Don’t you just want to scream?
You’ve finally gotten some traffic to your website. You know this because you dilegently study your website analytics and, clear as day, your visitor sessions are finally up. You are so happy! You love traffic. You are in love with the internet.
But then, you make the mistake of digging deeper into your stats and you see that your bounce rate is really high, maybe even as bad as 90%. This is not good. Bouncing means that people leave directly from the page that they land on, without hanging around long enough to learn anything. You’re really upset. You hate the internet!
Calm down. We can fix this.
The first thing to do is figure out what happened…
- Did your visitors get bored?
- Were they confused by something you showed them?
- Did you insult their intellegence?
- Were they unable to immediately find the informational links they were looking for in the first 5 seconds?
- Did your website load too slowly for their impatient brains?
For whatever reason, they didn’t even stay long enough to read all your excellent content!
Maybe it’s time to add some features that might encourage people to stay longer and click through to your other pages.
1. Be unique with a custom home page
Two choices here. Your home page can be structured like all your other pages …or it can be completely different. To make it different, you would deviate from the template and add elements that enable you to show off your product or services in a way that highlights the most important sections on your website. Of all the website design features available, this one will have the most impact on the longevity of the visit. A custom home page allows for an elegant overview of your business, while enabling the visitor to go off in the direction that interests them most.
Here is an example of a custom home page:
2. Stand out with slideshow
And now that you have your custom home page in place, be sure to hang a colorful slideshow on the wall of your entryway. Few things speak more clearly than a set of handpicked images. If one image can say a 1,000 words, imagine how well 5 images would be able to tell an entire story… your story.
Your images can be superimposed with titles to help them electrify your message, or at least clarify it. The photos themselves can be clickable and lead each visitor directly to the information they are looking for.
Well-designed slideshows require a bunch of visual, written and technical skillsets; they need to be timed, cropped, color-corrected and sized just right. Each image should be pleasing unto itself… but still play nicely with all the others. The images should relate to each other without being redundant, yet still repeat the style and tone. Be creative!
3. Sidebar your honor?
Another idea is to stick a creative sidebar on many of the pages that follow your custom home page. Sidebars are great when you want your visitors to see something specific, no matter where they are on your website. A slideshow of your clients’ logos, your Twitter feed, a list of your latest blogs, an email subscription box, links to your social media pages, promotions, organizations you support or are a member of, and who knows what else.
A sidebar frees up your header so only the most important things are displayed at the top. I feel sidebars tend to be more comfortable on the right side of each page, but they do work pretty well on the left in certain instances. Sidebars come with some mobile layout considerations, (because they become “belowbars”on phones) but a quality responsive website will handle all of that quite gracefully.
4. Navigation is about style, performance and clarity
Our lives are interspersed with wonderful moments we barely notice. A silent laugh, a big stretch, the sight of colorful flower outside the window. Your menu bar items need to be one of those moments. When your visitors click on your navigation links, there should be a nano second of that same happiness regarding how smoothly that link hovered, changed, flowed, and took direction.
A click on a link should never distract from the message. However, the user should be able to “feel” the click… and immediately know that something is supposed to happen while they’re waiting for the transition.
Implement these four website design features and watch your bounce rate go down.