Is your bounce rate through the roof? Does your homepage look like a war zone? These 3 simple usability tweaks could be the most important changes your website has ever seen.
Your homepage is a battleground. No matter what size a business is, there is always a great deal of information jostling for position and prominence on your homepage. Throw some SEO content or keyword percentage tactics into the mix and your users could easily be walking into a full on information overloaded warfare of biblical proportions, and all because you are trying your best to give them what you think they want. Unfortunately all you may end up doing is causing them to turn on their heels and bounce back out the door in retreat.
*Waves White Flag*
Stop! It’s time to put an end to all this madness and apply some simple usability tweaks that will present your users with a clear, peaceful and hopefully welcoming website.
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Clear Some Space
Your first mission is to clear your homepage of all non-essential information. Now you and other stakeholders with fingers in your website may feel that everything is ‘essential’, but you really need to be super brutal and get rid of anything that does not lead a user quickly to your goal. This might be long winded intro text, pictures that don’t have any practical purpose or links or menu options that can be offered elsewhere.
Take Google’s homepage as an example. It is clean, simple and offers no more information than is required. Imagine Google put links to all its many other areas. You can bet that even their bounce rate would increase.
The clearer and simpler your homepage, the more inviting it will be for your users. Keep the entire page above the fold, and use simple and compelling menu names to take users on to further information.
An Explosive Headline
Your next mission is to let your users know what your website is for in a split second. It literally only takes a second or two for users arriving at a website to decide if they are going to stay or not so by providing a simple, clear and catchy heading, you will ensure that those that arrive know what you’re all about.
Let’s say your user is searching for red shoes and has clicked on your search result for your ecommerce website with ‘Red Shoes’ in the title. The page this takes them to, whether it is your homepage or not, needs to immediately say that this page is the place to come for red shoes. E.g. ‘Red Shoe Company – The world’s biggest and reddest collection of red shoes!’ See what I mean? The user can instantly see that this page and this website has what they were looking for, which will hopefully ensure they are much less likely to bounce.
Use Big Arrows
The final simple usability tweak you should tackle to turn your battleground into a user friendly paradise, is to make it really clear where your users should go for more information or what it is they should do next. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a nice site, which seems like it has what you want, but not being able to find how or where to get it.
All you need to do is make your menu as simple and intuitive as possible, make it incredibly clear exactly where users should input their search queries, passwords or other data, or make the place where they should click to maybe make an enquiry is completely unmissable. You may think it is obvious but if you have a high exit rate, this may be a sign that it isn’t obvious to the people that count.
Make your buttons large and clearly labelled, keep your menus simple and intuitive and make your most important fields stick out like a sore thumb. You may even want to try sticking a big arrow in there too if you are at all uncertain that your most important goal on the page is not clear.
Important final point: when you do decide to decrease your bounce rate and want to try these simple tweaks, only do one at a time. This way you can tell how much each change helps decrease your bounce rate and you will know when something you have changed is not quite right.
Other than that, get tweaking!