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Game of Bounce Rates: What Makes Users Leave Your Website?

17 February 2015 Jane Kryukova
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Every site owner has faced the situation where most users quickly leave a site, and the reason is unclear – perhaps, they visited the wrong site, or didn’t find the necessary information, or something else went wrong… Anyway, you must fight to decrease your bounce rate. Wherein, don’t look at your competitors, but fight yourself, your own bounce rate.

Compare the bounce rates on your site over several time periods and try to decrease it. Read on and you’ll find a list of reasons for why bounce rates increase. Read everything carefully (or at least headlines) and make sure that your site is ok.

1. Information is not relevant to a user’s query

Does your copy not contain any relevant information that users may be searching for? That’s the №1 reason for having bounced visitors. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your site is, and how well-written your copy is: if a user just wants to find out how much it costs to travel to Italy, but only finds long discussions about how great Italy is, and how awesome it is that you are finally going there, then the user may get annoyed and search for another site. Don’t write waffling copy. Share clear, concise information with your users, which is absolutely relevant to article’s headline and user’s expectations.

2. Wall of text

Perfectly aligned text, long paragraphs, the absence of highlights and visual “islands” – that’s exactly what will make users want to leave your site. Once we had a client who was the record-holder in text walls. He was filling sections of the site by himself, following the principle of ‘the more information you deliver, the better’. In the end he was producing huge walls of copy, around 10000 characters, that are not likely to be read - even by the most curious readers. Please, don’t repeat his mistakes. It takes much more time than you may think to remake such articles.

By the way, after reading the previous paragraph, you have probably come to the conclusion that you shouldn’t write articles longer than 10000 characters. That’s not true. It doesn’t matter how long an article is, it’s the pithiness of your text that matters. It can be as long as you want, as far as it can’t be compressed without losing either the articles meaning or the audience’s demand.

3. Too many poorly stuffed keywords

This is another of the most common mistakes, which we constantly face in our practice. It’s nothing but a relic of the past – a past when a high density of keywords played a big role in SEO. Things have changed: search engine algorithms became much “smarter”, the number of ranking factors increased many times over, engines learned latent semantic indexing and – most importantly – users became much more exacting in looking for content. However, there are still some platforms which live in the past. They don’t care that copy stuffed with keywords are impossible to read.

Keyword stuffing at its best. They sure know everything about it.
Keyword stuffing at its best. They sure know everything about it.

4. Duplicating information from other sites

If your article duplicates content from other sites, then it doesn’t matter how well it was rewritten and how beautifully your text is presented – people won’t read it. Articles on your site must be unique. By “unique” I don’t mean that they should 100% pass plagiarism checkers, that is extremely difficult - however, they should give brand new unique information that has not yet been published anywhere else. Where can you find such information?

As a matter of fact, you can find it everywhere. Just use your fantasy and stay open-minded. For example, once we decided to write an article titled; “The Recipe For a Sales Text”. There are a lot of such articles on the web, dozens of copywriters share their tips on writing sales copy. How do you make this article unique? It turned out to be very simple. We just told people that sales copy doesn’t exist and explained why (if a business is hopeless, then even the best article can’t save it).

5. Using too many specialist terms without giving any explanations

I’ll tell you a secret: not all of your visitors are as experienced in your niche as you are. Are you surprised? Then make sure to immediatly add acronyms to any complicated terms, or just write their shorthand definitions in brackets. This won’t scare off more knowledgable visitors, while freshers will thank you.

6. Outdated information

Watch for your content and always publish it in time. Users don’t want to know how to scare away a dinosaur, if they have a fat raccoon rummaging through their rubbish. Track fresh industry activities and write about them quickly.

7. Spelling and grammatical errors

Most users can forgive your mistakes in just two instances: 1) your content is extremely useful (for example, if it discusses some new problem or offers a new approach); 2) you are a recognised authority within your niche, and readers love you so much, that they don’t pay attention to your little mistakes. In other cases users will quickly close the page, while especially choosy readers can even leave a couple of angry comments.

