There’s little in the business world more soul-destroying than attracting what appears to be a healthy volume of customer traffic only to then make almost no hard sales at all. It was the same story for the conventional High Street store as it is the online business today – all the browsers in the world are not worth a penny if none of them spend a penny in your store.
Where the latter of the two businesses has a wonderful advantage however is the way in which website operators can use detailed analytical software to look into the exact behaviour of its target audience and determine where and to what extent things are going wrong. According to the marketing experts bounce rates can more often than not be attributed to one of several extremely common mistakes, which although minor in nature and easily addressed can put a huge dent in a brand’s conversion rates – especially in conjunction with one another.
Poor Page Loading Times
For example, if it becomes clear that most of your site’s visitors are heading for the hills before even getting started, this could be to do with the site’s page loading time. Research has shown that the maximum amount of time most people are willing to wait for the landing pages of any given site to load if about three to five seconds – exceed this and you’re already on thin ice. Page loading time can be hampered by many things including the complexity of your site’s content, the quality of its programming and the hosting package you’re using to keep it up and running. If in doubt, you’ll need to investigate all three as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Complex or Inefficient Navigation
When a customer lands on your site, you have to expect that they will to a certain extent already know what it is they want, what colour they’d like it in and what they’re willing to pay for it. As such, you need to make getting to what they want as easy as possible with no delays or complications. This is where your navigation system comes in and calls for a careful balance. On one hand, you need to make it possible for them to get where they want pretty much in an instant. But at the same time, you don’t want to overcrowd your navigation system or ask for a dozen boxes to be filled in for them to be transported to the desired page. If site visitor behaviour seems erratic, chaotic and prone to exiting at completely random times, this could be the issue.
Complex Purchase Processes
If you want the best possible example of a purchase/checkout process that’s quite colossally overcomplicated and a huge turn-off in general, you need only look at Ryanair’s website. Notorious for trying to bolt on as many extras as possible, it’s necessary to go through at least five pages and dozens of ticking and un-ticking in order to finally get to the page where you can actually pay for what you want. Suffice to say they can get away with it as the world’s most successful cheap air carrier, but for about 99.9% of the world’s businesses, complex checkout processes can kill the business. If therefore you’re making it any more difficult than it has to be for your visitors to convert, this could be why they aren’t in fact converting.
Once a standard across the board, one of the absolute worst things you can possibly do in this day and age for the sake of your business is to make signups mandatory. Be it to enter the site itself, make use of any offers or make any purchases at all, forcing people to sign up before being able to do what they want to do is hideously bad practice. If you’re in the habit of doing so, take a look at your analytics and see just how many bounces occur on the page you demand the visitor to sign up. With no exceptions to the rule at all, you should always include a ‘guest’ function or feature and not demand accounts be opened.
Last up, it really doesn’t matter how great your prices may be – your conversions will suffer if the price seen in the first instance is not the price to be paid. Any kinds of charges you add on further down the line – shipping, handling and credit card processing fees for example – are absolutely guarantors of elevated bounce rates and the assurance that those you’ve put off will never bother coming your way again. List the whole price in the first instance – the days of stealthy add-ons are over.