Last Updated: 17th May 2016
Driving traffic to your website is time consuming and can often be expensive. If you’re going to put time and effort into getting people’s attention, the net logical step is working hard to keep it.
There are a lot of reasons a user might leave your website without hanging around, and in this post we’re going to go over the biggest causes of ‘high bounce rates’. Applying this information to your own website will keep your users interested for as long as possible and ensure you’re not missing out on any leads, customers or enquiries.
1. Your Mobile Website Sucks
Mobile friendly design is often neglected when small businesses develop their websites. This is often the case when business owners and managers don’t do a lot of browsing on their mobile phone or tablet themselves.
The number of people using their smart phone or tablet for the majority of their browsing is rising and rising; this means that that a large chunk of your web traffic will consist of mobile users. If your site doesn’t have responsive design or a separate mobile version, then you’re going to find yourself with a large amount of unhappy mobile users and potential customers.. Keeping these users happy is an important investment for your website.
If you’re concerned about people leaving your site, then ensuring a great mobile experience is a good starting point. Read about more about mobile and responsive design here (Link to Mobile Friendly Blog Post).
2. Slow Load Times
The fact is that no one really likes to wait. Page speed can be a major factor when it comes to high bounce rates and is one of the first things I would suggest to anyone concerned about keeping users on their site and lowering their bounce rate.
The positive effects of faster page speed is well documented, and potentially even includes some SEO benefits.
3. Outdated Design
We’ll get this out of the way first – an outdated design generally looks very unattractive.
Aside from this, a website that hasn’t been updated in a long time can indicate to users that perhaps the information presented on the site is also not up to date. People might even wonder if you’re still in business if your website is particularly outdated. This is especially important for sites that require a high level of trust, such as eCommerce websites or professional services.
This often ties in with the first point, as older sites are often not mobile friendly.
4. Unclear Navigation
When designing your websites layout, you should imagine navigating through it from the perspective of one of your users. If they don’t know how to get to the page they want, then they will get frustrated at the labyrinthine menu structure and leave your site, potentially going to one of your competitors instead.
Your menu layout needs to be perfectly clear to your users and as efficient as possible. Efficiency means allowing your users to get to the information that they’re looking for in as few clicks as possible.
5. Pay Walls, Social Walls & Newsletter Walls
Here’s what you need to know: Everyone hates these.
No one really wants to have to sign up to your newsletter or like your Facebook page before they can even view your content. If you’re forcing your users to do something like this before they can continue, then you’ll find your bounce rate skyrocketing and that a large percentage of the users you worked so hard to get will be leaving frustrated and annoyed.
If the content is good, or if the user thinks it might be worth reading, then the payoff might be worth the sharp increase in drop off rate. However, unless your content really is amazing and your sales pitch is fantastic, then you might find that the few benefits that an unavoidable content wall provides might not be worth what it costs you in the increased bounce rate.
6. Too Many Ads
This one varies depending on the sort of website your run and what topic, niche or industry it might be about, but ultimately the real core issue is trustworthiness. Ads are associated with dodgy websites and the more ads you have, the more credibility you lose.
However, this isn’t a problem for all websites. For example, a blog about technology may include one or two small banner ads related to tech industry websites and not lose any significant amount of trustworthiness. However, a website for your local dentist would look incredibly suspicious if it featured any sort of on-page advertising at all.
Ultimately, you need to think about your brand and how this kind of advertising would be perceived by your users.
7. Auto-Play Videos And Audio.
Although this has become a lot rarer in recent years, some people still insist on having a video or audio file play automatically as soon as the page loads. Most of the time you’ll find peoples first reaction is to immediately exit, especially if it startles them.
Having video or audio on your website is fine, but only if your users initiate it themselves.
Is your site suffering from any of these issues? Or is there another item to add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.