How Well Does Your Website Keep People On It?
Keep People on Your Site
So you’ve worked hard to get to a high position in Google for a number of important keyword phrases. However, you note that people who reach your site using these keywords leave quickly or bounce away.
You are not engaging your visitors that reach your site when they reach your site with your best keyword phrases. What a waste!
What can you do?
Getting a high placement in Google is only half the battle. Once you get someone to your site it is your job to engage them and get them to stay, to bookmark your site to refer it to others and return to it again and again.
When visitors find nothing of interest on the entry page, with their first glance, and leave immediately this is known as a bounce. A site or page with a high bounce rate, from high quality traffic sources, is an indicator that the website or page isn’t performing – it isn’t offering what visitors expect. This is a big problem!
Reducing your website’s or the specific page’s bounce rate is an important first step in improving overall performance and conversion rate. You need to analyze the bounce rate of the different traffic sources. Your focus needs to be on improving the bounce rate of the highest potential converting traffic sources.
High converting traffic sources are:
- Search engine traffic
- E-Mail marketing traffic
- Affiliate or Collaborator traffic
You do not have to be too concerned with traffic from unqualified sources such as:
- Unknown and unrelated referrer sites
- Social networking sites
- Random directory sites
So what’s the secret to designing a page with a low bounce rate?
1. Make sure your headline (this could be you H1 tag) has a well thought out reference to the place where your visitors came from or the ad that drove the click.
2. Make sure that the page offers something of value for the visitor. Be very critical of this.
3. Create a clear call to action or next step that relates well to where the visitor came from.
Here is an example of a good call-to-action for a B&B in Woodstock, Vermont for the Columbus Day weekend:
The best B&B value in the Woodstock, Vermont for the Columbus Day weekend Only $169 per night – Book Now! (make the “Book Now” a clickable link to the reservation page)
Here is an example of a call-to-action that’s not as good.
Stay in Woodstock, Vermont – one of the prettiest small town in America.
4. You need to write clear, precise and targeted content that’s geared specifically towards your visitors. Don’t create content that is vague and general. Your visitors come to your site to read about a specific subject – don’t waste their time.
5. Place the most important information at the beginning of the page and at the beginning of your paragraphs. Use bullet lists for easy scanning and reading. I like to ask the question for my paragraphs – Could I turn this paragraph into bullet points?
6. Keep it simple. Remove all extraneous material. Ask only for information to complete any desired transaction.
How do you know what’s working and what isn’t working in terms of keeping visitors on your site?
The answer: You don’t.
Do not assume anything and test everything.
You could use Google’s Content Experiments (within Analytics) to create and test the performance of landing pages. This testing will help to reduce bounce rates. Content experiments using Google is free.
Here are the steps using Google’s Content Experiments:
1. Create a campaign.
2. Create at least one additional version of the page at a new URL.
3. Define a “goal” page.
4. Upload the URL of the original (or primary reference) page.
5. Upload the URL of the test page.
7. Send at least 500 visitors to the primary URL. Google will randomly send some visitors to the original page and some to the experimental page.
8. Measure the results by observing how many people pass through to the “goal” page from each page of the experiment.
9. You will then be able to define the better of the two pages from a bounce rate perspective.
- No idea is a bad idea until you have seen it in action.
- Don’t stop after a single experiment. If you improved your page once why not improve it again?
- Use multivariate testing where you test specific elements of a page rather than the entire page once you have done enough testing to know your page is working well.
Create content that keeps people on your site or page longer. This is essential for sites with high traffic. You need to convert that traffic. You need to experiment.
I like this quote by the Irish Playwright Samuel Becket:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
If you want to learn more about content experiments then follow this link. It is a short write-up on A/B Testing a form for a free consultation.
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