There it is; impossible to ignore, try as you might: a grotesque, pulsating pimple, an unsightly blemish on the otherwise pristine visage of your analytics report. A high bounce rate – prospects are bouncing like bad checks away from your website and you just can’t figure out why.
You start to question yourself as the website owner. Where did you go wrong? You gave it everything a young website could possibly need, all the love and affection you could spare, and then…then this.
Why is your website driving prospects away? Is it simply scared of commitment? Who hurt it so much that it won’t let anyone come close?
Relax! A high bounce rate doesn’t always mean the end of life as we know it and it’s entirely possible that people are simply coming to your site, finding what they’re looking for, and going on their merry way.
However, if you aren’t seeing any conversions, it’s entirely possible that certain parts of the user experience are not optimal. I mean, it could always be that:
Your website is taking too long to load
Haven’t we talked about this already? Modern Internet users are an impatient bunch: they have people to tag and places to check into. They certainly don’t have time to wait for your website to load when they can just as easily find the requisite information elsewhere. Few things frustrate users more than websites and pages that take longer than the run time of Ben Hur to load.
The fix: First of all, you need to determine whether speed is an issue with regards to your website. There are a number of free tools available online that analyze web content for possible issues related to speed.
Personally, I use the one offered by Google. The cool thing about the Google PageSpeed Insights tool is that it not only tells you whether your website is slow to load, but it also tells you why and how to fix these issues with comprehensive feedback.
Some of these fixes are fairly technical, however, and you may be required to do some coding. Some of the more basic fixes include reducing the size of images, making use of a content delivery network and evaluating plug-ins if you’re using a content management system such as WordPress.
Alternatively – and this may be preferable if you’re not too comfortable with the technical side of web design – you can always just use one of the many plug-ins for optimizing speed that’s available for WordPress. My personal favorite is W3 Total Cache.
Your content has not been optimized
As I explained in this article, web copy needs to be structured in such a way that prospects can easily find the information they’re looking for. If they need to scroll, chances are your website will be seeing the back of them. Obviously, this doesn’t apply when it comes to longer pieces such as articles or editorial, but concision and clarity are generally the mainstays of web copy.
The fix: Try some of the following fixes to make your web content more accessible to users:
- Use bullet points
- Keep paragraphs and sentences short
- Bold or underline key words and phrases
- Place important information above the fold
- Link to other important content on your website
I’m not talking about putting pictures of the Sistine Chapel on your blog about labradoodle breeding. I’m talking about the way that pages are laid out in terms of navigability and searchability.
Fix: To remedy this sorry situation, you’ll have to take into consideration the layout of each individual page and see how it can be optimized. I would start with ensuring your headings are large and legible, the fonts are large enough so one doesn’t have to squint to make out the text, and that you have effectively employed white space to break up blocks of text.
In addition, it’s a good idea to have a built-in search bar so that visitors can easily track down whatever they’re looking for on your site.
No clear call-to-action
Say that your prospect has found exactly what they were looking for and they are simply itching to give you their money. What’s the next step? I’m always surprised at how many websites that ostensibly sell some product or service lack any sort of indication of how to actually get one’s hands on said product or service.
Fix: Tell your visitors what they have to do next in order to seal the deal. If you’d like for them to sign up for a newsletter, make the sign-up form clearly visible. If you’d like for them to buy something, include a Buy button. Even if you’d just like for the prospect to get in touch, ensure that your contact details are easy to find at all times. A contact form is a good idea since it means that the prospect doesn’t physically have to leave your site.
It’s not responsive
The latest available statistics puts the number of active mobile Internet users at around 3.4 billion or, to put it in mathematical terms, a butt-load.
People are using their smartphones for everything from online chatting to social media to e-commerce. If your site offers a frustrating mobile experience, well, that’s just bad news.
Fix: Use a responsive theme! That’s really all there is to it. Fortunately, in 2017 the vast majority of available themes incorporate a responsive design.