Many website owners believe that chasing after traffic is enough to make a website successful. Unfortunately, this line of thinking doesn’t quite match up with reality.
Editor’s note: We asked Michael Deane from online business and marketing hub Qeedle to outline different ways to make people stick around longer! Read on for his wise advice:
There is a world of difference between getting someone to visit your website, and making them stick around long enough to view your content or buy your products. In fact, bounce rates can go as high as 90% for certain types of pages and websites.
This makes traffic acquisition an unreliable and ineffective website growth strategy on its own. In order to make use of good use of inbound traffic, a website has to be designed with conversion in mind. And one of the prerequisites for doing this is keeping the bounce rate as low as possible.
In the remainder of this post, we will go over 9 effective tactics for reducing bounce rates and keeping conversion rates high.
1. Improve Page Loading Speed
If your website takes forever to load, few visitors will stick around to check out your offer. Why wait if there are countless other websites in the same niche that can be accessed immediately upon arrival? Fortunately, there are many ways to optimize your page load speed.
Switching to dedicated hosting is a good first move to consider. Follow it up by compressing your images, and minifying your website code. Also, avoid hosting high-res videos on your landing pages, and under no circumstance should you set them to auto-play.
2. Provide all Necessary Basic Features
Every kind of website needs specific features in order to accomplish its role. Ecommerce websites need product descriptions, blogs need a commenting feature, and so on. But some features are necessary for every website irrespective of its purpose. For instance, a website without an ‘About Me’ page won’t inspire enough trust in visitors to have them stick around.
Another essential feature that many websites unfortunately lack is a search form. This is especially egregious in the case of content-focused websites, where the lack of a search function means visitors have to scroll through pages of content to find what they’re interested in.
3. Stop Using Intrusive Ads
Ads are an unfortunate reality of doing business online. No one likes them in particular, but most internet users have grown accustomed to them over the years, provided they are not too intrusive. However, some websites still use outdated, in-your-face ad techniques, and these almost universally lead to negative user experiences. Pop-up ads and their variants are the main offenders here, as are ads that open additional tabs in your browser. If you want to keep your visitors around, shying away from these justifiably-maligned ad practices is a good place to start.
4. Offer a Clear CTA
The point of reducing website bounce rate is not to keep visitors around indefinitely. It is to convert them into followers, subscribers, and, hopefully, paying customers. This requires visitors to take some form of action, like pressing a button or filling out a form. And if your call-to-action fails to capture the visitors’ attention as soon as they land on your site, they will end up bouncing. After all, why stick around if there is no obvious way to start an interaction with your company. Your CTA should, therefore, be visually distinct, responsive, and informative.
5. Make Visitors Feel Secure
Cyber-attacks occur on a regular basis, and the online public is justifiably concerned about their safety. The fact that some of the biggest players in IT are implicated in a whole range of data privacy scandals doesn’t help either. With cyber-crime and data exploitation on the rise, web denizens are reluctant to trust businesses that operate websites that lack security features.
The way you can address this issue and reduce safety-related bounce is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is ensure that your website security is foolproof. You can achieve this by keeping your website components up to date, by encrypting user data, and by implementing cyber-security best practices when designing forms and other interactive website elements.
6. Use a Chatbot for Customer Service
If you want to convert a website visitor into a customer, you have to make them feel like one through customer service. However, you also don’t want to smother visitors by being too intrusive or pushy with your customer service efforts. A good way to avoid this scenario and prevent people from bouncing is using chatbots for customer service.
A chatbot can engage with customers on their own terms should they need assistance, and it can sit quietly in the background if they don’t. The point is to offer a self-service option on your website, instead of proactively engaging with everyone that lands on it.
7. Be Less Sales-minded
Every website has content in one form or another. If your website is geared towards selling products and services, this content is meant to inspire visitors to take you up on your offer. However, there are two ways to go about writing such content. One is to try to convince customers to buy directly, and the other involves inspiring them in other, more subtle ways. The former approach is less viable today, as few people go online just to read a sales pitch. So even if you’re trying to sell your website visitors something, don’t be too ‘in your face’ about it.
8. Don’t Hide Content Behind a Paywall
Another content-related cause to high bounce rates is gated content. The idea that content should be hidden behind a paywall is not a new one, but it is getting more traction lately, albeit with mixed results. Charging visitors a few to view content can help you earn more from existing customers, but it can also backfire spectacularly with new visitors.
When people are presented with a paywall (digital or otherwise), their first reaction will be to try and find if the same kind of content is available elsewhere for free. Naturally, this will lead them to bounce, so you should be very careful about charging an ‘entrance fee’ for content viewing.
9. Highlight Customer Feedback
If you wish for visitors to part with their hard-earned money while on your website, your website needs to come off as trustworthy upon a single glance. Of course, simply asking them to trust you right off the bat is more likely to drive them away than make them stay.
The solution to this problem is to exploit a psychological mechanism called social proof. To put it simply, your visitors will be more likely to trust you if they see others doing the same. And the way you can achieve this is by highlighting feedback from your existing customers, subscribers, or followers. This feedback can come in the form of reviews, testimonials, and comment sections.
There are countless reasons why someone might bounce from your website, and it is impossible to keep track of them all. However, what you can do is avoid some of the most common pitfalls in web design and web administration. By keeping your website in line with existing industry standards, you will significantly curb your overall bounce rate. And if you need a reminder of what these are, you can always give this article another read.