SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Mobile App Graphics
PDF Conversion from other formats
Website Redesign & Overhaul
We all know that first impressions are extremely important: first impressions stick forever and if you fail to impress someone the first time, there is no going back for a second chance. If you are rude to someone the first time you meet them, that person will always think of you as a rude person. This same principle applies to your website; if visitors are not impressed with your site because it was slow, hard to navigate among a slew of reasons then you could end up losing business before anyone could even give you a chance. First-time visitors to your website will stay on your website for 10-20 seconds (or even less than that) and during those 10-20 seconds, your website must make a good impression or else the visitor will click their back button and never return to your site. In this post, we are going to discuss reducing bounce rate which is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only viewing one page.
52.64% of global web traffic comes from mobile devices, so chances are your website is being shown to someone using a phone or tablet. With a large number like that, your bounce rate will increase if your website does not display properly on a mobile device. It is also important to know that your SEO rankings on Google will start to drop as Google penalizes websites that are not responsive to mobile devices. Google wants to ensure that the websites they list are easy to use and navigate for mobile users; if you are using a website that was built on a free HTML template or with something outdated such as Microsoft Frontpage, then do not expect mobile users to be able to read your content. Mobile users will immediately leave your site and go somewhere else, increasing your bounce rate and costing you business. If you are using your phone right now, we are going to show you an example here. Notice how it is hard to read without zooming out and that you have to move the page around just to see the entire website. Mobile responsive websites will display all of the content without the need to move the page around everywhere. A site that is easy to navigate on mobile will have a lower bounce rate versus one that displays the desktop version on a mobile device.
Within the 10-20 seconds people spend pulling up your website, only 2 seconds or less should be spent loading the home page and its content. If your website is slow loading up, then your bounce rate will begin to increase as visitors leave for other websites similar to yours costing you business. Site speed is a major ranking factor on Google, especially on mobile devices so you should ensure that your site does not take forever loading. If you are a technical person and your site is running WordPress, Tung Tran at Cloudliving has written a nice article with steps on how to speed up a WordPress site. When you are choosing a hosting company for your website, you should not use cheap hosting as they tend to load websites much slower than with premium hosting (Creativity Design Group is an affiliate of WP Engine, who we recommend our clients to host their sites with. We are a commissioned affiliate with them). We encourage you to test your website with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your website’s speed ranks.
Have you ever opened up a website and then all of a sudden, you jump out of your seat because some loud video just played out of nowhere? You didn’t click on any videos, so how did one start playing? Many websites have ads with autoplay videos that serve no purpose other than to advertise a product unrelated to the website itself. Due to the unexpected sound, this could startle people and thus result in many people leaving the site. If you require the use of videos on your site, make sure they are not set to autoplay and that there is a call-to-action near it to encourage people to watch; playing videos automatically upon page load can scare people and is quite rude. Apple wanted to fight this problem, so as a result they updated their Safari browser back in September 2017 to block all autoplay videos to create a more relaxing browsing experience for its Mac users. This same rule applies to background music that plays automatically; people who are not expecting it will get startled and will leave the website. Background music does not have any real purpose other than to make your website pleasing to the ears; websites should be pleasing to the eye and to the brain, not to the ears. If your website uses background music, consider removing it for a better user experience. The removal of autoplay videos and music will certainly help reduce your bounce rate; if you are serious about getting more business from your website then this step should seriously be considered.
Another easy way to increase your bounce rate and drive people away from your website is to throw several popup ads in their face the moment they pull up your home page. If the user is seeing several popups show up at once, they will get frustrated and leave immediately; popup ads tend to contain links to malware or websites that will attempt to steal user information. Your business will look shady and people will not come to you for your products or services. Additionally, try not to use popups within your website as these will just annoy your visitors; examples of these popups include ones asking for you to subscribe to newsletters, special offer popups, free downloads, etc. You will want to advertise for these things to increase business, but mention them without having to use a popup (such as in your home page slider, for example). Because these popups can be an inconvenience to mobile users, Google is now penalizing websites that have popups like these from ranking in their search results. Your website should be optimized for mobile in general, as 52.64% of the global web traffic is on mobile so you will want to ensure your site ranks high for mobile users.
There is no reason to use Adobe Flash on the web anymore, for many reasons ranging from security risks to incompatibility with mobile devices. As we mentioned previously, 52.64% of global web traffic comes from mobile users so if your website uses Flash 52.64% of your audience cannot see some or all of your content (depending on where you are using Flash). This is especially damaging if your entire website runs Flash; if you are still running a website that is 100% Flash-based then your mobile users cannot see anything you are presenting. Additionally, Flash elements cannot be optimized for search engines so you will rank poorly as well. If you are serious about getting traffic to your website as well as getting an increase in business, you will eliminate all traces of Flash on your website and if your site is strictly Flash then you need to get your website redesigned from scratch. Businesses running Flash-based websites are instantly increasing their bounce rate with mobile users (and desktop users too, as all major browsers blocked Flash last year) and are basically sending their business elsewhere to places who have mobile-friendly websites. Adobe has big plans to completely discontinue the development and distribution of Flash in 2020, but you should discontinue using it yourself if you are still using it now.
