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Five easy ways to decrease your site’s bounce rate

You have a website – and the statistics look good.

At first glance.

As you delve into the pile of numbers that are part and parcel of any website’s statistics, you may find that although people are coming to your site, they are not staying very long – at all.

If this is the case, your site has a bounce rate problem.

For the novice, the bounce rate is the number (usually a percentage) of your site visitors that leave your site immediately after arriving. Now, there could be any number of reasons for this however none of them are good for your business. The aim of any good website is to retain visitors and make them into loyal customers – they should want to stay on your site but when they do leave, you know that they will come back.

Below are five (fairly) quick fixes to help you get that bounce rate down.

Fix #1 – Reduce the amount of time it takes to load your site

If your site is heavily loaded with content, it can take some time to load on a visitor’s computer/mobile. Add to that all the bangs and whistles that make a site look “pretty” and you risk losing them before they even see the content! A general rule of thumb is that the majority of information on your webpage should be loaded within five seconds (this used to be ten in the “old” days”).

Fix #2 – Make your Navigation Menu user friendly

Websites with only a few pages have this one already sorted – their menus are generally uncluttered and users can find what they want fairly easily. But what if your site has dozens of pages to sift through? Website visitors can easily be put off by a menu system that has too many options.

The solution is quite simple – group your pages into common categories and create a base menu using these. Then, with the help of a pop-out menu, you can then add all the other pages underneath.

If your site does have a lot of pages, be sure to include a site map in your footer because some visitors may head  straight for this.

Fix #3 – Ensure that your Call to Action is highly visible

Your Call to Action (CTA) is all important to your website. If the site doesn’t have a clear CTA, why is it online in the first place? Your visitors need to be able to find this with no trouble at all – if anything, it should be one of the most predominant items on any page – as easy to find as your logo!

If a site visitor can’t find a way to interact with or purchase from you, they’ll go somewhere else and up goes your Bounce Rate!

Fix #4 – Check that your site is mobile responsive

If your site is over five years old, chances are that it may not be mobile responsive. This means that your website appears exactly the same on a mobile or tablet as it does on a full sized computer. In turn, this makes your content too hard to see without zooming in – something that mobile users hate to do when browsing the web.

Never fear, this doesn’t always mean that a whole site rebuild is required. There a number of options available in most cases – just contact your website developer for more information (or get in touch with us).

Fix #5 – Tidy up that old, messy website

Whenever I start a new design for a client, I always take the time and cruise the internet looking at other websites in the same industry – just to see what is out there. Sometimes, I am astounded by the poor quality presented as professional websites. Some sites look like they have been there since the 90’s!

If your website does not convey your business brand as professional and “can do”, then it is unlikely to grab any potential customers, just on its appearance. Upgrade your site design and watch for the difference in response. If you look like you know what you doing, you are halfway to getting that client on-board.

 Finally, according to statistics, you only have 50 milliseconds (that’s five hundredths of a second) to make a good impression with your website.  And as everyone knows, a good first impression can last a lifetime.

Take look at your site with fresh eyes (better yet – get someone else with fresh eyes) and have a look at the repairs suggested here.

Does your bounce rate need a bit of a fixer-upper?

Five Key Components for an Effective Online Marketing Plan.

For any small business to be successful in our modern online-orientated world, it is vitally important to have a strong presence on the internet and an effective online marketing plan is the key component to developing and nurturing this presence.

Without an online strategy in place, any attempts to capture an online audience for your business could be “hit and miss” – potentially making your business invisible to the target audience you are trying to attract.

Here’s five key components that need to be part of your online marketing plan:

Email Strategy

Create a strategy to send out regular emails to your customers and other followers, informing them of your products and services. A small newsletter an easy approach and with a time management, shouldn’t take a long time to produce.

Setting up an email capture on your website to “harvest” email addresses is amazingly easy to do and, with Mailchimp integration, it’s a great way to build your subscription list with little effort. You can offer something in return (i.e. PDF of tips, discount coupon) or the simple offer of your monthly newsletter might be enticing enough.

