Now that your business has been online for a while you might be wondering where all those new customers and sales leads are that you thought you were going to get. After all:
- You've invested time and resources.
- You've embraced blogging and social media.
- You've written an ebook, recorded a video and even started a newsletter but to no avail.
- Your digital marketing is practically as dead as a Dodo – and you're too afraid to tell anyone!
So why is your site just not working?
Let's Look at the Symptoms
The first thing to check if you're not getting the results you expected or were hoping for is to head over to your site analytics and start to understand user behaviour.
In Google Analytics one of the key places to start for newbies just getting the hang of Google Analytics is to check the site Bounce Rate. This tells you how many people arrive and your site and immediately leave. It's an excellent albeit broad indicator of how your site is doing.
Bounce rates will vary depending on the set up of your website. If, for example, you're using a blog format with rolling content – lists of your recent 5 posts or so – you'll have a much higher bounce rate, according to the master of web analytics, Avinask Kaushik . These can be as high as 80 percent, which is dispiriting.
For sites that put blog content deeper in the site Kaushik suggests that a good bounce rate for a business site is between 40 – 60 percent.
How to Lower Your Site Bounce Rate
Lowering your bounce rate isn't rocket science. High bounce rates are primiarily caused by:
- poor design – your site and thus your business just doesn't look professional
- poor usability – you clients just can't find what they're looking for
- poor page load times – your visitor just can't be bothered to hang around.
If you're not sure these are key issues on your site you need to get a second opinion; if this is the problem, fix them or hire a web shop to fix them as soon as possible.
Once you've fixed these issues or if they're not there in the first place, you should look at your copy and copy.
- Does it help visitors to find what they need quickly?
- Is it clear and concise and easy to read?
- Have you got the tone right to connect with your target audience?
Long, poorly phrased copy – and that includes headlines and subheadlines, as well as the text in your sidebar – will send people clicking away.
Delving Deeper into Your Bounce Rate
It's important to break down the bounce rate you're getting across the traffic that's coming your way. For example, if visitors from Facebook or Twitter leave 85% of the time with a second or so but Google search traffic sticks around longer, perhaps you need to:
- tweak your social media strategy
- focus on what's working for you
- assess where the valuable leads and prospects really hang out on line.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Just because your site isn't performing now, the great thing about the web is that user behaviour can change quite quickly once you start to address key design, copy and usability issues. It's important, however, to monitor the bounce trends on your site because the Net and user behaviour can change rapidly. Design styles come and go and new technologies and strategies can throw you a curveball at any moment.
A good approach is to audit your Bounce Rate performance, say, quarterly or every six months. Of course, if you've got problems with a high bounce rate at the moment you're going to want to monitor your efforts more closely as you change things up. But once you're achieving a bench mark rate that you deem acceptable, it's time to ease of the pedal. At least, just for a while.