The Internet is swarming with information—some great, some not. With a few keywords and a click of the mouse, a reader can easily compel the search engine to display thousands of results related to their research. Each result, belonging to one website or another, is competing with the others for the reader’s attention.
This means the reader has plenty of options to go through. Should they land on your website, you have around fifteen seconds to convince them to not leave. Even if they linger for more than fifteen seconds, you have to also worry about engaging them and making sure they return next time.
To understand how to make your site visitors to stay, you must first understand why they leave. Below are some of the notorious reasons that make people leave a site.
Misleading domain name
It’s very unlikely that your domain name will make your visitors click away from your site as soon as they land there, unless your domain name or site title are misleading—then it’s very likely. It would be like a tech geek looking for Wi-Fi tips visiting a website with, say, ‘hotspot’ in its domain name, only him to discover it’s a site about sex toys. He will most likely leave the website.
Therefore, it’s important that your domain name depicts the content of your website so that you don’t attract the wrong people who would only leave as soon as they come.
When you get visitors and ask them what they want to drink, some may say tea, some others may ask for coffee, another may request for a beer, and others may choose water. Likewise, every one of your website visitors cannot be interested in the same way of digesting information.
Some may prefer sliding through pictures to reading, some others may be into watching videos, while a few others may love reading but only when words are integrated with graphics.
It’s all about preference.
Experiment with new ways of presenting your content. Use slides, infographics, videos, reviews et cetera to capture and keep the attentions of different types of visitors.
Too many adverts on Your Website
There is nothing more annoying than ads appearing everywhere, nagging to be clicked, obstructing visitors from acquiring the information that brought them to your website.
The worst types are popup ads. They are in the same league as mosquitos. Try visiting a site with lots of them and you will understand why anyone would click the ‘back’ button as soon as they start emerging.
As a general rule, avoid using them in places they will obstruct your visitors’ view. Also avoid large picture or banner ads—if you must use them, they shouldn’t be the first thing your visitors see. And be subtle with your monetisation efforts.
Disruptive videos and audios
While videos and audios are viable ways to diversify your content and the ways you present it, they can be disruptive if not used properly. They can make a visitor turn around and leave.
Instead of videos that play automatically, give your visitors a choice to play or not play your videos. Humans love free will. Taking it away from one is like pushing the person away. Also, sometimes a visitor might come across your website while in a library. If your website’s background sound is loud, then the person will definitely leave.
A bad navigation is like a washed-out map. And a washed-out map is so useless that we often crumple it up and toss it into the wastebasket. A main navigation scattered all through a web page, hidden, or designed with unclear images will only frustrate your visitors. Or, worse, make them leave.
Also, your main navigation should entail links to the essential pages on your website. Those pages should be easy to find. For instance, if a visitor that wants to use your service can’t find a link to your ‘about’ or ‘contact’, the opportunity they brought will be lost to you when they leaves.
Your main navigation should be well-grouped, well-placed, and should list your major pages. Ideal positions for your main navigation are the top of the page and the sidebars. Those are the places people look first.
Other navigations should also be easy to find. If you are selling a product, then the ‘buy’ button had better be under the image of that product. If you want people to subscribe to your newsletters, the ‘subscribe’ link or button should be very easy to find and should be present on your landing page.
Bad content and design
The purpose of designing a website and filling it with content is to engage visitors. But then you can’t engage them if your content and design are neither helpful nor coherent.
Your design is like the packaging. And, much as it has to be appealing, it will be defeating your purpose for it if it obstructs the content—a good example of this is a website design that favours beautiful fonts and colours over readable texts.
Your content, on the other hand, will be defeating its own purpose if it’s chaff and not updated regularly.
Perhaps you have examined your website and believe it has none of the flaws mentioned above. Well done. But to be sure or to discover other reasons (general ones as well as those unique to your site) that push visitors away from your site, check out this list of helpful tools.