Anyone who’s spent time online can probably recall visiting at least one site looking for something and closing the tab after a few moments due to frustration. That’s part of the web experience but if you market products or services online, this is a problem you’ll need to avoid if you are to remain competitive. Most website problems that cause high bounce rates fall into one of five categories.
1. Not responsive
The majority of searching is now done from mobile devices, so much so that Google now employs a mobile-first strategy. That means you must ensure you provide a mobile version of your site for viewers using smartphones and tablets unless you want to be penalised in the search engine results page. The other main traps relating to lack of responsiveness is:
- s-l-o-w l-o-a-d-i-n-g – your pages need to be lightning fast, especially your landing page. Don’t assume all of your visitors have super-fast internet connections! Be careful with embedded social plugins, carousels of images and old school plugins like Flash, Java, or Silverlight, which can significantly slow down a user’s browsing experience. Use the modern in-browser HTML5 technologies instead.
2. Bad design
There are lots of ways you can fall into the bad design trap:
- amateurish – are you using difficult to read fonts? Is your colour scheme gawdy? Background images? These things look unprofessional. A good design rule is to use a lot of white space, and choose a colour scheme with one predominant colour and two supplementary colours.
- too generic and impersonal – in your attempt to look professional have you gone too far? Is your site cold, faceless and lacking a distinctive personality and brand? Do you rely heavily on over-used, cheesy stock photos? If so, you will need to reconsider your approach. Think about the things that your existing customers tell you that they like and work with a copywriter, designer or branding expert to capitalise on these unique selling points and make them obvious in your web presence.
- in-your-face distractions – exercise caution with any elements that might distract or annoy your visitors. Pop-ups are the obvious one but it also applies to elements like animated gifs or autoplaying multimedia which can be very irritating for many visitors.
- too trendy – just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. Here we’re referring to following the latest design trends. Simple will always trump trendy. Only use things like parallax scrolling when it is appropriate.
3. Low Quality Content
The key to capturing interest is to be relevant. Your content needs to be updated regularly with fresh, exciting material. Avoid:
- lackluster landing pages – it’s the most influential page on your site so make it captivating!
- too much industry terminology – use plain, everyday English whenever possible to better engage with your audience.
- content that fails to inform – have you given your visitors the answers they were looking for?
- misleading content – business is built on trust so dishonest marketing is a recipe for disaster!
- too much keyword stuffing – focus on your viewers rather than search bots!
4. Poor navigation
- confusing navigation structure – follow tried and true layouts so it is obvious where things are.
- dead links – check your internal and external links are working regularly.
- unclickable links – remember, if your visitor is on a mobile device links must be able to be tapped with a finger. You’ll need simplified navigation system for these devices.
5. No way to move forward
- badly implemented contact forms – don’t ask for unnecessary information. Provide visual feedback of a successfully submitted form.
- missing contact methods – always include at least a contact number, email address and street address. Depending on your business, you might also include a WhatsApp / Skype option,or a live chat box.
- Call-To-Action prompts – make sure it is obvious how your visitors can take the next step.