Let’s talk about bounce rate. Bounce rate is one of those rare analytics numbers that you’d love to be low. What is a bounce? A bounce occurs when a visitor clicks onto your website and ‘bounces’ away again. This could be for a number of reasons, which you’ll discover as I give you 8 tips to improve website engagement.
Bounce Rate Is A Direct Metric Of Website Engagement
Improve your website speed
Is your server grinding away? Is it powered by a hamster and a piece of string? Is your website using enough resources to brownout the server cluster’s local area? If it’s still not loaded past the 3 second market, every second can shed 7% of your visitors. If your don’t handle this, no other method will improve website engagement.
There are a number of things that can contribute to a slow website speed. A WordPress website with way too many plugins running, or an unoptimised website that doesn’t cache its resources. You could be serving up huge numbers of images straight from the camera file that all need to be optimised. The first thing to check is how it’s performing in the real world, and there are a number of free tools out there that you can use, from the in-depth analysis of gtmetrix.com to the lighter pingdomtools.com
A mobile ready website is crucial
Pop over to Google Analytics now (I’ll wait!). Check out how much of your traffic comes from mobile devices. If you’re not already mobile ready, you’re putting your visitors through pinch ’n zoom hell. I’m sure you’ve done this yourself; tried to load a website onto your iphone and been led through the horrors of mis-applied screen taps and squinting. Say goodbye to a large helping of potential money spinners, because personally speaking I’d rather take advantage of the choice that doesn’t make me do this.
A great design increases visitor trust
Does your website look like something conceived during 2002? Is there anything there that draws the attention? Is it just a bunch of words on a page with a couple of images? Web design standards have changed to a startling degree over the last few years, with an emphasis on a more visual approach. An image speaks a thousand words, but a thousand words will never be read. The impression the visitor has on their first visit to your website will have a direct effect on their impression of you as a business. A bad design breeds mistrust.
Navigation should be as easy as 1-2-3
If access to the deepest content takes more than three clicks to, you have a navigation fail on your hands. If your most important content isn’t amongst the first on your menu, it will be ignored. Do you have images as buttons on your menu? Get rid, quick! Text links have the power of anchor text, an image is just an image. For some great tips, try this article on navigation by kissmetrics.com.
Call To Actions
A call to action is a button or section on your website that is intended to funnel the visitor to a specified goal. In some respects, this is the ‘grand master plan’. Without one, although you will convert many, your conversion rates can skyrocket if done right. unbounce.com saw a 90% increase in conversions just by changing one word in their CTA. This is human psychology at play.
Understand Eye Tracking Studies
I wrote an entire post on eye tracking studies. How does this work? The average human being has a preset method of reading a website, that more or less describes an ‘F’. Understanding this is to understand where the important parts of your website should be and how to give them the maximum exposure.
Keep interactions swift and not cumbersome
By cumbersome, we mean items such as forms – don’t make your visitor fill out the kind of form that the tax man would send you. Only ever get the information you need to do your job efficiently, be it order details or at the basic level, contact forms. An endless stream of customer surveys most definitely does not rev my engine.
Keep pop-ups where they belong – in hell.
You’ve met these yourself; you load up a website and lo and behold, five seconds later the screen goes dark and a modal panel flips in. At their very worst, these seem desperate, begging for you to do something. Theres isn’t a day goes past where I don’t mutter an expletive as this hold-up in my routine occurs. If you need to get this information, use a call to action. Please don’t force it in my face. It doesn’t improve website engagement, it actively forces me elsewhere.