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Trish O'Loughlin
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Word concubine since 1989.
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8 Ways You May Be Driving Away Traffic

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You know when you walk into a restaurant or a shop and you swiftly make a decision about whether or not it’s worth spending your time there?

Websites are kind of the same.

The only difference is, thanks to the anonymity of the online world, browsers don’t feel obligated to hang around for a few minutes to avoid appearing rude. Instead, as soon as they land on a page, they’ll decide within seconds whether they’ll stick around or not.

If the website isn’t to their taste, they’ll simply ‘bounce’ – hence the term, ‘bounce rate’.

Tell us about your bounce rate…

Your bounce rate is a huge factor of your SEO strategy. It effectively shows the percentage of visitors who have opened your website and left without spending what Google deems to be an ‘adequate’ amount of time on it. When this happens, Google starts to see you as a poor player in the digital game – as such, your rankings will begin to drop.

Hence, it’s important to take a look at your website’s pages and assess the following areas that have the potential to turn visitors off faster than a fifth-stage clinger:

1. Page load times that exceed four seconds

Society is an impatient bunch these days, and we’ve come to expect things to be instantly whooshed to us through the lightning-fast speed of the online world. Consequently, digital users tend to refuse to spend more than a few seconds waiting for a website to load.

Things like cheap hosting, oversized images, custom fonts and JavaScript effects are sure-fire ways to slow down your website and trigger your visitors to bounce instead of browse.

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2. Intrusive pop-ups and banner ads

Bombarding your visitors with automated offers can be really off-putting in the digital sphere. Those distracting advertisements flooding your landing page have the power to quickly disintegrate your customers’ trust and diminish the value of your content. While ads can certainly be a great marketing tool, it’s important to ensure the ads you’re displaying are actually relevant to what your visitor is looking for.

3. Making visitors dig for the important info

Purpose-driven design is key to a good website. As a rule of thumb, you want to display the most crucial points at the top of your page and either in the centre or to the left (after all, that’s how humans innately take in information). Headlines and subheadings are also really important for directing the reader’s eye – don’t throw in vague, fluffy, poetic terms; give your headings a clear purpose for the sake of your visitors. Remember, the online world has created a new skimmable culture wherein people briefly scan through text to discern whether it’s worth their attention or not.

4. Ugly landing pages

Just as a shop owner puts in the effort to style their retail space, websites need a bit of lovin’ in the looks department, too. First impressions count for a lot in the online world, and an unpolished visual design reeks of unprofessionalism.

5. Poor spelling and grammar

You’re also going to want to make sure your content is error-free. Visitors are quick to find reasons to avoid placing their trust in a business – if you can’t coherently string a sentence together, they’re likely to go scurrying for an alternative option.

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6. Landing pages that are hard to read

When users have to strain their eyes to get through your website, there’s a good chance they’re going to ditch you for someone else who can offer a more pleasant online experience. Issues of legibility are often a big problem in amateur web design, with DIY graphic artists slapping coloured text on black backgrounds or employing fonts that are just too hard to read. Either leave it to the professionals, or brush up on your design knowledge.

7. Making your visitor feel like they’ve walked into a scam

Visitors want to feel safe when traversing a website. One of the first things they’ll automatically scan for is content and design elements that communicate credibility – this comes down to things like quality content and professional language rather than tacky clipart and garish call-to-actions. Avoid coming across as if you’re pushing your products onto your visitors like a bad propaganda campaign.

8. Failing to incorporate a clear call-to-action

Say you’ve managed to tick all of the above boxes – bravo! However, this will all be a bit pointless if you don’t direct your visitors to take tangible action on your site. Make sure you outline the next steps your visitor should take – whether that’s to sign up for a deal, create an account, or start window shopping. Design an attractive CTA and display it in such a fashion that it’s not violently thrusted in your visitor’s face, nor tucked away at the very bottom of the page.

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By Trish O'Loughlin


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