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High Bounce Rate: 8 Web Design Practices to Avoid

Bounce rate is one of the SEO metrics that attracts attention and different views from SEOs around the globe.

Some expert argued that high bounce rate not automatically translate to low conversion rate. In another view, many believe that high bounce rate is an indication that your blog offers no real value to its users. Businesses are not the same, so blogs are not created equally.

While there are good general best practices that will help any blog to reduce bounce rate, many of the advice given can both help or break a blog further. The causes of poor average time on site by users will differ from business to businesses.

Depending on the type of your business and the goals behind it, some on-page element might increase your blog bounce rate but good for your business. For example, contextual ads on your blog – Adsense ads, sign-up form etc.

High Bounce Rate: 8 Web Design Practices to Avoid

So before coming to any conclusion whether high bounce rate is good for your business or not it’s best to:

  • Analyze your business goals.
  • The purpose of your content.
  • Why readers visit your site.
  • Your reader’s behavior – reading habit.
  • Your industry average bounce rate.
  • ROI vs time spent on the site.

However, if high bounce rate is a thing of concern for your business and you’re looking for effective ways to increase readers time spent on your website, below is a list of 10 website design practices you should avoid.

#1. PopUp Before Anything.

Honestly, I don’t like this too, at least give me a chance to get to know who is behind the blog, what the blog is all about and how it can help move my business forward before you ask for my email address.

Exit pop-up is a very good marketing idea, and I do recommend you do it.

But the one that jumps on the screen within seconds a reader lands on your site might be annoying, and a reason they just click the browser back button or visit your competitor’s website.

For whatever marketing reason, if you must use a pop-up, consider doing it with a box that only takes a small portion of their screen and the close button must be visible.

#2. Page Speed.

When was the last time you waited for about 30 seconds for a web page to load?

It should be in the late 90s.

This is the 2000s – if it takes more than 7.25 seconds for a web page to load on user’s browser, that user is a lost one.

average loading time of a webage

To make it worse, 40% of online users abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load and 53% of eCommerce site owners lost either money or visitors due to a bad user experience of their sites.

With all these stats, you need to consider working on your website loading speed to ensure your web pages are loading incredibly faster than that of your competitors.

There are basic things you can do to ensure industry average webpage loading speed:

  • – Take away unnecessary images on your blog.
  • – Clean up the sidebars.
  • – Use an image compression tool like WP Smush.it
  • – Avoid making use of a plugin where adding a single line of code can get the job done.
  • – Use a cache plugin.
  • – Clean up the header section – avoid adding unnecessary codes.

#3. Page Complete Takeover – Welcome Mat.

Welcome mat, like the pop-up email signup form, is another way to tell your blog visitors that you only care about building a list and not here to help them solve their problem.

Welcome mat may be worse than pop-up because it takes over the entire screen area and pushes the main content area downward.

Though some marketers have reported amazing email opt-in rate result with using the welcome mat on their blog, one of the reasons I lay more emphasis on analyzing your marketing goals before deciding if high bounce rate is good for your business or not.

If your business objective is to build enough email subscribers so you have an audience waiting for your offers and announcement then try every email marketing tactics under the sun.

#4. Auto Play Video.

Not everyone who visited your video blog is interested in playing the video, or at the moment ready to watch it.

Give them a chance to decide what they want to do with your video – a reader might want to download it to watch later, another might want to play it right away, while some readers not just interested in your video.

If you set auto play video on your blog, you might just be sending some of your readers off completely and forcing them to hit the back button immediately.

#5. Misleading Content Headline or Advert Image.

This will not only increase your site bounce rate but also hurt your reputation and brand image. This type of marketing tactics is mostly common among spamming websites, Adsense revenue generated blogs, entertainment industry etc.

Don’t trick readers into clicking through with a misleading article headline or featured image that doesn’t relate to the information on the page. Visitors will bounce off immediately in annoyance and never return for fear of being deceived again.

Whatever your article headline promise is what the content on the page should deliver, and a good rule is to over-deliver on your headline promise. Readers will find your blog a reliable source of information that provides the positive solutions to their problems.

The positive effect is lower bounce rate and an increase in average time spent on your site which might lead to more conversion rate, more revenue, and better ROI.

#6. Ads Blocks Within Content.

Too many ads blocks sections within the content body are like product/service commercial break every five minutes interval while watching a movie.

You either get bored watching further or lost concentration.

Imagine watching a football match and at every 10 minutes, there is a commercial break. The match will be boring, uninteresting – you definitely don’t want readers to feel such way reading your content.

I agree you need to earn money from your blog, but doing it aggressively like this won’t help. In fact, it is the opposite.

One ad block within the content is okay – maybe in the middle or above the fold – and one ad block at the end of the content. The sidebar is always there for you to use for whatever needs you care.

Putting ad block in every paragraph is a bad website design and not something recommended.

#7. Page Pagination.

Page pagination is a website design that is common even among the BIG establish site like Forbes. In my opinion, it an attempt to manipulate pageview and not a website design practice to give user better site experience.

Why forcing your blog users to help in inflating page views when the content can easily be read in whole on a single page?

If your content is useful, readers will surely read it to the end no matter how long they have scroll down the page provided it help solve their problem, make then feel better and achieve their goals.

Come to think of it, page pagination will force some users to leave your site without reading the content to the end. And if there is a call-to-action at the last post page, many of your readers won’t see it which might lead to poor conversion rate

#8. No Author Identity.

If you’re not so proud to put your face behind the content published on your blog then is better to shut the blog down.

For a company blog, there must be a brand image that represents the company and the about us page give a clear history background, founder(s), employees, vision, and the mission statement of the company.

If I come across a blog that has the author’s name has “admin”, and without a human profile picture to it, I immediately assume one of these two:

  • – The author is an amateur blogger.
  • – The blog is a deceptive one.

Don’t be shy in defending your work. Internet marketing is a people’s business and people want to know who is behind the business.

This 8 website design practices could possibly lead to high bounce rate if your business is gear towards keeping users long on your blog to achieve maximum ROI.

Image: Bounce Rate concept image


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Shamsudeen Adeshokan is a professional blogger, affiliate marketer and the brain behind the blog, CyberNaira - where he writes about blogging tips/tutorials, SEO, Affiliate marketing, social media marketing and make money online tips. http://cybernaira.com/

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