Once your website page loads, people form an opinion of it in .05 seconds. Yup, you read that right. And, those opinions might be leading viewers to exit your site.
Your website IS your business’ digital home, and for online-based businesses like myself, it is your business’ ONLY home. This matters. In fact, 94% of people cited website design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website (source).
The term for those people who leave your website after viewing just one page? It’s called Bounce Rate. Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after viewing just one page. They aren’t engaging with your content, clicking on any other pages, filling out forms - NOTHING. These people came to your website and left saying “Nope, not for me!”.
So… let’s dive into why people might not want to stay on your website.
1. Too many options
Decision-overwhelm is a real issue in life AND on your website. Take restaurant menus for example... When customers are asked to flip through a lengthy menu that has every from burgers to pancakes and sushi, they ultimately end up overwhelmed and making a safe decision. When you offer SO many things or simply say too much, how do customers know which package or service is right for them?
2. No coherency in overall brand
When someone is on your Instagram and exits to head to your website, they should find the same overall look and feel. This also goes for reading a brochure or email and then visiting your website. ALL your designs need to work to create the same overall mood. Consistency is key and shows reliability! If your website is too different than other marketing materials people will wonder if they are in the right place.
3. No calls to action
When you try to sell passively, you communicate that you don’t believe in your products/services. The customer can sense weakness because they are looking for brands that BELIEVE they have a solution to their problems. You need CLEAR calls to action throughout your website such as “book now”, “order today”, and “schedule a call”.
4. Too much text
- Humans discard millions of unnecessary facts EVERY DAY. When we offer unnecessary info about our services, we are making the viewer work to discard the info. People tune out the confusion by exiting your website. Lists are the key to keeping the viewer engaged with what you have to say. Some people completely ignore large chunks of text.
5. Missing key information
- If you’re a restaurant, then you need to have a menu on your website. Local hairstylist? You need to have your business address. Marketing agency? Then you need to list your services. Think about the most likely thing someone is coming to your website looking for, and MAKE SURE that information is easily accessible! Use the homepage to guide them to the information that people are most commonly seeking.
6. Confusion about what you offer
- If you confuse, you’ll lose. If someone can’t figure out how you can help them solve their problem, then you better believe they are clicking off of your website. Studies show that you have just 10 seconds (or less) to leave an impression and tell them what they’ll get out of your website and company before they will leave.
Although this list is in no particular order, in my experience, this one is the biggest reason people leave websites
7. Not customer focused copy and imagery
Your customers don’t really care about your story, they care about their own AND how you can fit into their story. Businesses that don’t realize this, ultimately fail. Your website copy and images should be customer focused.
8. Unclear navigation
If people can’t figure out where to go next, you might as well consider them good as gone!
9. Overuse of stock photography
I’ll be the first to tell ya, I really like stock photos (especially free ones). I even have a very organized library on my computer with alllllll the stock photos I’ve downloaded over time. But, should we plaster these beautiful, free images all over our websites? Definitely not. Here’s why: overusing stock photos can hurt your credibility, especially when the photos are those recognizable ones that people see EVERYWHERE. Plus, most stock photos are kinda boring - people would much rather see YOU or your work.
10. Poorly designed mobile website
57% of people say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. On average, half of the people finding your website are viewing it on their phone or tablet, and that number is constantly growing. Website design isn’t just about design anymore. It’s about the experience. Now, more than ever, great experience-based design leads to a higher ROI.
11. Slow load time
Ain’t nobody got time for a website that won’t load. Slow loading time is one of the #1 factors contributing to website abandonment. Most people are only willing to wait for 6 - 10 seconds for your content to load (source). Speed things up with smaller photos (always under 2mb) and a good website designer!
12. Auto-playing sound
Although it may seem super cool and tech-savvy to play a video or music immediately upon entering your site, it is NEVER a good idea. If you have a video you’d like to share allow the option for the user to click to play it.
13. Poorly chosen fonts
Typography is king when it comes to good website design! If your type is difficult to read, too small, too large, or just generally unengaging people will exit.
14. Difficult to navigate on a mobile device
48% of users say that if they arrive on a business site that isn't working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring (source). Your mobile website NEEDS to be easy to navigate!
15. Missing contact information
51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites (source). Putting the information your customers are looking for on your website is SO important, people!
16. Too many popups
If every page has a pop-up or there are multiple pop-ups on one page it is probably overwhelming to the viewer. No one wants to have to click a thousand things off while trying to view your content. I recommend keeping it to one pop-up on the main part of the website. If you have a blog where you use ads to turn a profit, keep to just 2-3 ads on a page.
17. Moving/Scrolling/Patterned website backgrounds
In most cases, a pattern or moving objects as the background area of your website is only going to be distracting.
18. Poor grammar or misspelled words.
If you aren’t taking the time to properly proofread your own website, then how can a viewer trust that your products and services were carefully crafted? This error on important website pages may cause the viewer to mistrust you.
19. Outdated Design
Basically, if your website looks like it belongs in the 90s, your offerings will probably feel outdated to the viewer. Studies show that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive (source).
20. Too much moving, flashing and scrolling.
I’m not trying to hate on website animation. When it’s done well, it can be super engaging! But, if being on your website feels like a nauseating theme-park ride, then you need to tone it down.