How to Reduce Website Bounce Rate and Make Your First 10 Seconds Count

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Bounce Rate

The web is a busy place.

People are in a rush to find the answer to a question, directions to a restaurant, or reviews of a local business. They can’t be bothered with irrelevant content that doesn’t serve their immediate needs.

In fact, research indicates that when it comes to concentrating on one thing—like reading your webpage, for example—most people have an average attention span of eight seconds. That’s one second longer than a goldfish.

As a marketer, that information may frustrate you. After all, you’ve made an investment in your business and you want people to engage with your message.

Look at it this way…

Think about how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot. You’re surfing the web looking for news about your favorite band and the first site you visit starts blaring music at you immediately. You can’t find the volume because of all the popup ads. The second site you click on takes forever to load.

Frustrating? Absolutely.

But when you consider you could be putting your site visitors through the same hell it’s downright scary.

Did you know slow load times are one of the biggest reasons for website abandonment? 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

The point is people have a limited amount of attention. You’re competing not only with other websites, but the thousand things your visitor is thinking about. Getting attention may be the most challenging part of online marketing. You’ve got to earn their attention and you’ve only got one chance to do it.

That’s exactly why the first ten seconds of the page visit are vital. That’s when your visitor makes their decision to stay or leave. And I hate to break it to you but the odds are stacked against you. Most people are predisposed to abandon a website during these first few seconds for various reasons. People are skeptical. They’ve run into enough waste-of-time websites in the past to be wary and hesitant to fall for it again.

Naturally, you want to attract an audience that stays on your pages.

If you notice nobody’s staying on your site that’s definitely a sign that something’s wrong. After all, a high Average Time On Page signals you have the right audience coming to your pages and you’re meeting their expectations. On the other hand, a high bounce rate—the percentage of site visitors who leave after visiting one page—can indicate your site isn’t providing the information visitors are looking for, takes too long to load or is difficult to navigate. Or, maybe there is a more serious problem keeping people from engaging with your site. A typical bounce rate is 40-50%. To find out why people are leaving your website, use these 14 tools.

Bottom line is you need to improve your website’s user experience to capture visitors’ attention. Your goal is to create a connection that will buy you more time to connect with your audience and convince them of your message.

Before we go any further, I want to set something straight…

The Sooner You Know The Truth The Better

You owe it to yourself to stop wasting time. If you really want to reap the benefits of your online efforts, now is the time to use marketing tactics that have been tested and proven to get results.

The secret that the best writers and the top marketers know that you don’t is simple.

They understand human nature and how people read on the web.

Seriously, put some thought into this…

There’s loads of data showing that when people consume information online they don’t read it word for word. They scan it, looking for important details that catch their attention. But you don’t have to take my word for it, there were scientists and heat maps, and machines involved.

So, do your visitors and yourself a favor. Make it easy for them to find what they came for.

With that in mind, let’s talk about a few of the most common mistakes people make that send their site visitors running and how you can avoid them.

5 Mistakes That Will Totally Ruin Your Bounce Rate and Website User Experience

People that visit your website are going to make a snap judgment. Stay or leave. The results of that decision affect everything from your traffic to your search engine rankings. It affects conversions and user experience. Learn from others’ mistakes and try to eliminate these five website-killers.

1. headline=”Slow load times

As mentioned earlier, slow loading websites are one of the biggest factors in high bounce rates. Slow performing sites frustrate users. If your site is slow look for the cause. It could be anything from inefficient code or SQL to unoptimized images.

2. Just plain annoying

If you have automatic background music, popups, too many ads, hard to find information or Flash based websites you may want to think twice about the experience you’re offering your visitors. Other elements of annoying web design? Requiring too much information, browser compatibility issues, hard-to-use forms, poor navigation and illegible fonts.

3. Bad design

There are a host of sins that fall under the heading of “bad design”. A few of the biggest offenders include unorganized content layout, cluttered pages, “drop down” menus, and not enough contrast between the text and the background.

4. Weak or ineffective copy

Most people will leave a site without a second thought the moment they become bored or confused. That’s why it’s essential you present the information people are looking for in a clear, logical manner that’s easy to understand. A good rule of thumb is to begin with a clear introduction and show your reader your value proposition or competitive advantage. Follow that with the rest of your presentation—your sales copy. Finish strong with a call to action that tells your audience exactly what to do next.

5. Lack of Credibility

If people don’t believe what you’re telling them, they’ll leave your site. How to establish trust online with only a few seconds to seal the deal? Incorporate elements of social proof like testimonials, customer references, examples of work completed, media mentions, etc. Make sure your site looks professional with high-quality graphics and is free of typos and other marks of an amateur.

Can You Pass the Blink Test?

There’s lots of data suggesting that you have between five and 10 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention before they click away forever. In fact, a 2006 study conducted by Carleton University found that web designers have only half a second to impress and engage a user landing on their page for the first time.

Yes, you read that right.

Half a second. That’s about the time it takes to blink.

What can you do to make the most of that first impression and capture a visitor’s attention?

Let me show you…

How To Use Science, Data, and Design To Engage Visitors

Now that you know you only have a few seconds to impress your visitors, here’s how you can use neuroscience, web usability data, and web design principles to improve your site design and make the most of those precious few seconds.

i. Plan for the scan

Since you know that most people on the web don’t read word for word you should plan accordingly. Make sure you use scannable content and position your copy where it’s easy for your reader. Use an appropriate font and make sure it’s big enough to read easily.

ii. Have clear navigation

People are accustomed to seeing certain elements on a website such as and About Us page and a Home page. Make it easy for users to find what they want within the site.

iii. Have a clear purpose or call to action

One of the biggest reasons behind a high bounce rate is visitor confusion. Make it easy for visitors to engage with your website. Stick to one idea per paragraph and make it clear what you want your visitor to do.

iv. Get mobile

More and more people are accessing the web from tablets, cell phones, and other devices. Invest in responsive site design that will adapt to any screen size and optimize the user experience for multiple devices.

v. Be reader-friendly

If you want to your keep your website visitor’s attention, you should use white space, headlines, subheads, and bulleted lists to make your site easy on the eye. Use highlighted keywords and images to break up text-heavy pages. Grab your reader’s attention and make it easy for them to find the information they’re looking for.

Here’s the point: Respect your audience’s time by improving your website’s user experience. That will make it easier to capture visitors’ attention and engage your site visitors.

What are you doing with your 10 seconds to reduce bounce rate, win the battle for attention and engage your visitors? Let me know in the comments.

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