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21 Clever Ways I Increased Pageviews Per Visit On My Websites

Wheel Invention Cartoon

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.

In a perfect world a visitor clicks an affiliate link, comes back to the site, clicks and ad and then goes to the merchant promoted with said affiliate link and spends $100,000.

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.

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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:

amazon-parametric-filtered-search-example

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.

2. Use Custom Sidebars with Category-Relevant Navigation

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?

Since I use the Genesis Framework, I use the Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin.

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.

Related Posts TIP
I pepper my long posts with related posts widgets – both text-only and thumbnail versions.  This offers visitors plenty of unobtrusive exposure to other popular content on my sites.

6. WP Post Navigation

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.

After testing about 6 or 7 mobile responsive menu plugins, I settled with Responsive Menu Pro.  I started with the free version and liked it so much I purchased the pro version.

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.

Note:  Not every Adsense publisher has the option for Matched Content Units.  It’s in beta and is invite only so if you don’t see the option in your Adsense account, it’s unfortunately not available to you.

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.

13. Sticky Sidebar Widget with Navigation

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.

18. Pagination

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.

TIP

Whenever I link anything, I have the target page open in a new window.  I do this primarily for user experience.  As a website user, I much prefer links to open in a new window so I assume my visitors prefer this.

Yes, I even have affiliate links open in a new window.  I know the prevailing thought is to not have affiliate links open in a new window to increase chances of a sale by keeping the referral on the merchant site… but while I like affiliate commissions, I tend to run my sites the way I would like them as a visitor.

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.

21. Quizzes

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).

Leave a Comment:

22 comments
Elise Xavier says January 3, 2016

These are really good tips. I think I’m probably going to integrate the Ajax Search Pro plugin you recommended into at least one of my sites. Tested it out and it seems better than pretty much any alternative I’ve tested yet.

Just out of curiosity, would you be willing to share what your current Pages / Session happen to be for your site(s)? And how much of a difference do you find your tweaks made? I do feel like this value is usually pretty low for blogs by comparison to other sites, so every little bit of an increase counts.

Reply
    Jon says January 4, 2016

    Hey Elise,

    I can’t pinpoint how each tip increased pageviews per visitor because I’m constantly playing around with such features on my site and have implemented them over 18 months. For my highest traffic I get approximately 1.46 page views per visitor, which is not bad considering I don’t do pagination. If you paginate, you can quadruple or more that.

    Reply
      Elise Xavier says January 5, 2016

      Confirms a lot of what I thought! I feel like it’s *really* hard for a blog style site to get over 2 page views per visitor (without pagination), unless it integrates a forum or something, but then I feel like that doesn’t actually count considering the extra page views per visitor are to the forum and not the blog itself.

      I absolutely will not add pagination, thought it obviously does get the extra clicks. Feels so spammy and I hate using websites that do it. I feel like good user experience will be rewarded by people coming back more often in the end – though I don’t really care. Even if all factors are the same, but I get the extra page views with pagination, I still won’t add it cause it would bother *me* to look at my *own* content, haha.

      Reply
        Jon says January 5, 2016

        I totally agree Elise, that’s why I don’t paginate but I can tell you that paginating will increase revenue. It’s a judgement call. I chose not to do it, but I can totally understand why many website owners do paginate extensively. I’m at the point where revenue is really good from organic traffic so I don’t care to jeopardize that so I’ll stay the course.

        Reply
Jared says January 5, 2016

I’m in the process of redesigning my website and introducing the new trend of infinite scrolling. I know it will boost page views but now I’m wondering how to handle my Google Adsense placements? I know Google only allows 3 ad placements “per page” but since each article is considered a new page on infinite scrolling is it ok to have 3 per article? Or would this be an issue? Any assistance or guidance would be appreciated. In my research it seems this is still a questionable practice. Thanks!

Reply
    Jon says January 5, 2016

    Good question Jared. I don’t know the answer. I agree infinite scrolling is great for UX, but I’m not sure how to work that with Adsense units. I have one site with infinite scrolling on the home page only and will only put 3 Adsense units on that page.

    Reply
    Elise Xavier says January 5, 2016

    “Since each article is considered a new page on infinite scrolling is it ok to have 3 per article.” I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be. Going with my gut I don’t think Google would count each article as a new page on infinite scroll. I’m sure they’d just count it as one infinitely long page. Don’t 100% know, but that’s my intuition.

