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

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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Comments

  1. The average time of 96 seconds could be a statistical error. For example, if one person earns a $1 million per year, and the others earn $0, the average is $100,000 per year. As you can see, averages are very misleading. A better statistic is the median, where 50% of stays are longer than say 96 seconds and 50% are shorter.

    Since the major A-List bloggers probably have thousands of visitors that simply click over to check for updates, stay 10 seconds or less and then leave, those short stays would receive far more weight. One 10 minute stay on a low traffic blog would be overwhelmed in the “average length” calculation by quick clicks to the Top 100 blogs.

    That said, your study teaches some very valuable lessons for bloggers. The writer must engage the visitor immediately or risk that reader from clicking away to a more interesting blog. As you say, get to the point of the post, and keep the message simple.

    Thanks for taking the time to research this intriguing concept of length of stay. Thanks to your having comments, my stay just exceeded 96 seconds.

    Of course, that could merely be a reflection of my slow typing speed. :-)

  2. Connected says:

    My first blog http://dshepherd.blogware.com/blog is now 48 hours old, although I’m hooked already. At the moment my priority is to get some content onto my blog to give it an indentity but very shortly I am interested in seeing how I can generate a (probably small) cashflow. Thanks for producing a very helpful blog. Who knows one day my blog may be in the top 100 thanks to people like you! Maybe you could look in on me every now and then and give me some tips

  3. Alex says:

    I think it’s important to know. But the fact that they are spending that time with you is important. Beacuse they come back. That’s what’s most important. It’s building a relationship with your reader.

  4. BHR says:

    Fascinating post. It was so good I stayed for 98 seconds – it was definitely worth the extra 2! ;)

    Keep up the fantastic work.

  5. Like the other people who posted a comment about your article, I stayed longer then I usually do at blogs albeit just reading material. Although I’m a fast reader, I tend to stay longer if there is something visual (images) to keep my interest.

    I have an artist blog and would be very interested to know if you stayed longer at sites that included images. Or did it make little difference?

    By the way, enjoy visiting your blog on a weekly basis. Although the content can be mind-bloggling as far as the numerous articles, it is very informative. I applaud you for taking the time and spending perhaps hours on writing good articles.

    Best regards,
    June

  6. russell lobo says:

    loved reading this article…. makes sense to design the site keeping the 96 sec in mind to capture a persons attention and then use AIDA.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Hoe lang zijn lezers eigenlijk on-line op weblogs?

    Volgens Darren Rowse van ProBlogger 9 [...]

  2. feedbuzzard says:

    The 96 Second Window of Opportunity
    ProBlogger Darren Rowse says he is quite disillusioned to realize that after slaving over a post for hours that it is likely to be skimmed over in less than two minutes. His research suggests that the average Joe spends about 96 seconds at your blog. …

  3. How long do people read a blog
    Problogger
    did an interesting piece on how long readers stay at a particular blog
    and I think the results were amazing.  They found that on average
    a user spends 96 seconds at a blog. May not seem like much but the
    averageTV commercial is 15-3…

  4. Hoe lang zijn lezers on-line?
    Volgens Darren Rowse van Problogger maar 96 seconde. Hij heeft daar onderzoek naar gedaan onder 350 bloggers die sitemeter gebruiken. Ik heb natuurlijk gelijk ook zelf eens gekeken. Bij mij zijn de bezoekers gemiddeld 2.4 minuten on-line. Dat is nogal

  5. The average length of stay on a blog
    Darren Rowse surveyed 350 blogs and found out that the average length of stay on a blog is 96 seconds.

    He also says that interactivity with readers increase the length - regarding to the way I read blogs myself, I agree.

    In conclusion he says tha…

  6. Bloggers… How Long Do They Stay?
    Darren at ProBlogger did some pretty impressive research into how long the average reader pours over your blog (and as one who “blogs til she bleeds,” I must say it’s enough to make me yank out the last of my hair).

  7. Blog World says:

    How Much Of My Blog Do People Read?
    Darren at ProBlogger has an interesting post about research he’s done into how long people stay on his blogs. The answer apparently is not long at all. While I haven’t gone into this in the depth which Darren has, his results don’t surprise me.

  8. RebelOne says:

    96 seconds
    How Long Do Your Readers Stay at Your Blog “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.” read more (via MediaFac…

  9. RebelOne says:

    96 seconds
    How Long Do Your Readers Stay at Your Blog “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.” read more (via MediaFac…

  10. Blog traffic: Length of visitor stays
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    “Darren suggests some areas of further research, and it’s too bad he hadn’t recorded topic, post length and load time while undertaking this mammoth task. Number of pages visited may have been worth measuring too.”

  12. [...] While reading his post, click on his link to his research about how long readers stay on each post. You will be humbled. [...]

  13. [...] I’ve written about the quickness the average blog visitors stays on blogs before but one twentieth of a second is pretty full on! All the more reason to work on blog design and think about what message your blog is communicating in the first few seconds of a visit. If you enjoyed this post Bookmark it at del.icio.us [...]

  14. [...] I thought about serialisation due to the renown short attention span generated by reading anything on the internet. For web sites, less is more. 79% of readers scan pages rather than read them, only 16% read the whole page. The average read time on a blog is approximately 96 seconds, that drops to 37 seconds for the largest internet blogs. [...]

  15. [...] The average time a reader spends on a blog post is 96 seconds. I am a fast reader, but the average is something like 200 words a minute. It is clear that this prohibits some forms of communication. It is explains why blogs are filled with such bad writing. [...]

  16. [...] 1. Shorter is better. Keep it short. Be brief. The average visitor spends about 96 seconds reading the average blog (see How Long Do Your Readers Stay at Your Blog – Length of Stay Statistics). As Jakob Nielsen wrote, users don’t read the web—they scan. Being concise can improve the usability of your post by 58%. [...]

  17. [...] it comes to reading blog content. In fact, Darren Rowse even performed his own investigation into how long readers actually stay on blogs and determined that the average visit length was approximately 96 seconds. This is certainly a much [...]