A well-established rule of business is that the longer someone patronizes your business, the more likely you are to make money. The same rule applies to websites, which are decidedly easier to leave for any reason and that is a problem for the online counterparts of now-dying newspapers. Researchers at the University of Missouri have recently completed a study though that should help those websites get valuable visits.
The researchers surveyed over 1000 people and classified them as 'reward seekers' or 'threat avoiders.' Threat avoiders are people who will only visit a news site on occasion, and then only check for news that directly impacts them. Reward seekers on the other hand will actually engage a news site by using its commenting abilities and, if one exists, its mobile app. The researchers recommend designing websites around the reward seekers by encouraging them to engage with the site while also keeping the design simple. The brain can only process too much information and overloading it can have a negative impact on one's ability to understand something, as well as remember it.
Of course, a site should not be made too simple by removing advanced navigation features or anything similar, as readers still just want the items they are interested in. With the proper balance though, news sites should be able to keep people at their site longer, which will increase their advertising revenue.
Source: University of Missouri, Columbia