    Reply
Raul says January 5, 2016

First of all, congratulations on your good blog. I follow it with interest. I bought out of your recommendation the Elevn40 theme, and I am happy with it. Let me ask you something. I see that before you were using “Shareaholic”, and later you moved to “Sumome”, and now you have another social media sharing system. Could you let me know about it? Thanks in advance.

Reply
    Jon says January 5, 2016

    Hey Raul,

    I’m glad you like the Eleven40 theme.

    Social Media sharing – here’s what I’m doing right now. For non-image focused sites I’m using the Monarch Plugin.  I love this for social sharing buttons because it’s easy to use and I love the display of the buttons.  I’m using this on Fat Stacks.

    For sites with a huge focus on images, I still use SumoMe because SumoMe’s image sharing feature is the best… better than Monarch.  Monarch does offer share buttons to hover over images, but it still only shares the page. SumoMe will actually share the individual images, which is golden for Facebook and Pinterest.

    I hope this helps.

    Reply
Jason says January 5, 2016

Hello Jon , congrats on your 2015 success. I am in the process of launching an image / content rich site following and combining methods taught by you and Chris Lee , another great guy I have enjoyed speaking with. Anyway, I have a question and would love your feedback. You mention that you do not like / use pagination. What would you recommend for a post that includes over 9K words and 19 pages of content? ( A small guide) Would you personally continue with one page only and the TOC? Another question , what plugin / tool are you using for your TOC? And when would you not use a TOC? Jon, I greatly appreciate any further information you can provide.

Sincerely,
Jason

Reply
    Jon says January 5, 2016

    Hey Jason,

    Great questions. I also have published 8,000 word posts without pagination. You can certainly paginate if you want… it’s up to you. I prefer not to. There’s more money to be made with pagination. Your call.

    As for TOC plugin, I use the Table of Contents Plus plugin. It’s awesome. I wrote all about it at https://fatstacksblog.com/table-of-contents-plus/

    Reply
jim Hunter says January 5, 2016

I’m guessing the menu being over at the right and only accessible by clicking on it is due to your ad placement. You don’t want a menu dropdown covering up one of your adsense ads which would violate Adsense TOS.

Is my guess correct?

Reply
    Jon says January 5, 2016

    Yes, that’s correct Jim. Push is okay with Adsense. Hover is not okay with Adsense.

    Reply
Bobby says January 5, 2016

Hey Jon,
Great post. I have a question, though. For the Best-of Post pages, I really like the idea. Do you have a link to an example? I’m curious as to how I would format and SEO something like that.

Reply
    Jon says January 5, 2016

    Unfortunately I don’t have such a post on Fat Stacks, although I should follow my own advice. I don’t share my niche sites.

    It’s very simple. You must decide how to determine your most popular posts. I chose by social sharing volume, but you can choose by page views, number of comments or any metric that makes the most sense for you.

    I formatted the best-of post with a lead image, an intro paragraph explaining how I selected the top 20 most popular posts and then I set out the list. Each item has a very brief description along with a link to the post. I also include the social sharing volume for each post so visitors know they’re super popular (I have some posts with over 300,000 shares).

    Keep it simple. Promote this with banners and/or links such as “20 Most Popular Ever on XX Site Name”. It works and visitors really like these posts.

    Reply
Hermine says January 6, 2016

Usually I don’t learn article on blogs, however I would like
to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so!
Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

Reply
Perrin says January 9, 2016

Hey Jon 🙂

I was wondering if you’ve ever tried something like Vocative does to increase pageviews. I don’t know what it’s called, but basically, every post infinitely scrolls to the next post (looks like it’s on one page, but you can see the URLs change).

Here’s an example: http://www.vocativ.com/news/268882/arrested-isis-suspect-loved-moodie-selfies-and-facebook-flexing/

What’s up with this, and have you tried it?

🙂
Perrin

Reply
    Jon says January 9, 2016

    Hey Perrin,

    I’ve never tried infinite scrolling. One concern, for which I don’t know the answer to, is whether it would be a problem with Adsense if ads kept showing up as a reader scrolled. I’m not prepared to take the risk. That said, I can see how infinite scrolling can increase page views (kind of artificially though) and more importantly, dramatically increase time on site, which is a great metric to improve.

    Reply
raja says January 18, 2016

your tips help me make seo friendly site and increase traffic thanks for that

Reply
Daniel says May 11, 2016

Hey,

I was trying to set up the combo you outlined in ##3 but can’t find the short code from content ad to insert into adinserter.

How did you manage that?

Reply
    Jon says May 16, 2016

    Hey Daniel,

    Content.ad should provide you code. Look for “installation code” on the widget. Just copy and paste that into ad inserter.

    Reply
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