Attracting and retaining positive attention is the most critical driver of commercial success, but the art of visitor stickiness is subtle and holds many pitfalls. Paying attention to the most common reasons for a high bounce rate will greatly improve your outlook for consistent profitability. The following seven major pitfalls cry out for quick fixing.
Visitors want what they want right now. The web is full of competition for their money. A potential customer who clicks on a link that promises oodles of high-class, fashionable women’s shoes will not be pleased with a landing page that tries to push exotic scarves. Seekers of specialized machine bolts for automobiles will grit their teeth at the sight of a cluttered presentation of general automotive supplies.
Smart website operators avoid the temptation to funnel all visitors through a one-size-fits-all landing page. Inbound traffic from search-engine results and advertising campaigns should always be met with highly relevant landing pages that immediately satisfy the visitor.
A well-designed commercial website will subtly and respectfully populate such landing pages with illustrated internal links that suggest other purchase possibilities without being overly pushy. The best customers for your extended line of products and services are those who quickly found what they originally wanted.
You’d think that this wouldn’t need to be said, but confusing websites bleed visitors like crazy. Enthusiasm over adding new goods and services often leads to a sloppy mess that frustrates and alienates prospective customers. Too many website operators neglect the impact of internal organization on visitor happiness.
The best e-commerce firms go to great lengths to provide crystal-clear breadcrumb trails and other major navigation clues. After buying a Jabba the Hut doll or a brightly colored toy pony, a collector of rare promotional items from major chain restaurants shouldn’t have any trouble navigating to third-party replacements for original protective packaging or supplies for safely cleaning exposed promotional items. Running the website past a grandparent is a good test of usability.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true—speed is everything. A website that drags its tail over loading pages is a website that soon resembles a deserted general store in a ghost town. There’s nothing wrong with breaking up overly busy pages to focus more sharply on single topics like chocolate-chip cookies or candy-studded muffins.
Another oft-overlooked problem is the questionable practice of relying on overloaded servers at a cheap hosting provider. A VPS account or even a small dedicated server might be a better solution for a significant e-commerce enterprise that has outgrown its humble beginnings.
Poor Spelling and Grammar
Would you trust a website run by folks who didn’t even bother to run their text past a simple spell checker? How do you personally feel about visiting a website that sounds as if it’s run by people who recently learned a little English from watching late-night talk shows?
Fair or not, competence at language has a big impact on your web page. Hire a professional freelance editor if needed to hunt down and fix obvious spelling goofs, mangled grammar and poor word choices. Depending on your target audience, you might want an editor who understands the quirks of British, Canadian or Australian English.
Not everyone reacts positively to a host of aggressive video presentations and frantically flashing advertisements. Every single element should fulfill a clear purpose. If it’s unneeded or otherwise likely to distract from the core intent of the page, dump it or at least tone it down. Your e-commerce website is there to serve your visitors and not to make you laugh with delight at your own cleverness.
Lack of Social Awareness
Many potential customers nowadays want to see the proprietors exhibiting social awareness. If your landing page doesn’t immediately reveal an awareness of the social concerns of a large portion of your best prospects, then the best opportunity to strongly make your point may slip away.
Let’s consider a business that does it right. Visitors to the website for the premium men’s undershirts company UnderFit immediately see that the company’s products are made in the USA and that a portion of the proceeds will go to feed hungry children in the Dominican Republic.
These two details are major selling points, and they don’t hide in small print or on a back page that few visitors ever read. The “Made in America” selling point is right at the top, and the charity-support followup more humbly resides near the bottom of the page in clear, readable text. This business not only advertises that they make the best undershirts, but they also understand the social role of a business in today’s environment and use that to strengthen their marketing.
Responsive design is a popular buzz phrase that underlies a huge truth about future growth in profits. Mobile marketing is a world unto itself, and you’ll want your website to cleanly present its goods and services across all major platforms such as smartphones, tablets and desktops. Hire an expert if needed to rework your website’s separation between content and presentation.
In short, it’s surprisingly easy to avoid these major pitfalls. Simply being aware of such potential killers of profitability will lead to a broader ability to make the most of every opportunity to build customer goodwill and to solidify your long-term customer base.