If you’re having problems getting your message out there, it might not be the fault of your content. If you’re providing useful information but you’re not getting the kind of reaction that you expected, it can get discouraging. Maybe it’s not your fault. If you’re website is poorly designed, it’s might be getting between you and your desired audience. High Bounce Rate is less about your storytelling style, and more about your site’s layout. There are eight very common problems that you can fix with a little tweaking. It’s not hard to get your site up and running the way you want it to be. You just have to keep at it.
Keep the Graphics Logical
This might seem like a no brainer. But one of the most common flaws web designers find when fixing a site, are graphics that don’t fit the site’s themes/content. If you’re running a photography blog then it makes sense to include stunning visuals. If you’re an accounting firm or you’re trying to blog about farm subsidies, not so much. Many people add visuals without giving it a thought. Wanting to add a touch of class or beauty to the blog, the same way you’d stick a fern in the corner of a real office. You shouldn’t have anything on your site that isn’t adding directly to your message. So that decorative sunset graphic has got to go.
Make Navigation Clearer
Some people want to break out of the box by getting rid of a navigation bar. Or adding a funky design making it harder to reach the right links. You might think that it’s whimsical, or that it adds to the interactive potential of the site. It’s 100% a bad idea. Forcing your audience to hunt down links every time they want to see a page they’ve already been to or find something new is not going to be fun for them. People online have a very short attention span. If your site is hard to navigate they’re not going to bother trying, they’re going to click out of it and find a site that will give them what they want without them having to try hard. There’s no other way to put this: if your navigation isn’t clear and easy to use, you are losing viewers. If you have a nontraditional layout and you see a large number of your viewers never get past the landing page, this is why. Clean up your navigation process and you’ll see a big turnaround in your numbers.
Keep Ads Tasteful
Web hosting compared to other businesses is one of the few in that you can actually sublease your space. You lease space from a web hosting company and put up your site. Then you put up some ads so that advertisers are subletting some space from you. If the clicks are high enough, they’ll eventually be paying for your complete upkeep. However, in truth it will take a long time for even a very successful site to pay for itself via ads. Some people try to make that happen sooner by just piling on the ads, one after another. This actually backfires; pile on too many ads and people won’t see the value of your content. It’s a poor design that lets you (or encourages you) to stick ads everywhere.
A better design has some tasteful options for side, top, and bottom banner ads, and that’s about it. You should be wary with popups and you should do everything in your power to make sure that your site still looks presentable after that. Remember also that more ads means more lag when it comes to loading up pages, and people hate lag on sites as well.
Create Well Spaced Content
Even if you have the best content on the web, people aren’t going to care if you don’t have it presented well. Watch your spacing and you might be able to turn a struggling blog around. People don’t like dense paragraphs. Internet readers tend to skim anyway, searching for the best content and cherry picking what they actually read. If you present them with a dense wall of text then odds are they aren’t going to care enough about what you have to say to struggle through.
Keep Audio and Visual Elements in Check
Just like ads can eat up your bandwidth, so can audio and video components. A short video can be a powerful selling tool or can really help illustrate your points. However, poor use of them is a design flaw that can send people running from your page in droves. First of all, autoplay is out. No one likes scrolling down and suddenly having the video start. For one thing, they might have been browsing in public, and now their computer is blaring about your product or opinions. Embarrassing. For another, how many times have you been scrolling and the video started playing before you’d gotten there in the text? Most people don’t scroll down one line at a time, reading as they go. Putting your video on autoplay means that it could begin before they’re ready.
Don’t Hide Behind a Registration Wall
It’s always important to get more people to your site, but eyes on screen are good enough. You want them to register and stick around for a while so that you can market to them. Marketing is like seduction: come off too strong, too fast, and you’ll scare them away. You have to give a little something (like your content) to get a little something (the ability to market to them.) If you through up a registration wall too soon or too often you’re going to drive people off your site like an 18 year old kid who turns up with an engagement ring on the second date. Play it cool and you’ll get more bites.
Be Sensitive to All Vision Types
When designing your site, be sensitive to the fact that 1 in 50 people has some kind of colorblindness. That’s why so many popular sites stick to simple backgrounds and very clearly contrasting colors, like blue/white/black combinations. When designing your site or having a designer look at it, stress inclusivity. This is your job; web hosting compared to actually running a blog has far fewer requirements for inclusivity.
People don’t like wasting their time with “dead” sites. Even if your content is fantastic, if you last updated more than a couple of weeks ago people are going to write you off. That’s why blogging compared to web hosting is the more demanding profession: you always have to keep things fresh.