The brochure site is often a kickback to the early internet. It stems from the mindset that simply having an online footprint is enough—so it provides basic information such as benefits and features, store location, and a map to help you find them quickly.
According to Massey, this is a safe bet if you only want a basic online presence.
What this website needs:
A professional design that builds brand recognition
Research has shown that approximately 60% of the B2B sales process is completed before the buyer ever talks to a salesperson. These days, people rely on your website for information and support to help them decide if they want to talk to you.
With this in mind, consultative sites often provide presentations, white papers, case studies, and other sales collateral that attract and nurture prospects. They also include trust-building elements, such as a blog and social sharing buttons.
What this site needs:
Content that helps people understand their problem and your solution
Useful long-form content available for opt-in
Email to nurture relationship and build trust
The online service
An online service may be your accounting software, cloud storage, or email service. It could even be a dating service.
For many online service websites, the home page is formatted as a landing page. This makes it easy to answer all questions and build people’s confidence to try your service.
One way to do that is with the “freemium” offer, with paid upgrade that gives you more (and better) features.
Crazy Egg, for instance, allows a free trial period that upgrades to paid service at the end of the trial. MailChimp offers a basic email service for free. To access more advanced features, such as autoresponder emails, you need to upgrade to paid service.
What this site needs:
Well-written sales copy that persuades people to try your product
Effective email follow-up to turn triers into users
Support to help people get the most from your product—so they’ll buy it and recommend it.
How to pick the website format that’s right for you
Ultimately, you want to pick the formula that helps your website convert. It’s easy if your business clearly fits one of the formulas. If not, you may need to do some strategic planning to determine which one fits your business model or sales funnel best.
Start by identifying which formula (or blend of formulas) you currently use.
Then determine whether it’s the right one for your business model. Does it help you achieve your business goals? Does it attract qualified prospects? Does it convert well?
Brian lists three reasons you might need to try a different formula:
You might be using the wrong formula for the type of business you run.
The formula you’re using isn’t resonating with your customers—they want your site to use a different formula.
Your business model or marketing plan allows for different models—for instance, an online store that differentiates itself by following an online service model. In this case, you could use the online store or the online service formula.
Still not sure which formula to use?
You may need a blend of formulas.
Let’s say that you sell software to enterprise organizations, but your big selling point is that you offer a done-for-you service…
You provide a worry-free solution, taking care of installation, training, and reporting. Customers are assigned an account manager who works closely with them to make the product work…
But because your selling cycle is long (it’s an expensive solution), you publish a lot of white papers and case studies on your website, and you manage a well-regarded industry blog to build trust…
Then, to add another income stream, you also publish how-to books that help smaller businesses apply your methods to their own website.
Are you an online store? Yes.
Are you an online service? Yes.
Are you a publisher? Yes.
Which formula should you use? Perhaps all three. You could have:
Web pages that talk about the problems your prospects are experiencing and clearly explain your solutions.
Clear navigation and a search bar that help newcomers find your content and/or products.
Landing pages describing your products—both the enterprise done-for-you software and the how-to books.
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That’s how long you have to capture someone’s attention on your website.
I’ve dubbed this “the 15 Second Rule.”
If you haven’t generated interest in 15 seconds, then you probably aren’t going to.
How do you do that? Let’s take a look at some major reasons why people leave a website and, of course, how you can capture their attention instead.
It all comes down to your bounce rate.
Why you should care about your bounce rate
Bounce rate is one of those deceiving marketing terms that kind of sounds fun.
Jon Lister from Elite SEM recently shared this advice at an ecommerce conference when asked about the importance of bounce rate:
Focus on “dwell time” (how long site visitors spend with your content), rather than vanity metrics like pageviews. Creating quality content is extremely important because Google cares about how deep people navigate into your site, whether they hit the back button, and worst of all, whether they return to the search results page because they didn’t find the information they were looking for.
And low bounce rate means that things are running smoothly.
So you see why it’s important to know this when we’re discussing the why of visitors leaving your site.
So where do you find it?
First, you’ll need to open up your Google Analytics Dashboard.
On the left-hand toolbar, you’ll see an option that says “Audience Overview.” Go ahead and click it.
Bounce rate and average time spent on website on google analytics
You’ll be greeted by a display of analytics about your site’s performance, including the overall site bounce rate:
The thing is, a site-wide bounce rate doesn’t tell you very much.
You need to find out where your visitors are actually going before you can have insightful data.
Thankfully, Google Analytics also lets you check the individual bounce rates by going to the Behaviors section of your dashboard.
Once you select “Behaviors,” select the “Site Content” drop-down.
Then, select “All Pages.”
You’ll find a breakdown that looks like this:
Now, we have a bounce rate that’s broken down by page.
Here you can get more information about how each page is performing. This is especially helpful when you’re determining whether or not your visitors are getting what they want out of your site.
Your bounce rate compared to your exit rate shows you the overall effectiveness of your page—all in one convenient place.
But how do you interpret this information? To be honest, there’s a bit of ambiguity in a bounce rate metric.
A slightly high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing.
According to Yoast, bounce rate has three different interpretations:
1. The quality of the page is low. There’s nothing inviting to engage with. 2. Your audience doesn’t match the purpose of the page since they won’t engage with your page. 3. Visitors have found the information that they were looking for.
For example, it could mean that your audience got what they wanted and then left.
As a writer, I get helpful information from other sites all the time, even if I don’t buy from that brand.
Does that mean that my activity on those sites is making their bounce rates misleading? Yes and no.
Keep in mind that it varies by industry.
That’s why you should know what you’re aiming for. It’ll help keep you sane and focused on your goals.
Here’s an example of a few industry standards from Kissmetrics:
Your entrepreneur friends in different niches will all have different bounce rates, and that’s okay. What’s an acceptable bounce rate for one industry may be pretty high for another.
