Today I look at how to make a great first impression with your website and lower your bounce rate.
First impressions count and nowhere is this more true than on the web. How many times have you clicked on a search result, glanced at the page you land on and think ‘nah, not for me’ before swiftly clicking the back button? I know I do it all the time.
Attention spans are short on the web and you literally have a matter of seconds to convince a new visitor that your content is something worth reading and that they should stick around to benefit from it.
The clock is ticking, so how can you make sure that a new visitor to your site will:-
- Stay away from the back button
- Read your content
- Sign up/subscribe/buy – whatever the goal of your page is
Ensure Your Site Looks Professional
You don’t need to have a groundbreaking, award winning design, but to create a good first impression you should have a template which looks clean, well branded and professional. Here are a few pointers:-
- Clutter free design – in almost all cases less is more.
- Branded – Include your logo and any tagline at the top of the page. Align left or centre.
- Easy to find the content – try to make sure the title of your post is above the fold.
- Don’t go overboard on adverts.
- Choose a colour scheme that is easy on the eye.
- Make sure your text is easy to read.
Keep it simple, keep it clean – your visitors are there for your content, not your 700px high flashing banner.
If I have clicked through from a google search result with the title ‘How To Polish Brown Shoes’ I will be expecting to see the same title somewhere near the top of the page I have landed on.
This immediately affirms that I am in the right place and that I will find what I am looking for on the page.
So be consistent with your title tag and h1 tag – it’s why I always just recommend using the name of your article/product/category for your title tag and not to rewrite it for the search engines (more on that here).
Having a social sharing bar under your heading is not only a great way to remind people to share your content, it is also evidence for your new visitor that your content is something they should read. Lots of likes, tweets and G+ is social proof and will help to build your visitor’s trust.
Of course, if your content is not attracting any likes or shares then you might want to consider what you are doing wrong – but that is a topic for another day. Oh, by the way, if you enjoy this article then please share it… don’t want this paragraph to come back to bite me!
If your visitor has stayed long enough to read your introduction you are doing well, but don’t break out the victory cigars just yet! Your first few sentences still have a key role to play in convincing the reader that you have the answer to their question/solution to their problem.
Once again, reaffirm that they are in the right place by telling them exactly what you will deliver if they read on. In most instances you will want to keep your intro short and punchy while getting across the key message(s) of your content.
A lot of sites take this a step further by summarising the content underneath the heading, i.e. for this article there might be a paragraph under the heading which reads:-
‘In this article David will explain how to make a great first impression on your visitors, lower your site’s bounce rate and increase conversions’
This should normally be in a different font size, or italics to separate it from the main content.
Delivering On Your Promises
Everything above has been about stopping your visitor clicking on the back button, but now your reader is happy that they are in the right place it’s time to deliver on your promises.
Engage Your Readers
Now you have their attention, you better back it up with excellent content, which gives them what they want (and wherever possible a little bit more). In my opinion the most engaging content
- Shows your expertise
- Makes the reader feel you are talking to them directly
- Has a sense of a real person behind it – not just a robotic sales pitch
- Is well written – you don’t have to be Shakespeare, but try and use proper sentences with a good narrative flow!
- Easily digestible – break up long content with sub headings as people like to scan through content to find what they are looking for
- Stays on point
To expand on the last point in the list, your visitor is on your site for a reason, so don’t go too far off topic. I do tend to waffle on a bit sometimes, but there is always a reason behind the waffling and a relevance to the topic of the page!
Images Add Colour
Whenever possible try and use a couple of images to support your text (with proper attribution) as these will help to make your content more interesting.
There are several places to get good royalty free images to use on your site and I’ll write up a post about them shortly. Hopefully it goes without saying that you should never steal someone elses images!
Wrap It Up With A Summary And Call To Action
Finish your (fantastic) article with one final affirmation to your reader, i.e.
‘So, that’s how to polish brown shoes’
‘So now you know how to polish brown shoes’
And don’t forget to add a strong call to action. Your website exists for a reason, so make sure you point your visitors to whatever the goal of the page happens to be – i.e. a sale, a subscription, a twitter follow, pointing to other content, sending you monkey nuts – whatever your goal is make sure you communicate it to your reader!
Annoying Things To Avoid
Just to finish off, here is a quick list of some more things that are likely to turn off your visitors.
- Slow loading time
- Pop up ads
- Hard sell copy
- Hyperbole – don’t promise things you can’t deliver
- Lots of spling missteaks 😉
So, that’s my tips on how to create a strong first impression, lower your bounce rate and engage your visitors (you’ve guessed it… here comes my call to action!).
If you have enjoyed this article, or have any other tips you would like to share then please feel free to leave a comment below. For more SEO tips, marketing tips and blogging tips you can subscribe by email or RSS and add me on twitter.[bigsignup]