I'm part of a political website which publish analyses, news and interviews on a regular basis.
It's been almost a year since our foundation, and even though our visitor count raises we still could not find a way to make our visitors to spend more time on the website. Our bounce rate is very high and most of our visitors come from search engines and social networks.
While researching this issue I realized that none of the political websites or even newspaper websites could manage to keep people on their site for a long time. For example; washington post or ny times, or foreign policy have tens of thousand of visitors a day, yet no one spends more than hour on those websites people just visit, read the article they are interested in and they just leave.
So after this long explanation, here are my specific thought on the issue. Please share your thought with me.
1- Allowing comments: is it a good idea to allow comments on articles and news posts? If yes do you suggest Facebook comments, or any other comment api like IntenseDebate, etc..
2- Personalized section: Would it be a good idea to automatically create a personalized section for registered visitors, based on their policy interests which they can log on with a password.
3- Increasing the number of videos and pictures
4- Creating a forum section (but how would it be differ from other billions of forums)
5- Better categorizing, (what would be a better idea instead of categorizing into countries and issues such as -culture, human rights, etc.-
These are the ideas that I can think of, I appreciate any kind of comments and suggestions.
Thanks in advance..
yet no one spends more than hour on those websites people just visit, read the article they are interested in and they just leave.An hour is a ton of time, if that is your objective I think you may need to curb your expectations some. Most people will typically read content and move on yes that is correct.
The best ways to increase that is to create dialog between users, confrontation, and debates.
So yes comments would be critical. Something like Disqus would work well because they can identify who they are or be anonymous. When debating and posting political responses people are rarely brave enough te reveal their identity so Facebook comments is probably a bad choice.
But really for politics and news, it's about creating engaging conversations, also known as Arguments ;)
Also, sex does sell... so any time you can get some political dirt on someone sending a picture of their Weiner or a politician getting busted will help your views and engagement.