And keep in mind that the average time on site depends on the type of site, too. According to a survey conducted by Brafton, the average session duration was 2 minutes, 17 seconds, but that varied depending on whether the site was B2B, B2C or a hybrid.
It also depended on the industry. For instance, the survey found the average time spent on healthcare websites was over three minutes.
Activity on your website is also dependant on your goals. But it’s always a good idea to decrease your bounce rates when and where you can.
Though a high bounce rate isn’t always bad, it’s usually a sign that something is broken or not working.
Therefore, this post is about keeping those rates low and session duration high.
How do you do that?
You have to know why visitors leave your website.
That’s where my five reasons come in.
Let’s start by addressing your audience’s needs like I hope you are already aiming to do.
5 Reasons Why Visitors Leave Your Website
1. Visitors Leave Your Site When They Don’t Get What They Expect
Seriously, give it a click. It won’t blow up your computer or anything.
Now, tell me: Was it what you were expecting? Most people expect to find the homepage of Nissan Motors (the car company). Instead, you were taken to a website about computers, right?
So, if you were interested in purchasing a Nissan car, would you stick around to look at computer parts?
The answer is almost definitely no, and I have web statistics from Alexa to back it up.
According to Alexa, the average visitor hangs out at nissan.com for about 30 seconds and nissanusa.com for over 4 minutes.
Here’s the sad truth: Most of the people who visit nissan.com aren’t interested in what the website is actually about. They’re probably looking for a new car.
In this particular case, Nissan is a family name. Naturally, the owner wants to keep it, and he has a right to do so since he got there first. But from a business standpoint, the confusion generated by the domain name is likely doing him more harm than good.
The following graphics compare two massively popular websites, YouTube and Facebook, with intentionally misspelled domain names. For those of you who are not familiar with this little “trick,” it involves anticipating popular misspellings of high-traffic websites to steal a small portion of their traffic.
Basically, users sometimes misspell the names of the websites they are looking for. Some people use this to their advantage, registering a domain name like “yuotube.com,” or “faecbook.com” in order to siphon a small percentage of web traffic from the actual sites.
Personally, I’m not fond of this type of website. At best, it is misleading. At worst, it can be downright dangerous—even illegal (some sites have used misspelled domain names to gather login credentials from users intending to visit the real website).
Notice how long users stay on these bogus sites — about 30 seconds or less. So, why play those games?
But there’s more to keeping a website visitor than not being misleading. You also want to make sure that your user experience provides the opposite of what we’ve already been discussing.
That is, you need to give your visitor a pleasant experience.
One way to start is by addressing web design.
Why? Poor web design drives visitors away.
Consider a site that has too many options.
Social Triggers shared a fascinating study of what happens when potential buyers are given too many options.
Here’s what they found:
On two consecutive Saturdays, a free tasting booth was set up in an upscale supermarket.
On the first Saturday, 24 flavors of jam were set out for customers to taste and buy.
On the second Saturday, only six of those same jams were made available.
What do you think the results were?
One would think that more jam options would mean more sales, but the study found that the opposite was true.
When 24 jams were available, 60 percent of the customers stopped for a taste test. But, only 3 percent of the shoppers who stopped also bought some.
When only six jams were available, fewer customers stopped. Only 40 percent tried the jams.
But of those who stopped, 30 percent took home some jam.
So what does this mean for your website?
It means that a poor design that gives too many options will significantly lower your sales and increase your bounce rate.
They give examples of doctors and government officials using a rather silly-looking font to convey an important message.
It kind of undermines what they were going for, right?
So remember that the seemingly simple aspect of proper design has an immediate impact on your interest in a site.
But what about the other elements of what your audience is expecting?
For example, think about the content.
If you’re still featuring your old posts on your site, then visitors might just take one look at the date and opt out.
Even if the data is still relevant, your audience craves newer content. If all you need to do is update a few statistics, find a new example, and provide some additional insight, then just do it.
Your modernized content will serve you much better.
If you’re lacking in content right now, you should know that your audience expects you to at least be competent, if not an outright expert, in your niche in order for them to truly listen. So, make sure your content conveys your expertise.
And please, don’t just greet your user with a huge wall of text.
Nothing is more intimidating or off-putting than having to wade through a wall of information, meaningless text to find what you came for.
Instead, I recommend creating “chunks” of content.
They’re easier to digest and much easier to skim and understand without boring your audience.
Then you can start adding graphs, imagery, or other helpful interruptions.
You can use them like this:
These charts are meaningless. I’m just using them to illustrate how you can keep attention and spread your message with a simple image.
And keep in mind that even if you think you’re a poor writer, you can write good content.
As the article linked above suggests, it’s okay to break the “content writing” rules as long as you go back and learn the rules you’re breaking. The key is that you communicate effectively. If you communicate well, your content is doing its job.
You should also keep in mind that you don’t have to write long, complex sentences to connect with your audience.
In fact, those longer sentences are often why you lose your audience.
And research from the Nielsen Norman Group back from the 1990s confirms that most people never fully read web content anyway.
We all scan what we read most of the time, which sometimes means your words aren’t even the most important element.
In a way, formatting your content is the most important part, and anyone can do that effectively.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have good content though.
So how do you tell if your content is what’s driving up your bounce rate?
Neil Patel shared a few content mistakes you should avoid. Here are some of my favorites:
Don’t plagiarize other people’s content.
Don’t push the boundaries too far.
Don’t mock your audience.
Always remember that the effort you put in determines the results you get out. Bad content will turn visitors away just like bad design will.
And as I already mentioned with content, another element you should consider is how visual your site is.
You might have noticed that there’s been an image every so often in this post. I do that for a reason.
