Freelancer at work

Ways to Keep Visitors on your Website

Design is important

If your website looks rubbish people will leave it. An age old rule of web design that still holds. By “rubbish” I mean “anything other than what people expect to find” (as well as just genuinely awful). There are fashions in web design and you need to follow them otherwise you get labelled as behind the times. So the very look of your website can make your visitors leave or stay. Always stick with a clean, profession, uncluttered design. Many recommended the WordPress Thesis theme for better bounce rate – for these exact reasons. Be very careful when you are choosing or designing theme for your website because a creepy looking website theme is only going to help you to increase your website’s bounce rate. The look & design of your website can force your visitors to stay on your web-pages to read more.

Content…content…content

Content is still everything, no matter how many times I or anyone else tells you this. If you haven’t got focused, relevant content on your web-page,s then people won’t hang around to find out why, they will just leave. When I say “focused” I mean that you talk about one thing and one thing only – and that it’s immediately obvious from your content what it is your are talking about and why. Content is major player that helps us lower our bounce rate. If your content is good enough and informative to read then your website’s bounce rate is automatically going to slide down. If not then you are smart enough to know what’s next.

The main power behind a high conversion rate and low bounce rate of the best websites is their content. They really provide some quality content all around the “blogosphere” that automatically slide down there bounce rate and slides up their conversion rate. So make sure you also publish some quality content. And never ever publish any copy content from somewhere else because if you do this it’s only going to trample your credibility and your website. Really, really really … : Content is King…

How do your visitors find their way around

Navigation is, was and always will be extremely important for website design. If your site user cannot find out how to get from where he or she is to where he or she wants to be straight away, he or she will end up deciding to be somewhere else instead. Keep it simple and accessible from every page. Make sure your website navigation is extremely easy to find and equally easy to use.

Content (again!)

Update your content as often as you can – but bear in mind that updating one lot of posts with other posts that say the same thing as before is not good enough. That will just about fool a search engine but it will not trick a genuine human user. You need to keep things fresh and constant, which is a pain (and pretty difficult) but there you go. If you have a dry spell, take all the dates off your posts so people can’t tell how old they are. At the same time that you’re improving content relevancy, take a hard look at your web content quality as well. If the text of your landing pages is poorly written, hard to read or otherwise unappealing, you may be able to reduce your high bounce rates simply by putting a little TLC into the content on your landing pages (where you direct your traffic to using your social bookmarking campaign, for instance).

ADs are Bad (generally)

Users hate ads. Side bars and header bars that do not move, or shout, or play music, are OK – but anything else, pop ups (for example) or all-singing, all-dancing ads that distract your visitors away from your content, are basic evidence that you are not really interested in letting your user find out what you have to say and that you are not really interested in offering them any free and very useful content. My average length of time for staying on a page with pop ups is just about the same as the amount of time it takes me to close the pop ups and click-away to somewhere else.

How quick you are

The length of time your page takes to load is extremely important to a visitor. If I am hanging around waiting for a page to load for more than around 5 seconds, I leave and find a different source of the same information. Make sure your website it streamlined to load quickly!

External links are EVIL

 If you land on a page with an interesting external link; you’re gone, bouncing off through the web to someone else’s site. The more external links you have on your landing page the worse it will be for you, unless of course those links go to other sites owned by you – in which case carry on! Make sure you use target=”_blank”for external links. That will force the links to open in a new window ensuring that the visitor will return to the original page. Putting too many external links on your website plays a major role in creeping up the bounce rate of your website. Many time readers get distracted when they see many links and remembering the potential of the rest of the Internet, end up leaving your website or some times they click on any link and start reading there. So ultimately you are losing your readers and at the same time also increasing your bounce rate. The lesson here is to always try to reduce the number of external links on your website if you want to reduce its bounce rate.

Also, if you are embedding YouTube videos in your website, you may want to disable the “Related Videos” – You need your users to focus on your content – not somebody else’s that may appear in the “Related Videos” screen!

Incorporate user engagement feature

Depending on the type and intent of your landing pages, you may be able to reduce your bounce rates by incorporating features that engage and retain your visitors. For example, adding a user poll feature to pages on your site with a low bounce rate could capture visitors’ attention long enough to overcome the “7 second” hurdle (which states that visitors spend about an average of seven seconds analyzing a page before deciding whether or not to hit the back button) and get them interested in other content on your site.

There are tons of these types of features that could be added – including videos, consumer reviews, quizzes, lists and comments – but it’s important not to go overboard with them as well. Adding too many features diminishes the relative proportion of content on your page and may skew it further away from the content your visitors were interested in reading. Be careful that any features you add don’t detract from the original goal of your landing page.

Match your ‘Head Line’ or watch them Bounce away

An attention grabbing headline is absolutely imperative for a click through but the amount of times I have clicked on a promising link and been taken somewhere that has no relevance whatsoever still makes me grind my teeth in my sleep.

Basically:good housekeeping“, “good content” and the “ability to make your user feel like you care“. They’re the Holy Trinity of keeping them on your web-page. And that’s about it.

I’m gonna bounce now … please do not follow suit :)