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How to Fix Your Website

I used to think that most business websites were beyond rescue ┬? that the best thing to do was to start all over. Out with the old ┬? in with the new.

Now I┬?m not so sure. I┬?ve seen a lot of websites that just needed some tweaking to improve performance; not a total makeover.

Don┬?t get me wrong. Some websites are a disaster and do need to be ditched completely, but that should be a last resort. One of these days I┬?ll write an article about website issues that can┬?t be solved. For now, let┬?s talk about issues that can be solved.

High Bounce Rate

If you not familiar with the term ┬?bounce rate┬?, it refers to the percentage of visitors who hit your website and leave immediately (usually within 20 seconds) without going anywhere else on the site. This is the first point of resistance on your website and it┬?s a place where you can lose a lot of potential business.

Since you don┬?t have complete control over who comes to your website (assuming it┬?s a public site) a certain level of bounce ┬? generally less than 30% - is just part of life.

But a high bounce rate ┬? anything above 50% - is a signal that improvement is needed ┬? the sooner the better. It┬?s a sure sign that you┬?re either a) driving the wrong people to your site or b) failing to communicate the right message once they get there. I┬?ve seen bounce rates above 80% and that┬?s enough to choke a marketing budget.

As a side note, pay-per-click advertising traffic will have a higher bounce rate. 80% bounce rate in a pay-per-click campaign is not uncommon and not really a problem. If you┬?re driving lots of pay-per-click traffic to directly to your website, you┬?ll want to remove that traffic source from your calculations before you freak out about a high rate. (You┬?ll also want to reconsider how you┬?re handling your pay-per-click campaign, but that┬?s a subject for a different article).

To improve your website┬?s bounce rate, focus on the page or pages where most people enter your site. Usually this is the home page. Create a ┬?challenger┬? page and test it against the current page to see if you can get more visitors to stick.

Factors that commonly affect bounce rate include:

┬? Simplicity of the page

┬? Readability of the text

┬? Use of graphics

┬? Good-to-great copywriting

┬? Calls to action

Low visitor conversion rates

Unless you┬?re an online publisher selling advertising on your site, tons of website traffic is useless if you don┬?t turn enough of it into sales-ready leads or paying customers. Sometimes websites inadvertently contain road blocks between the visitor and the purchase ┬? or contact us request.

When I evaluate a client┬?s visitor-to-conversion rate, I start with the ┬?Buy Now┬?, ┬?Pricing Plans┬? or ┬?Contact Us┬? page and work backwards to any actions that lie directly in the path of the decision to buy. These actions usually include a product test drive, using a free version or requesting a demo.

There are any number of things that can be causing low conversion rates but don┬?t require completely redoing your website. Sometimes the opportunity for improvement lies on a single page. For example, we┬?ve seen 30% lifts in the number of people downloading a demo just by removing some of the non-essential information from the contact form.

Sometimes the opportunity for improvement lies in the process itself. When a website has been around for a while, pages and steps begin to get layered on top of each other and what should be a simple process becomes convoluted. It never hurts to look at the process from your prospects┬? point of view and see what ┬? if anything ┬? can be simplified.

Maybe you really do need a complete website makeover. But a website makeover ┬? done right ┬? is a complex, time consuming and somewhat costly endeavor. And, I┬?ve found it┬?s not uncommon for website owners to want to replace their sites just because they┬?re tired of them.

Unless you have a lot of money to burn, why not see what can be done with what you have first?


Clicks ┬?n Conversions

Management strategies, tactics, answers and ideas for faster growth, higher profits and more control.

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