According to The Aberdeen Group, businesses that utilize visual engagement tactics see an 83% increase in annual revenue compared to their competitors. Websites that relied on visual engagement in addition to copy saw their conversion rates more than double.
What does that look like on a website?
Let’s go back to the Rhett and Link example for a moment.
Here’s another screenshot from their site:
At this point on their site, they’re inviting you to check out their online store where they sell apparel and other accessories.
You can see that they’re drawing you in with more than just their funny faces. They’re also wearing their apparel (looks neat, right?) and showing you a couple of cool mugs.
You now want to see what else they’re offering, so you click through to the store.
That’s how powerful some simple imagery can be.
It draws the eye, engages, and converts.
So we’ve looked at how honest URLs, good design, appropriate content, and powerful images all play a role in giving your visitor what they expect so they don’t bounce from your website.
But there are two final things that you also need to consider when trying to fulfill your visitors’ high expectations.
One aspect that you might not expect is how frequently you update your website.
If you haven’t updated your site in years, or months, it can affect your bounce rate.
1. You could add a blog. 2. You can interact with your own site by commenting on or updating old posts. 3. Try adding images and videos when appropriate. 4. Update your design to stay trendy. 5. Freshen up your other content like social media, FAQs, and testimonials.
It doesn’t take an army to generate frequent content updates, and the results speak for themselves.
But there’s one last thing that your customers expect:
A good offer.
If your offer isn’t appealing, then your visitor won’t stick around on your site.
Your offer is what you’re giving your customers in exchange for them giving you something you want.
It could be a more traditional coupon or discount, or it could be a free trial, whitepaper, or gift.
The best offers push your visitors further into your sales funnel.
I always recommend offering a clear statement of value in addition to a way for people to contact you.
They immediately give you what you came for. They don’t make you hunt for the offer. They simply start by giving you the tools you need to manage your bills and debt.
On the other hand, I don’t recommend forcing your user to input information too soon.
While getting information from your visitors is helpful to you, it could turn away a user who is simply trying to browse or learn more.
Finding the right offers and timing them appropriately goes a long way in meeting the expectations of your visitor.
Even one misstep can turn a visitor away, so take the time to do this well.
Pro Tip: Keep It Real!
Never intentionally mislead your visitors to believe you are something that you aren’t. Give users what they expect. Make sure that your domain name, website header, and every last drop of content is relevant to the focus of your website.
Users aren’t stupid, and they don’t like being tricked or brought to your site by way of misleading gimmicks. So, keep it real. Let your site be what it is and advertise it as such.
It means that if your site isn’t working for any reason, it will negatively affect the expectations of your visitors.
So that penny you pinched on a cheap server that’s down all the time is actually affecting your bounce rates.
It also means that elements like broken links or lack of mobile responsiveness are playing a part in how someone experiences your website.
A dead link on your site can be a momentum killer when you’re trying to convert a visitor into a lead.
And if that one landing page is always loading wrong, you simply shouldn’t use it.
A good example of a site that is always available and accessible is Facebook.
Think about it. When was the last time you can remember Facebook going down?
Without consulting Google, I honestly can’t remember.
And it’s accessible across so many platforms as well.
There’s the mobile version we all remember from our pre-smartphone days. The screen is flexible and adjusts when you minimize or maximize the window.
But there’s also an eye-pleasing mobile version that gives us the same updates and the same experience when we’re on the go. It’s even less cluttered than the desktop version so that usability is still the highest priority.
There’s even an app.
And this makes sense. You would expect a site like this from a social media platform that has exploded to a user base of more than 2 billion.
None of this has come by accident. Facebook has constantly been concerned with ease of access and constant availability as a part of its brand.
No one ever says “I hope Facebook is up.”
It just is.
And your website needs to have the same type of regularity, or else you’ll see more people leaving and fewer people coming.
But beyond accessibility and availability, you should also be able to provide a clear experience of your brand.
You don’t want to overload your site visitors with too much information, as the example above from Mineral.io founder Matt Sanocki illustrates (more on this in our post about clear email design).
There’s actually more ways than one to do this, and which you choose depends on your audience’s needs.
One way to achieve this is to keep things simple. Take Samsung as an example.
Their site immediately focuses on the important aspects they want you to see. In this case, it’s the Note9.
Do you see any distractions? I don’t.
There are no frills, no bells, and no whistles. It’s just a straight-to-the-point homepage.
To take it a step further, they also try to make you feel like their site is familiar when you scroll down and see this:
If you’re already a user of their home appliances, then this will bring back your thoughts on their products. It’s a subtle yet simple nudge that helps you feel more at home on their site.
One thing you’ll also notice between those two images is that they’re consistent. The font is the same. The colors match. There’s no drastic variation that could potentially startle your visitors.
What’s more, they also provide guidance:
If you’re interested in their new phone, they provide three quick resources for you to check out that show you what’s new.
You’re not left to wonder about this information. They put it right in front of you.
They’ve structured their site this way on purpose. It provides a clear user experience that minimizes distractions and bounces.
Beyond clarity, the site also helps you learn about the product. This is largely due to the fact that it follows some pretty classic design patterns that many major websites and brands use.
Let’s say you do want to learn about trade-ins for the Samsung phone, but you don’t see the callout image at first.
You would likely scroll upward until you saw the navigation toolbar.
Notice I’ve highlighted a few options and the search tool. As frequent Internet users, we look for these things when we can’t immediately find what we want.
It’s part of what helps us learn a new website and not get lost.
You’ll also notice another common feature: the logo. And this isn’t taking into account the huge image we saw on the page in one of the previous examples or the calls to action we’d most likely be using in this case.
Once you find the page you’re looking for about trade-ins, you don’t have to dig for answers
You simply find your current phone and determine its trade-in value.
