There's nothing worse than designing a beautiful website only to have visitors click away within seconds of landing on your homepage. While sometimes this is purely because you're not what they were looking for, often it's down to the pure usability of the site.
Put simply, if visitors have trouble using your site, or can't find the information they need, they'll leave. Here are a few easily actionable tips to improve your bounce rate (a Bounce Rate is the website analytic that tells you how quickly a visitor leaves your site after first arriving - a low bounce rate is what you're aiming for).
1. Clean up your menu
Clear and simple site navigation is key for a good user experience.
If your header menu (that's the one at the top of the page) has too many items, or has page headings that are too long, it will instantly make your homepage look cluttered and disorganised.
Short and sweet is the name of the game.
One line maximum. If your menu spreads to two lines (or more!) think about grouping items together to make a sub-menu (a menu that drops down from a main heading to list extra menu items).
Use simple, intuitive menu headings. There's space for creative copy-writing on your website, but it's not in your menu. Use words visitors expect to see and keep them short and simple, like "ABOUT", "SERVICES" and "CONTACT".
Use a plain font. I prefer block lettering, but if that doesn't work in with your design just make sure you're using a plain font in serif or sans-serif style. Save the pretty hand-written font for quotes or section headings.
Space it out. In the design world, space is your friend. Give your menu items some breathing room so they don't end up running into each other.
Double it up. For bonus points, pop a copy of your header menu in the footer. This means when your visitor gets to the bottom of the page they don't have to go scrolling all the way to top again to find the next page.
2. Break up your content
Long gone are the days of long pages full of text on a website. These days, website users are used to social scrolling and it's made them inherently lazy.
You could have the most helpful content in the world, but if it isn't broken up into small, digestible chunks, chances are your site visitors will scroll straight past.
Use sub-headings. Sub-headings are absolute gold for improving your website design. Not only do the break up the content and make it easily scannable, but they also attract the visitors' eye AND they're great for your SEO ranking as well (get more SEO tips here). Make sure you format them using header tags (ie: H2, H3, etc - not "paragraph") and showcase them by making them bigger or a different colour to the rest of the text.
Utilise more images. Using content-appropriate images alongside your text makes it more visually appealing and also gives the visitor a quick idea of what the content is about. Again, it's scannable information and in a format visitors are used to seeing on social media (image + text). Bonus tip: use the best quality images you can get your hands on. Pixelated, blurry or obviously amateur shots will drag your whole site down (read more about brand photography and its benefits here).
Introduce some graphic elements. These don't have to be big, complicated designs - a simple line, icon or box here and there will both break up your content and highlight important bits of information (for example: putting a testimonial in a box).
Break it into sections. Think of each page of your site as a sandwich. The header and footer are the bread, and in between you have layers of key ingredients. You can use white space, background colours and images, and graphic elements to differentiate between sections.
3. Give clear directions
Every good website should be made with an ultimate goal in mind. What do you want to achieve with your site? What is it you want your site visitors to do?
Whether it's to buy your products, book your service, or even just to inform you need to provide them with instructions to help them achieve this goal.
You do that with a Call to Action (CTA).
CALL TO ACTION CHECKLIST
Use internal links. Use links to direct visitors to other parts of your site. For example, you might have a link on your homepage that takes them to the services page. Or a link on the services page that takes them to your contact page. Links can be in the form of buttons, text or even graphics and images. You need at least one link per page, but more is okay too.
Tell your visitors what to do. Much like social media posts, you need to tell your site visitors what to do next or they'll just move on to the next site. Do you want them to call or email you? Tell them that. On EVERY page.
Make them stand out. CTAs will only work if they are easily found, and are compelling. Use colour, white space, or text elements to make them stand out from the rest of the content, and use language that is clear rather than clever.
Your website is one of the most important marketing tools you have at your disposal, so it makes sense that you take the time to make sure it's working properly.
Give your site a quick audit using the above and see how you go.
Pressed for time? Get in touch to ask about getting a done-for-you audit. It's great value and you'll get a detailed report on where and how to improve your site.