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9 Tricks to Keep Users on Your School's Website Longer
Connor Gleason

"Time spent on page" has long been a key metric for judging user engagement on school websites. Why? Because when users spend more time on your site, it's a strong indicator that they’re actively engaged with the content you've provided. Or they’re asleep at the keyboard…

This engagement suggests that they’re not only consuming information—it's a clear indicator that your content is hitting the mark, whether it’s details about academic programs, extracurricular activities, blogs, or community events. 

But attracting users to your school's website is just the first step; the real challenge lies in capturing and maintaining their attention—a tricky task when the average person’s attention span is just a brief eight seconds, and by some measurements, viewers typically leave a website within 15 seconds.

We all want our websites to be a place where families and staff can easily find what they need and actually enjoy their time there. With so many distractions just a click away, how do you increase the average time on the page, ensuring that your website draws in visitors AND holds their attention?

By implementing these nine strategies, you can create a more user-friendly experience that engages visitors and even makes them want to stay just a little bit longer.

9 Ways to Increase Time on Page

1. Use Consistent Branding

Your school's website should feel like part of your school. This means your colors, logos, language, and fonts need to be the same everywhere.

Why It Works: Consistent branding across your website creates a sense of familiarity and professionalism. When visitors see a cohesive design, they feel more connected and engaged, and it helps people recognize your school and trust your website.

Oaks Christian website screenshot

Oaks Christian School uses its school, logos, and graphics consistently, and from page to page, it feels like a seamless experience.

2. Use a Mobile-Friendly Layout

Nowadays, most people use their phones to browse the web. It's essential that your school's website looks great and works well on mobile devices.

Why It Works: A mobile-friendly layout ensures your site is accessible and easy to navigate on all devices. If visitors can smoothly scroll, read, and interact with your site on their phones or tablets, they're more likely to stay longer and return in the future.

Pro Tip: Test your website on different devices. A responsive layout adjusts to fit the screen size of any device, making it easy for users to navigate your site whether they're on a phone, tablet, or computer. Make sure the text is readable, and the buttons are easy to click on smaller screens.

The Ultimate School Website Planner

3. Create Easily Scannable Content

People often skim websites to find what they need quickly—no one reads everything on your site. By one estimate, users read at most 28% of the words during an average visit. Cleary, making your content and website design easy to scan is important.

Why It Works: Organizing your content in an easily scannable format makes it easier for visitors to stay engaged without feeling overwhelmed. 

Methodist College Webpage screenshot

Methodist College Belfast’s page design is nicely balanced and easy to scan. Text is broken up with images or videos, and to make its website easy on the eyes, it uses headings, bullet points, short paragraphs, or numbered lists to help website visitors find what they need faster and encourage them to explore more of the site.

4. A Clean User Journey

A good user journey means having a simple menu, clear labels, and a logical layout.

Why It Works: A straightforward and intuitive navigation path makes it easy for users to find what they want. When visitors can navigate your site without confusion or frustration, their overall user experience is more pleasant, making them more likely to explore your website's pages and spend more time on it.

Pro Tip: Organize your menu with the most important pages first. Make sure each page has a clear purpose and leads visitors to the next step. And speaking of taking the next step...

5. Put a CTA on Every Page

A call to action (CTA) on each page tells visitors what to do next—and you need to tell users what to do, whether they sign up for a newsletter, register for an event, or contact your school.

Why It Works: CTAs provide a clear direction for continued interaction, encouraging users to engage more deeply with your site.

GISNY calls to action screenshot

German International School New York uses clear, action-oriented language and places CTAs in visible spots on its admissions page, providing convenient options for families to take the next step.

6. Add Links to Your Content

Keeping visitors on your site longer can be as simple as linking to other pages. When you link to other relevant web pages, people are more likely to explore deeper into your site.

Why It Works: It's a simple strategy, but when visitors read a page or post and find links to other interesting articles or information on your site, they are more likely to click through and continue browsing.

trident webpage mockup on mobile

Trident Academy's site makes it easy for users to gain more information about student life and more with links throughout the text to take them deeper into the site—brilliant!

7. Reduce Loading Time

If your site takes too long to load, people might leave before seeing your content.

Why It Works: Fast-loading pages improve the user experience. Users expect quick access to information and a slow-loading site can be a major turn-off. Optimize images and videos to reduce their size and keep your site's design simple and efficient.

Bishop Heelan Icons

Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools opted to use simple icons as quick links to different areas of the site. The simplicity of the graphics is mobile-friendly, reduces loading time, and makes navigating the site easier for users.

8. Add Video Content

Videos are a great way to engage visitors and share information in an interesting way. Keep videos short and exciting, though, and make sure they're optimized for web viewing.

Why It Works: Videos are an engaging way to present information and capture your audience's attention. They can provide a dynamic and interactive experience, which is often more interesting than text alone.

Central Catholic videos screenshot

Remember that not many people read everything—videos can tell a story in a way that text and pictures can't. Central Catholic added short and sweet video testimonials from students on its homepage—a great way to engage visitors that works well on desktops and mobile devices.

9. Add Pop-Up Notifications

Pop-up web notifications can be a powerful tool to get important information right in front of your audience, but they can also increase engagement and encourage them to explore related content.

Why It Works: Pop-up notifications (when used sparingly) can grab the attention of your visitors and provide them with important information or calls to action.

Saint Andrews pop up

Use pop-ups wisely to inform visitors about events, news, or updates without overwhelming them—make sure pop-ups are easy to close and don’t appear too frequently. Use them for essential announcements only, just like Saint Andrew’s did with its open house notification.

Key Takeaway

A great website is not just about looking good; it's about being valuable and enjoyable for your families and staff. There's no time to waste, though! Start applying these tips today to see a positive change in how long visitors stay on your site and how they interact with your content.

website redesign playbook

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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