Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reduce Bounce Rates

It's amazing to me, that with over ten years of being a graphic designer, designing for both print and web. How there is still stuff to learn and discover.

What other kind of profession can constantly be re-inventing itself and continues to be interesting. Well at least to me...

Hence this next topic of "Bounce Rates".

Bounce Rates is a percentage you see when you review your webstats. It means that basically a visitor comes to your site but does nothing once the page loads.

This is one area of website design that frustrates me. Especially if the traffic comes from a PPC ad. I write ads that clearly present what the product or service is and peak the interest to learn more. So if a user is interested why, do they click on the ad to load the site to do nothing!, They don't explore more...

And what can we do to make this process easier for the visitor and the site owner.

Well my first suggestion comes from documenting each week the stats and capturing recommendations on things to tweak, this documentation is helpful if there is a spike in the numbers captured.

But what kind of suggestions should you use?...

I found these two sections of an article to be helpful.

Poor Website Design and Usability

First impressions make a lot of difference. If visitors enter your website and finds it all cluttered and clamped, they will feel rather uncomfortable and leave instead of exploring further. Likewise, if they have to spend a lot of time understanding your website or comprehending its features, they will ultimately get frustrated and make a move. Therefore, it is very important to have a website that is not only pleasant looking but also functions seamlessly. Visitors should feel welcome on the website and be able to browse through very easily. Intuitive navigation is the key to rich user experience.

Irrelevant Content

The content of your website should be high on information and value. They should offer some value addition to your audiences and provoke them to read further. In addition to rich information, the writing style should be such that visitors ask 'What's next?' Make sure you have well written content and guide your visitors to perform desired actions on your website.

Inconsistent Navigation

As mentioned earlier, well designed navigation system is the key to rich user experience. Similarly, poor navigation structure only serves to frustrate the visitors and make them leave. Navigation issues are one of the most common reasons for high bounce rates on websites. For your visitors to explore your website and move around easily, they need a consistent and intuitive navigation pathway.

Some more things to consider can be found in this youtube video from google.

In addition there seems to be a collection of other helpful online material at Getonfast blog

The concept presented by google is, instead of thinking of the site terms of design, think of it terms of tasks. what do you want your users to do?

Do you want them to look at a collection fo stuff, do want them to listen to your views on something etc etc, try and focus on what you want the user to be able to do.

Heres is an interesting case study and further discussion on reducing your bounce rate

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