Whether you’re struggling just to get people to your site, or perplexed why more than 50% of them leave immediately, it can be very frustrating running a successful website for your business. Obviously, you can’t read the minds of your visitors, and analytic data can only tell you so much. In reality, there are only four reasons people don’t like a website. In this article, you will learn how to prevent them and reduce your bounce rate.
1. Make Sure They Know They’re in the Right Place
If your site is getting more than 10 visitors a month, chances are that at least half of the visitors are coming from outside sources. This includes social media and search engine results. If you’ve done your SEO properly, more than two-thirds of your traffic is coming from search engines. This means that your visitors type something they are looking for and then click on your link expecting to find it.
There are two main ways a visitor looks to see if they have found a site that can help them. First, they will look at the site’s title, tagline, and the of headline the page they are on. Then they will skim the content very quickly to see if it’s what they expected. This analysis and decision to leave or stay happens within 5 seconds!
If your site does not have a clear focus that is stated in the title and tagline, or if your title and tagline are not easily seen immediately, visitors will usually click away. If your page headline and content does not make it easy to skim and get a clear idea of what it’s about, visitors will bounce. You must have your content structured, focused, and easy to skim (with things like images, video, subheadings, and bullet points) so that visitors think “yes, I am in the right place.”
2. Make it Easy to Find What They’re Looking For
Sometimes, a visitor will come to your site and realize that the page they are on is wrong, but your site may still have what they’re looking for. Or they like what they’ve read so far and want to dive deeper into the subject. This is why navigation needs to be crystal clear and easy for anyone to use.
Here are a few ways to help visitors find their way around your site:
- Observe web standards. Your main navigation menu should be horizontal along the top, or vertical down the left side. Horizontal menus should never be more than one line!
- Utilize “Related Content” links. This is especially helpful on blogs or sites with a lot of content on one topic. At the side or bottom of a page, list 3-5 related pages so visitors can quickly jump to them if they’d like.
- Use interlinking whenever appropriate. If you have a page discussing any topic in depth, and then you briefly mention that topic on another page or blog post, make that mention a link to the “in-depth” page so visitors can read more about it if they’d like. This is also good for your SEO!
- Make a sitemap that is actually usable for people as well as search engines.
- Add a search bar to any site that has more than 10 pages.
3. Make Sure the Website Looks Trustworthy
Every day, Internet users become more savvy and more wary of “scam” websites. Even those who are not technically inclined have begun to categorize certain site layouts and elements as untrustworthy. When they see these on a website they will immediately click away. It’s important you avoid these elements to show that you are not a scammer.
- Lots of ads (at least 70% of the content on your site should be your content – not ads.) If you have more than one “flashy” animated ad, get rid of them.
- An immediate sign in box. This is tricky, because sometimes you do have content that you only want members to be able to see showing up in search results. When a new visitor sees a sign in box before they have had any contact with your site, though, it will turn them off from ever coming back. A workaround is to add a few links within the sign in box to free content for them to check out instead.
- Poor design. Understandably, not everyone is or can afford a professional website designer. But with the many options for templates, content management themes, and easy design tips available, there is no excuse for someone not to take a couple of hours and make their site look at least presentable. No “my nephew made this for me in MS Word” pages!
4. Publish Original Content
Let’s face it, much of the content on the Internet is not original. It is rehashed, restructured, and repackaged to appeal to different audiences. It’s ok if your website covers the same topics that someone else has already covered, but that does not mean it needs to be a carbon copy of someone else’s work.
When you are writing your pages, articles, or blog posts, it’s important to write from your own experience, knowledge, and personality. If you need inspiration, pull from at least three different sources. This way, your content will be all you and not give a visitor suspicious feelings of deja vu. If you are directly quoting from another website or writer, make absolutely sure you credit that person and that readers can clearly see it is a quote.
Visitors have gotten a bad reputation for being picky and unpredictable online, but in reality they are very easy to understand. After all, they are people. Think about how you would like to see and use a site you’ve never been to before, and you will be on the right track to lower bounce rates and higher conversions.
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