There are over 1.7 billion websites scattered across the world wide web, meaning that no matter how niched your website may be, there are hundreds, if not thousands of other websites that cover the same subject you do.
But here’s the thing: users will only need one of them.
So, what makes people choose a website over the other? Digital Silk, an NYC web design company, says that it all comes down to first impressions, and that’s where the 15-second rule comes in.
What is the 15-second rule?
You have to make a good first impression if you want users to remain on your website. But here’s the thing: 55% of your visitors will leave the page within the first 15 seconds unless you decide to buy traffic for your website.
In other words, you’ve got no more than 15 seconds to generate interest and convince users to remain on your web page. So how do you do that?
Well, you should start by checking your bounce rate first. This indicates the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only the first page.
A good bounce rate typically sits under 40%.
Anything above 40% means that there’s something about your website that puts users off, determining them to leave your page right away.
But why does your website have a high bounce rate? Well, there are plenty of reasons why that happens. Let’s discuss them in further detail.
Why do users leave a website?
1. Long Loading Times
Long loading times are one of the main issues that cause visitors to leave a website. After all, most people are not patient, especially when it comes to browsing the web.
And that’s with good reason. As we’ve previously mentioned, many other websites cover the same niche as you.
With that said, people will most likely leave your website and go over to your rivals if it hasn’t loaded fast enough.
But how fast should your loading time be? Around 40% of users will abandon a website if it hasn’t loaded within three seconds. So, that’s what you should aim for.
Start by speed testing your website. Google’s Page Speed Insights is a great tool for doing so as it also gives you a bunch of tips on how you can improve your site’s performance.
2. Mobile Friendliness
With over 50% of all web traffic coming from mobile users, mobile-friendliness is key in determining users to remain on your page.
If your website is not designed with smaller screens in mind, you’ll most likely drive many visitors away.
When it comes to making a website mobile-friendly, you’ve got three options: responsive, adaptive, and mobile-first design.
The former is the most popular choice, as it’s the most cost-effective while also providing a consistent User Experience across all types of devices.
3. Poor Navigation
Another reason that might explain why people are leaving your website so quickly is poor navigation.
People click on your website expecting to find what they are looking for straight away, not to be bombarded with loads of links that will lead them elsewhere.
A website that is hard to navigate does nothing but frustrate the users.
With that said, your navigation should be simple, logical, intuitive, and specific.
For example, when it comes to your main navigation menu, it should be laid out nicely at the top of the page.
Provide links that a user is most likely going to be interested in. And also, don’t use drop-down menus as they can be too disruptive.
4. Poor Aesthetics
The overall aesthetics of your website need to be appealing.
In fact, 66% of users have reported that they prefer using visually appealing websites.
Having said that, while content is very important, that doesn’t mean you should treat the overall look of your website just as an afterthought.
Make sure to liven up your web page; give it a little splash. Don’t forget that it needs to look modern and be up-to-date with the current trends in web design.
Having a website that looks out of fashion will give users the impression that its content is outdated as well.
5. Video/Audio Auto Plays
Speaking of keeping your website up-to-date, the days of automatically playing a video or audio file once a user lands on your page are long gone.
Having a video or audio that plays automatically is too intrusive, and it will worsen your visitors’ browsing experience, ultimately driving them away from your website.
So, if you happen to use this feature, it’s best to get rid of it. It’s best to give users the option to play the video or audio content rather than forcing it upon them.
6. Registration Requirements
Even though adding user registration to your website is great for growing your email list or other marketing purposes, forcing it upon your visitors is a big mistake.
That applies particularly if you’re using pop-ups that appear right after a user has entered your website.
As we’ve previously mentioned, people want to find what they’re looking for quickly. They won’t take the extra time to fill out a registration form to see your content.
With that said, avoid putting barriers between you and your visitors. However, if a user must create an account to get access to your website, offer a preview or a demo to give them a taste of what they are signing up for.
7. The “About Us” Page
People want to get to know who is behind a business. If users can’t find information about who you are and what you do, they won’t trust you and will leave as a result.
That’s why the “About Us” page is so important. So, if you don’t have one created, now it might be the time to do so.
It’s also a good idea to offer clear contact details here, like your business name, email address, office address, and phone number, as 44% of users will leave a website if it doesn’t display this type of information.
8. The “Not Secure” Warning
Nothing will drive users away faster than that “Not Secure” warning highlighted in red right next to your URL, especially if they are required to type in personal information, like their email addresses.
If you happen to have your website labeled as not secure, it is because your web pages are using the HTTP protocol, which is incapable of providing a secure connection between you and your visitors.
To make your website secure, you’ll need to upgrade to HTTPS, which will require you to purchase the SSL certificate.
After that, you’ll have to update the URLs for all of your content, like internal links, videos, images, etc., from HTTP to HTTPS.
9. Misuse of Ads
While displaying advertisements is a great way to monetize your website, doing it incorrectly will cause you to increase your bounce rate and reduce conversions, which will ultimately lose you money.
With that said, make sure that ads are not the first thing the visitors see once they enter your website. Otherwise, they will most likely leave right away.
Also, avoid using pop-up ads that are too obstructive or cover a part of your content, as that’s why visitors clicked on your site visitors in the first place.
In other words, try to adopt a more discreet approach when displaying ads to your website.
10. Unfulfilling User Expectations
And finally, there’s the issue of not delivering on what you promise.
For example, if you’re promoting one of your products via social posts, emails, PPC ads, etc., make sure that the links you provide get users to the web page that displays the said product, as that is what the user expects.
If a user clicks on the link to see the product you’re showcasing but is directed to your website’s homepage, for example, he will most likely not take the time to try and find that product, leaving your website as a result.
The same thing goes for keywords in SEO. Don’t include them just for the sake of it, without any context related to them. You’ll need to create relevant content based on those keywords, as that is what users are searching for.
All in all, these have been some of the most common issues that cause users to leave a website shortly after clicking on it.
Remember that you’ve got only 15 seconds to convince visitors to remain on your page.
If your website happens to have any of the issues that are listed above, it is essential to deal with them.