All of this is possible because this site is easy to learn. It’s not a complicated, twisting maze that requires a map. It’s intuitive and easy.
So we’ve made our site accessible, clear, and learnable. What else can we do to help meet our users’ expectations?
Let’s build some credibility.
I add this element because it plays into the overall trust equation we’ve been working with when trying to keep visitors for longer than 15 seconds.
Credibility is one of the cornerstones of any website.
Even if someone finds what they’re looking for, if they don’t trust you, then your content is pretty much worthless to them.
It’s like when someone gets fooled by The Onion, a satirical news site. But in this case, we’re talking about winning or losing a customer.
If someone leaves as a skeptic of your brand, they may never come back.
You have to establish your reliability and “realness” in one short visit.
One way you can accomplish this is with an “About Us” page. Another powerful option is social proof — putting customer reviews right on your homepage.
The content you share also plays a part in how much people trust you, and for good reason.
Take the Pebble smartwatch brand, for example. Before they sold their company to Fitbit, they had to compete against Apple in the emerging smartwatch market.
As a Kickstarter turned company, you’d be right in imagining they were in over their heads.
But, by being proactive about displaying the versatility, battery life, and durability of their product, they were able to develop a loyal customer base and even break some Kickstarter records.
The key here is to go all out with your expertise. Don’t be modest or self depreciating.
The more facts, figures, and successes you can share, the better your site will be.
Convey that visitors can trust you, and customers will use your site as a reliable source of information.
But beyond credibility, you should also strive to stay relevant.
If you don’t know who your users are or why they should use your product, you won’t be around very long.
Again, Pebble is a great example, as they were a leading brand at a time when smartwatches were still a risky concept.
By innovating and creating useful features like speech to text, always-on watch faces, and third-party apps, they were able to cater to the crowd of individuals disillusioned by the Apple Watch.
They listened to what their users wanted and poured all of their resources into creating an innovative and user-friendly product.
In other words, they were relevant.
Before we end this discussion on usability, I want to switch gears to a more technical topic.
How responsive or mobile-friendly is your site?
If your site isn’t working on a mobile device, you’re missing out.
Mobify found that 30% of mobile shoppers have abandoned buying from a site because it wasn’t optimized for mobile.
A responsive site will change based on the needs of your audience.
For example, if you’re using a site on your browser while multitasking, you usually want to be able to fit your browser window into a smaller space.
A responsive site responds to that by shrinking with your browser.
Content will change as necessary, navigation will condense, and images and spacing will adjust, but the usability of the site is preserved.
So by design, a responsive site is also going to work on mobile.
And with mobile conversion rates only lagging 0.5% behind desktop rates in 2016, this feature is very important.
If you don’t have a responsive site, at least make sure you have a mobile-friendly version.
It will work exactly the same across all devices, and it will even accommodate for lacking elements like Flash on some tablets.
Navigation will be simpler, images will appear smaller, and your static content will remain the same.
Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same website as your mobile browser. But the key difference is that it will look good on a tablet or smartphone.
The point is that transitioning to a responsive design will help build trust, increase usability, and lower bounce.
All of the other elements rely on a clean format, which you can achieve with a responsive or mobile site.
Pro Tip: Keep It User-Friendly!
If your website is a versatile, user-friendly platform, your visitors will want to stick around to see what you have to say.
Boost your usability by keeping runtime high, site design clear, and learnability to a maximum. As long as you stay clear and relevant, your bounce rate will be low and your brand trust will be high.
And remember to keep your site either responsive, mobile-friendly, or both. Losing mobile users will mean you’re missing out on a fantastic source of conversions for your business.
3. Visitors Leave Your Site When They Don’t Know What to Do
A common mistake is to give people too much information.
It sounds weird, right? We naturally want to give people all the information so they can make an informed decision. But in reality, this hardly ever works.
Using elements like strikethrough pricing, temporary bundles, or even a countdown timer are good ways to put a little added pressure on a visitor.
It can be the last step you need to take a customer that’s on the fence and close the sale.
It’s basic human psychology. People don’t like feeling like they’re missing out.
It’s like when a stock suddenly rises and people rush to buy it. Traders call it FOMO, or “fear of missing out.”
No one want to miss out on a great deal, so they act now when they’re told to act now.
A good example of this is Amazon’s annual holiday sale:
By using the strikethrough pricing, they give off the idea that these prices will be going up soon.
They’re also helping you count down how many days until you can’t have your purchase by Christmas.
While you might think you can get this type of deal another time, the point is that you don’t actually know when you might get another deal like this. You feel like it may never come again.
That’s why creating urgency is so powerful. It prompts immediate action without having to ask.
As long as you use urgency without looking spammy, you’ll be able to guide your visitors to wherever you need them. They’ll be around for much longer than 59 seconds, and they’ll keep coming back to you.
As you guide your visitors in their purchasing decisions, you always want to clearly explain the benefits that they’ll receive if they buy your product or service.
A lack of clear benefits about your product and its features early on will mean you’ll have a hard time moving people through your sales funnel.
HelpScout shared a powerful example that showed how Apple could have gone about marketing their iPod both effectively and poorly.
If you were in the market to consider an iPod, which description would you rather see?
I know I’d be more interested in having 1,000 songs in my pocket because 1GB is a meaningless statistic to me.
You’d have to know how many songs is equal to 1GB in order for the first ad to be effective.
Take some time to consider how clearly you display value. Even one slip could be bumping your bounce rate a little higher and sending customers to the competition.
Pro Tip: Keep It Simple!
Remember that “a confused mind never buys.” So, keep it simple and guide users through your website.
Your call to action should be blatant and easy for the user to achieve. For example, if you want users to subscribe to your mailing list, then make that your call to action and the central focus of your page. Capture their name and email quickly.