8. Unreadable fonts

It’s very easy to choose your font. Here are some instructions: pick a font, code a page and then read it back. Do you feel uncomfortable? Do you want to look away? Do you have ripples in your eyes? If the answer is yes, then you should choose another font. In orderto make this a fair test, ask several people to read it. Elderly people are preferable. However, keep in mind that a font’s readability also depends on the colour used (both of the font and the background), line spacing, the number of paragraphs and so on

This isn’t the font you are looking for
This isn’t the font you are looking for

Frankly speaking, my personal opinion on choosing a font is the simpler, the better. It’s not a design element to pay prior attention to. A nice font is not about expressing your creativity, it’s about not interrupting users from reading.

9. Bad coding

One doesn’t have to be a pedant to get mad because of a bad coding. It annoys the majority of users and tells them that the sites coders are negligent and irresponsible. Don’t create a bad impression of your professionalism. Make sure your articles are nice and properly coded. Test your templates at different resolutions and across all popular browsers. Of course, these are copybook maximums, but I couldn’t ignore them in this article.

10. Unprofessional design

Fine dress helps to impress. A site with a cheap and unprofessional design makes you doubt its authority and the plausibility of its content. The personal site of a little kid can have such a design, but e-commerce sites and the sites of large companies absolutely can’t do the same.

Web design can be cruel sometimes
Web design can be cruel sometimes

11. Bad navigation

Imagine yourself in a dark forest, having no map, compass or mobile phone. You really want to go home, but there is nothing to help you find the way. You shout “hello”, but nobody hears you. Sounds bad, right? This is something that users feel when travelling across dark corners of your site. Here’s our tip: don’t tempt them, think carefully about your sites navigational structure and make it easy for every user to understand.

12. Absence of a search form

If your site doesn’t have a search form, then users are going to have a bad time. Not everyone is willing to scroll through a long list of goods or articles manually (just imagine how long it takes). So make sure you have this element on your site – make the users’ life a bit simpler.

13. Too many ads

Ads are strongly irritating. Everybody knows it. Pop-ups, gif banners, silly tabloid headlines – if you have too many of them, then users get sick and tired and want to leave your site. “Banner blindness” doesn’t work here – there are too many ads.

Too many ads
Too many ads

14. Slow page speed

Modern online users are very impatient. They don’t want to wait until a page loads, they just go to another site. Use PageSpeed to check if your site is fast or slow. If it is less than 90 kbps, then there are probably some errors on your site that slow it down. Find these errors and fix them.

15. Registration is required to do something

Most of us have already faced the following situation. You want download something, watch a video or take a part in a poll, and then you see that hateful pop-up: “Please register first”. 99% of users get strongly annoyed and leave the site right after seeing this pop-up.

16. Background music

That’s right, you will not believe it, but there are still websites which use background music. Do you know what is the most interesting thing about it? It is even more annoying than an overload of ads. A piece of annoying looped music can drive even the calmest users mad. Especially if they search for a “mute” button when there is no such button.

17. Videos play automatically

Imagine the situation. You come to a shop, and then consultants start literally throwing dresses that you don’t want to buy at you. They are not your size, perhaps they are even for the opposite gender, but the consultants just keep throwing them at you. What would you feel? Anger, annoyance and a strong desire to leave this shop immediately. The same thing happens to users when videos on site start playing automatically.

18. Unreadable captcha

Captcha should be clear and easy to understand for any user. Captcha with numbers is preferable. Talking frankly, you’d better not use it at all, if possible.

The example of nice captcha
The example of nice captcha
The example of bad captcha
The example of bad captcha

Conclusion

I have listed the most common mistakes which annoy people and make them leave a page as soon as possible. If you find at least one of them on your site, then you better focus on fixing it. Congratulations if you won’t find any. You have created a nice basis for your later promotion.

© “Texterra”, At full or partial copying of materials reference to the source is obligatory.

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Автор: Jane Kryukova
Marketer at Texterra. She writes awesome stuff for our blog, composes email newsletters, and is always searching for new tools and methods of site promotion. Jane believes that great content is one of the most powerful weapons of a marketer and successfully uses this idea in her practice. Find Jane on Facebook, where she loves to share interesting posts on online marketing.
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© «TexTerra», At full or partial copying of materials reference to the source is obligatory.
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