If you’ve got a high quantity of visitors coming to your site, but they’re jumping ship within a matter of seconds without engaging, there’s something wrong quality-wise. In this post I want to discuss how your website’s content and design may be the source of the problem and offer a number of ways you can go about lifting your visitors’ on-page time and dropping your site’s bounce rate.

Why it’s Time to Revisit Your Site’s Content and Design

Imagine you had a brick-and-mortar shop and people were always walking by the front window, looking in, and then walking on by. Or, even worse, imagine that people were stepping inside your shop, taking a look around, and then immediately leaving. This is exactly what happens on your website every time it registers a bounce.

Visitors to your website should be excited to learn more about you and your business after catching that first glance. However, when they “bounce” off your site without taking any further steps into other pages or engaging with the elements on your site, then you’ve got a big problem.

When it comes to design, there are a lot of factors that may cause visitors to hightail it out of your site:

  • Are the stock photos too cheesy?
  • Is the typography difficult to read?
  • Are there too many pop-ups?
  • Do the colours stir up a negative emotion?
  • Are there too many steps in the conversion process?
  • Is the content irrelevant?
  • Are calls-to-action getting lost?
  • Is the menu too difficult to navigate?
  • Or is it something else?

While I can’t say exactly what may be the cause of your particular site’s pain, I can give you some guidelines to follow when assessing and fixing what’s wrong with it.

Increasing Your Visitors’ On-Page Time

While the time your visitors spend on the pages of your website isn’t the only statistic you need to keep an eye on, it’s a good indicator of their overall interest. And with more time spent on-page, more pages visited, and a lower bounce rate, it’s safe to assume that your visitors will be more likely to convert.

Here are some ways to drive this engagement.

Revamp Your Menu

If you find that your visitors commonly deviate from the pre-determined path you’ve established for them, then your navigation may not be as straight-forward as you think.

If there is related content that visitors are missing out on, a redo of your site’s navigation might not be such a bad idea. It would also give you an opportunity to better clearly tell your story by placing pages in a logical order within the menu.

Remove the Clutter

There’s a tendency in this day and age to overshare – to tweet our thoughts, Instagram our meals, Snapchat our adventures. When it comes to websites, though, think of them like the 140-character restriction on Twitter. Say as much as possible in as little space as you can.

This is why minimalist design is hot right now; it forces visitors to focus on the most important parts of the site and not get distracted by the rest.

Optimize Your Imagery

Images are an essential part of web design. They establish a tone, set the pace, and can even tell visitors a lot about a business. When talking about “optimizing” images, the first thing that comes to mind for developers is photo compression. Optimization can also pertain to making the most of the images used. High-resolution imagery is a must. Unique stock photography is good, too. Even better would be using your own photography.

Give Your Fonts a Facelift

A lot of consideration goes into the images, colours, and placement of a website, but what about the font? If you’ve ever relied on the default font selection of a theme, you know that those choices aren’t always ideal.

While there may be other issues giving visitors a difficult time reading your content, a quick switcheroo may be enough to hold their attention.

Break Up Content

The key to appealing to the masses is to go with a simple and classic solution. In terms of content, consider breaking it up in the following ways:

  • Use shorter sentences.
  • Keep paragraphs brief.
  • Add bulleted lists.
  • Create numbered points.
  • Rely on simple words and avoid industry jargon.

Personalize Your CTAs

You may not realize it, but your calls-to-action (CTAs) may be standing in your way. It might be because the wording seems too much like a robotic command (like “Read More” or “Click Here”). Or it might be due to the colours, placement, or size of the button. Regardless, if you’re not getting as many clicks as you’d like, you need a way to better manipulate an urgent, emotional need to click.

Write Relevant Content

Websites go stale very easily if left alone for too long. That’s why it’s important to blog, blog, blog—and make sure that the ongoing push of new content through the pipeline is relevant and useful for visitors.

The goal then is to create regular blog content that drives readers to stay on the page until they get to the very end. That’s where they’ll find your helpful suggestions to take an action or read other related content.

Employ Interactivity

Flat, minimal design is good… but that doesn’t mean that animations and other forms of entertainment or interactivity are bad. In fact, they may do a better job at holding your visitors’ attention and propelling them through your site.

Sliding animations, creative calculators, and infographics can break up page-after-page of copy and give visitors a reason to stay engaged.

Simplify Your Conversion Process

For those of you who aren’t experiencing issues with bounce rate, but are still dealing with a lack of conversions, your shopping cart or intake forms may be the problem.

If there’s anything to learn from the tips above, it’s that your visitors expect a simplified experience. This may mean you need to cut down on the number of fields in a form or break your shopping cart out into multiple pages to make it more easily digestible.

Fix Broken Links

This might seem like an obvious suggestion, but broken links are really disruptive to the visitor experience (and are bad for SEO, to boot). Rather than run the risk of annoying a visitor with one too many broken links, keep them moving through the endless chain of pages with intact links.