You’ve poured over each page of your website. You’ve checked and double checked keywords, grammar and punctuation. Online libraries have been scoured for the finest, high resolution images. You’ve obsessed over colours and fonts to the point of distraction. So why aren’t users hanging around long enough to bask in its glory?
Experiencing high bounce rates on a website – that is, having a large numbers of visitors fail to engage with more than one page – can be an immensely frustrating, and for businesses which rely on online trade, an immensely costly problem.
In order to check your own stats, simply visit the designated Google Analytics control panel for the website. Although there will always be some amount of traffic that, for whatever reason, visits your site in error, any bounce rate higher than around 50 per cent is worth looking at and, where possible, tweaks made in an effort to increase engagement and create “stickiness”.
1. Treat others as you would wish to be treated
Walls of unbroken text will have even the most fascinated visitor clambering to get away. If text is the only option to get your information across, make sure to break it up into manageable bite-sized pieces.
- Don’t go over five sentences per paragraph
- Use subheadings to differentiate sections or ideas
- Add bold quotes for particularly relevant and snappy sentences between paragraphs
Deliver the most interesting facts as clearly and break them down to concise bullet point lists if and where possible.
2. Become multi-dimensional with multimedia
Varying the way that information is delivered is a great way of keeping people interested. Not everything can be properly conveyed in punchy sound bites or bullet point lists, so creating and inserting video and audio files can be a great tool.
With high-quality digital recording devices available these days at very low cost, organisations can experiment in producing their own slideshows, podcasts and video clips which can be used to relay pertinent company information in a far more engaging way.
3. Direct them to your other website highlights
Making your website as intuitive as possible by offering links to other related pages is a great way of stretching out visitor stays. If, for example, a user lands on a cooking website having searched for the recipe for the “perfect roast beef”, within the recipe or at the end, they might well be keen to read other great beef recipes or other suggestions for roasting meats.
By providing “Related pages” links you can take advantage of interest which has already been peaked and avoid visitors getting just the information they landed on and leaving, leading to higher bounce rates.
4. Put them to work
Users who are interacting with a website will be far less inclined to leave. Having direct calls-to-action is a great way to increase engagement. These might include:
- Encourage visitors to leave comments after blog posts
- Promoting interaction with a forum
- Directing visitors to view video clips
- Requesting responses to short, relevant surveys
Efforts to interact do need to be weighed against bombarding visitors with flashing lights and pop up screens as this’ll likely have the opposite effect, but, when done properly, it can dramatically increase engagement.
5. Be mobile aware
In ever increasing numbers, websites are being viewed on mobile devices. Having a mobile-optimised website for a business is now essential. In what can often be a secondary thought, having mobile optimised content is just as important. Users visiting a website on the go often have very different requirements to those sat at a desk. They will often be looking for clear navigation to contact numbers, directions and basic explanatory information on products or services.
Large blocks of heavy text, slow loading pages or confusing navigation paths will lead to visitor frustration and high bounce rates. By using concise and highly relevant content with clearly marked navigation buttons to the most sought after information, you will far more likely grow visitor numbers and see that traffic return.
Henry Lewington is the managing director of DIY website builder WebEden.co.uk.