Four Ways to Lower Your Bounce Rate

mr-_bounce-wordpress

If you are doing your marketing well, you will be very familiar with getting into the data provided by your web analytics package. One of the key metrics of whether your website is working is bounce rate.

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of single-page visits, i.e. the visitor exits the website without seeing more pages than their entrance page. With that definition, it is pretty clear that the lower your bounce rate, the better your website is performing.
That is true in most situations, but not all. You need to put your bounce rate into context. Imagine that you own a restaurant. Your home page has a high bounce rate, so is this a problem? If your home page has your phone number on it, it may be that people are visiting your site, calling the number and leaving the site. Your objective (a full restaurant!) is being met even with a high bounce rate.

But this is an exception – a high bounce rate tends to signal an opportunity to improve. Here are four ways that you could lower your bounce rate:

Attract The Right Audience:

As with virtually every metric within web analytics, you need to understand the context. Regardless of how fantastic your website user experience, content and offering is, if the audience that you are attracting is irrelevant, the website will deliver a high bounce rate. It is not easy to attract the right people to your website (paid social media can really help here!), but if you are able to, that alone will lower your bounce rate.

Make Your Content Easily Digestible:

Unfortunately it doesn’t take much searching to find a web page that is absolutely chocked full of text which is really overwhelming to look at. The content itself might be fascinating, but it just looks awful! Keeping only the essential text as well as using bullet points can help to break up large passages of dense text. And don’t forget using images, video, sound, etc. can also make your content less daunting.

Have A Clear User Journey:

Your navigation should be there to enable the user to achieve the mission that they are undertaking, whether that is as lofty as making a purchase or as trivial as someone just killing a bit of time. Whether you are using a floating main menu or navigation aids in the right / left hand columns, being able to offer the user somewhere interesting to go next is really important – and will lower your bounce rate. Amazon’s ‘customers who bought this item also bought’ boosts basket spend as well as keeping the user on the site.

Don’t Get In The Way:

One of the best pieces of advice that I have been given is not to get in the way of the user. Pop-ups are all well and good for building email subscriber lists, but they can interrupt the user journey. If distractions are not kept to a minimum, you run the risk of losing the user.

What You Can Learn From Amazon

What You Can Learn From Amazon

What You Can Learn From Amazon

Amazon is one of the (many!) Marmites of the internet age – for some people, it is a pioneer of ecommerce and a ground-breaker of modern retail, but for others, it is a corporate animal which destroys traditional industries. Maybe it’s because of the industry that I work in, but I tend to lean towards the former – as a digital marketer, it is difficult to be too critical of such a commercially successful website.

So what can every website learn from such an institution?  Here are 4 elements that you can learn and implement fairly easily.

Navigation: This can make or break a website.  When using the search bar, the navigation will offer the likely departments where that keyword would appear as well as a list of 5 popular items.  This is really smart and makes finding your product as easy as typing the name of it.  You might not be able to stretch to this, but think about how your customer categorise your products – not how you categorise them.  If you are unsure, ask a sample of customers to tell you how they think the products should be structured.

Suggestions: This is all about linking the CRM system up to your customer-facing website.  For Amazon, this is a complex algorithmic process, but for your company it might not need to be so complex.  Imagine the way that you would segment your email database when you are running an email campaign – you will filter it so that your audience is relevant to your message, and this is the first stage of suggestions.  It may be beyond your current IT capability but if you don’t look at it, you’ll never know!

Easy add to basket: It really is very simple, with as little as one click ordering.  What Amazon do really well is not get in the way of the customer – they let the customer add it to their basket, suggest any other items that you might be interested in as you are clearly in the buying mood, choose an address, shipping speed, payment and done.  Although I think Amazon could be more transparent about their shipping prices – you don’t find out the cost until the payment screen (Jeff Bezos – don’t worry about thanking me for the feedback!).

Customer reviews: Perhaps the most powerful tool that Amazon has is the scale of the customer reviews of the products that it sells.  Naturally this scale is going to be difficult to build, but you should ask for reviews of your product.  Seeing someone else who has bought it and had a positive experience will influence your prospective buyer positively – and yes, you need to accept the negative feedback too, but that is how you learn.  Adding reviews takes nerve, but it works.

There are lots of areas which you can ‘borrow’ from massive websites – remember they are pumping millions of pounds of research into their websites, so why not learn the lessons from one of the best?

