After weeks and weeks of hard work, you are getting visitors to your new site, and then — wait… why are they leaving after only a few seconds?! As terrible as this is, everyone has been there.
According to the Google Benchmarking Report, the global bounce rate in 2012 was 47%, and the average time on site was 5 minutes and 23 seconds. In the United States, the average bounce rate was 42.5%. So how can you get these visitors to stay on your site?
Give the visitor the information they are looking for, use a clear navigation path so they know where to go on the site, and keep them interested! Would you want to stick around on a site where you felt lost or you were bored to tears? I know I wouldn’t.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep your visitors happy!
1. Don’t Make Them Wait
One of the first ways to get your visitors to stay clear of the back button is to not make them wait for anything. Slow load times are the number one way that websites push visitors away. In the new digital age, visitors want the information they are looking for right now and they will not wait for your website if they can get the same information more efficiently elsewhere.
A study done by KISSmetrics revealed that 47% of consumers expect web pages to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of users leave a website that takes over 3 seconds to load. According to this same study, a mere 1 second delay can decrease conversions by 7%! How can you make your website load faster, you ask?
Here are some ideas.
Minimize code and scripts running on your site
Bloated code can take a long time to load in web browsers.
Use web-friendly images and avoid dynamically resizing large image files
While a lot of web platforms make it easy to resize images, they can drastically increase your page load time.
Have an adequate web server
Most small business will be fine with shared hosting, but if you are a bigger company trying to serve a lot of traffic you’ll need to invest in something more substantial to deliver web pages in a timely fashion.
2. Don’t Distract the Visitor with Misused Pop-ups and Advertisements
So you have a fast loading site but visitors are still leaving after only a few seconds. What else could be causing this? Another reason that visitors leave a site quickly is due to excessive, misplaced advertisements and misused pop-up windows.
Make sure that your website is not covered in obnoxious, poorly placed advertisements as this will defer a visitor from exploring your site and can create distractions. Also remember our talk about site load times? Advertisements decrease load time when there are too many on a page!
Keep your website design exciting for visitors but avoid the overuse of ads, audio, and video to best suit your visitors’ needs. Below are two examples of websites misusing ads. Both include ads that are distracting the visitor and make the site look untrustworthy. In the above example it is easy to forget why you were even on the site to begin with because there are so many ads.
Don’t do this to your visitors.
Misused pop-up windows
You also should never interrupt a visitors experience for a survey or questionnaire pop-up. Wait until the user is exiting the website to ask them about their experience rather than distracting them in the middle of a task. This will allow visitors to interact with the website without distractions or annoyances, causing them to stay longer and complete their on-going task.
Excessive or misused pop-up windows can cause visitors to get frustrated and leave the site.
3. Provide Clear Navigation
Why else could visitors be leaving? If your website has poor navigation and visitors cannot decipher the next step easily, they are going to leave. Be sure that there is a clear navigation path to take the visitor directly to the information they are seeking.
Make sure that this path is convenient, quick, and easy to understand and is created to be useful to a visitor during their experience.
Providing clear calls-to-action on the site helps guide visitors through your site. Have somebody review your site for the first time and ask them “What do you think you are supposed to do?” Make it as easy as possible for users to answer this question quickly.
Are visitors supposed to sign up for a newsletter, fill out a form or place a phone call? Make these tasks recognizable and easy to perform.
4. Deliver Compelling, Relevant Content
Content is the whole reason a visitor is on your site since they believe you host the information that they are seeking. Don’t break their trust by delivering poor quality information and content. As discussed earlier take out all of that out-dated irrelevant “junk” content and replace it with something interesting to your visitors.
Make your content unique, something that they cannot find anywhere else. Make sure that the content is what the visitor is expecting. For example don’t optimize a page for “long-sleeved shirts” and have content regarding shoes or backpacks.
Be sure to provide content that gives your visitor a reason to stay, which means it needs to be relevant and compelling. Just remember that conversion is all about the user experience on your site. If a visitor has a bad experience they are not going to stick around to convert.
Creating relevant, compelling content, increasing site speed, reducing the use of ads/misused pop-ups and providing clear navigation will allow your visitors to have an overall great experience while on your site. Remember from earlier, happy customers means more money in your pocket. From now on when making changes to your website, look at it through the eyes of the visitor and ask yourself: if this was me, would I leave?