In the world of the Internet, one of the most dreaded phrases is "bounce rate."
A website's bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors to a website that look at a single page and then click away to another site. If your bounce rate is 50%, that means you have squandered fully half of the visitors you have managed to get to visit your site in the first place.
So, how do you get visitors to stay on your site the first time they come and how do you get them to keep coming back again and again?
The simple answer is --you've got to make them want to come back.
Just as in the real world, first impressions mean everything on the web. Your business' home page is your online billboard. On the web, you have approximately five sections to capture your visitor's attention.
How do you do it? That's easy:
- Great design
- Great Content
Before I get into what makes for great design on the web, let me talk about lousy design. There are all kinds of ways of messing up your website, such as:
- Poor choice of colors (jarring, faded out, etc.)
- Poor choice of fonts (difficult to read, confusing)
- Poor font size (you won't want to read a website when the font is too small)
- Poor Navigation
- Poor use of pictures, video and Flash
A poorly designed website is designed to turn traffic away and keep traffic away.
Casio is a terrific company, with great products, but you'd never know it from their website. Its print is almost impossible to read, the navigation is confusing and the only content presented is a bunch of poorly displayed headlines.
By way of comparison, look at the site we developed for EOS Health:
The product lines are clearly laid out as are the target customer categories. The design is pleasing to the eye, the colors are simple, the fonts large and clear. It is a home page that makes you want to click on the inside pages and get more information.
Why do you subscribe to a particular magazine? Because you have come to trust that it will give you information that is both useful and engaging. Furthermore, you know there will be new information in each issue and that information serves you as its target audience.
Websites need to provide the same kind of service if they want visitors to keep coming back. It is critical that the homepage is updated on a regular basis, giving visitors a reason to come back.
Blue Fountain Media's website was designed not just to feature the services we offer, but with information that would be of interest to our target audience. The three main areas of updated content provided by Blue Fountain Media are:
- The Business Learning Center: A series of practical "How To" based articles on a variety of web related topics, including website design, website development and online marketing.
- The Blue Fountain Media Blog: Where we give updates on our company, our clients and on a variety of happenings in the online world
- Industry News: We are constantly looking for the latest trends in the online world and we share those trends with our visitors.
Our visitors appreciate this kind of information, because it helps them make choices about website design and marketing whether or not they choose to work with us.
Similarly, as a company, McDonald's is in the business of selling fast food. Their website, though, goes well beyond their offerings and provides content of interest to the company's various audiences. For its young customers, for example, McDonald's provides the kind of content they love: games, puzzles, lessons and fun facts.
Fidelity is in the business of selling a variety of financial instruments, including mutual funds. Their website allows you to buy and sell these instruments, but also adds content that is particularly useful to their audience. Below, you will see an example of how they provide expert financial advice online:
Another great way of getting people to come back to your site is user-generated content. By having your visitors participate in the conversation, they feel a part of your site and come back again and again.
DailyKos.com invites visitors to create accounts so that they can make their own diary/blog entries.
These entries are read and commented on by other visitors. This type of social interaction keeps visitors engaged and loyal to the site.
Similarly, CBS Sports keep visitors coming back through a variety of channels, including fantasy leagues and what they call "Community Chatter."
As you can see, those people who comment frequently and have established themselves as strong members of the "community" get rated as "Superstars."
What does this mean for my company's website?
Your website is a great way to enhance your brand. By creating a site that is both attractive and informative, you create a destination site for your target audience.
It is important to work with a website design company that understands your business and their business. When Blue Fountain Media takes on a new client, we learn your business inside out and then develop a site that best serves your business needs. Because we have a team of copywriters on staff, we can help you create the kind of content that keeps people coming back, time and again.