Have you ever driven down a highway, watching signs for some roadside attraction appear every couple miles? They build intrigue. They get you excited. Then you show up, and most of the time, whatever they were advertising is a hunk-of-junk-in-a-box surrounded by knick-knacks-for-sale. Most people laugh, forego a purchase, and continue on their way. This real-world example of bounce rate is exactly the same phenomenon experienced when companies invest in SEO but forget to modernize their website at the same time.
You’ve no doubt read all about SEO, and you’ve probably employed some of the techniques to attract more potential customers to your site. However, no amount of SEO will save a poorly designed site from high bounce rates. If your website looks like it just crawled out of the ‘90s, or it’s a sprawling labyrinth of links and pages, all those leads attracted by your SEO efforts will bounce faster than kids on a trampoline.
A site’s bounce rate is defined as the percentage of users who leave after a single page view. High bounce rates are common on blogs, simple landing pages, and other content-heavy websites. Retail, service, and lead generation sites can enjoy much lower bounce rates when SEO is coupled with good site design. It’s important to understand your average bounce rate for your industry before you dive into redesigning your site.
A study by Simple SEO found that poor web design affects bounce rate by as much as 50%. In order to get your greatest SEO returns, first, determine your target bounce rate. Then, make sure your site passes muster with today’s users by following these guidelines.
Similar Web reported that over 56% of all consumer traffic to leading websites was from mobile devices, and that figure is only increasing with time. Click-intensive websites that aren’t mobile responsive can cause bounce rates to skyrocket. Similarly, pop-ups that cover the screen with hidden dismiss buttons will turn users away before they read a single line of your content.
In order to capture and captivate modern web users, design with mobile in mind, and minimize the number of clicks it takes to get to the juicy center of your website. Update your graphics and icons to make them simple, intuitive, and useful. Make your site clear, responsive, and attractive, and get rid of those on-load pop-ups! If you want to use a pop-up CTA, save it for the “on exit” event to maximize the potential for onsite retargeting.
Users who are expected to sift through page after page of information are more likely to bounce. Navigation-heavy sites are difficult to manage on smaller device screens, and the modern user wants a targeted, short-and-sweet site nav that directs them exactly where they need to be without overburdening them.
When designed correctly, your navigational structure leads your potential customers through the sales funnel. Design your site navigation based off of clearly defined personas and user journeys. By leading the user concisely through the information he or she needs, you’ll reduce bounce and increase the likelihood of conversion.
If your CTAs use complex language or are simply too long, they’ll likely drive users away from the page. Similarly, if your CTAs are just buttons in the middle of the page with no context, or they’re not a clear reflection of the surrounding copy, they’ll likely be ignored.
For each CTA, use straightforward, short-form copy and make the button a clear representation of the action the user is taking. Include relevant CTAs in all major sections of your site, and also at the end of each user journey through your navigation. Create one page that allows users to contact your company using his preferred method.
You can easily recognize outdated websites from the multitude of pages of information that’s only impressive to the founder of the company. There’s a common phrase on the Internet: tl;dr. That stands for “too long; didn’t read.” Today’s users aren’t into lengthy explanations.
When you focus your site content on relevant information, you increase the probability that your users will stick around and keep reading. Consolidate information into short, single-screen-length sections that take advantage of the scrolling tendency of modern users. Let these sections tell user-journey stories that lead to specific CTAs. And when possible, make sure that your site runs on a straight-forward CMS like WordPress or Drupal that allows for fast updates to keep your site content relevant and timely.
A study by Pew Research reported that over 21 percent of Americans claim to be online “more or less continually.” People use the web for work, recreation, and killing time. They expect websites to be interactive, engaging, and entertaining. If your site is a simple data-dump without interactive components or multimedia elements, your bounce rates are likely to increase.
According to a study by Unbounce, including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%. And from the Google statistics above, subscription portals, service websites, and even some blogs enjoy lower bounce rates than sites that don’t involve the user. Consider adding interactive components to your site that are designed to engage the user. Regularly update blogs with timely, relevant information, and use on site retargeting to capture leads on exit. When your website is an interactive community, not only will you see decreased bounce rates, but your leads become repeat visitors and loyal customers.
No matter what steps you take to decrease your site’s bounce rate, make sure you’re adequately tracking metrics through a good analytics tool. Make changes based on tested and verified numbers, and refactor your website to achieve and maintain your industry-accepted bounce rate. If your company lacks the resources to adequately design your site and track metrics, employ a reputable digital agency to help out. Make sure your investment in SEO counts by keeping your website up to modern user standards.
If you need help with your website user experience, Gate6 is here for you! Give us a call. We’d love to discuss how we can solve your pain points.