Good bounce rates are the target of any website, but particularly to sites hoping to sell their products to their visitors. Essentially, your bounce rate is the number of visitors who land on your site, but do not go onto visit any other pages within your site, or who leave immediately. This means that for whatever reason, your site has not managed to capture the interest or imagination of the visitor so they have not stuck around long enough to investigate further, meaning they are missing out on the great things your pages can offer them. Ultimately, they are not present on your website long enough to buy anything. But with good e-commerce website design you can begin to successfully reduce your bounce rate and convert visitors to sales.
Before You Begin
Before you embark on a strategy to implement, you need to know where you currently stand, so that you can target the right parts of your site. Google Analytics should be your first port of call; this will show you which pages from within your site have the highest bounce rates, but also which pages are working for you. Make sure your website designer includes analytics on your website in the design phase. By looking at analytics you can discover the impression your pages are already making, before going on to either tweak the current or create a new, more efficient page. Note: Readers may find our Introduction To Google Analytics For eCommerce post useful here
Sharpen Your Focus
Give people something to immediately hone in on. Is it obvious to understand what your site does? And are your best features prominent and fully exposed for all to marvel? These are just some of the questions you should be asking during the design of your website. Your homepage is the axis around which your whole site operates, so make it as strong and attention grabbing as possible.
Promotions are usually a great driver of traffic to your site, so make sure they are one of the first things people see, so they are intrigued enough to stick around. Also, are there best sellers, flagship products you offer that people know and trust? Put them on the home page so that your best features are visible and instantly accessible. People get frustrated if they cannot find what they want, and it is easy to skim past a page that does not grab you. Focus your website design on what your customers want by putting your best foot forward.
Find Your Way
As mentioned above, people can quickly grow weary having to hunt down what they are after. It’s especially important to make sure that your pages are easy to navigate, and that is clear what each page is for. Place your navigation tools prominently in the website design, and make sure they are consistent from page to page. Fiddly, complex menus, especially for those using devices with small screens can see your bounce rate soar.
If you have a large, complex site, consider a site map or page index simplifying your content for the user. A site that is easy and simple to use will lose far less visitors than one where people have to expend more energy than is necessary just moving through the site.
This principle should also be considered in relation to the load times of your individual pages. It’s really simple, if your pages are taking too long to load, people’s attention is likely to wander, meaning they will bounce right off your site and onto someone else. You only have a minimal window of time to grab their attention, make sure you maximise that time with great content and not content that will be great once it finally shows up.
Advertising is a necessary part of your site and it comes along with the ability to generate extra revenue. However, it should not interfere with the content of your site. Make sure ad spaces are kept away from navigation tools to guard against accidental clicks, and that there is a clear visual demarcation of ad space in your website design. After the hard work of grabbing someone’s attention, the last thing you want to do is confuse them by mistaking advertising for the actual content of your site. Yes, your ad content needs to be prominent, but it also needs to separate and not impede the natural flow your site.
The Right Tools For The Job
If your site is there to enable visitors to make purchases, then give them ability to do this with the minimum amount of fuss. Make sure you have a shopping cart with the features your customers need, from adding/removing items, quantities, emptying the cart, and running totals to emptying the cart. This builds on the theme of having an easy to navigate site to retain the interest of visitors, and reinforces the need for clean simplicity. Give visitors to the page the right tools to use the site efficiently and easily and then trust that your content is good enough to peak their interest.
Make It Count
As touched upon above your pages only have a limited window to grab the attention of passing traffic. So make that first impression count. Your homepage is where most traffic goes to, so make it attractive and functional. Make it clear to any visitor what your site does, so they do not have to guess. Make sure your font is appropriate for your audience, the colours reflective of your brand ethos; even simple touches like page contrast need your attention – people will not stick around on a site that is fussy and hard to digest. Shoppers commonly use their eyes, so consider the visual presentation of your products; do your pages draw in the eye? Distractions such as invitations to live web-chat consultations and pop up ads encroaching into site content can all distract and put off visitors. Does your homepage make the desired impact? Remember that style and function are not mutually exclusive parameters.
Go Back To The Beginning
You have now gone to the trouble of implementing a website design that reduces or minimises bounce rates for your site, but remember that online spaces are not static ones, and that your site and its visitors can change quickly in the digital landscape. Keep your site design relevant and up to date and revisit Google Analytics on a regular basis to keep track of what does and what doesn’t work for you.
Bounce rates are a challenge for everyone online, but with sensible e-commerce practises, it is possible to try and negate their impact and increase your conversion rates.
This is a guest post, as such the author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of OnlineRetailingBlog.com.
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With thanks to Rebecca and Bigfork Web Design.