When it’s time to look at your website’s metrics, is it a time of excitement or dread?


What about when you look at your bounce rate? What story is it telling you about how people are reacting to your site? As mentioned in our last post, bounce rates can tell different stories depending on the nature of your site. But if your site is dependent on attracting and retaining visitors, a high bounce rate is an alarming statistic.


In today’s post, we look at common website design flaws that chase visitors away and raise your site’s bounce rates.


What’s Chasing Visitors Away?

According to the Nielson Norman Group, you have about 10 seconds to communicate your value proposition to a website visitor. If you don’t, the average visitor will leave a site in 10-20 seconds. But if you catch their attention in that critical first 10 second window, then you can have several minutes or more of their time.


Working on your value proposition, or “hook” is a critical component of your site’s content, but that’s a topic for another time. You can have an outstanding hook, but if you site is littered with design flaws the visitor won’t notice it and will leave without giving you a second glance.


You can have an outstanding hook, but if you site is littered with design flaws the visitor won’t notice it Click To Tweet


Here are some of the most common design flaws to watch for so you don’t become another victim of high bounce rates.


1. Auto-play for Videos and Sound

Despite being around for quite some time, there are websites out there that still misuse this feature. Few things are more annoying than landing on a website and being bombarded with videos and sounds at the get-go.


Auto-play video and sounds not only distract the user (because they are usually looking for the stop button), but they also slow down the load times of webpages. Because of this, visitors usually move on to a different site rather than sticking around to see what you offer.



2. Slow Load Times

As mentioned above, slow load times for a webpage can spell disaster. Check out this chart from Neil Patel.

chasing website visitors away

As you can see, websites lose approximately 25% of their site visitors if their page takes 4 seconds to load. While 4 seconds is not a long time, it can seem like eons in the digital age. Therefore, it’s important that you have your site optimized to ensure it loads as fast as possible.


3. What You See Is Not What You Get

People don’t like to be tricked. It’s true in life and it’s true in business. Unfortunately, however, tricking people is a not an uncommon marketing tactic. A trip down to the grocery store will show you exactly what we mean.


Have you noticed that generic brand products use packaging that looks very similar to brand name products and are placed near each other? The generic brands are hoping that you won’t be paying too much attention when you reach for an item and grab the generic instead of the brand name product. The generic brand might be great, but instead of standing on its own, it cashes in on the popularity of the brand name to drive sales.


The same is true for websites. Sometimes a website will use a similar domain name to a high-traffic site in the hopes of funneling more traffic it’s way. Sometimes the sites offer similar products and sometimes the only commonality is similar domain names. The biggest problem with this technique is that people don’t like to be tricked. More traffic might flow your way, but if every one of those new visitors leaves because it isn’t what they were looking for, is it really worth it?



4. Poor Display

Another feature that chases website visitors away is a poor display. Inconsistent font choices, font that is too hard to read, and poor color combinations are all examples of poor displays. If your site is not visually appealing, visitors are going to move on to a site that is.



5. Poor Navigation

Christine Austin provides the following points for website navigation:
• Main navigation links should not be scattered around your webpage;
• Main navigation links should not be buried in the body text;
• Navigation buttons should be clearly labelled. Ambiguous labels like “Other Links” confuse the user; and
• Website navigation should be logical and easy to understand.



Final Thoughts

In order to stop chasing website visitors away, focus on first impressions. Most visitors will only give you 10 seconds to wow them, and then they will move on.


You need to catch their attention and ensure that your value proposition is front and center. Don’t muddy the waters by making it hard to read or hard to find.


If you focus on the first impression, you might just get that coveted second look.



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