Just as it’s important to focus your efforts on the things that make good web design better – informative content, high-quality photos, and an easy-to-use interface, it’s also important to think about the things your website visitors don’t want to see. If your bounce rate seems higher than it should be, but you can’t figure out why, there’s a good possibility that your website contains one or more of the five faux pas below.
#1 – Bad Overall Design
Once upon a time, getting to the first page of Google search results was as simple as inserting a few keywords into your website content. These days, though, things are far more complex. In fact, Google will rank your website based on its overall design – and so will your visitors. There are several things that might add to a bad design, and they include:
- Lack of responsiveness – This occurs when your website isn’t as visually appealing or doesn’t work as fluidly on different types of screens.
- Poor color selection – If you choose colors that are too bright, or if you put too many contrasting colors in the same place, this may aggravate visitors and cause them to bounce.
- Bold, loud patterns – Though patterns are fine for backgrounds, it’s important to choose patterns that don’t overwhelm the visitors.
- Poorly sized elements – Having a header that is too big, text that is too small or doesn’t wrap around images properly, and similar issues will cause frustration, too.
- Bad fonts – Your font needs to fit your overall web design. If it’s too big or bold, it will likely annoy visitors, and if it’s too light or thin, they will struggle to read it.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your website content’s quality while forgetting about its overall design. The biggest goal here is to make sure that it welcomes visitors without overwhelming them.
#2 – Bad or Misleading Navigation
In today’s world of fast internet and instant digital gratification, ensuring that your website operates the way it should is crucial. If a visitor can’t get to the information he or she needs within three clicks, it could be a deal-breaker. After all, why should visitors search endlessly for information on your website when they can easily find it from one of your competitors?
To combat this, make sure your website is easy to navigate and that users can get virtually anywhere in three clicks or less. Make sure photos and banners do not mislead your visitors, and clearly label your buttons with instructions like “Click Here” or “Buy Now”. Finally, be sure that your main navigation links are tucked neatly inside a menu rather than scattered across the website.
#3 – Poorly Structured Content
Content is still king when it comes to creating an excellent website that visitors will love. Unfortunately, many people continue to make simple mistakes that are causing their visitors to bounce and affecting their overall rankings. In order to ensure that your content is structured as optimally as possible, make sure that you avoid the following:
- Too much content – Review your site’s existing content and remove any information that does not serve a direct purpose. It is better to have shorter, more informative content than to have a lot of content that doesn’t really serve a purpose.
- Failing to introduce the website – When someone first lands on your site, they will want some sort of reassurance that they will find exactly what they searched for. Be sure that you include some sort of introduction for each piece of content that succinctly explains what visitors will find on that page.
- Showing old content before new content – Dynamic content is your best friend (and Google eats it up) so be sure that you’re showing visitors your newest content at all times.
- Straying from the point – Finally, if you include irrelevant information just to get some keywords in, you’ll end up confusing visitors. Avoid “fluff” at all costs and make sure that the information on the page all serves the same purpose.
- Failing to include localized content – The focus on local content is huge, and Google has adjusted its algorithms to suit this. People want what they want, and they often want it now, so make sure that you’ve optimized for local keywords if this applies to you.
Statistics show that companies can lose up to 60% of their sales when visitors struggle to find what they were originally looking for. Keeping your content properly structured will help you avoid this.
#4 – Too Many Effects
When people visit your site, they want to be in control of their experience, so if you’ve considered the idea of videos set to auto-play or background music to help set a tone, you may want to think again. People find it aggravating when they are searching for information only to be interrupted by a video or background music they don’t like. If you’re going to use videos, allow the visitor to decide whether they want to watch it – don’t force it on them.
Photos are a great alternative to videos in many cases, and they load far faster, which improves your site’s response time – especially on mobile devices. If your site’s visuals are well-designed and appropriately placed (and sized!) they can go a long way toward giving your visitors a pleasant, memorable experience without the need for background music or videos set to auto-play.
#5 – Overwhelming Ads
Getting a small business off the ground can be tough, and online ads are indeed a phenomenal way to help you generate a little extra income to keep things moving forward. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an ad on your site here and there, there is a limit. Everyone finds ads annoying to a degree, but if they are intrusive and interfere with your visitors’ experiences on your site, your bounce rate will undoubtedly skyrocket.
To combat this, make certain that your visitor does not see an ad before anything else on your site. Avoid pop-up ads where possible, and if you choose to use them, make sure they are easy enough for your visitors to close. Finally, if you have an entire sidebar filled with advertisements, there’s a pop-up on every single page, or there’s more than one pop up on any given page, there are far too many ads on your site and your visitors are almost certainly frustrated.
Focusing on good web design is crucial, and part of that involves truly critiquing your site to discover what might be putting users off. By going over your site carefully and keeping these five common mistakes in mind, you can discover what’s been increasing your bounce rate, resolve it, and start climbing the rankings once again.