a lot of time finding the right responsive menu plugin for my sites.
I wanted one that would work on desktop, tablet and mobile phones.
I wanted one that would push content instead of hover.
I wanted one that looked good.
I wanted one that placed the menu icon on the same row as my logo instead of above or below so that I could maximize available screen space for content on mobile devices.
I also purchased and tested Superfly mobile responsive menu. Superfly is very popular and extremely feature rich, but I just happened to prefer Responsive Menu Pro. Both will work well for any WordPress site.
While most mobile visitors don’t use the menu, enough of them do that it’s worth having. Every additional page view helps.
8. Opinion Stage Polls (with Redirect)
I don’t use polls all the time, but I have to admit they work great for more engagement.
With Opinion Stage you can redirect voters to any URL you like which means you can increase page views per visitor pretty easily with a very engaging poll.
I’ve used a lot of polling software; these days Opinion Stage is my favorite. I like the look of the polls, the features and ease-of-use.
The key with using polls for more page views is using polling software that redirects voters to another page or post on your site.
Previously I wrote about MintsApp, but I no longer recommend it since it didn’t work well on my site.
9. Google Matched Content Unit
I wrote extensively about Google Matched Content Units here.
In a nutshell, these are Google Adsense’s version of related posts widgets. The big plus side is you can choose to have Adsense ads included in the suggestions. Normally I wouldn’t bother, but Adsense pays out well, so it’s worth having ads included.
Nevertheless, not every offering is an ad which means visitors click related posts which generates more pageviews per visitor.
10. Best-Of Posts Page
People love best-of anything.
As a result, I have a page on my site setting out the 20 most popular posts based on social sharing volume.
This page gets a lot of traffic and increases page views per visitor nicely.
If you create a best-of list page, you’ll want to promote it on your site. If it’s buried in the bowels of your blog, nobody will find it.
11. All-Posts Page
Using the TOC+ plugin, I created a user-friendly site map where every post is listed by category. This is a great resource because visitors can scan every single post on my sites quickly and choose which posts to visit.
As an aside, I find having a page like this can be very handy for getting URLs for internal linking.
12. Plenty of Internal Linking
Most of my posts have internal linking beyond related posts widgets. I create links within the content frequently from above-the-fold to the end of the post. I’m told this is also good for SEO.
I don’t put navigation in my sticky sidebar zone because I reserve that for ads (not Adsense).
However, if you aren’t putting ads in a sticky zone, you might as well put a list of highly engaging internal links to increase pageviews per visitor. It works really well because I’ve tested it. However, it also generates a lot of ad revenue so for now I put ads in the sticky zone.
Read more about how I create a sticky sidebar zone here.
14. Exit Intent Related Posts
If you’re in a niche or have a website where email marketing is profitable, use a sign up form for exit forms.
However, if email marketing isn’t a big focus for you, why not use Content.Ad’s exit intent related posts widget to offer exiting visitors more posts on your site.
Content.Ad does a nice job optimizing related post offerings.
Moreover, Content.Ad has decent reporting so you can see how effective the related posts, including exit intent related posts widgets perform.
15. Custom Banners Promoting Popular Content
I do this all the time. If there’s a post I really want to promote because it’s a big earner and/or people simply love it, I use banners on my site to promote those posts. It works very well.
16. Email Sign Up to Access In-Demand Content On Your Site
I’ve done this a lot. If you have an awesome piece of content that a lot of people like and it’s buried on your site, why not offer access from all other parts of your site via email sign up form.
Not only do you get more subscribers, but you also generate more pageviews.
17. Embed Videos with Annotated Links to Other Pages on Your Site
If you create videos for your niche and put them on YouTube, why not add annotations that link to other posts on your site.
I’ve done this for years and it works like a charm.
Moreover, this is a great way to drive more traffic from YouTube. I find Annotations more effective than a link in the YouTube video description.
Pagination is by far the most effective way to get more page views. However, it can be done to such a degree that it hurts user experience and can hurt SEO.
If you want more pageviews to improve user experience and SEO, extreme pagination can hurt more than help.
I dabble with pagination but it’s not a main format on my sites.
While pagination can be insanely profitable with paid traffic, in the extreme it wont’ help SEO or user experience. Of course you can create separate, noindexed paginated versions of you content for paid content, but that’s another matter altogether.
Generally, I don’t paginate my main content because I like publishing long posts. It does result in few pageviews per visitor, but I’ve received a lot of feedback from visitors liking my site because it doesn’t paginate.
19. Link Images to Open in another Page
Linking images to open in a new page works spectacularly well for generating more page views.
What I do is link to a page or post that expands on that particular image. I only do this when I have something worthwhile to say. A good example is a product gallery. I link each product image to open to a new page that expands on that product.
20. Tabbed Widgets
While not a sure method for more page views, on simple sites it can be super effective. For instance, on my image focused niche site, there’s a lot going on plus a lot of ads so tabbed widgets get lost in the pack.
However, on more minimalist sites like this site (Fat Stacks), the tab widgets stick out nicely and do get more page views.
I think also tabbed widgets with the “Popular” posts tab is very effective because people like to see what’s popular. You’ll notice I added this to this site.
FYI, the tabbed widget I’m using is the WP Tab Widget Pro by My Theme Shop which I like quite a bit. There are many to choose from. I typically use My Theme Shop’s plugins when possible because they work well, are updated regularly and I have a full membership so it doesn’t cost me any more use them.
I’m just entering the world of adding quizzes to my sites. I’ve used polls quite a bit, but I’ve stumbled on a new WordPress quiz plugin that does an amazing job at generating a lot of page impressions which means more ad impressions.
Polls are great, but they don’t generate the number of fresh page impressions as quizzes, especially personality quizzes where users are inclined to click through and answer all the questions to see the final result.
I’m testing several quiz plugins, but so far this is my favorite one because it’s so simple to set up, gives me plenty of ad placement flexibility and each “Next” click refreshes the page which refreshes all the ads.
Use Your Head
Yes, you can incorporate methods to increase pageviews but can do so in a way that actually compromises your primary goal (especially if your goal is to improve user experience and SEO).
I do most of the above. Altogether they work well, but then my content is typically very long.
The key is testing to see what works.
I also pay attention to what other websites do in my niche as well as other sites generally. I’ve discovered many good ideas simply by analyzing other websites while I’m visiting. I’m sure you do the same; after all, once you become a blogger or website publisher, surfing the web is never the same. We never turn our game hat off (at least I seldom do).