By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
“Bounce rate” might be the single most frustrating metric in online marketing. Here’s how to combat bounce rate—single page visits. It’s maddening to realize that someone has invested considerable time, effort and money in creating a website that statistically repels visitors. They leave as soon as they have arrived, without browsing further. They’re gone.
There are many causes for touch-and-go website encounters or a high bounce rate. When someone asks for our help with a troubled website, here are some of the most common poor performance reasons that we detect:
Stand-and-deliver in three seconds or less. If a website is slow to load and doesn’t appear nearly instantly—in two seconds or less—about half of the visitors (47 percent) are annoyed. Satisfaction begins to sink immediately. When a website takes more than three seconds to load, 40 percent of visitors abandon ship entirely—quite often into the arms of the competition. [KISSmetrics research] Improving page load speed is one of the top performance considerations.
Your website appearance is old. When people spend even a modest amount of time online, what they see makes them aware of attractive design, intuitive navigation and authoritative content. It’s an informal learning experience, but visitors quickly recognize attributes of good design and ease of use. And when a website appears to be old, out of date or poorly designed, visitor trust and confidence erodes—and they depart.
Content, content…where are you? The cardinal rule, of course, is to populate your website with interesting, authoritative and engaging content. Unfortunately, if readers can’t easily find your stellar material, they will not stay long trying to find it. They are inclined to leave a site when:
- navigation is confusing or badly organized
- information is badly written; technical talk, jargon, unclear attribution
- legibility is an issue; confusing type face, layout, color selections
- proofing errors abound; poor spelling, grammar
- pictures or graphics compete, are crummy quality or are absent
Your call-to-action is totally absent. Website visitors need and want to be directed to their next appropriate action step. You would think it obvious and apparent to direct them, but many websites simply don’t have the all-important call-to-action. About 80 percent of small business sites completely failed to ask for the sale, according to one survey. Statistics fail us, but they likely got what they asked for…nothing.
Distractions and confusion. Did I mention distractions? Some websites and pages erode into a “kitchen sink” muddle that can’t find a meaningful focal point. Unfortunately, a page that’s littered with multiple ads, special purchase offers, how-to videos, an intake form and other clutter has disconnected with its primary purpose. A sudden blast of TMI (too much information) opens the exit door for the visitor to duck, cover…and depart.
Sign in, sign up and forms. Site visitors are often put off by requests to sign in, register or complete lengthy forms. Presumably they want easy to find (and free) authoritative information without having to trade personal info and details via a registration process. It’s far easier for a visitor to click and exit, believing the information is easily available elsewhere online.
We’ve only scratched the surface, but these are some of the most common reasons that website visitors vanish into cyberspace. It’s difficult to attract site visitors in the first place, but stumbling blocks are often easily avoided. They drive your prospective new business to a competitive website. We can help combat that, so give us a call at 800-656-0907.