Social Media

Choose the social media platforms that your target audience is likely to be using and try to post to each platform at least once every two days. Use a variety of posts to peak people’s interest – images, quotes, stories, discount offers, etc. Try to shake things up occasionally, so that your content doesn’t appear static with the same type of posts and your audience doesn’t get bored.

Blog Posts

A Blog, like this one, is a great way to provide your followers with helpful information while demonstrating your experience in your industry.

Try to stay below 600 words in your posts and keep it relevant – think about the items that your audience would like to read and what they need to know about you and your products/services. With every post, let them know how you can help them.

Promote each blog post on your social media.

Online Advertising

If your marketing budget allows, sign up for a Google AdWords account to promote your business in both Google search listings and various advertisements that display around the internet and social media.

Advertising on Social Media, especially Facebook and Instagram, is also a powerful marketing tool and can be set up in minutes using the Facebook Ad Manager. The process uses a simple wizard to determine what you want to advertise, how you want to do it and what target audience you are aiming at (and where they are located).

Content Calendar

To ensure that you are consistent with marketing to all the items above, create a one-page content calendar. For you, this might be weekly or monthly but whatever you choose, make sure that you do something towards one of the above every-single-day.

Using a content calendar is all about planning your time effectively so it shouldn’t be an onerous task and take you away for very long from your everyday business.

If you use a weekly plan (like I do), you can use your weekend to lay out all the components for the week. That way, you can schedule your marketing items to deploy automatically throughout the week – leaving you free to concentrate on the multitude of tasks that small business owners must do every day.

Five rules for effective use of fonts on your website.

One of the key features of a visually engaging website is the typeface – the fonts used to present the text information of a page.

Not restricted to the screen, fonts are used everywhere we look – advertisements, newspapers and magazines to name a few – and if they aren’t used correctly, textual information may be overlooked or an entire site could dismissed as visually uninteresting and deemed not worth viewing.

To avoid this, it is vitally important to understand the five key rules below for using fonts on your website.

Rule #1: Choose your fonts wisely.

Don’t select fonts to use on your site at random. Examine what you are already using in your business – on your business cards, stationery, advertising and even in the actual business logo. A typeface can say a lot about a business so choose those fonts that reflect the professionalism or general “feel” of your company. For example, if you are a solicitor, don’t use a font which would be more suited to a day care centre.

Rule #2: Pay close attention to font size.

Font sizes on a webpage should generally be limited to the three main areas where you will use them – in the main heading, subheadings and in the body text.

Choose the three sizes for these areas and stick to them, making sure that your web developer uses sizes that are responsive to screen size (i.e. mobile, tablets and desktops).

Rule #3: Don’t use a wide variety of fonts on one page.

As with the rule above, there are only three main areas where you should use a different font – main heading, subheadings, and body text. Even on these three, you may choose to use one font for headings (of any type) and a plain style font for body text.

Try to stick to a maximum of three fonts. You will also need to ensure that these fonts complement each other like colours do on a colour wheel. No need to be an expert in typology – your eyes will tell you which font’s work with each other.

Rule #4: Spacing is key to font legibility.

This rule has nothing to do with the fonts themselves but more about how those fonts are spaced. White space is essential on a website to ensure that the content does feel cluttered to the viewer and all content is legible and easy to read.

Allow larger spacers above/below headings and ensure that your body text has a line height of at least 1.5 (similar to what would be used in a Word document). Once again, check all versions of your website for spacing on desktop, mobile and tablets.

Rule #5: Colours can kill a font.

In the early days of the internet, webpages were mostly text on a dark background. To emphasise various elements, web designers used a variety of colours to grab attention and the results were horrendous.

In the modern of the ‘net, we have a variety of tools at our disposal to grab attention so try to limit the use of multiple text colours in your website. My advice would be to stick to your brand colours for headings and use a plain colour for body text.

Final note: When choosing fonts to use on your website, be sure to check the copyright usage of each. Some fonts are free to use across the internet and others need to be purchased. Some fonts are licensed for desktop use only and are not permitted for use on websites. If you are not sure about a font you are using, search the name of the font on Google to avoid any potential copyright issues you might have.

