Your website is your ‘shop’ – it is where you want clients to explore your business, to learn more about you and all that you have to offer. You don’t want people to ‘peer in the window’ and then scarper! So, how do you keep people on your website for longer?
Actual website design and loading speed are key factors in lowering your bounce rate, but as I am not a technical expert, I am going to focus more on things you can do with your written content to help. So, here are 5 things to check your website is doing to enhance the ‘user experience’ and to encourage visitors to explore and stay on your site for longer.
1. Clear menu titles
Menus are often overlooked and are often very ‘samey’ – how many sites have you been to with these four options: ‘Home’, ‘About’ ‘Services’ and ‘Contact Us’. This is not a bad thing necessarily as there is a level of familiarity and knowledge of what to expect, but consider for your website, is it the best way to convey who you are and what you offer. My very own website is guilty of using the standard! However do consider if your menu is clear, makes sense and reflects your brand. For example, some websites uses more friendly menu titles like ‘Who we are?’ instead of ‘About’.
Consider are the terms used self-explanatory and widely used? Your page names are key to search engine optimisation so are they working hard for you. Consider also if you need lots of sub-menus or whether you want to include lots of items on your main navigation. For example, if you have a services title but offer just two or three services would it better to list them as main menu items…then they will be there on every page for all to see…and you save everyone an extra click down a sub menu! Just one click can make a big difference to bounce rate.
Another area of menu labelling to check is blog categories – people use things like ‘News’ ‘Advice’ and ‘Guides’, for example…but everyone is using those and they won’t do anything for search engine optimisation (SEO) – consider actual names of products or groups of services.
2. Homepage invitations
You should include as many ‘invitations’ on your homepage as possible to get people to explore. Your main piece of copy on your website should include what you do and where you are based (if relelvant) and both things should naturally encourage a link to ‘your services or products’ when you talk about what you do and to your ‘Find us’ or ‘Contact’ page when you mention where you are based or when you ask visitors to get in touch.
Encourage people to click and find out more. You can even include buttons which clearly state a call to action, like ‘Find out more’ or ‘Contact us’.
Consider the use of hyperlinked pictures, buttons, text and menus (i.e. in the footer) to encourage people to go beyond the homepage. And make it super simple to do!
3. Interlinking between pages
On every single page of your website there should be a link to other pages of your website (as well as menus). Multiples links, in fact. Every blog post, for example, should link to another a blog post, contact details and, perhaps even, a product or service page.
Every service page should be linked to how or where to buy…it at least discuss further.
Every product page should be linked to other similar products or the broader category.
Every about page should encourage readers to discover more about what you offer or who works with you…and maybe your LinkedIn page too.
By offering these links you are effectively leading your visitor by the hand to explore further. You are encouraging them and asking them ‘have you considered this to?’. As I said at the start, imagine your website is like a shop. Someone is stood with you in the middle and you are gently suggesting that they look at one thing, and then another, and then another, based on their interests. You may have to give them more than one option, but make it easy.
4. Lots of blog posts
A blog is a fantastic way to keep someone on your website. If you have got them interested, just simply reading a whole post will take 3-5 minutes. If you are smart, you have included categories (which will be listed on the page, so that readers can explore more about topic areas you have written) and within every post itself you should have links to other posts and a call to action (like making contact or exploring a particular related product/service) so again you are helping to encourage your visitor to stay on your post, read more posts, and explore your website further.
5 Make EVERYTHING easy to find
What you think is easy to find on your website is not always easy to find on your website! Big companies spend millions on user exprience research ensuring that their websites are easy to navigate. The problem is that everyone navigates a little differently and what seems obvious to you (especially when you are so ‘close’ to the subject) may not be to other people.
The only way to make sure things are easy to find on your website is to ask others to test it! Ask friends and family to explore it, set them a task of finding a certain item or page – ask them first where they would expect it and then ask them how quickly and easily they found it, when navigating the site.
Our attention spans are getting ever shorter, so if we follow a link to a website from a search engine and can’t find what we are looking for or expected to find within minutes, we’ll hit the back button and go to the next result. Admit it – you do it all of the time!
This is where good clear content is so important. Google’s results are only as good as the content it is scanning. So ‘do’ what you say you are going to do. Make sure your headings are clear and marry up to the content of the page.
If possible, have a search function to allow people to search for their desired items and also include clear menus and (if your site is quite big) a site map. Making use of menus and submenus means people can go directly to pages from every page, rather than having to go from one page to the next.
Need a fresh pair of eyes?
I love reviewing websites! I love being that first time visitor despeate to find your opening hours or hourly rate! Let me be a fresh pair of eyes on your site. Give me a shout! I am happy to write a review and do testing.