Considering how much money organisations spend on getting people to their website, it’s fairly alarming.

Having spent much of my digital career trying to increase customer engagement and onsite conversions, I believe there are a number of simple BUT logical and powerful considerations that will reduce your site’s bounce rate and improve its performance.

This information can then be considered for many page objectives – whether it’s to generate enquiries, provide information or ultimately to persuade someone to purchase goods from your site.

The five steps:

  • The first three seconds are crucial. When landing on a page, the user assesses whether it corresponds with the search they have just made – without visual images and keywords to assure the user, they will switch off. This is why many sites drive people to specific landing pages rather than the homepage.
  • Make the next three – ten seconds count. During this time, the user will need further reassurance that a) the site can help them with their objective and b) that fulfilling this task will be quick, easy and pain-free. The golden rule: identifying what people want from your site and using this to create signposting to specific pages, call to actions and key messages that resonate with the user.
  • Layout is king. A site’s layout is repeatedly overlooked, despite being the main reason for leaving a site. I always start here and map out areas of the page that will undertake certain functions such as the navigation, signposting and calls to action. Get the layout right and you’ll see great results.
  • What are your customers’ priorities? Use your analytics and the insights gathered on your audience to examine what they’re doing onsite. Then you can tweak your page layouts and bring in detail to the areas that need more signposting and precise messaging.
  • Test various messages. Even the smallest copy tweak on key messages and call to actions can make a difference. On a site with large visitor volumes, even a 1% uplift in conversions can make a huge commercial difference to an organisation. The more areas you fine-tune and test, the greater change you have of capitalising on your site’s customer engagement and onsite conversions.

Lastly, don’t forget that a website is an organic creation that needs to be constantly updated and developed as your audience, markets and competitors change –it’s an on-going programme. Remember, getting a website live is just the beginning. The best performing digital marketers place performance metrics at the heart of every decision they make.

* Source: Study of analytics results from ten new clients websites between Apr 2012 to Dec 2012