Remember that visitors will spend 10-20 seconds or less when they pull up your website and they are going to want to find the information they need instantly. What shows up the moment your page finishes loading will determine whether or not your visitors will stay and check out your website. One effective way to do this is to be upfront about what you want to share with your audience using sliders; you can use graphical sliders with nice visuals to grab the reader’s eye the moment they pull up the website. These sliders can contain information related to services and specials you are running or any other piece of information that you want your audience to get the moment they look at your site. If you want your first time visitors to take action on your site the moment they pull it up, implement a call-to-action in the slider area (check out our post from last summer on how to create an effective call to action). Check out the example below from Golden Corral (used at the time of this post):
Golden Corral wanted to make sure that none of their website visitors missed their “Ultimate Lunch” special so they mentioned it in their header area in a large font. The header uses enticing visuals of buffalo wings, brisket and shortcake being handled to instantly grab the reader’s attention and possibly make them hungry. Restaurants often use the tactic of trying to get people hungry for their food by presenting it in an appealing manner; by combining eye-catching (and mouth-watering) visuals with their message at hand they will get people interested with the intention of driving traffic to their restaurants. These visuals are hard to miss when anyone pulls up their website so the main message cannot be missed easily.
In addition to using visuals, they have a “Become a Member” button highlighted in red to get people interested in their e-club. This is a great way to present an offer versus using a popup; as we mentioned earlier, websites with random popups are penalized by Google. Also, in their header the link “Find a Location” is separated from the others and uses a pin icon to highlight a call-to-action. It is possible that Golden Corral is intending their food pictures to entice users to click on that link as a means to gain business. Bounce rate can be reduced and interested can be gained in your business and its website if the proper visuals plus the right information is being shown the moment someone pulls up your website.
Before anyone even clicks on your website, you should be able to grab their interest when they see your site in the search results. How do you do this?By ensuring your meta description has compelling content written in it; but you may be wandering “what is a meta description?” Yoast, the makers of the popular Yoast SEO WordPress plugin (which you should have on your site if you use WordPress, it makes writing your meta descriptions easy) defines the meta description as: “… a snippet of up to 320 characters, a tag in HTML, that summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched for phrase is contained in the description. Optimizing the meta description is a very important aspect of on-page SEO.” (Check out their guidelines for creating a proper meta description here). When writing your meta description, take a look what your competitors are writing for theirs and then make yours look more enticing. Do not just simply state what your business does, but explain why they should choose your business (ex. Lowest prices in town) while being honest and using keywords that you want people to search for your business under. It is important that you use the keywords that you want to rank for and that you attempt to grab your audience’s attention in a manner that helps you stand out over your competition.
Your website should look nice and pleasing to the eye, with all of the information placed in an area where nobody should have trouble finding it. The overall design should aid, not distract from the main message(s) at hand; while the area “above the fold” as mentioned earlier should contain your most important points, every subsequent section should be straightforward. Users should not have to dig everywhere in your website to find the information they are looking for. The home page should not be filled with large paragraphs of text (your website is not a newspaper) but should have a balance of text and images (photos, icons, graphics, etc.) that goes in a sequence. Ensure that your navigation is clearly labeled and that mobile menus only show up on the mobile version of your site; otherwise your desktop users will not know where to go. If your information is hard to find, then your first time visitors will click the back button and never return, thus increasing your bounce rate.
Check out this example from a fencing company in Florida; this is an example of what a website should not look like. There is no balance between text and photos, the site looks outdated and most importantly it is not responsive to mobile devices (pull the site up on your phone to see that the navigation mainly shows and you have to move the page around to see the rest of it).
In addition to having a website that is cluttered with text, a website that does not present itself in a pleasing manner will also turn away visitors. Websites should not be messy like a bowl of spaghetti and should not be headache-inducing. See this example from the Yale University School of Art; the background is too busy, the colors are not balanced and the text is too small. Pictures should be used to convey an important message, but on this website all they do is create distractions; if you are a photographer, interior designer or any other professional with a portfolio of work, your pictures should be your main focus and aid in delivering your main message. Take a look at the poorly designed example below.
This example may even be worse than the Yale example; the colors are too bright (could cause seizures), the font is too small and hard to read against the background and the home page overall is hard to look at. We have no way of knowing what the bounce rate was for this site, but it may have been somewhere in the 90% range. Hopefully, your eyes do not hurt from looking at that picture.
Now that we have covered some bad examples with possibly large bounce rates, let’s look at one good example that can be followed.
This is the homepage for Whataburger; they have a very sleek, simple yet attractive design for their home page (and the website overall) that has no problem conveying their main message.
First of all, they use the slider area to point out their most important messages: they are advertising their Buffalo Ranch chicken sandwich and the Salted Caramel shake. Both items are only available for a limited time, so they wanted to make sure that first time visitors catch this message before they browse the rest of the site (or leave, if they choose). Additionally, the slider advertises the Bacon and Cheese Whataburger because it is a new item that they want to create immediate awareness of.
This website is a great example of colors and graphics being used to aid, not distract from the main message at hand. Each graphic delivers a message while the colors help items stand out; while orange and white are part of Whataburger’s branding they are not used to overpower the website with bright colors. Rather, they implemented the main colors of their branding in areas where they look nice and use grey in the background of the website to avoid overwhelming the eyes with color. Using too much orange would hurt the eyes, possibly prompting many visitors to the leave the site (for a large company like Whataburger, a high bounce rate is bad news).
Disclaimer: We have no affiliation or connection to any of the brands mentioned in this post. All photos are for educational purposes only.
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