Also take time to clean up your sites navigation, internal links. Make your site easy to use. Even small improvements can go a long way in improving bounce rates.
4. Visitors Leave Your Site if They Suspect You Aren’t Being Genuine
Trust is critical online. Almost anyone can create a website, including criminals. Because of this, users are going to critically analyze your website the first time they visit—even if they don’t know that’s what they’re doing. They’ll be looking for two things:
1. Proof that your website is legitimate and trustworthy. 2. Proof that it isn’t.
Now, I am assuming that your website is legitimate and your intentions are benevolent. But the question is whether or not you are clearly communicating this fact to your target audience and helping them know you better.
If you don’t have major brand recognition (i.e., Walmart, Home Depot, Bass Pro Shop, etc.) then you are going to have to establish trust with the user in other ways.
This is a legitimate site that you may have never heard of before. According to Alexa, the average user stays on this website for 15 minutes when this screenshot was taken. Users obviously trusted this site or they wouldn’t have spent that much time using it.
So, how do websites like this, without national or international name recognition, generate real trust?
Third-party validation tells users that your website is secure. The SEOTOOL website (pictured above) demonstrated this by including a badge that said their website was “Verified & Secure” according to GoDaddy.com.
It doesn’t really matter whether or not users had ever heard of GoDaddy. What matters is that a user sees third party validation—validation from an outside source.
Furthermore, the website was connected to social media. The sidebar was linked to Facebook, Google, and Twitter. These names are recognizable and demonstrate that the website has nothing to hide. This is a public website that’s active in social media, and that smells trustworthy!
Also, notice that there were several ways in which a user could get help from the website:
Once in the footer section
Again on the side
Also on the top menu bar
As a result, it was clear that the user could contact someone and get the help they need. It also implied that the website (or, those who were behind it) wanted to help the user.
You’ll also want to make sure you get an SSL (secure socket layer) for your site. An SSL is a security protocol that establishes encrypted links on your site. Your customers (and Google) will know you have this set up because your http address should change to https.
Finally, notice that visitors could log in or sign up for a membership account in the nav bar. This communicates that the website has a following or community associated with it.
It feels secure, validated by community members, although no contact with fellow community members has actually occurred for the new visitor.
Beyond these little trust-building touches, you should also be aware that your audience is looking for a certain type of personality to be on display when deciding whether or not to trust your brand.
Millward Brown found in a world-wide examination that desirability and trustworthiness were the overall characteristics that people looked for in an online presence.
What’s more, the country you’re looking to appeal to makes a difference in what type of persona you adopt.
A company based in the U.S. with a homegrown audience needs to appear to be in control, wise, and generous.
That same company in the U.K. would need to appear to be friendly as opposed to in control.
It’s a small shift in tone that creates a difference in how people perceive you. You don’t want your site visitors to see you as lacking a genuine personality simply because you give off a different personality than your audience wants.
That’s still under one percent, so it doesn’t sound like much.
But it’s a 1700% increase in the click-through rate.
These stats are even more insightful when you consider just how many visitors and clicks you would need in order to actually make money off of the ads on your website.
One blogger calculated that you’d need to get 100,000 visitors per day to make around $100,000 a year in an ideal situation.
That’s a monstrous goal, especially when you consider that you’ll be undermining the trust of more than 50% of your visitors.
And that’s just an ideal situation. The chances of you actually succeeding with less than adequate resources and with no true way of generating consistent pageviews and clicks makes the situation even more dire.
I hope you can see just how ineffective these ads are for anything.
These website ads will just undermine your ultimate goals and prevent you from making true conversions via your website.
As you’ll notice, the most popular parts of these hotspots are bright yellow or orange. If the nav bar links or search field are blue (a much cooler, more subdued color), then there’s something about your site people are not finding useful, or they don’t trust. If embedded links in content are blue, that means visitor aren’t clicked. Why? It could be that visitors are getting the information they want right away and then leaving.
A scroll map will tell you how far people are scrolling down on any given page before they leave.
To use this tool effectively, go into your Google Analytics and find the pages with the highest bounce and exit rates. Then, use the scroll map to see how far down the page they’re getting.
Compare this map to your heatmap to see how far people are getting down a page and whether you have hotspots that are below the fold. That could mean you have popular content that should be moved up higher on the page.
If your links aren’t glowing, your users could be getting confused, or it could be they don’t realize they have to scroll down. Individual session recordings will come in handy to determine what’s happening.
Overlay Report and List Reports
An overlay report will isolate your clickable elements and tell you which ones are doing best. So, if you have several links going to the same place, you can see which of those links is actually getting the clicks.
If you want to go even deeper, a list report provides you with rankings of your most clicked element in a table format. It includes visible and non visible elements (like the subcategories of a drop down menu, or a pop up modal).
To see where people are bouncing from your site, recordings are going to be your most helpful tool. You can watch actual users interact with your high-bounce pages and understand the behavior of those with the least average time on page.
See where they pause, where they click, and how far they scroll in real time. Compare that to the results from your maps to better understand where your UX and design mistakes might be tripping up your visitors.
Now you’ve gathered your data and analyzed it thoroughly. You’re pretty sure you know why your visitors are leaving and you’ve come up with a few fixes that you think will help.
If you’re ready to track whether those proposed design updates make a positive impact on your bounce rate and time on site, you’re at Stage 3 of the Web Optimization Lifecycle: A/B testing.
Remember WallMonkeys? They gathered the data from their heatmaps and scroll maps and created new, tweaked versions of their homepage.
They tested versions with a more fun image and one with the search bar moved to the center of the screen. In the end, they ended up increasing their conversion rate by 550%.
Once you’ve analyzed your heatmaps and watched your recordings, it’s time to test your hypotheses through A/B testing.
When you A/B test, you publish two versions of the same page (option A and option B) and see which one has a lower bounce rate and better average time on page.
