Getting people to come to your website is hard enough as it is, especially with the amount of websites on the web. Getting people to stay on your website though is a whole other story. Having a website that is enjoyable for a user to be on is the single most important key in generating leads, making sales, building a following, and getting traffic.
There are a number of reasons that make people leave your website, not all of which can be listed obviously because most websites are different and have different issues, goods/bads, pluses/minuses; so the reasons for people not wanting to stay can be different. Below we will go over some of the common reasons that drive people into leaving your website, we will also give you some pointers to prevent this from happening.
A slow loading website is the #1 reason why a user will leave your website. We live in a fast spaced – want it now/need it now and will do anything to get it now – world and on the internet this is especially true. Why would someone want to wait more than 5 seconds for a website to load when in 5 seconds they could be back on Google and clicking a link to some other website? Slow loading websites cost you potential customers, and in the end, it can cost you money.
As internet speeds keep increasing so do the size of websites, now it would make since to think “well if the internet is getting faster, I can keep making my website larger”. This is not a good thought process, why? Just because you have fiber internet now doesn’t mean the rest of the world does.
One of my favorite things to do to my websites when I’m bored is “cut the fat”. For some strange reason I enjoy looking for ways to make my websites load faster. This should be every developers favorite thing to do and every website owners main concern. You can test your websites loading speed with Google’s Page Speed Analyzer or with Pingdom Website Speed Tester.
If there is anything that frustrates me more than a slow loading website, it’s a website that is cluttered with advertisements. Nobody likes ads, but in this day and age they’re impossible to avoid and when it comes to the internet, advertisements are some website owners only source of income. That being said, I’m not telling you that you should remove the advertisements from your website (especially if they are your main source of income) but consider limiting the amount of ads and/or positioning them so that they are out of the way and not annoying your users and driving them away.
With all of the blockers incorporated into web browsers and virus programs, pop-ups are somewhat a thing of the past. They aren’t entirely dead yet though, thanks to modal windows which is a form of pop-up that requires the user to interact with it before returning to the webpage. Modal boxes are very annoying, and so are the way some websites incorporate them. Requiring a user to subscribe to something or read info in a modal window before being able to access the content on your website is just going to drive that user to leave your website.
When I’m browsing websites, 95% of the time it’s because I am in search of information. I don’t have time to be dealing with a modal window popping up on every page and if that’s the case, I am just going to leave the website and find the information I’m looking for elsewhere. If you want someone to subscribe to something, like or share something, or read something; make a blog or news section on your site and post that stuff there. Don’t be annoying about it because that will cause people to leave your website.
Peace out. As soon as I land on a webpage that has sound or has a video with sound that starts playing I’m out of there. I’m not going to take the time to even wonder what that noise was all about. Why? Because that’s an annoyance. If I am browsing the web while I’m at work or in a library, the last thing I want is a bunch of sound coming out of my speakers thus drawing attention to myself, raising questions, or disturbing others.
If I visit a website that has some sort of audio that starts playing automatically as soon as I visit it, you can bet I will never go back to that website again. It’s not the 1990′s, landing page audio is not cool anymore (if it ever was?).
As humans we are visual creatures, if we didn’t/can’t see it, then it never happened/doesn’t exist. We want appeal, something we can tolerate looking at. Having a website that is visually appealing is a big part in keeping a user on it. We also want interaction, something we can easily figure out how to use and enjoy using.
The other day I was searching the web and came across this site that was built using flash. It was a cool website that was visually stunning, but guess what? I had no clue how to use it, so I left and found the info I needed somewhere else. If I (a web developer) can’t figure out how to use your website, what makes you think a regular average Joe internet user is going to be able to figure it out? With this case, the website developer took form over function which is a huge mistake in developing websites. Sure it looked good, but if someone can’t figure out how to use it for it’s purpose then what’s the point?
So it is important that you are able to find a solid medium. Building a website that looks good and is easy for users to use is an important key in keeping people on your website.
Forbes is notorious for doing this, you click on a link to go to their website and it redirects you to a webpage that has a big advertisement on it. This goes along with the fact that users don’t want to get side tracked or held up when they are looking for something. Having detours on your website is a big no no and this will only frustrate people and cause them to avoid your website completely.
This one is pretty obvious, why should I stay on your website and keep reading if your content is bad? Poor content could include a number of things. Spelling errors are a big one, having spelling errors on your website and or in your articles draws the conclusion that you didn’t take your time in writing content or that you are incompetent and this information you are providing is more than likely flawed and untrustworthy. That being said, it is important to go over everything you write before publishing it to your website to insure credibility.
Content layout is equally important to actual content. Things on your website need to be placed accordingly or else you will just confuse visitors and they will leave your website. Images need to be properly aligned to relate to any written content and vice versa.
Text needs to be set up correctly to ensure easy readability for users, this means aligning the text properly (DO NOT CENTER ALIGN TEXT!!) and limiting the amount of characters per line, 50-70 characters is optimal for easy reading. Lines of text that are too long will cause the users eyes to have a hard time focusing on it because it makes it difficult to judge where the line of text starts and ends. It also makes it hard to see what line of text should be the next line you read because the lines are so long your eyes have to track back too far. Lines of text that are too short make the eye travel back and forth too often causing a break in rhythm. Too short of lines of text also can cause a user to skip lines because they are reading the next line of text before finishing the current line.
Proper paragraph breaks are very important as well, if your paragraphs are too long it can be overwhelming for the reader and they may choose not to read it. So it’s important to insure your website has good content and proper content layout to keep users from leaving your website.
Having outdated content will not only turn visitors away but it will also turn search engines away, so it’s important to keep your website and the content on it up-to-date. The world is constantly changing and the web is changing twice as fast, companies are working on the next big thing before the current big thing is even released. People are coming to your website for information, and keeping that information up-to-date is of key importance. It’s not fun to be misinformed or to think you know something only to later find out that what you know is out of date.
Not only should content be up-to-date but your websites’ design should be current as well. This includes having your website up with current web design trends and best practices like mobile friendly design and content first design to name a few.
As I briefly mentioned above, not having a mobile friendly website is a big turn down for users. Browsing the web on mobile devices is something that 84% of smart phone users do on a daily basis and if your site is not compatible and easy to view on a mobile device then you’re going to lose customers, traffic, and potential leads and business.
Most users that need information fast are more than likely jumping on their mobile device to get what they need quick. Not having a website that can be easily viewed on mobile will just cause the user to go to another website that is more compatible for their needs and easier for them to view.
Lack of contact or about pages is an obvious one, but believe it or not, many websites still lack these two essential pages. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but having an about page let’s users know who you are and what your website is about. This can help them in making a decision on whether to use your website/business further or find someone/something else. A good pointer here is to make a very engaging about page that provides all the info a person needs in order for them to make an educated decision.
As for the contact page, how do you expect to generate leads, gain a following, or get business if the user has no way of getting in touch with you? Having a name, email, physical address(if applicable), phone number (if applicable), and even a contact form are some great things to include on a contact page.