Business Technology

5 tips to avoid sending online visitors away

4 min read

22 July 2014

It is estimated that a person visiting a website will only take ten to 20 seconds before deciding whether to stay or leave. That's why content and visual appeal, although top priorities, are not the only essential factors to consider.

It is crucial to think about how easy it is for people to find their way around your website, because if it is too hard they will get bored or frustrated and leave. This is largely attributable to poor signposting, a cluttered front page, or even too much in the menu bar. And as small as these issues may seem, it is enough to send potential business away.

Here are some top tips to keep them coming back for more.

1. Consistent navigation

One of the main ways to ensure a constant flow of online visitors is to have well-marked menus with consistent formatting across your entire site. This includes the homepage. Even though you might want it to display the many different areas of your company and site, it mustn’t have too much going on. The user should be able to see from the start that all of menus, the tabs,columns and subcategories are clearly and systematically arranged, making it as easy as possible to navigate around.

2. Using breadcrumbs

Allow the user to see the trail from point A to point B. The key idea here is that the
user is completely aware of exactly where they are on the website; this involves knowing how to search and find other areas of the site but also being able to find their way back to previous pages without difficulty. 

Breadcrumbs will usually resemble something like the following:

Home page > Category page > Subcategory page

3. Divided categories

There is a growing theme here – pages need to be organised. As the old proverb goes ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’. To make a website as user-friendly as possible (and that really is a key to keeping people on your site), it’s useful if all of the pages are arranged topically. For this you should use child pages (sub-pages) whereby each page is essentially a subsection of the category it comes under.

Design can play a part here too to reinforce the distinction of categories. Take the
example of a clothes store: ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ are the obvious dividers, of which there
will probably be many subcategories. But you will often see the men’s pages in one colour or design and the women’s in another so it is always clear to the user what side of the site they are on.

4. In-site search tool

This helps people who know what they are looking for find it immediately so they don’t
have to waste time going through the trails to get there. It may be necessary to work on
your SEO and keywords to make sure that the most relevant results come up to match
what they are searching for, and that they are not inundated with completely unrelated
pages. 

The faster and smoother it is for users to get around your site, the better.

5. A call-back option

This isn’t so much about navigation but having a call-back option demonstrates to your
target audience that you are accessible. It adds to the experience of using a website to
know that the site is interactive; if they need to get in touch with you, you are on hand and ready to respond.

Rob Keating is the owner of Lead Generating Websites. He is a WordPress SEO expert, and works with local and national business to connect them with their target customersonline.