But if you keep it real, user-friendly, simple, secure, and appealing, you’ll see results and improve your bounce rate.
Misleading your customers and failing to give them what they want is going to be damaging to the reputation of your company.
Run a tight ship on your website and make sure you deliver relevant, fast-loading content that exceeds expectations. The right design is key, here.
Remember that people don’t want to use a site that they can’t trust, that they can’t learn from, or that isn’t available. Down time will hurt you, and a lack of mobile compatibility will kill you.
Providing guidance in the midst of a sale is the number-one goal of pretty much every website. Don’t let your audience get lost or distracted. Provide clean navigation, clear calls to action, and a short path to success.
Create trust by doing away with spammy ads and videos. Instead, focus on creating a voice for your brand that resonates with your target audience. The right words at the right time will go a long way.
Finally, find ways to inspire your audience when they arrive. Know your audience and your voice, then speak boldly with the changing seasons.
In everything you do, build trust. You’ll see longer site visits, lower bounce rates, and more happy customers.
David Zheng is an alumnus and former contributor to The Daily Egg.
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Time is the most valuable asset. Nothing is more frustrating than slow page loading. A slow website kills conversions and impacts search rankings. Google stated that it is important to consider website speed when determining search rankings.
Here are some interesting website load statistics:
An Akamai study showed that 47% of customers expect websites to load in a few seconds or less.
One second delay on Amazon could cost $1.6 billion on sales every year.
According to Pingdom, 78% of the top 100 retail websites take under three seconds to load.
The average load time on the desktop is 1.286 and 2.594 seconds on mobile.
Optimizing your website’s speed is not a necessity, but a must-have, especially if you want to beat out the slower competition. Once you notice that your site is loading more than three seconds, it’s time to figure out things that can slow down your website speed and improve the overall performance.
Let’s discover lesser-known causes of website slowdown and find the best solutions to deal with each one.
1. Caching issues
Browser caching is very important for repeat visitors. Every time users come to your website for the first time, their browser stores all the files like images, CSS, and Java files for a specified period. The next time the visitors come back to the web page, browser caching allows these stored files to be served quickly upon the user’s next visit.
Reducing the number of round-trips results in faster page load times and improve user experience. Caching can definitely help you speed your website, but it’s not without its issues. If you don’t set up caching properly, it can hurt user interaction. It’s essential to develop a solid caching strategy to maintain strong user experiences.
If you don’t use WordPress, you can add the Cache-Control and Entity tags (ETags) headers to HTTP response headers. ETags are used to validate whether the client has the recent version of a record. While Cache-control is used to define browser caching policies in client and server responses. As a result, these headers help you reduce the need for visitors to download the same files from the server twice and reduce the number of HPPT requests.
If your website is running on WordPress, you can use cache plugins for better performance. WP Rocket is a great premium cache plugin that includes a lot of extra features like lazy loading, database cleanup, CDN integrations, and many more. You don’t have any technical skills to set it up to have faster websites.
2. Overloaded database
An overloaded database can be a silent killer when it comes to website performance. One of the pitfalls with WordPress websites is that your database is overloaded with multiple post revisions, deactivated plugins, saved drafts, and others. Trackbacks and pingbacks don’t have any practical use in WordPress. Ensure to disable both of them because they clog up your database and increase the number of requests.
Make sure to delete other garbage files like spam and trash folders, transients, and database tables that can also slow down your website. As I mentioned above, WP Rocket is one of the easiest ways to schedule and clean up these files every week. You can optimize your database using the ‘Database’ tab.
Source: Screenshot made by the author
Using WP Rocket, you can also schedule an automatic database cleanup.
3. Outdated CMS
Running an outdated version of your CMS can slow down your website and cause different security vulnerabilities. Most CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal let you know once any update is available. Having the latest versions of plugins and any software will result in faster load times.
In case you haven’t still updated your CMS or don’t get any notice, run a regular page speed test on different pages of your website to find out whether the latest updates or versions of the software are compatible with your web hosting or available fixes that can improve the overall performance of your website by making them faster to load.
4. Excessive usage of social media scripts
Social media has become a crucial part of every website. No matter how large your website is, you still need to connect social media to your site and make it easier for users to share your posts. The excessive usage of social media scripts and plugins can kill your site’s performance.
Limit the number of social media plugins and scripts that you don’t use at all and find alternate ways to schedule and automate your social media tasks. Zapier is a great website service that can help you automate these tasks and reduce the burden on server resources and your website.
When it comes to sharing options at the end of each post, it’s a great way to easily share your publications, but these options can add a lot of load to your website. Try not to use them at every single page of your website and include only the essentials.
5. The use of chatbots
Chatbots are great for handling customer inquiries. According to Salesforce, 69% of customers want to use chatbots to speed up their communication with a brand. But there are two sides to the coin. Chatbots can hurt your website speed in case the script isn’t implemented properly and can take your website longer to load.
It’s important to ensure that your chatbot is loading asynchronously. I mean when your chatbot performs any action on your website like initiating a conversation with a customer or sending pings, this action should be routed by external servers. So, make sure to use the right code that enables this action. Check whether there is any problem with a chatbot script using Google’s PageSpeed Tools.
For easier set-up and simple communication, you can use an out-of-the-box solution like Tidio that doesn’t require any coding skills and takes only a moment to create a chatbot. The best thing is the ability to communicate with customers in one simple dashboard. The tool also integrates with different third-party apps to provide better customer service.
Source: Screenshot by Tidio
6. Broken links
Broken links are not only a pain for website visitors but a real drain on bandwidth. I’ve recently made a detailed analysis of one of my clients and have detected a lot of 404 errors in Google Webmaster Tools. Once I’ve fixed them, the average load time per user boosted from seven seconds to two seconds, and there was a huge decrease in bounce rate.
