When judging a websites’ potential and worth, one of the most popular metrics to use is the unique visitor count, which more or less can show how many people have opened at least one page on a website.
But while this stat has some purpose, relying on it is a huge mistake that can cost fortunes on inefficient marketing efforts and, ultimately, even failure as a business.
One of the most important statistical measures that has to be closely monitored is the time on website, which is the time that a user spends on a certain page or pages of a website. This, ultimately, is what helps to determine if a visitor is genuinely interested in what the website has to offer or if he just randomly wanders to the site and leaves immediately.
Now when you’re spending money to generate traffic to your site, it goes without saying that you better figure out which traffic methods are actually converting into customers, and usually the time spent on a website is a good indication of whether or not a person is at all interested.
There are actually so many different statistics floating around the web that it’s really difficult to put a number on it, but one thing is certain – in today’s world where people are bombarded with information every day, they are very selective on where they spend their time on and if a website doesn’t capture immediate attention, it is doomed to be left in a few seconds.
Of course, if a person does not leave immediately, that does not mean that he is much more likely to become a client, but it at least gives the business a much better chance to make a proper pitch and, hopefully, start building a relationship for the future. Even as seemingly little as 90 seconds spent on a website can give the visitor a clearer understanding of the business and the benefits that they can offer, and that might just become the deciding factor in the prospects’ decision of buying.
But even though 90 seconds might seem like a relatively short time, online it can seem like an eternity –that’s why to even achieve this number from an acceptable percentage of the leads, a lot of effort must be put in to make the site as appealing and accessible as possible.
It’s a multi-faceted process that has to be carefully planned out and preferably handled by professionals – after all, it’s easy to miss essential details when you are overwhelmed by the countless tasks that need to be completed for the site to be an effective marketing tool. It’s a devastating myth that a website is just a few pages put together and that simply having one is enough – each market is different and thus needs a unique approach, all the way to the design, layout, colours and even the tone of the voice (the text).
In order to have a useful website and not just something with the company logo on top, these mistakes must be avoided at all costs:
One of the most frustrating things to see in a business website is when upon opening it, you’re not really sure what the website is really all about – it might be crammed with some weird geeky high-tech graphics that do nothing else besides slow down the visitors computer/smart-device, or simply take you to a page that talks about something else rather than the business.
What you should figure out even before you start to do anything about your website is exactly what your business is, what it does and how it can help people. After you have the answers to these questions you can then proceed to craft the website in a form that will convey those answers in the most easily understandable and convincing fashion possible.
When a visitor opens up your website, he/she should immediately know 1) what your business does, 2) how you can help him/her and 3) why he/she should choose your services. It’s amazing how many businesses get this wrong and their websites end up doing nothing else but wasting online space.
Now of course this one is crucial to a business’ success in general, but it also goes very true when designing a website – remember that you’re not designing the website so it looks nice as the home page in your browser, but rather its sole purpose is to be comfortable and easy to navigate for your clients.
A common mistake of businesses when they hire a web design firm is to get wooed by the flashy choices that can be made to “enrich” their website, but usually what they end up doing is making the website more difficult to navigate and off-putting in general.
Rather, it would be smart to think about the demographics of your clientele – the layout, design and even style of writing should all be determined by your target audiences age, education, familiarity with technology and many other factors. That’s because in the end you’re not dealing with visitor numbers on the screen, but rather real people that are not all the same, so you better cater to their preferences as much as you can.
In the online world, where the attention span of an average user is so short, one of the most commonly emphasized aspects of a successful website is the call to action – it’s the direct and clear suggestion of what the visitor of your site should do next.
Now that can be almost anything that’s beneficial to you and intriguing to him – reading an article on your website, going to a different page, checking out your services, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading an e-book or, finally, making a purchase.
It’s not difficult to see why this is so important – if when a person finishes reading a page on your website, he/she does not get a clear answer on the lingering question of what to do next, he/she is most likely going to wander off attracted by something else, because online everyone is constantly being bombarded with countless choices.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably cursed off plenty of website owners in your mind when you were wandering around a website looking for contact info which was seemingly nowhere to be found. Until, of course, you (at least usually) spot it in the least expected corner of the website, or even written in font that is almost unnoticeable without extraordinary luck.
So please, for the sake of all the internet users, if you make a business website, leave at least some form of contact details visible on each page or just make a separate page named “Contact Us”. Trust me on this one, each and every person that is potentially interested in what you’re offering will thank you and will be much more likely to choose your services.
Getting these four steps right is actually a really big step towards making a website appealing to its visitors – it will probably put your business light-years ahead compared to most of your competition, but it is still not a guarantee that people will stay on your sites significantly longer.
Sometimes the problems can have a more fundamental cause which can be solved only by going through and checking each part of the websites’ setup – all of them must be ‘just right’ or the results will not be as good as they could be.
There are three key parts, all of which are almost equally important:
It goes without saying just how important it is to make a good first impression, so obviously a website should also set the tone for your business in the best possible manner. This means that you simply can’t allow to half-ass the design part of the website creation and leave it to someone who doesn’t have the necessary experience or skill.
People will judge your business’ professionalism, credibility and even expertise in your field based on the first few seconds on your website – whether that is fair or not remains up for debate, but what’s certain is that you better make sure those few seconds leave a good and lasting impression.
Now of course, as was said before, this does not mean you should load it up with anything unnecessary – sometimes a minimalistic design works great, but you should always consult with professional designers who have the necessary experience to give your business a face online that will garner respect and admiration rather than doubts.
Now it might be that your website is actually not the source of your problems – it might be well-designed to suit the needs of your specific market but the visitors might still be leaving after spending just a few seconds on your site.
If that is the case, you should always look at where your leads are coming from – whether that is organic search engine traffic or paid traffic, you have to always perform split-testing and track as much visitor data as possible to determine where your most profitable leads are coming from.
It might just be that your traffic quality is simply poor – meaning that it is either being visited by people that are not interested in what you’re offering, that live in a different area or that don’t even speak the language the website is written in.
Now this is something that is really difficult to achieve, at least initially – the internet is full of scammers and shady companies that prey on gullible people, so naturally most people develop a natural suspicion to anything offered online and a business has to jump through plenty of hoops in order to be considered.
Of course, in some instances it might be easier – for instance, if you have a brand that is well known in your market or even to the general public, then you can simply use that as instant credibility, but for most companies that is not the case.
So if you want to have a chance, give as much proof to support your claims as you possibly can – that includes testimonials from happy customers, which should be as detailed as possible, even including the contact details of some of your happy clients for possible reference. Also, things like certificates, awards or even staff photos can all help to show that you’re a real company operated by a real group of people.
There can be many reasons why visitors are quickly leaving your website but if you make changes to your website based on the tips in this article, I can confidently say that you will notice more and more visitors staying on your website for longer.