Getting visibility nowadays is harder than ever.
There are gazillions of blog posts, articles, infographics, videos -all kinds of content. And most of the time, your site will be buried deep down in the search results and never be found. But even when you get to the first page of Google or Youtube, or someone sees your post on their Facebook feed, a click is still not guaranteed.
Now let’s assume you’re among the first results and your title grabs the user’s attention. What will they find after they click? What if your content isn’t what they were looking for? Even if they don’t consider it clickbait, maybe it’s not answering their question or need. Or something -maybe- even worse: they found what they needed and left, never coming back.
What makes people leave a website?
Getting people to stay on your site is hard. It’s not just the design, the content, the originality, the entertainment; it’s all of the above and more.
If you’ve got a news site, people will want the latest news, right now, delivered quickly. But not just that: the design has to be correct (no navigation problems) and if it’s pretty and modern, even better.
What about the content? Oh man, I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve left and never came back because of problems with content. I’m not just talking about spelling or grammar errors; I mean like when you wonder if the author has even the most remote idea of what they’re talking about.
Let’s analyze these bit by bit.
You know this is true. You do it yourself. A website takes ages to load? “Back” button clicked and let’s move on to another result.
This has everything to do with good web development. Also, it’s happened to us that we’ve developed a site for a client and then a while later we visit it to check it out and find out it takes longer to load. Why? Because we give them the chance to upload their own pics to customize it and they end up uploading huge images, which definitely makes the site take longer to load.
And let’s not mention the importance of this on mobile. People have less time to wait when they’re on their smartphones.
I don’t mean ugly (although there are some ugly websites out there) but outdated. If your website looks like it’s 1998 again, it’s a bad sign.
Many clients want to follow current trends that make look cool today but totally outdated tomorrow. On the other hand, there are some designs that never get old. The best thing to do is to listen to your designer and check out their ideas because they know what they’re talking about and they’ll save you money down the line.
Good design can also be linked to trustworthiness. The better your website’s design, the more trustworthy your visitors will see you because they’ll know that you take your brand seriously.
Content is impossible to read
This is also related to the design, particularly responsive design. If your content is all cluttered, users will leave.
You need to have a structure: for menus, for pages, for blog articles, for every piece of content on the page. If you’ve got a company/brand site, most people will be looking for your products, offers and promotions, or your About/Contact page. If you’ve got a blog or news site, for categories. Think about the way you surf websites.
And there’s nothing worse, nothing that gives a poorest image than words that go over buttons. You know what I mean, right? When you see a blue button to tweet something with “Tweet this” and the word “Tweet” is on the button but “this” is outside of the box. Or words have been cut out and you have no idea what the menu button leads to.
Again, listen to your designer when they tell you that the color combination you want is not a good idea. Or the font size. They’ll be thinking about the big picture: helping visitors from all kinds of devices to access your site and navigate properly.
Register to see content
I don’t know about you but I always leave a website when they force me to register or fill out a form (generally, with too much personal information) to see a particular content.
I understand that many blogs rely on email subscribers to get leads but too many of them “clickbait you” without letting you know that you’ll have to register/fill out a form to download a PDF guide or even to read an article.
And if that’s the first time they visit your site and you make them feel like that, many users will never come back.
Expedia removed one single data field that was costing them 12m a year.
The Expedia case is a good example: They were getting lots of clicks on “Buy now” buttons but users would leave in the middle of the process. Why? Because they had an extra field under “Name” that was “Company”. Apparently, some users would get confused and enter their bank’s name; afterwards, when asked for the “company’s address”, the information wouldn’t match that of their personal account. Seeing this, they removed the field and saw an amazing rise in sales.
Your site is full of ads
This one’s a no-brainer: If your site is full of ads, it not only gives a bad first impression, it can also make navigation difficult.
Ads should be on the light side of things and not bother the visitor. Don’t you hate it when you access a website and you start to read an article only to be interrupted by a giant ad that covers your smartphone’s whole screen? Okay, this kind of ads are acceptable but not when they’re so difficult to close that you just want to leave the site.
Your content is cheap
We’ve talked about this several times and I can’t stress this enough: Cheap content can hurt your brand; use it well because it is an amazing tool to build trust through copywriting. And of course, as with everything that seems too good to be true, cheap content can be expensive in the end.
Low-cost content companies usually hire people who aren’t experts in a particular field; sometimes, they’re not even good writers. So what you get is bad, uninteresting content; basic content that anyone could write; content filled with grammar or spelling errors, that’s difficult to read; or content that doesn’t help your brand because the writer can’t relate to it, it can’t help you find your voice.
Bad translations on your site
This one’s related to the one above: don’t hire unprofessional translators to do the job and please don’t use Google Translate. Anyone can copy-paste to Google Translate or even click “yes” when they get Google’s prompt to translate the page! (By the way, who does that? Most of the time, you still get incomprehensible gibberish).
If you want your site to feature additional languages because you’re targeting different audiences, that’s great. But hire professional translators. I don’t mean with a diploma, but people who are fluent and can convey your message.
This is also important: you could get a sworn translator even if you don’t need that, but the person might be completely lost when translating marketing texts. You need them to be aware of what they’re talking about.
No calls-to-action on the page
If you’re trying to sell something, it’s easier. Every landing page has at least one call-to-action. It’s usually a “Buy now” or “Download it” button and it has a prominent space on the page.
However, every page on your site should have a call-to-action. What can we do with blog posts or articles? Well, the “share” buttons are the obvious option, to get your content to reach a wider audience. But many times, even if they’ve liked what they’ve read, people just won’t share it.
We can at least try to get that person to stay longer on our site by inserting links to other -hopefully interesting- content. Ideally, related to the topics we’re discussing. And talking about related, that’s another thing that keeps people clicking: related content below or next to the text.
Finally, comment sections are a good idea to keep the conversation going while users help you create new content!