Why Visitors Bounce: 5 Website Issues to Fix

Most business websites provide information in hopes of turning visitors into leads. How do you prevent visitors from leaving before engaging with your content?
Sleepy woman working with her laptop

Thanks to an ever-growing competitive landscape, keeping your website user-friendly and presentable is crucial for your business’ long-term success. After all, online users are merely one click away from visiting your competitor if necessary.

So, how can small business webmasters ensure visitors not only have a pleasant experience but also ultimately convert into leads and recurring customers? There are various pieces to this puzzle, all of which can help you retain prospects and gradually form long-term relationships.

Let’s look at five of the most common reasons a visitor may leave your website, as well as effective ways to prevent this from happening.

  1. No Focus – Visitors find the content confusing and unhelpful.
  2. Weak Design – Difficult to navigate and find content.
  3. Invasive, obtrusive elements – Annoying pop-ups and marketing
  4. Boring Layout – Unappealing design and no images.
  5. Slow Load Times – Pages take too long to load.

1. No Focus

Small business owners may know what their website consists of, but sometimes the message gets lost in translation.

This is especially true for those that provide highly technical packages, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) offerings.

The result is often a combination of complex wording, confusing content structure and a convoluted presentation that leaves customers feeling rather overwhelmed.

Confused mature woman using laptop computer.
Overwhelmed users will leave your website.

The fix: Adapt a conversational tone where appropriate. A conversational tone generally delivers a clearer and more direct message. Don’t just mention your service’s main features, but rather emphasize the benefits customers can enjoy from these. Leave no doubts on the table when it comes to your offerings.

Adapt a conversational tone where appropriate.

2. Weak Design

While many small business websites do a great job with their presentation, others retain an outdated and visually unattractive feel.

These bad traits may include, but are not limited to: inappropriate font style, small text, overwhelmingly long paragraphs and a complicated layout throughout. Even if your website offers the right products and services, users may not have the time or the patience to find them.

Researchers discovered that since 2000, “the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds” – that’s shorter than the attention span of a goldfish! Does your website convey your core message in less than 8 seconds?

Does your website convey your core message in less than 8 seconds?

The fix: Because attention spans are reportedly shortening, it’s imperative that every visual aspect is aesthetically pleasing. Rely on readable fonts that closely match your website’s layout, break down paragraphs into concise chunks, and implement a mobile-friendly design that dynamically shifts your website’s presentation based on the device in question. Each element of your design should tie into your brand eloquently seamlessly.

3. Invasive, Obtrusive Elements

The pursuit of long-term profitability may inadvertently lead website owners to be rather invasive with their offerings.

It’s not uncommon to see newsletter-related pop-ups on every single page, even if visitors have initially declined to sign up. Likewise, others may continuously remind people about a certain product or service with a nagging video ad that plays automatically on the sidebar. These intrusive properties will ultimately affect your website’s navigation, causing prospects to turn away and never look back.

Computer with warning pop up sign window
Don’t over use pop ups or try to alarm people into taking action.

The fix: A welcoming design is more than just a layout. Having a call to action (CTA) is always encouraged, but don’t let it interrupt your visitor’s experience or frustrate them. One good option is to have a popup CTA appear just before a visitor leaves your site.

4. A Boring Layout

Some small business websites rely on outlandish colors and similar elements for attention. Others, meanwhile, adopt a minimalist presentation to retain a conservative and more professional feel. That said, there’s a fine line between flashy and downright poor design principles.

There’s a fine line between flashy and downright poor design principles.

For example, a great product description may lack enough images to make a convincing case. Others may lack a clear call to action or listed product features, all while the page is convoluted with related suggestions. And perhaps just as damaging, the overall tone may feel too dry and lack a certain personality.

The fix: Make your website pop with attractive characteristics. Insert detailed images where appropriate, embed relevant infographics into your content and publish the occasional video to demonstrate how a product works. Don’t rely purely on text. And remember, breathe life into it with just the right amount of personality and professionalism – especially when it comes to your headlines and other prominent features.

5. Slow Load times

Last, but not least, is your website’s speed. Studies show that visitors won’t wait around long for a slow-loading site. Just a few seconds could cost you a visitor. The more complex your site, the more you need to pay attention to load times. Lots of code, high-resolution images, and other elements can increase load times. In addition, it’s important to determine whether your server and server location are reliable, as these can impact load times even when you’ve done all you can for your site. Tools like Pingdom or Web Page Test can help you test your site’s loading time and make tweaks to reduce it.

Wrapping Up

The main ingredients for visitor retention are user-friendliness, speed, a clear goal, and a style that fits your business naturally.

Have you stumbled upon other reasons visitors might leave a small business website? Be sure to join the discussion by sharing your thoughts below.

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