Websites are by intention supposed to attract and retain an audience, typically with customers in mind. Although this is the intention, sometimes the result ends up being the complete opposite. When this happens, instead of attracting and retaining an audience, they drive them away.
For any website owner, a website that repels the intended audience is cause for concern, if not outright alarm. Often this situation will turn up sooner or later in the lifetime of a website. And just because the situation came up and was once resolved, is no guarantee that it will not recur.
Whilst it is not easy to predict exactly when a website will repel the intended audience, there are telltale signs when this is likely to occur. By watching out for these telltale signs, the situation of website visitors being repelled by the website can be averted.
Before I delve into the telltale signs that indicate that a website is turning away customers, let me emphasise the importance of watching out for these signs. The problem with losing an audience, is that it is something the happens beneath the surface, and you won’t notice it unless you are actively looking.
If you are not actively looking, you will not be clued in to the fact that you are losing your audience until the damage is done. Once the damage is done, it is possible but difficult to get back on top. A website owner therefore has to be vigilant to ensure that they are on top of things.
How does one stay vigilant? It’s by doing three things: measure, measure, and measure. It is critical for a website owner to regularly measure the analytics and traffic patterns for the website. You can refer to the blog titled, Finger On The Pulse: Web Analytics ,that goes into detail on keeping track of website stats.
It is only by keeping track of metrics such as, who visits a website, how long they spend on it or which pages are popular, that a website owner can pick up when things are slowing down, or their website is performing below par. If there are telltale signs for website visitor loss, they will clearly show in the analytics.
Simply identifying the telltale signs is not enough. It is necessary to take action, and the first step towards taking action, is identifying the cause for the website visitor loss.
The following, are some of the reasons a website may be losing visitors, or not getting enough in the first place. A website owner has to get to the root cause, if they are going to take remedial action. Getting this step right is important because, only then can they be sure they are taking the right actions, that will result in the desired results.
Everybody is in a rush nowadays. People no longer have the patience to sit and watch a website load. This might have been acceptable in the 90s when the Internet was in its infancy, but certainly not in recent times.
People want websites to load as fast as lightning, and if a website fails to deliver on this front, the end result is simply people abandoning the website in droves.
There are several reasons why a website could be slow. It could be because it is running on an underperforming server stack, and the website owner might have to consider getting a better hosting solution. It could also be a matter of poor technical design, and many things in-between.
The issue of speed becomes even crucial when considering that, many people are now browsing the Web on mobile devices, which might load pages slower compared to their desktop counterparts.
Whilst on the issue of mobile devices, the subject cannot be concluded without touching on the matter of responsive design. Responsive design is the idea that a website will automatically change its display to conform to the size of device it is being viewed on.
Responsive design means that the same website can be viewed comfortably on mobile devices just as it is viewed on desktop displays. This means that users do not have to scroll sideways, just because the website is being viewed on a mobile phone.
In these times, if your website is not responsive, you are probably trying the patience of your website visitors, and most of them will not tolerate this inconvenience, the end result is people abandoning the website.
People do not talk of the importance of good navigation on a website often enough. Poor navigation can result in people not finding the information and content they need quickly and easily.
One of the short-sighted misconception for the website owner to have, is to think that people are as familiar with where everything on the website, as well as the owner. In reality, this is not the case. It is the duty of the website owner to make content as accessible as possible, by providing optimal navigation.
People visit a website in order to consume content. It is therefore critical that a website has great content to keep visitors engaged and coming back for more. Bad content means that few will ever visit again.
It’s not just a matter of having great content: it is equally important that the content be fresh. After all, few will visit a website to see old and stale content. It is therefore critical for a website owner to develop a plan to generate fresh content on a regular basis.
Some ideas to generate fresh content are publishing a newsletter or a blog. These types of publications inherently mean that the website generates content on a consistent and regular basis. Online videos are also a good approach.
No matter how you look at it, presentation is important. A website might have the greatest content, but this will not guarantee an audience uptake. How a website looks and its presentation will always be a significant factor in retaining visitors.
Aesthetics deals with the use of colours, font and images as well as layout. It can be surprising how different layouts can have very different impacts on an audience, simply by changing these factors.
Just as you consider some of the factors discussed above as a website owner, or someone considering owning one, it is important to remember that yes: appearances do matter, and taking this into consideration, can mean the considerable difference between losing and retaining website visitors, some of whom become customers in the long run.
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