Your website’s bounce rate, or the rate at which people leave shortly after arriving, is used by search engines as a measure of the fit of the site with the user’s query. If people leave the site quickly, search engines use that as a vote of no confidence in the content and downrank your site. Conversely, “sticky” sites that keep visitors longer are given higher rankings – and they’re more likely to convert visitors to customers. Here are 9 easy ways to keep your website visitors for longer.
Don’t Drive Them Away by Design
If your website takes too long to load, people will bounce away from it. And the patience of the average viewer is falling. You used to lose 10% of your potential visitors every second. You’ll now lose a fair percentage if the page isn’t starting to show results in three seconds.
One way you drive away visitors as soon as they arrive is with pop-ups and interstitials. Think about landing on a webpage, and instead of the content you expect, there’s a pop-up ad. That drives visitors away. Another mistake is putting an interstitial or partial block on the page, whether asking them to sign up for your newsletter or promoting your newest product. Remove all obstacles between your visitors and your content and you’ll retain more of them.
Don’t Accidentally Tease Them
If your website is still using Adobe Flash, your site could play a few seconds of rich multimedia before erroring out. You’ve just guaranteed they’ll leave your site and never return. Don’t show up in search results for informational queries and then take them to a spammy landing page with too many ads. They’ll abandon the site again and avoid it forever.
Be an Open Book
Ensure that your text is readable on every screen size without visitors having to resize the text. Don’t forget to check the readability and usability of buttons and menus. And don’t use weird fonts that visitors have to download.
Adjust Your Search Engine Optimization
One common cause of bounces is the fact that your content isn’t a fit for the search. The solution here is to study the customer segment arriving on the site versus the focus of the content. One solution is to leave your page’s SEO as it is but tailor the content to better answer the question visitors are asking. Another is to alter the key terms on the page so that it ranks higher in the searches that your content answers.
Improve Your Answer
One reason people bounce away from websites is that the page isn’t answering the question. This is where a long introduction before answering the user’s question causes them to quit the page. The solution is to answer at least a partial answer like a yes or no before going into detail further down on the page. This at least keeps the reader on the page and reading a while longer.
Use Smart Formatting
Smart formatting makes it easy to read your content. This takes the form of bulleted lists, FAQ formats, suitable images, short paragraphs and frequent subheadings. The benefit of smart formatting is that it makes it easy for someone to skim the content to find what they want.
Lead Them On to Other Content
Another way to keep visitors on your pages is to embed links to related content on your website. For example, you’re showing the pros and cons of the Model A product. Provide a link on the same page to take them to the specifications for Model A or a comparison of Model A to its main rival. If people follow internal links to other content, search engines see this as an endorsement for your content. If someone is seeking advice on how to fix a problem with your product, give them your link to the repair kit you recommend instead of letting them look for it elsewhere.
Use Intuitive Navigation
Intuitive navigation is a navigation structure that users understand immediately. If you have an ecommerce page, design the product structure so that someone looking at a blue short sleeved sweater by brand B can tell how to see other sweaters by brand B or your other short sleeved sweaters. This keeps them on the site as they browse instead of abandoning your site for someone else’s. A web design company can help you implement this if it isn’t already set up on your website.
Be Mindful of Their Needs
One variation of this is creating targeted pages that are optimized to answer questions the users are asking, so they don’t have to hunt for answers. Another variation is using a few, high quality images that are directly relevant to the query but minimizing bandwidth demands, whether you use content delivery networks or have a lazy load of third party content.
Keeping your visitors on page is all about understanding their needs and improving their user experience. You also have to design your site for maximum readability and make the navigation as seamless as possible.