So, if you have many broken links on your website, you are just wasting resources. Moreover, they can hurt user behavior metrics and negatively affect your rankings. To detect broken links, I would recommend getting audit reports with the SE Ranking Website Audit. The tool sorts all your web pages by status code to view which ones are 404.
Source: Screenshot by SE Ranking
One of its major benefits is the ability to go deeper than others and find out crawl errors that other tools don’t. Once you get these broken links, you can fix or remove them for good.
To make your web pages load faster, Google recommends eliminating render-blocking scripts. Before removing them, identify which scripts cause problems using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Source: Screenshot by Finteza
8. Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
Everyone knows that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google project created to speed up web pages on mobile devices by adding an “AMP” stamp next to your mobile snippets. While the idea of having a fast mobile website with content sounds like a great idea, there are some challenges when it comes to AMP.
While creating AMP improves website performance, it removes all of the dynamic features that slow down websites. In other words, it changes the design of your website and provides less functionality for your visitors that can result in reducing conversions. According to this case study, Kinsta saw their mobile leads drop by 59% after adding AMP, so they disabled it.
So, use AMP carefully as it can lower your mobile conversions. If you still want to use them, do it properly (more instructions here). Make sure to validate AMP for Google Search and fix any possible issues.
While Gravatars offer convenience and easy customization to your user base, there is one drawback, speed. This is not really visible on smaller websites, but if you have a large website with a lot of blog comments, you will notice much of a slowdown. You have some options to fix that:
Disable Gravatars in WordPress
Remove comments that don’t have value
Use caching Gravatars like Harrys or Optimum Gravatar Cache
Reduce your Gravatar image sizes
Paginate comments in WP Disable
10. Invalid HTML and CSS
If you stop using invalid HTML and CSS codes, that will increase the rendering time of web pages and the overall site performance. Make sure to create HTML and CSS that aligns with the W3C standards if you want browsers to interpret your site more consistently.
Check your HTML through the W3C HTML Validator and CSS through the W3C CSS validator. One of the options is to validate HTML with the Grunt HTML validation package and Stylelint.
A slow-loading website is something that will turn your customers away before they can visit your website. To keep your site running well and loading fast, you need to focus on these web performance killers and do the best to prevent these issues and make your site more efficient.
Irina Weber is Brand Manager at SE Ranking. She can be found on Twitter .
While web browsers give users more control, brands must adapt. SVP of marketing at Airship, Mike Stone shares five ways of dealing with these changes.
Founder of digital marketing company, LoudGrowth shares top SEO recommendations for 2020 to help businesses reach their full potential in SEO.
Wondering if you should invest hard-earned cash in SEO, if it’s still a viable marketing strategy for 2020, or whether to spend more wisely elsewhere? Read on.
I took a look at CPC and CTR to see how performance varied after the average position sunset and how these metrics vary on Google.com vs. Search partners.
Google building coronavirus testing website – Search Engine Land
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When your website isn’t producing the results you want, there’s likely some kind of problem standing between website visitors and conversion. Fix that problem and you’ll see more engagement and a higher conversion rate, right?
Much of the content written about how to improve your website offers a bunch of generic tips for improving your site. And, of course, there’s a certain allure to the idea that you can just make a few small changes and radically improve your conversion rate.
But to make any real progress, you need to take a step back and diagnose what’s actually wrong with your site first. Heatmaps and sessions recordings, used in conjunction with other website analytics tools like Google Analytics, are the best way to do that.
To help you improve your website and get more conversions, we share how to use Google Analytics with Crazy Egg’s heatmap reports to easily identify and fix 3 of the most common problems:
Note: Ready to uncover your visitors’ click behavior, plus how you can optimize your website for more conversions? Sign up and try Crazy Egg free for 30 days.
How to Diagnose Website Problems via Heatmap
There’s one fundamental problem that most often leads marketers to re-examine their website: a low conversion rate. If the website overall isn’t converting at a high enough rate, it’s usually a good clue that you need to look into things.
Step 1: Map Your Ideal Conversion Path
For many marketers that means digging into individual web pages that show a low conversion rate. The problem with that approach is that conversion is a journey—and leads don’t go from zero to 100 by looking at one landing page.
“The problem manifests itself in a variety of ways,” our Conversion Rate Expert JL Neilsen explained. “The friction point causing poor conversion may be at the start of the funnel, somewhere in between, or on the last step. The key is to track the journey.”
That’s why diagnosing website problems means looking at the entire buyer’s journey and identifying where visitors diverge from the buyer’s journey you have in mind for them.
Step 2: Look at the Path Users Are Actually Taking and Identify Friction Points
Once you know how you want users to move through your site, you can use Google Analytics’ ‘Behavior Flow’ reportto see how they’re actually moving.
Behavior Flow can show you the overall path users are taking through your website. It can also help you identify common drop-off pages where users either leave the site or diverge from the path you’ve set out for them.
For example, you may find that a particular landing page is causing a lot of drop-off. That may mean the page isn’t well optimized for conversion. But it could also mean that the ad copy leading users to that page isn’t attracting the right users or setting accurate expectations for what they’ll find on the landing page.
Step 3: Run Heatmap — and Other Tests — to Get to the Heart of the Problem
Wherever the typical user flow diverges from your ideal path, that represents a good page for running additional tests, including heatmaps and session recordings. Now, when you look at the heatmap report for that page, you can interpret it within the context of your specific goal for that page and where it sits within the overall journey.
Heatmaps illustrate the frequency of click behavior on different portions of a web page.
Your heatmap report can then tell you where users’ actual click behavior diverges from that journey—and help you identify why.
