The obvious purpose of marketing is to sell by attracting potential customers and communicating them the value of a good. When it comes to online communication, thanks to social media, paid ads or SEO, catching users eyes is a lot easier than convincing random people on a street to enter your shop. Unfortunately, this is only half way to a win: encouraging users to stay on the site longer, and eventually convert, is the real challenge.
High bounce rates, short average visit duration and a low number of pages seen per visit; all of these metrics may suggest that your site’s visitors are not entirely happy with what they see when they land on your pages. It might be that your meta descriptions and title tags are misleading or the keywords that attracted visitors don’t reflect your site’s offering. This can be fixed be re-defining your target audience and updating your content strategy. But what if the site is well optimised for the right audience and the engagement is still worryingly low?
There are many aspects that might discourage users from staying on a site, some of them are more common than others but most of them are… purely annoying. Does your website annoy your visitors? If it has one of the following elements, then it most definitely annoys me.
The point of an About page is to show people that enter your site who you are, what you can do for them or what have you already done for someone else. This is a place that should be on every single website on the internet. It is a place that explains to everyone what website they are on, who is talking to them, and most importantly, WHY they should stay on this site.
Surprisingly, there are still many websites that don’t have an About page or have it, but don’t provide simple answers to the questions “who” and “why”. It might be (slightly) annoying to find yourself on a website that provides good content, but doesn’t explain who is the author. Even worse is if all that can be found are lines and lines of self-promotion and desperate attempts to sell. This, very likely, would be ineffective and could cost you a valuable space that would be beneficial if used for the right purpose.
The best About pages will ALWAYS tell users who you are and what you can do for them. Everything else on this page is of secondary importance. The more creative you are in introducing this information, the higher the chances that your visitors will actually read through the page and gain a better understanding of your company. You might want to present your team with photos, background descriptions, quotes and contact details. You could use cartoons and animations or videos of your offices and production line. The sky’s the limit when it comes to telling your story in the most creative way.
An excellent example of a great and insightful About page is the “chic and unique” wedding company ruby+diva
Through the use of storytelling, this page takes its users to the stylish and quirky world of eclectic brides. The founder’s love story and video showing snaps from ruby+diva’s clients’ weddings completes this picture and helps visitors “feel” the company’s mission.
Website Loading Time
I am not discovering America when I say users’ expectations towards websites’ speeds are growing. We have less and less tolerance for websites that make us wait a little too long. Time is money, so don’t waste mine. As shows Amazon tests: “Every 100 ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1%.” Bearing in mind how many customers buy products on Amazon daily, a 1% decrease in sales will cost a fortune and all because of less than 1 second.
If I managed to convince you to improve your website’s speed, visit this website for specific suggestions on how to achieve that.
What a mess!
Do you know the feeling of landing on a page and having no idea what to do next? A few navigation bars, loads of red, flashing arrows “screaming” to click this and that, 15 categories of news and 10 suggestions of other stories you “might be interested in”. By the way, what is the damn difference between industry news, company news, blogs and articles? Aren’t news and articles kind of the same thing?
It can get even worse if you need to click thousands of buttons to find a very specific product and look through many similar sounding categories when site search doesn’t bring the desired results. Who could explain this issue better than user-loving Google?
The easiest way out of that issue is to divide the entire site into categories and subcategories that create a logical path for users to follow, allowing them to find every single item on your site within 3 clicks from your homepage.
Rather than assuming that your site is simple and easy to navigate, ask someone from outside of your company to use it and measure the time and number of clicks it takes them to find certain items or information.
You might have the most competitive prices in the whole world wide web, but if we can’t find them on your site, we won’t be able to buy them. Don’t keep your stock in the basement, bring it into display.
What should I do next?
Imagine the completely opposite situation: you land on a page with a beautifully written, insightful, fascinating article located on this long, empty page containing nothing but navigation, title and the text of the story you just read. Yes, you can try to find out more about the site, click through different tabs in navigation, but what if all you wanted to read was on this one page? You would leave. I would leave. The bounce rate surges.
Users need to be more than just attracted to enter a site. The next action they can take on your site must be suggested. Lead them through your pages, point them in the directions that will help them to find the most relevant content. Show them things they want to see, even (or especially) if they don’t yet know if they want to see them.
If you have ever used Amazon, you might remember this little trick:
“Customers who bought this item also bought” – simple, logical and a brilliant play on emotions – suggesting products that are not only relevant and in our interest, but other people have already bought them.
Analogical tactics you could use all come down to suggesting other related articles, white papers, videos on similar topics or complementary products. Never forget to use breadcrumb navigation that will show your visitors exactly where they are on your site and include the name of the category and subcategory allowing your visitors to sort the content using those. If I landed on one of your news pages, displaying a list of news categories might convince me to stay on your site a little longer to have a look at other stories you have within this one category I find interesting. Of course I’m not every user and we all are a little different from each other so make sure you have a nice selection of “next moves” and Calls to Actions to stimulate the majority of your visitors.
Coming to an end
Finally, I cannot finish without commenting on my own blog that has almost nothing in common with all those suggestions and recommendations I mentioned above (as they say: The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot). I am speaking here today as an addicted internet user, who spends 12 hours a day online and does grocery shopping or buys Christmas presents using her laptop. If you care about the opinion of online shoppers, you will care about mine.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!