What do the visitors to your website see the very first time they click on that search engine result and see your page? Do they click away too fast to actually absorb what you have to say? If you get a lot of that, your Search Engine Optimization may be where it needs to be but the landing page – the page that visitors see first – just isn’t. The bounce rate is actually one factor that Google takes into account now, so you’re going to get dinged if you don’t solve this problem.
- Ditch the canned sales page. Your visitors will click away faster if the very first thing they see is you trying to sell them something. Don’t stuff the space on your web pages with affiliate links to coffee makers unless you know that’s what they’re looking for. Instead, try engaging your readers with a few cool things you can do with spent coffee and put a paragraph or two of that content above the fold.
- Lose the pop-up ads. That includes the box that offers a free PDF if users enter their email address. Everybody uses AdBlock these days for exactly this reason. I’ve gotten irritated by pervasive advertising, too, and I’m not going to stick around if I have to close out a bunch of ads just to read the content. Those pop-ups just annoy readers and they’ll click away faster.
- Become a mind-reader. Okay, just kidding, but you have to pay attention to the actual search phrases that people are plugging into Google to find your site. That’ll give you a clue about what they want. Maybe they’re looking for a good recipe for tiramisu. Maybe they have a cat who doesn’t have any obvious fleas but is itching around anyway. When they plug that search term into Google, they’re trying to solve a problem and you want to help them do it even when they aren’t going to buy what you have to sell right away.
- Remember that visits don’t always become conversions right away. If you’ve got a really good website, your visitors might come back two or three times before they actually decide to download the PDF or buy something through one of your affiliate links. Just the fact that they keep coming back should be encouraging and even helps your Google search engine rankings a little bit.
- Don’t clutter up your header. Your header should not take up a ton of room at the top of your website pages. Keep it simple. If you have a complicated “table of contents,” consider making it a modest vertical one that occupies the sidebar without taking up too much real estate on your site instead of a horizontal one that is going to clutter up what people see “above the fold” when they first visit your website.
- Make your call-to-action an epic one. Okay, it doesn’t have to be as cool or as obvious as the ones you occasionally see for online MMORPGs if you’ve just got a blog for foodies, but you want to make it one that’s attractive for your target audience. This means using graphics in a good way, finding an awesome content writer who knows how to do this (shameless plug – I’m a content writer) and maybe having your own supplemental Youtube channel so you can create videos that work well with your content. Just make sure your readers feel like they’re going to get something of value out of this even if all you want is for them to enter their email address so you can send them monthly newsletters.
Conversions aren’t always sales, but it’s nice if you can “sell” what you have to offer in a way that doesn’t make you look like a salesman. That essentially means encouraging your visitors to stick around longer so they can see what you have to offer.