Ways to Increase Visitor Retention, Lower Your Website Bounce Rate

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to display quality web pages for its search results. One of the important metrics that Google uses to determine quality is bounce rate – the percentage of visitors that arrive to a page on your site and leave without visiting more pages.

If your site has a super high bounce rate, it means too many of your web pages are not holding the attention of your visitors when they arrive. In Google’s eyes, this means that your site is most likely a low quality site. This can cause Google to rank your site lower, which negatively affects your traffic and profits.

Here is a list of seven ways to increase user retention.

1. Place Ads Carefully

If you’re reading this article, most likely you did not build a hobby website. You want to make money, and it’s perfectly acceptable if displaying advertisements is a part of your monetization mix. But if you plaster ads all over the place or in the wrong places, it’s going to turn off many of your readers.

Placing a bunch of ads above the fold is a terrible idea. You don’t want your visitors to have to scroll too far to get to the content.

Placing ads very close to your navigation column is also a bad idea. This can cause unintentional clicks that take your visitors away from your site.

Finally, don’t place ads after every couple of paragraphs within the meat of the content. Visitors should be able to tell the difference between ads and your content, and people should not have to dodge a bunch of ads to use your site.

2. Speed Up Your Load Times

Studies have proven that speeding up your site will increase user retention, activity, and most importantly, your revenue. A significant percentage of people will leave a website that takes more than a few seconds to load. You will find a free online tool to check you website loading speed at Free Web Tools. You will also find a number of other handy tools.

3. Use Good Contrast

Nobody is going to stick around a site that is unreadable or uncomfortable on the eyes.
If you don’t use good contrast, your visitors won’t be able to read the text. Even if they can read it, they’re not going to want to if it’s uncomfortable to do so.

Green link text with a black background looks hideous, but there are thousands of websites that have such bad color schemes.

Using good contrast is more important nowadays because more and more people are surfing the web with mobile devices. Your site may be seen on many different screen resolutions and in different lighting conditions.

If you’re going to play around with colors and other elements, make sure your pages still look neat. Also, make sure you have a clear purpose for using different design elements, such as directing your visitors toward content that you want them to see.

4. Use Intuitive Navigation

When a visitor wants to find specific information, he or she wants to see a clear pathway to find it. Think carefully about the placement and wording of your navigation links. Navigation links should be highly visible, and the link text should clearly tell visitors what they will find if they click a particular link.

If you have drop-down menus, consider getting rid of them. They’re not easily usable on touch devices. And if you have a site with lots of pages, add a highly visible search box for visitors to search for specific information.

5. Do Not Interfere With Visitor’s Experience

You want to be careful if you’re going to use animation, pop-up ads, audio ads, or other similar elements. Keep these elements to a minimum or avoid them altogether. Let your visitors use your site without too much interference.

6. Go Mobile

A growing number of people are using mobile devices to access the internet. Some experts predict within the next few years, most U.S. web traffic will come from mobile devices. However, many business websites are still designed with only laptop or desktop computers in mind.

If your site gets a lot of mobile traffic, you’re going to have a subpar bounce rate if your site is not mobile-friendly. Take the time to make sure you have a responsive design and layout for mobile users.

7. Shorten Your Paragraphs

A visitor that arrives on a web page and sees super long paragraphs is a visitor that is more likely to leave – immediately. It’s simply uncomfortable to read long paragraphs on a computer screen.

Use short paragraphs, and use as few words as possible to get your point across.

Monitor Your Bounce Rate

You want to always be aware of your bounce rate and other important statistics. If your bounce rate is high, and you can’t clearly identify why, take a close look at the quality of your content. Try different tweaks, monitor the results, and tweak more if necessary. Don’t stop until you believe your bounce rate is as low as it can be. Google offers a free analitical tool for checking bounce rate.

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