Recently one of my readers contacting me and asked why she was losing visitors – her stats had been going down instead of up and that’s always a worrying trend. We all expect to lose a few subscribers but when it becomes a downward spiral, there’s obviously something amiss.
If you have no clue either way, it’s essential that you install an appropriate plug-in if you run WordPress sites, or the free tool called Google Analytics. This will quickly show how many visitors you get by day, week and month, and other very important information such as Bounce Rate. If you Bounce Rate is above 50% then it indicates that people are coming into your site and quickly leaving without exploring other content you have. This is often because they are not finding things they are looking for, although it could be for a number of other reasons.
1. Your Site doesn’t have a clear theme. No I don’t mean the WordPress theme – the reason why your site exists. If your site is called internet-marketing-something.com, and the first post your visitor sees isn’t something related to internet marketing, they’re going to leave. The opening article about how you got rid of greenfly on your roses isn’t going to do anything for an internet marketer.
2. If a visitor does like your content, how can they stay connected with you? If they can’t subscribe, grab your RSS feed or subscribe to your email list, they will instantly forget about you and won’t come back. It’s bad for them but worse for you; you’re missing a huge opportunity. At least have a Contact Me page with an email address.
3. Why am I getting no sales, no click-throughs to my awesome free e-course or information? Because you’re not telling them to! People have to be enticed into doing anything; you don’t have an obvious Call to Action. Read this today! Click here for More Info! Eat at Joe’s! These are all Calls to Action. People hop around the internet like fleas, they would rather go to other sites to get what they want, rather than spend time fishing around on your site for the information. Go to HubSpot and see how they do it – every post they have has a call to action and consequently they are very successful.
4. Keywords and SEO are vitally important. If you are not attracting the right visitors to your site they are not going to stay. Without good keyword optimization, you’ll be lucky to get any new visitors at all. Use the free Google keywords tool or freekeywords.wordtracker.com.
5. Learning how to write enticing and eye-catching titles is important too. It’s the difference between someone opening an email or reading your excellent article. Think about Twitter titles, they have to be short and to the point and make you want to click through. It takes a little practice; they should also include your keywords AND be a call to action in themselves. When you do a search on Google, all those titles come up, you want to make yours stand out above all others and have the 160 characters that appear beneath your title act as a hook to get them through to your site.
Your content should also be related to your title. Sounds obvious, but if it isn’t apparent what your article is about in the first couple of lines, you’ll lose the reader.
6. The problem with many of the WordPress themes, much as I love WordPress, is that they are not easily navigable. I have started some great sites that look good, only to realize that for a visitor, finding their way around is a nightmare. On the first of each month, all the previous month’s articles disappear into archives that have to be negotiated by the visitor and there’s no way of them knowing what’s where.
7. If your site is cluttered with ads for everything and there’s too many of them, people may feel like they’re in a supermarket instead of on an informational site. Less is definitely more where ads on your site is concerned. If some ads aren’t producing, get rid of them, experiment and see how a different look with less clutter may keep your visitors longer, and get a better CTR (Click-Through Rate).
8. I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to background colors on my site. For me reading light gray print on a white background is hard, and even more difficult if the font isn’t set at 12 points or above. We have an aging population so try to make what you write legible and easy to read for them too.
9. One of my personal peeves is audio and flash on sites. I can deal with it on band sites, I expect it, but if I have to spend three minutes watching a video I don’t want to watch, or listening to some mushy music, I’m out of there. My computers are strained to the limit most of the time anyway – I have two, often with four or five windows open on each. If a crappy video or flash sequence is going to seize up my screen I’m going to be hopping mad! At least give people the option to skip the darned thing.
10. If navigating your site is difficult, or you have vast amounts of content especially in archives, add a search tool that will search your site for a visitor. Google offers a search tool you can add to your site. www.lijit.com offers a third-party application you can quickly add. Visitors will leave, even if you have the best content in the world and they can’t quickly find it.
If losing visitors is becoming a serious problem you may have to seek professional help. It will be worth the cost to save your business.