If you’re using Crazy Egg for heatmapping, you can use additional reports (including the Scrollmap, Confetti, Overlay, and List Reports) to dig into the data even further. For users who don’t follow the ideal path, you can answer key questions like:
Where are they coming from (by referral source)?
Are they based in a common geographic region or country?
Do they include existing customers (who are logged into their accounts)?
Have they been to your website before or are they new users?
Are they accessing your site from a particular device or operating system (OS)?
What search terms are they using that lead them to your site?
The Confetti Report breaks down click behavior by 22 dimensions, including referring source.
“All this information will help identify the friction points,” JL said. “Once you find the friction points, you can start to understand why they’re happening and brainstorm ideas for how to fix them.”
Using our example from above, if your ad copy is the problem, you’d see very few clicks from users who came from that particular PPC campaign. On the flipside, you may find that it’s users accessing your site from mobile devices that exit the page at a high rate—which tells you there could be a design or functionality issue on the mobile version of that page.
Note: Ready to uncover your visitors’ click behavior, plus how you can optimize your website for more conversions? Sign up and try Crazy Egg free for 30 days.
Once you’ve directly identified the problem with your conversion funnel and the individual pages causing friction, now you’re ready to attack the problem and improve your conversion rate.
Problem #1: Low Clickthrough Rate (CTR) on Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Low clickthrough rate on CTAs is easily the most common problem we hear about from our customers’ websites. In short, it means you’re getting people to the landing page, but they aren’t clicking where you want them to.
How to Identify It
When you look at a heatmap report for your landing page, you ideally want to see yellow or white on your CTA. If you’re seeing blue or no color at all, that tells you very few people are clicking on that element.
In this screenshot, we can see that the CTA button isn’t getting many clicks.
How to Fix It
Before you can fix low CTR on your calls-to-action, you need to understand the underlying cause. Why aren’t people clicking?
First, take a look at your Confetti Report to see if any of the dimensions can explain low CTR. For example, you might find that CTR is particularly low for referral traffic but it’s higher for email and SEO traffic.
If you can’t find a cause there, take a look at your Scrollmap Report. This report can help you see if your CTA is located farther down the page than most people scroll. If that’s the case, the solution can be as simple as moving it up higher on the page.
If scroll depth isn’t the problem either, you can begin testing changes to the CTA itself. Test different copy, color, design, and placement—then run “after” heatmaps to see how those changes affect click behavior for your CTA.
Here’s the “after” heatmap for the screenshot from before. Changes to the button copy increased click frequency on the CTA.
Problem #2: Low Completion Rate on Forms
When visitors begin to fill out a form on your website, but they don’t end up finishing or submitting it, you’ll see a low form completion rate. That indicates a problem with the form itself. They were compelled enough to get started, but something stopped them from finishing.
How to Identify It
When you look at your Overlay Report for the page, you’ll see a (+) button for each form field where users can click to add their information. By expanding it, you can see the number of people who start the form—and click in each field. Then you can weigh that number against how many users complete or submit the form.
In the Overlay Report above, we can see that more people were willing to share their phone number than their last name.
How to Fix It
The primary reason website visitors start filling out a form but don’t finish is that the form asks for more information than the visitor wants to fill out. That may be because the form is too long or involved, or it could mean that visitors don’t feel they’re getting enough value in return.
So there are two main solutions you should test:
Consider what information you really need from leads, then cut as much as you can from the form. The less information you ask for, and the fewer fields to fill out, the less friction stands between users and conversion.
Offer something of value in exchange for the information. This is the typical gated content approach. If you offer something your users value (say, an educational guide, for example), they have more incentive to complete the form and convert.
Once you’ve made one or both of these changes, you can regularly run successive Overlay Reports to monitor how the changes affect form completion rate.
Problem #3: High Exit Rate
When visitors exit a page by leaving your website entirely, that’s known as their “exit page”—in other words, the last page they view in a given session. When a page has a particularly high exit rate, it can indicate that you aren’t giving users a clear (or compelling enough) next step to stay within your ecosystem.
How to Identify It
In your Google Analytics account, navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages. Here, you’ll see an overview of total exits across your set timespan and a breakdown of the number of exits and the exit rate for each page of your website.
How to Fix It
High exit rates can be caused by several different issues, so identifying the underlying issue is the first step. There are a few different ways to approach the problem using heatmaps:
The traditional heatmap report can show you if users are clicking elsewhere and getting distracted. For example, if your content has third-party ads on it, visitors may be exiting your site by clicking on those ads.
To get even more specific, our List Report can explain where those people are going—by listing every URL visitors go to after leaving a given landing page.
Once you have a sense of where people are going when they exit your page, it’s easier to see the areas where you can make changes to alter that behavior.
For example, if users are clicking on external links in your blog posts and exiting the website from there, you can consider setting those links to open in a new tab or window—so users aren’t interrupted or redirected before they finish reading the post.
Improve Your Website Intelligently
Building a better website—one with a higher conversion rate, lower exit rate, and more completed forms—isn’t about throwing a bunch of half-baked solutions at the wall and hoping for the best.
By taking a step back and analyzing your problem landing pages within the context of your ideal user journey, you can take more informed (and effective) steps toward improving your website overall.
Getting these data-driven insights to improve your website doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Using Crazy Egg, you can easily figure out what to do next.
If that sounds like just what you’ve been looking for, come give us a try. We offer a 30-day trial, completely free, that works on any of our pricing plans.
Kiera’s a content writer who works with SaaS and ecommerce companies. Located in Boston, MA, she loves cinnamon coffee and a good baseball game. Catch up with her @Kieraabbamonte or KieraAbbamonte.com
How to rank first on Google! best SEO 2020 Tutorial Tips & Techniques. learn how to rank your website first on search engines for beginners and advanced.
This is my first English video in YouTube, go easy with the comments guys 😉
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