Do Bounce Rate and Web Design Correlate?

Your website seems to be drawing visitors, which tells you that your search engine optimization (SEO) is working. But too many of them seem to leave almost immediately. Your bounce rate keeps going up, and you’re not sure why.

Could your web design be the culprit?

There is often a direct correlation between visitor bounce rates and website design. However, the website design is the last place most people look to find answers when their analytics start to plummet.

Do a little digging, and you may discover that you can significantly improve your bounce rate with some web design modifications.

Web Design Choices That Kill Visitor Excitement and Loyalty

What are some of the web design decisions that can destroy a visitor’s experience?

  1. Illogical navigation. Unless your website is attracting users who are interested in hunting for information, be sure to streamline all the navigation. Place your nav bars, tabs, buttons, and icons in easy-to-see locations, and create a natural, intuitive progression from webpage to webpage. The simpler it is to get around your website, the longer your visitors will stay.
  2. Unclear company mission/value. When a person lands on your site, they should immediately understand what you do. This knowledge comes from content and images, as well as general web design elements. Hold an informal focus group and ask 20 people who don’t know your business — or your client’s business, if you’re a web designer — to tell you what they assume you offer when they go to your homepage. If they don’t give clear answers, or they’re completely off-base, you have the opportunity to fix the problem.
  3. Slow load time. A site that takes several seconds to load is far too slow in today’s age of lightning fast load times. Any number of things can slow a website, including images that are incorrectly sized, complicated font packages, and poor frontend web design. The faster your site loads, the less likely you’ll be to lose impatient prospects.
  4. Unattractive color scheme. Be honest. Could your website’s color scheme be giving the wrong type of first impression to users? Color schemes vary wildly, and they can fall into the trap of trendiness. If your website used to have a decent bounce rate, but has slowly seen an uptick in the bounce rate analytics over months or years, you might want to update to a more modern-looking color scheme.
  5. Too much text. This isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t have text on your website. You absolutely need it to clarify your business. But you don’t want to have text that mimics the look and feel of a dusty 500-page library book. Users expect to be able to take a very quick look at your webpages and know instantly what you’re telling them. Use headers, be succinct, and break up long sentences and paragraphs.
  6. Grammatical mistakes and typos. There’s really no excuse for a webpage filled with grammatical errors and typos. Even if you’re the worst speller in the world or if English wasn’t your favorite class in high school, you need to have a well-written, clear website. Get an editor to look over your work, or outsource the writing altogether. You’ll be happy you did, and your website will appear more professional.
  7. Nonresponsive website. Your bounce rate could be an indication that you are losing your mobile visitors because of a nonresponsive website design. Even if you assume your website looks good on mobile devices, do a check. You might find out that your site isn’t as appealing as you thought when it’s viewed on certain smart phones or tablets.
  8. Cluttered layout. Is there too much going on with your website? Perhaps it’s tough to find the call-to-action buttons, or maybe links to pages are buried within a load of text. If this is the case, you need to do some spring cleaning. Remove anything that isn’t absolutely essential, or create a new page for some of the content if you absolutely must keep it on your website. White space is your friend when it comes to making visitors feel welcome and not overwhelmed!

The next time you check your bounce rate and notice spikes, remember to explore your website design. It may have more to do with your lost visitors — and sales — than you thought.

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