Getting internet users to your website via search engines, ads, and social media is critical. However, keeping online traffic engaged on your website is equally important. Websites that fail to capture visitors’ attention will have high bounce rates. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your landing page without clicking elsewhere.
High bounce rates usually correlate to low conversion rates. Online users abandoning your website within seconds will hurt your bottom line. There’s a good chance the online traffic will find your competitor’s website after leaving yours. Here are seven strategic web design changes you can make to reduce your bounce rate.
1. Speed Up Your Website
The internet is competitive cyberspace that’s filled with websites to choose from. Most people won’t have the patience to wait for slow web pages. They’ll bounce right over to another faster site. Don’t let a sluggish connection annoy your visitors. Google recommends that websites fully load within just two seconds. Slower pages might make online visitors hit the back arrow.
Therefore, take steps to ramp up your page load speed. Remove unneeded website elements like Flash that slow things down. Limit the number of pictures and videos or compress them. Minimize page redirects and HTTP requests. Eliminate unnecessary characters clogging your coding too.
2. Create a Navigation Bar
People will leave your website if they don’t know exactly where to click. Navigation bars are a great way to resolve any confusion. Making this roadmap through a website lowers the bounce rate. Position the navigation bar right across the top of your website. Put navigation headlines in big, bold font that’s easy to spot.
For example, an online bookstore may use headlines like “fiction” and “nonfiction.” Each headline can have a dropdown box with more options, such as “romance” or “suspense.” Check that each internal navigation link works perfectly. When dead links lead to 404 error pages, frustrated online visitors will likely jump ship.
3. Become Mobile Responsive
According to the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone. The majority of these mobile phone users access the internet on their devices. Setting your website up for only desktop and laptop use is a costly mistake. People using smartphones or tablets won’t see your website properly. They’ll likely click away and increase your bounce rate.
You need a mobile responsive design that resizes your website based on screen size. Pick a WordPress theme that’s already mobile-friendly. Make buttons large enough to press with a thumb. Put widths in terms of screen percentage rather than pixels. Remove annoying pop-ups that block page content as well.
4. Recommend Similar Content
Reducing your bounce rate will require keeping more people on your site. Directing online visitors toward similar content they’ll enjoy can be effective. At the bottom of each article or product page, create a section for related pages. Some websites even successfully link to other suggested pages in the middle of articles.
Draw attention with eye-catching headlines like “You may also like.” Link to articles and products that are closely related to the one people are viewing. For instance, you might suggest content about fun hairstyles on a page for curling irons. Include a thumbnail image or enticing blurb about the other page to get users clicking.
5. Simplify Website Searches
Scrolling through long navigation bars and sitemaps to find content is time-consuming. People are too busy to spend precious minutes doing this. So, your website needs to put answers right at people’s fingertips. Search boxes are essential to help online visitors locate what they need. Pages without an easy-to-use search feature typically have huge bounce rates.
Create a large search box and place it on the header. Never put search boxes on the bottom of the page. Use the word “search” instead of making visitors find tiny magnifying glasses. Outline the search box in a bright color, such as red or blue. Also, offer predictive text that helpfully cuts down on typing.
6. Run A/B Split Tests
How do you know which website designs are best? A/B testing is the answer. A/B split tests use two different web page variations to measure audience response. You can test different headlines, images, font colors, CTA buttons, subscription forms, and more. A/B testing gives you concrete data about what your online traffic likes and doesn’t like.
Many online platforms, including Optimizely and DreamHost, can perform A/B tests for you. Once the experiment ends, analyze the results closely. Look at whether version A or B has better conversions. Adopt the winner for your website to keep reducing bounce rates.
7. Show Your Legitimacy
Today’s online users are always on the lookout for scammers and identity thieves. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission put a nearly $1.5 billion price tag on consumer fraud losses. People are increasingly protective of their hard-earned money. Winning over cautious website visitors shouldn’t be hard if you show you’re legitimate though. Make your landing page look professional and well-organized.
Place your address, email, and phone number prominently. Talk about your years of experience with headlines like “selling handmade jewelry since 1999.” Post real pictures of you and your employees on an about us page. Feature testimonials from past happy customers. Always use a secure, encrypted connection for an https:// designation too.
There are many more simple fixes to make your site more user-friendly and appealing. Write content that’s easy to digest with lists and bullet points. Make external links to other websites open in new windows. Remove distracting ads that are hard to close. Promote sales and limited-time discounts on the top banner. Include a virtual chat widget to get answers fast.
Overall, high bounce rates are a red flag that your website design isn’t properly optimized. Do everything you can to make getting around a cakewalk. Entice visitors by selling your website as a credible source for whatever they need most. Combining these web design tips should dramatically reduce your bounce rate and boost your conversions.