5 Conversion Tips

Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate

One of the least discussed areas of digital marketing is how to drive up your conversion rate.  There are lots of articles on driving traffic to your site (i.e. social media, PPC and SEO), but much to help you when people actually get to your site.  Most C-Level Execs are keen to see their traffic go up because they want more conversions – but what about getting more from the traffic you are already generating?  Here are five quick tips to drive your conversion rate up.

Know the path that 90% of your visitors will take: This may require some research to be undertaken and this can cost money (an investment).  But typically, 4 or 5 key objectives will cover 90% of your visitors: for example, to find your opening hours, ask a question or find out if you sell a particular product.  It is this 90% that you need to focus your website structure around.  Forget about the remaining 10% or the edge cases as I call them, for now – they are in danger of taking your eye off the majority.

Make your visitor feel at home: You will receive traffic from a number of referrers – your analytics package will tell you from who and how many.  You should create landing pages for the major referrers to your site, and tailor it around the website that they have just come from – e.g. if YouTube is a strong referrer to your site, then your landing page should include a video: you know that they like video because they have just come from a video sharing site!  This works for other referrers too, e.g. short punchy sentences if the visitor is referred from Twitter.  I can’t believe that more people have not recognised this and focused on it as a conversion driver – intuitively, this should drive your conversions!

Vary your content: The expectation of someone on a website in 2014 has never been higher – to see a simple catalogue or pages and pages of information is no longer good enough.  Varying your content with video and ideally interactive media, which will be big in 2014, will engage the visitor and keep them interested in your proposition – and make sure that it translates to mobile too (of course!).

Write with your audience in mind: I have recently started a role in automotive, and there is a lot of terminology and acronyms – a lot. And when you are working in the industry, it is easy to use the terminology all the time, but the one place that you don’t use it is in front of the customer.  The people who buy our vehicles are regular people, not car specialists, so technical terms on the website would make the visitor feel intimidated and out of their depth during what is the second largest household purchase – not a nice feeling.  So, write with the 90% of visitors in mind, in language that they understand and meeting needs that they have.

Keep measuring: Unless you can demonstrate some progress with your conversion rate, you will not know if your efforts are having a positive or negative effect. And if you have spoken to your boss about not growing your traffic and focusing on optimising conversion rate, you need to be armed with this information!

These are just five tips, but there are thousands out there – why not leave a comment and share yours below?!

Image via barracuda-digital.com

Web UX

The Guide to Web UX

 The Guide to Web UX

The phrase Web UX (User Experience) seems to be one wrapped in mystery.  What exactly is it?  How does it affect my website?  How do I do it?

Well, it is simply improving the website experience for the user – and it’s not as complicated as you’d think to do.  The basics are things that most people can do themselves.  Here are the ten things to bear in mind when embarking on a web user experience project:

1) You are an internet user – so make yourself the first tester and be honest!  If something feels a little clunky to you on your own website, it will probably feel very clunky to a user, so look at changing it

2) Get a good mix of people to test your site out – make it reflective of your audience.  If you are selling heavy metal merchandise, don’t ask your granny to test it (unless she is a huge Metallica fan)

3) Keep the sample size sensible – many writers recommend no more than 5 testers.  Any more than 10 testers and the opinions will start to become conflicting, and if you are paying then the cost will start to get pretty high

4) What is my website objective – bear this in mind when you are measuring the experience.  Most sites will benefit from users spending more time on site, but not all – for example, if your site is there to provide information, having small amounts of time onsite would mean your users are finding their information quickly, not necessarily a bad thing

5) Speed is of the essence – in the digital age, people will rarely spend a lot of time looking for the answer to their question.  So make sure that you have easy navigation to enable them to find it as quickly as possible – or risk losing the user to a competitor

6) Structure the site with the user’s hierarchy – how to internet users organise your product / service in their head?  E.g. for shoes, do they think style, colour, price or brand first?  An example of an industry which consistently gets this wrong is cash and carries – they organise their depots by manufacturer (e.g. Unilever), but retailers organise by product type (e.g. household cleaner)

7) Invest in a designer – unless you are a designer, you are going to need one to optimise your site

8) Every page is a landing page – make sure that the pages look consistent, because every page on your site is a potential landing page.  For example, if you want to generate leads, have an enquiry form loaded onto every page on your website to maximise the chances of an enquiry

9) Copywriting is important – keep it punchy, to the point and unambiguous

10) Keep reviewing – user experience testing is a journey, not a destination, so keep measuring, testing and amending

What are your tips for web user experience projects?  Leave a comment and let me know!