Common Reasons People Leave Websites

People surfing the web are busy people, just like you and me.  They have jobs, kids running around, dinner to cook, lawns to mow, dogs to walk, etc., etc., etc.  When they take the time to look for products and services, they maintain that "in a hurry" thinking and want to get the information they need/want quickly and easily. Small things can encourage them to use the back button.

Here are some reasons people leave websites.

Pages Loading Too Slowly
Web surfers do not like to wait for web pages to load.  Many things can contribute to load times - large images, videos, poorly written code, pulling content from another site, etc.  You (or your designer) have control over these factors.  However, your site visitors’ connection will also contribute to the load times.  Their connection speed is something you can’t control... however, using a site stats program, such as Google Analytics, you can see the types of browsers and connection speeds your site visitors are using.  Keep in mind that though you may have blistering fast RoadRunner Turbo or U-Verse, your visitors may not. Though you don’t want to "close the door" on anyone, you may decide to cater to the majority of your site visitors.

Audio or Video that Starts Automatically
Audio and video clips are very powerful tools on a website and can help you sell your projects and services.  However, most visitors prefer to have the option to listen/watch rather than have it play automatically.  If someone is surfing at work, when they are not supposed to, and they open a site that has sound, they are most likely to leave the site rather then turn off their speakers.  You and your designer will need to determine what is best for your target market.  You can also experiment using your stats program and checking the site’s bounce rate.  Have the video play automatically for one month and then change it to be a request on and see if your bounce rate is affected.

Poor Readability
This is a very common mistake.  Often, when a site is designed, the focus is on how it looks, not how it functions.  People will use a background color and a text color that is too closely related to be easy to read.  Site visitors don’t’ want to have to work to get the information.  Remember your site is a marketing tool and is there to sell your products and services, not to show how creative you or your designer can be.

Yes, people will leave if they are bored.  They could be bored because of the look of the site - stale and outdated.  Or, they could leave because the information is boring to them.  It could be that this is not what they are looking for, or it could be that the text reads more like a text book and not like a novel.

Too Busy
We live in a microwave society and everyone wants everything now.  They also don’t want to work for the information.  Some sites just have too much "going on".  Too many moving objects, too many button options, too many images, just too much.  You need to edit the information and think about how to direct people through your site.  Try to give visitors no more than 10 button choices at one time.  Flyout menus can help to clean up navigation, or you could use sub-pages to group related information.  If your site is very large, you may want to break it into several sites.  "KISS" works for the web too.

When you are surfing the web, what makes you want to leave a site?  Are you doing anything of those things on your own site?

June 1, 2010

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