Easily Avoidable Reasons Users Are Leaving Your Website
There are more than a billion websites out there. The most common purpose behind anyone having a website is to get people to visit it, stay there, and be interested enough in what they’re selling to buy it, subscribe, sign up, whatever the case may be. You’d think this isn’t a difficult thing to do, but among the multitude of sites, we can assure you that whatever product you’re selling is hardly unique.
Where there’s a website for something, it’s safe to bet that there are hundreds, even thousands, of other similar ones. At any given time, if someone is on your website, they can find something similar only a quick Google search away.
Getting people to stay on your website seems like it shouldn’t be that tough to do, but the human attention span is incredibly short and our access to immediate results is almost guaranteed. But, what makes them leave and how can you fix it? It’s not rocket science, just a little social science with a splash of computer science.
Battling The Bounce
Buzzword alert. You’ve probably heard the term bounce rate before. It’s a ubiquitously used word in the digital marketing industry and it’s the root of the problem we’re exploring. Google Analytics defines it like this:
A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.
Basically, someone gets to your site then leaves the same way they came. More often than not, this is an indicator that those users got to your site and it wasn’t what they were looking for. Or they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Apart from random reasons people leave websites, there are a few causes that are self-inflicted. In our battle against the bounce, we’re going to take an honest look at some of those causes and figure out how to combat them in the future.
When people enter a website by clicking on a link, they land on a page aptly called a landing page. There can be any number of landing pages on your website and bounce rate is a formula that does some easy division that informs us about the quality of user’s visits. Simply put, bounce rate takes the number of visitors who leave your site after only viewing that single page and divides it by the total number of visitors who see that initial landing page.
If 100 people enter your site through a landing page, but 50 leave your site without going beyond it, your 50% bounce rate tells you that half of your website’s visitors didn’t find what they want. Of course, the complexities of bounce rate are more in-depth than that, but for our purposes, we’re using it as a way to see why people leave your website.
Bill Gates Knew Better Over 20 Years Ago
In 1996, Bill Gates published an essay on the Microsoft website titled Content Is King. Unbeknownst to him then, this phrase would go on to be a foundational concept in the world of digital marketing. His essay had salient points that were well ahead of their years, especially considering that the World Wide Web was still in its infancy. Drawing on comparisons to now outdated technologies and antiquated worries, his ideas remain timeless:
Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting…When it comes to an interactive network such as the Internet, the definition of “content” becomes very wide…But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.
Fast forward two decades and the Web is brimming with so much content that we have to revisit this conversation incessantly. It’s the first point we’re going to make in showing you that people are leaving your site because your content isn’t up to snuff. The content dynamic on the Web is always in flux, always needs to be evolving. It isn’t enough to write some content for your site when you first make it just to let it sit there.
Good, accurate, engaging, and relevant content is what keeps users on your site. One study indicated that 73% of companies have specifically crafted content strategies. If your company has a presence on the Web, you can’t afford not to have a viable content strategy. As Google has swiftly become more advanced, their algorithms are increasing the value of quality content.
Take a look at your website and consider the industry you’re in. Regardless of what the purpose of a website is, people won’t be attracted to it unless you attract them. User-focused content that is both expert and accessible to everyone is key to getting visitors to stay and find out more. If your content is weak, not current, or unengaging, people will just find another place and Google will recognize content that’s either handled with care or carelessly. Those websites will be ranked accordingly on the search engine results pages, too.
No One Has Time For Technical Difficulties
We don’t hear much about Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1990. We do hear names like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak, all of whom have had a massive influence on technological advancements past, present, and future. However, the very basis of their technological achievements wouldn’t be a fraction of what they are without the unsexy computational work Tim Berners-Lee did in the beginning.
Similarly, there are pieces of technical maintenance that you need to stay on top of in order to have a site that doesn’t push people away. You don’t have to be a software engineer or a front end developer to do some troubleshooting either. Let’s look at a few technical issues that are making people leave your website.
- Slow Load Time: People aren’t patient. Mainly because they don’t have to be. 47% of people expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less and 40% of people will abandon a site that takes beyond three seconds to load. When’s the last time you checked your site’s load time?
- Not Mobile Friendly: Everyone has a smartphone these days. In fact, more than half of global web traffic comes from mobile users. So if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, that should be remedied quickly. Google says 61% of users won’t come back to a poorly designed mobile site and that 40% of them will go to a competitor. Mobile-friendly responsive design is one of the most important parts of modern websites. How does yours stack up?
- Confusing User Experience: Web searches are usually driven by user intent. If your website gets a visitor who can’t make heads or tails of your site because it’s confusingly designed, they’ll leave. Structure, colors, layout, and purpose should be simple, logical, and unobtrusive. Remember the 15-second rule and design something user-oriented that leaves no doubt about what your site does, where to do it, and where to go next. Confused users will opt for something simpler. Oh, and 66% of people prefer websites that are attractively designed, so make it sparkle a little.
The Sweet Spot
In all this, your content should work as an ally with the technical aspects of your site. Average internet users stay on a web page between 10 and 20 seconds. That’s the time frame your site, content, and mission have to grab someone’s attention. One author puts it very succinctly:
Most stick around less than 15 seconds. That’s how long you have to capture someone’s attention on your website. So, if you don’t do that in less than a quarter of a minute, you’ve lost them. I’ve dubbed this “the 15 Second Rule.” Basically, if you haven’t generated interest in 15 seconds, then you probably aren’t going to.
So if your content doesn’t grab people, you’re doing your site a disservice. If your content is great, but your site has technical malfunctions, same deal.
Together, your message, design, simplicity, and technical attentiveness will keep people around long enough to gather conversion driving interest.