Imagine this: you’re sitting at your desk one day and decide to have a look at some of your website’s latest statistics. You log in to Google Analytics and nearly fall off your chair when you see that in the last week your website has attracted more than 10,000 visitors. That’s great! It means people who are looking for the services and products you offer are able to find your website online.
Not so fast…
You then look down at your bounce rate, and see it’s sitting at 75 percent. The bounce rate refers to the proportion of people who spend a very short amount of time on your site before leaving it again. They don’t make any clicks, and don’t visit any other pages. That means that of the 10,000 visitors your website had, more than 7500 were of absolutely no use.
But don’t panic – while there are a wide range of reasons as to why so many visitors leave your site so quickly, there’s a lot you can do to improve your website, lower your bounce rate, and convert more visitors into customers.
The first thing you want to consider is what you actually want people to be doing when they visit your website. If you’re an online store, you probably want to be selling stuff. If you offer a service, you might want them to give you a call or fill out a form online. Or maybe you’re looking to build a database, and want visitors to submit their email addresses.
Whatever your aim, each time your aim is achieved, that’s called a conversion, and making conversions is what your website should be doing for you. Even if your website is just a single page with a few lines of text, a photo and a phone number, it needs to be making conversions.
Call to action
Once you know the conversions you want your website to achieve, you then need to take a good look at your site to decide if it’s actually designed to achieve those conversions.
Let’s say you want people to give you a call. Most people will enter your website via the home page. They complete a search in Google and your website comes up, so they click and land on your home page. It sounds like a no-brainer, but if you want people to be calling you, they’ll need to know your phone number. So where is your number listed? Is it obvious? Does it stand out? Are people’s eyes drawn to the number, or do they need to scroll down and read a paragraph or two before they find it?
With the speed of technology today, people like things to be instant. We’ve heard it said that people will decide if they want to do business with you in less than 3 seconds after visiting your website. So if it takes a long time for people to find your phone number or email address, they’ll exit your site and go to one of your competitors. And that’s another bounce recorded in your analytics.
Above the fold
One of the most important design aspects of a website that’s optimised for conversions is the idea of “above the fold”. Originally this term was used for newspapers, which were folded in half when displayed. They needed an eye-catching photo or headline above the fold if they were going to sell any copies, because people wouldn’t look at the rest of the paper before deciding to buy.
And the same concept applies to websites too, except instead of a fold, we have a scroll bar. If your website needs visitors to scroll down the page in order to make conversions, that’s probably a major contributor to your high bounce rate. Having your contact details or feature products “above the fold” on your website should be a priority.
Optimise your website
Now of course not all visitors to your website will be looking for the same thing. Some may want to call you immediately, and some may be looking for pricing information to compare with your competitors, while others will be looking for a very specific product in your store. Yes, it’s impractical to have a call to action for every possible conversion your website has to offer. But what you can do it make it as easy as possible for people to find the information they’re after, before they give up, exit your site and visit your competitor.
One of the more practical tips is to have a simple and clean menu. Let’s say you run a fitness equipment store online, and one of your products is a state-of-the-art sweatband. It doesn’t make sense to have a button or call to action for each and every product in your store, but what you can do is make it simple and easy for people to find your sweatbands.
If someone came to your website looking to buy the sweatband, how would they find it? Would they have to click through 15 different pages before they stumbled upon it? Or is your menu and shop optimised to let people find your products as easily as possible? Organising your menu so that people can find what they want with as few clicks as possible is a great way to lower your bounce rate.
There are a range of other factors that could be contributing to your bounce rate, which shouldn’t be too hard to remedy. As stated earlier, people decide very quickly if they’re going to stay on your website. It could be that your website has features that people find annoying or irritating, and so they leave as soon as they can.
Some such features could include moving graphics, background music or videos that play automatically. It’s always a good idea to give people a choice as to whether they want to watch the video on your site, or listen to music while they peruse your pages.
Many people like to listen to music while they browse, so if your website starts blaring music as soon as someone visits it, you can expect to have a high bounce rate. It’s unlikely your visitors will share the same music tastes as you, so it’s a good idea to leave out the music.
The same can be said for moving graphics. Too much movement can leave people feeling sick or irritated. It’s also distracting, and means people are more likely to see the movement and want to leave, rather than notice your call to action or other features.
So we encourage you to go and look at your Analytics and see your bounce rate. If you don’t have analytics installed, we’re happy to install that for you at no cost.
We’re also happy to take a look at your website and give you some practical advice on how you could look at lowering your bounce rate and start making more conversions.