This guest post is by Christian Schappel of Progressive Business Publications.
The last thing you want is for people to land on your website or blog only to immediately hit the Back button.
The vast majority of the time, it’s an avoidable scenario. Something on the page turned the visitor off to make him or her move on to another site.
To find out how likely your site or blog is to drive visitors away, consult this list of the top eight blunders that spark abandons and see if your blog guilty of any.
Your blog requires browser plugins (from the start)
Making visitors install new software just to access your site is the biggest turnoff of them all. From the time a person lands on your site, you’ve got about four seconds to connect with them, or they’re gone. Four seconds! That’s never going to happen if they have to install a plugin.
If you have to require a plugin to show off a product—or to satisfy a web designer’s lust to show off his or her creativity—don’t require it on a landing page.
Make sure your content gets visitors interested before you start making demands.
It asks for a browser upgrade
Unless someone’s using a browser from 2004, they should be able to view your content without any major problems.
It’s great that you’re on the cutting edge, but requiring a browser upgrade not only keeps you from connecting with visitors in four seconds or less, it sends the message that you’re not compatible with them. It also tells them they’ve done something wrong.
Test to make sure your site renders well on most semi-modern web browsers.
It auto-plays multimedia
Ever landed on a site that automatically started to play music and not reached for the volume controls to turn it down?
Music, sound effects and video that play automatically trigger people’s instincts to hit the Back button—even if just to spare those around them from the noise.
If these elements are vital to your introduction, add a button that says, Click to listen, rather than just assuming visitors want to hear them.
It presents long-winded introductory copy
Of course you have to explain what you do, but at a certain point your introductory copy begins to have a negative effect.
That point is at about 100 words.
Large blocks of gray text look daunting, and people would rather move on to the next site or blog than read a novel about what it is you do.
Even at 100 words, you’ve got to break copy up into bite-sized chunks.
Then make sure you use bullet points to make the rest of your website and blog copy scannable and easy to digest.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use short, one-sentence paragraphs.
It doesn’t provide full contact details
Three things that need to be on your site/blog, without question:
- a phone number
- your email address
- a full postal address.
If the first page visitors land on is missing one of these, it gives them the impression that you’re hiding something. They begin to think, “Why don’t they want me to call or email?”
Bonus: Search engines love to see each of these elements on websites and blogs. They’ll improve your organic search ranking—especially for local searches.
It displays old dates
Your site or blog may have been built pre-Y2K, but it shouldn’t look like it.
Check the bottom of your pages. Do any say copyright 2011? If so, it’s time to update.
The only places dates 2011 or older are acceptable are buried deep in your blog or news feed.
Keeping an old copyright date tells visitors you’re asleep at the wheel.
It’s full of dead ends
Horizontal rules and separators, changes in background color, and even too much white space reduce scannability.
Remove anything that disrupts the flow of your blog. You don’t want anything to disrupt a visitor’s train of thought.
You’ll also want to check that each page of your site or blog links back to the homepage and contains navigation buttons of some kind. Pages that lead to a dead end and fail to include navigation options result in abandons.
Is your blog guilty of any of these issues? Do you have high bounce rates? Tell us in the comments.
Christian Schappel is the Editor-in-Chief of The Internet & Marketing Report newsletter, which is published by Progressive Business Publications (PBP) to provide marketers with news, research and ideas to help them increase revenue. Connect with PBP on LinkedIn.