Have you ever walked into a restaurant and known very quickly that you absolutely shouldn't order any food there?
It was the summer of 2011 and my husband and I were traveling across the country on the way to California. We were starving after driving 15 hours, so we pulled over at a hole-in-the-wall cafe boasting, "The Best Sweet Tea" on Route 66. As soon as we walked in we were bombarded with awful smells, a dirty and trash-littered floor and a whiteboard of daily specials that ranged from meatball subs to pig feet.
Needless to say, we quickly turned around and continued driving until we found something more appealing. I am sure this cafe had a type of customer, but it wasn't us. When I think about it now, there were a lot of reasons we bounced. But what if we missed out on a great experience? Did we judge it too quickly?
People have this same type of experience with your website on a daily basis. The percentage of people who judge your site and decide to stay or go before interacting with any content is how you measure your bounce rate. Our goal as business owners and bloggers is to engage our ideal clients, so they will stick around longer than 5 seconds.
Today we're giving you 5 things you can do right now to improve your website, and in turn decrease your bounce rate.
1. Make It Easy To Connect
List your social media and email contact above the fold. This means readers can see these items as soon as they arrive at your page, and no scrolling is necessary to find them. This is one of the easiest things you can do with the largest impact. Statistics show that readers give up searching for contact, or any other information for that matter, after mere seconds. To avoid missing connections, make sure you are literally handing the information to them as soon as they land on your page. It is also important to have your e-mail listed on the Contact page of your site, instead of relying only on an e-mail form. We want to make it as easy as possible for potential readers, clients and new friends to connect and contact us!
2. Increase Your Visual Appeal
Competing fonts, colors and graphics take away from your content and drive potential clients and readers away. To ensure your website isn't confusing or overwhelming, choose 2-3 fonts and either black or dark gray for your text. Graphics that compete with your content (think videos that autoplay, pop-ups or graphics that fly across the screen) automatically deter readers and come across as spam. Let your content be the star and keep it simple.
3. Produce Quality Content
It's easy to throw up sub-par content in order to keep up with the demands of blogging, but be wary of these types of posts because they are misleading. If readers arrive to find something unexpected and unrelated to your brand or services, it can be confusing. You the run the risk of losing the trust you've built with your readers that is necessary to facilitate conversation, interaction and eventually make a sale or book a client. Your bounce rate is going to be higher than the Eiffel Tower.
With each blog post you write, constantly be asking yourself if your content aids in reaching your goals. If you are a photographer, for example, you may want to be showcasing your work, offering your expertise or answering client questions within your posts. This gives readers confidence in your abilities as a photographer.
While it is easy to post a recipe, write about your weekend or link to your favorite Pinterest images, your ideal client or reader may not stick around if you are not creating the content they expect. Our goal is to pose ourselves as experts in our field, so when the times comes for potential clients to hire a photographer, designer, or wedding planner they will think of us. If you aren't selling a service or product, you also want your content to portray you as an expert or "go-to" in your niche, so people will continue coming back to your website.
4. Include an About Me Section
About Me sections are one of the first pages people visit. Include a photo of yourself and share with your readers and potential clients who you are and what your business, blog, or brand encompasses. Don't be afraid to be clear about services you offer or what your website focuses on; not everyone will be your ideal client or reader and that is perfectly fine. If you're too general with the information and try to reach everyone, you will end up reaching no one. Communicate relevant information that will draw in your ideal clients, customers or readers. Additionally, readers love to know about the person who is writing, because they feel more personally connected to author of the content on the website.
5. Eliminate Too Many Sponsors or Advertisements
If you are a new blogger, we recommend holding off on advertisements and sponsorships. We believe you must earn your readers' loyalty and trust before adding this element to your blog. If you try and do this too soon you risk appearing disingenuous, and turn potential readers away. A more natural step would be to obtain a loyal readership and then begin directing followers to your favorite shops and products via sponsored posts and ads. It is important to be thoughtful about the brands and products you affiliate yourself with and be conscious about the number of ads you allow on your website. Be strategic and don't overwhelm readers with graphics that direct them away from your website.
What would you add to our list?