One of the biggest questions people ask us during a web redesign is "How do I keep people on my website longer?" The truth is, the homepage design has the ability to make or break user behavior on your site. Every site we launch is carefully monitored through heatmapping and A/B testing to see how users are interacting with the website and how we can make it more efficient. If you have a high bounce rate ( > 50%), it means people are coming into your website and "bouncing" back to the referral site rather than digging deeper into your internal pages.
Reasons for this can range from too cluttered to too stale. Here are 7 reasons why users are leaving your website, and what you can do to make an immediate change.
1.) Your Navigation is Subpar
Do you have a store on your website? Product descriptions or useful resources? These are all great ways to engage users on your website. But what if these pages can't be found? A navigation menu that is lacking in appearance or proper structure makes your site less maneuverable. and can frustrate your customer.
A proper menu structure contains relevant content to the users grouped under headings that are logical and intuitive. A navigation menu that is inconsistent can confuse customers and make them assume the website is not reliable.
As best practice we recommend 4-6 headings, with subpages underneath. Don't forget valuable information about your company, a place for people to contact you via the website, or information on how they can call/visit/order, etc.
2.) Too Many Ads, Intrusive Audio/Video
An increasing number of websites are allowing banner advertisements to display across their website as a way to add revenue. While this may be an effective way to make money through ad exchanges or private advertisers, it may also cannibalize web sales from customers who are annoyed, or distracted.
In addition to obtrusive ads, entering a webpage that automatically plays video or sound can lead to customers being turned off the website. To minimize this effect, ads or videos should not be displayed more prominently than the website information, and should remain chaste and considerate to the end user.
3.) The Structure is Unorganized
Do you have a single, unified message on your website? Do you have a natural progression and calls-to-action that inspire your users to dig in deeper? Having a structure that flows well will increase your conversion and retention rates. According to HubSpot, it's estimated that as many as 50% of sales are lost because users aren't able to find what they're looking for.
Keep track of the pages that are most often visited and put links from your homepage to those pages. This will ensure users can find the right information they're looking for and will help get them into internal pages to continue browsing.
Is your website full of industry jargon? Often times, a business owner is able to speak in and out about their business, but that can lead to speaking in technical terms that a customer may not be familiar with.
Thinking like a customer, what types of things would you search for on Google to find your products? Thinking in laymen's terms will help you decipher what language on your website may be found confusing or misleading to a customer. Ruth Burr Ready from MOZ sums it up best:
"Think horses, not zebras, and don't forget one important fact: Most people have no idea what we're talking about."
Aside from language, the appearance of information is also important. Is your font easily readable to the average eye? If your font is too small, too italic or hard for the eyes to focus on, customers may go elsewhere to find their information.
5.) Requiring Users to Register Before Browsing
We've all been there- searching for ways to capture client information in order to follow up or encourage conversion. Tracking leads of interested customers who find you online is an effective way to boost sales. However, forcing site registration can cause the visitor to back out of the website and find your competition.
Best practice for capturing customers is to offer them a value-added incentive for registering their information. In this age of immediacy, providing something of value, such as a whitepaper will give them instant gratification and justification for willingly giving up their information.
6.) Making Your Users Yawn
Is your content exciting and engaging? Although not every brand should be sharing memes, jokes or Taylor Swift parodies (like this awesome one from Saddle Creek Orthodontics), bringing relevant content that connects with your audience is imperative to converting users on your website.
Strike a balance on your website (perhaps through a blog) of entertaining and useful information. Don't think your industry lends itself to 'entertainment'-type posts? Think of case studies or real world applications for your products or service- give your user something to connect with that creates a need that your company can fulfill.
7.) Content That's Stale
So you've created great content. Now what? Create more! Just like a brick-and-mortar store who changes out endcaps and window displays, every now and then your website needs a facelift! We recommend a full internal evaluation every 18-24 months on whether your branding or image has changed and whether a redesign is necessary. That doesn't mean that nothing on your website should change between that time!
New headings, pictures, blogs or services should be added on a regular basis, and your website should be refreshed in some aspect at no less than once a week. Company news, expansions, announcements or relevant articles should be added on a regular basis. This not only keeps the website fresh, but helps Google index the site as relevent and up-to-date (which means more SEO power for you!)
These easy 7 steps are quick ways for your website to keep customers for longer and increase your chances of converting them. These website management tips will keep visitors on your website and increase conversion rates while lowering bounce rates. A great SEO company can help you manage your website and help with ongoing optimization efforts and testing to take out guesswork for you and keep your website up to date. We know of a great one, contact them here.