Having great traffic numbers to your website is a huge accomplishment. Spending time, money, and other resources on your rankings and increasing the number of visitors your site is receiving can be frustrating though when you experience a high bounce rate or very low click through numbers from your home page. Enter stage left, User Experience and User Interface (UX/UI).
There are far too many specific reasons people may not be sticking around on your website to list them all in this article. Luckily, many of the specifics can be categorized into these 5 segments.
The Design is not easy to use
When a visitor enters on your home page, they should have a clear idea of what the page is for, what you sell or talk about, and where to go. Although it seems that everyone wants to be different and “unique” these days, there are some things that are best done in a “normal” way.
Your main navigation should be in a clear spot. Most commonly, websites have their main navigation at the top of the site, just above, just below, or in line with the logo. If you are currently using, or thinking about using, a vertically oriented navigation (left or right), check out an older post from smashingmagazine.com before you make a decision.
Just as important, make sure that the main navigation is clear, concise, and inclusive of all or most of your market segments. You should never require a visitor to go multiple pages into your website to find a page they were looking for (unless they didn’t know what they were looking for of course). And please, just don’t make it so that a user has to use a secondary navigation for static pages of content (ie. main pages, non-blog content). For example, a user should not have to click on a main navigation page then click on a link that is listed on that page to get where they are going as the only way of getting there. There should always be a way of getting where they are going (when it is “static content”) from the main or sub navigation.
No Clear Call to Action
A general rule of thumb is to stand back 10 feet from your desktop screen and look at your homepage; can you tell what you are supposed to do? Do you see where the call to action is? Even if you cannot read it well (for those of us with poor eye-sight) you should still be able to tell if there is a button you are meant to click or a text field you are supposed to fill out. Sound like over-kill? Maybe it is, but it works.
Like most websites, you probably have several different types of target consumers. For example, if you are a recruiter, you will have at least 2 main segments: Possible Clients (businesses with job openings) and Potential Candidates (people to fill the job openings). You may potentially have 1 or 2 other major segments, but I would recommend sticking to 2-3 since we can do an additional segmenting after this. If you get a ton of referrals, you may even have referral submissions (ie. Candidate Referral Submissions) as a third segment.
Make it clear where each type of visitor should go. Generally, the segments that you define should not easily fit into more than 1 segment, otherwise, it will create confusion. Think of it like sending Candidates down Hall A which contains different resources for resume writing, interview tips and preparation, and highly sought after skills. At the same time, you are sending Clients down Hall B with resources for determining if they should hire a recruiter, how to set up their interview process, and how to communicate with a recruiter to get the best fitting candidates. This allows visitors to more easily and effectively find the information they are looking for.
Didn’t get the answer they were looking for
If you are optimized for the search terms and phrases you should, in theory, you will have content relating to those terms and phrases. If you have visitors searching for ‘best car seat to buy,’ people will want to read about the best car seats to buy (I know, completely shocking). If you have car seats for sale on your site, but have no descriptions for them (other than very short, generic information), reviews, or dimensions then someone searching for ‘best car seat to buy’ is likely going to leave your site quickly. Why? You haven’t provided helpful, unique information that helps to answer their question.
There are a lot of websites out there for any given industry; give searchers/visitors a reason to value your website by providing them with insights and information that is not regurgitated.
Links, video embeds, and scripts are broken
If you have ended up on a webpage that was seriously out of date, you likely experienced a huge amount of ‘brokenness’. People realize that you probably won’t keep up with every link you include in your blog posts, but that isn’t what we are talking about here. Your main pages (static pages) such as home, about us, services, etc should work. Videos should never show on your website when they are broken or taken down.
If you aren’t able to manage your static content yourself, hire someone to do it for you. Although a single broken link on your site won’t affect your bounce rate dramatically, a broken video on your home page possibly will. Multiple broken links throughout your site will likely start to affect your bounce rate as well. It’s similar to keeping your home in suitable condition. If your front door was mysteriously turned into ash, would you leave the doorway empty? I doubt it. How about a shattered window? Okay, I think you get the concept.
Design is Tacky, Outdated, or Cheesy
While a couple people may say, “Sure my site could use a facelift. It was created in 2001, but at least I have a website” others would reference President Abraham Lincoln, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt”.
No, I’m not calling you or anyone a fool here. What I am saying, though, is that your website is your digital voice. If a website is seriously out of date, the effect on the user is generally massive amounts of subconscious negative feelings and judgments about the success of your business or how serious you are about your company.
If you can’t complete a redesign yourself hire someone. If money is an issue, try bartering, setting up a payment plan, or just putting up a basic site with a limited number of pages until you can work something out for a new design. I do mean basic. It would be better for someone to think that you need more pages, content, and everything else, than for someone to think that you went out of business 10 years ago and just didn’t pull your site down.
You can also ask your developer what parts you can do yourself to either keep the cost down or to get the price lower, but don’t just ask them to lower the price. Know going into this type of conversation that there are some costs that are fixed unless someone else does the work such as writing copy for your main pages. Be clear with your expectations and needs in the beginning and don’t ask for a ton of edits if possible.
Many web design companies are great at what they do – you can give them some website examples, tell them your goals for the site, and let them go to town. You will usually get a phenomenal finished product. As a word of caution, don’t be cheap if you don’t have to. Having professional copywriters produce your main content will almost always increase your click-through and conversion rates.
Still not sure where you are losing your visitors or what is causing it? Contact us today to set up an evaluation.