Bounce rate too high? Try these 9 ways to engage your website visitors
“How come we get all these visitors to our website but no leads from it?”
It’s a common question, yet the answer could be simple: your hard-earned visitors are not engaging with your content because it doesn’t quickly grab them, draw them in and give them what they need.
Web users are impatient. They’re not prepared to search around looking for something on a website. They want quick satisfaction, so if your website doesn’t provide it, they leave.
Of course it’s not always as simple as that, but if your website analytics show that you’re getting visitors but they’re ‘bouncing’ off your home page, there’s something wrong.
So you need to understand what it is and how to fix it.
A high bounce rate can be worse than a lack of visitors because it means your visitors are not engaging with your content, your website, your products or your business. It also means lost leads or sales opportunities – and potentially lost revenue.
The issue of low visitor numbers can be addressed by taking the right SEO steps to get your website ranking. You can also run email or social media campaigns to drive more traffic.
If your website content isn’t engaging your visitors, here are 7 ways to encourage them to spend longer on your site and go beyond the home page.
1. Get to the point. Quickly.
When they arrive on your website, your visitors want one thing: to know instantly that they are in the right place where they can get the information they were looking for when they started their search.
It’s called ‘satisfying search intent’.
In simple terms, your home page (or whatever page your visitors are landing on) must explain quickly and clearly what your business is and how your product or service will satisfy your customer’s requirements or solve their problem.
From the home page, it should be quickly obvious what the visitor needs to do, where they should browse to next and why.
2. Optimise the page load time
According to Kissmetrics, 47% of people expect a page to load within two seconds, while 40% will leave a page which takes longer than three seconds to load.
In an age of mobile searching when most web users demand instant gratification, a slow website load time is a killer, particularly on a mobile device.
The loading time of your homepage and its effectiveness in attracting and engaging visitors are probably linked. Slow loading web pages tend to be cluttered with too many blocks of text and too many images and graphics.
Measures to address slow page loading times include compressing images and using software which loads images only when viewing the relevant part of a page.
3. Create internal page links
Hyperlinks are either “external” or “internal” depending on their target or destination.
Internal links between your website pages or to resources such as images or documents have two main benefits.
Firstly, internal links boost your SEO ranking because they help Google understand how your page content fits together. Secondly, they help your visitors quickly and easily move between relevant pages to access the content which they need.
Think about the logical pathways or journeys on your website that you would ideally want your visitors – and search engine spiders – to take, and see internal links as signposts along the way. As with most things though, you need to set up your internal page links in an optimum way:
- Each link should have descriptive anchor text giving a clear idea of where the link will lead to
- The link should lead to somewhere logical, though necessarily another page in the main navigation of the site
- The link should be specific, and highly relevant to the interests of the visitor.
An alternative to linking, if you want to avoid disrupting the flow of the content too much, is to place ‘Read Also’ or ‘Recommended for You’ in a box in the middle of a page or blog post.
4. Keep navigation simple
Don’t assume your content will be found. Make sure of it.
Visitors should find it very easy to move around your site. From the home page in particular it should be visually clear where visitors should go next to find what they are looking for.
As mentioned in the last point, your navigation should consist of signposts on a ‘journey’ for your visitors which culminates in them arriving at the destination which is logical for them and you. This might be a destination or offer page where visitors complete an action which you have set in place i.e. a contact, quote request, form completion, download, purchase or other information request.
Too many websites sacrifice usability for design, and visitors find themselves having to hover randomly around a blank page looking for a hidden link to the menu. It’s irritating for the visitor and will almost always result in a click away from the site.
Consider using navigation buttons for obvious navigation and make sure the navigation bar is obviously placed and easily accessed.
5. Get your tone of voice right
Your website needs to communicate with your target customers in their language, but in a tone that reflects the personality of your business. Think about how you would talk to your customers via telephone or in a meeting.
Then make sure that this same tone of voice is reflected across your site.
The visual impact of your site may be what grabs the attention of visitors in the first 2 or 3 seconds, but those visitors who decide to stay will begin exploring the content, and that’s when the voice with which you speak to them becomes all important.
If you are talking to a B2B audience, make your tone of voice professional and reflective of your brand, and formal or informal depending on your own personality and what you want to come across. The aim is to get your visitors to take your products and services seriously, but to avoid too much copy which could result in them visitor off.
Ultimately, your website tone of voice needs to make your visitors feel comfortable, put them at ease and help them identify with you.
6. Study your audience
The key to deploying the right voice is to know as much as possible about who you’re talking to and what their motivations, likes, dislikes and habits are.
A great way to understand and profile your target audience so is to use a tool such as Survey Monkey to gather data on what they expect from your site. Don’t be too proud to ask people how they see the site, what they feel works or doesn’t work, and whether they feel it is lacking specific features or content.
Other means of getting to know your audience may be slightly more time-intensive, but have the benefit of taking the guesswork out of shaping the content of your site.
These include analysing the transcripts of any live chat service you might offer, reaching out to individual users who frequently engage via social media and comment on posts or going to LinkedIn, Facebook groups and forums to interact with the niche audience which you’re targeting.
What sort of information is your target buyer interested in? Along the way to making their purchase decision, potential buyers are looking for answers to questions as they research the solutions for their particular problems, wants or needs.
By providing the sorts of answers and solutions that visitors are looking for, you will increase the extent to which they engage with your website content because you’re showing them that you identify with them and understand their goals.
In the longer term, you’ll also be creating unofficial brand ambassadors because your website visitors will potentially share the information they find on your website via links and social media.
An online tool like Buzzsumo will enable you to search for a specific topic or a competitor’s website and find out which posts are cutting through most effectively in the form of social shares.
8. Blogs, case studies and FAQs
While your website will naturally present information about the services and products that your organisation sells or provides, another effective way to engage your website visitors is to provide supporting material that reinforces your brand credibility.
Writing informative blogs and white papers on topics relating to your products is a great way to show what you know, so your business comes across to potential buyers as an authoritative expert.
Case studies and testimonials show that other organisations have been happy with what they bought from you, and FAQs can provide potential buyers with the sorts of information that others have asked for – again showing visitors that you take into account the sorts of questions that they may have at this early stage.
9. Make your website searchable
You’ve included your navigation links, buttons and signposts, and made your website quick to load and provided useful and engaging information to answer your visitors’ questions.
But there will always be some visitors that can’t find what they want at first glance but are prepared to search.
Some of them will be looking for something highly specific, while others might be tempted by the quick loading time, easy navigation and authoritative voice (if you’ve followed the tips above) to explore and see what else you have to offer.
For these people, you can cater to their needs by including a prominent search box on your home page. A search box provides visitors with the quickest and easiest means of locating the information they need.
Position the search box so it is clearly visible, possibly front and centre on your home page, depending on the nature and number of products or services you sell. It might also benefit from features such as a drop-down menu and auto-suggest feature.
In the split second when a visitor is wondering whether to look for something on your site, the obvious presence of a search box might make their mind up for them.