A website launch is only the beginning…

One of the biggest mistakes that a new website owner can make is to assume that once the launch of their site has taken place, the hard work is over.

Yes – their business now has an online presence, but without further attention and work on their site, the full benefits of being online will not be achieved.

There still several tasks that need undertaking to make the world pay attention to the site and several more that will require ongoing work to keep the site healthy and functional.

Task 1: Get Google to pay attention

It should come as no surprise that Google does not automatically add websites to their search results. They first need to be notified that a site actually exists before they will send a “Googlebot” to check it out.

There are several ways to make this happen smoothly:

  • Add your site to your “Google My Business” account. It’s a best way to get noticed fast.
  • Make sure your site is Search Engine Optimised (SEO) by using a plugin, like YOAST or All-In-One to guide you through the process of SEO setup. These ensure that the search engine “crawlers” find what they need to.
  • Share your new website link around with other businesses and organisations that are already established online. Be sure to link back to them in turn – Google loves inbound and outbound links.

It is important to remember that Google is in control of this process, not you. Their software technicians are always tweaking the search algorithm so what may have worked last week for SEO, may not work this week.

Task 2: Track your site statistics

It is vital to measure and monitor the statistics for your website. By keeping an eye on visitor numbers, popular pages, bounce rates and functioning keywords, you will be able to adjust your site and its contents to achieve the results you want.

The best solution is to sign up for Google Analytics, integrate this with the Dashboard of your website and monitor your search results regularly. If your search ranking starts to decline or you are having a high bounce rate, the statistics will tell you that you need to take action.

Task 3: Creating fresh content

Not only is fresh content on your website good for impressing site visitors and helping customers, it is also very good for the website itself. Google’s search ranking algorithm has a special fondness for sites with updated, relevant content, and promotes these sites higher on search results.

Once initially indexed by Google, the “Googlebot” re-visits your site every few weeks and checks the content it finds against the content from its last visit. If it finds the same old information every time, you may be penalised in search results and potentially end up lower than your competitors.

A new article in your blog every couple of weeks, a client gallery or testimonials from your customers are very easy to add and can make Google happier with your website.

Task 4: Implement site security

Benjamin Franklin wisely once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This has never been so true than with a website. There are several vital security components that need to be enacted on your site to discourage Spammers and Hackers from breaching your emails, forms and online files.

# 1 – Get a Security Certificate for your site.

A security (SSL) certificate creates a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser by confirming the site’s legitimacy and encrypting data between the two parties. This extra certificate is shown in your browser as the https:// prefix at the beginning of a domain name and a padlock in the address bar.

# 2 – Enforce SPAM Controls

Make sure that your online forms are all guarded by Google’s new ReCaptcha protocol – it is now invisible (no more typing in codes) but very effective. Your web server also needs has effective SPAM filters at its core level and most server providers include this in their storage packages.

#3 – Update your plugins regularly

Hackers continually look for ways into vulnerable servers and will use any weakness to break their way into your site. An out of date plugin (or WordPress version) on your site could be the weak link that they are looking for.

#4 – Use the latest version of PHP on your server

PHP is a programming language used in the development of many modern websites. It is vitally important for security reasons to keep the PHP version up to date (usually via your web server’s Control Panel).

#5 – Install WordFence on your WordPress site

Wordfence provides a range of features and options for site owners that help protect their sites from hacking. On top of this, Wordfence provides monitoring of the other components in a site and notifies, via email, when action needs to be taken.

None of the tasks above are “set and forget” – site owners need to adjust SEO triggers, regularly check statistics, add content and enforce security measures to make sure that their sites are fully functional and performing their purposes. Nothing above needs to be overly time consuming but, in the rush of a busy workplace, small tasks can be easily forgotten.

The best way to stay on top of these tasks is to schedule them into your working week, just like any other task. By doing so, you will give your site the best chance of success.

Tropical Coast Web Design