Have you ever wondered what the most popular reasons are that people leave websites? Recently, Kissmetrics put out some very interesting data and numbers that should help every marketer out there understand their viewer behavior just a little bit better.

Poor Navigation and Layout

If your website is poorly designed and difficult to navigate, people will leave it. Quickly. Don’t make this mistake and be sure to use logical and intuitive design when planning your layout. The main navigation links should be across the top or down the left of your screen. All pictures should be clear and related directly to the site, telling a story or providing information. Your text shouldn’t contain confusing links which are vaguely labeled and buried in the main body. Additionally, always add a sitemap.

Overkill Advertising

Have you ever gotten to a site and had pop-up ad after pop-up ad? Or Flash ads or content that fills the entire screen which leaves you searching for dozens of little “X” buttons on the boxes every few seconds? Horrible. This is why people leave sites: too many ads. Never let an ad be the first thing to welcome your visitor to your site. They shouldn’t be obtrusive or cover up a portion of the content as if to say, “You’re only allowed to read that after you pay attention to this ad!” Keep it tasteful, relevant and as always, make sure your ads are much, much smaller than your content, otherwise you look like a spam site.

Horrid Structure of Content

If your site is a jumbled mess of content where nobody can find what they are looking for, watch your bounce rate climb through the roof! There should be a logical flow to your content as it draws visitors deeper into your sales funnel at each step. Keep content that should be together all on one page, not scattered over three or four. Group similar content together to make it easy to navigate deeper into the subject matter. Highlight keywords and don’t forget subheadings in bold.

Automatic Audio and Video

People can find a video on your page if they want to. They don’t need you to auto-play content and possibly blow their eardrums out if they have headphones in, wake up the baby if they forgot to turn the speakers off or slow-down their loading process with ski—pp—ing—spee—ch—pa-tt-er—ns. Give them the option to start the audio or video themselves, or at the very least, start the volume very low and give the user a quick option to exit the audio or video without exiting the website.

Registration Requirements

You’ve been Googling for half an hour, you’re about to lose your mind—finally, you find the product you’re looking for, get on the site and BAM! A registration requirement pops up acting as a physical barrier between you and the pot of gold. You consider signing up but you will not give into this type of bullying! You hop in your car and drive off to the store to buy the product, happy that you defeated the evil internet for at least today. Yeah, don’t be that website. At least offer a little preview or demo first so they can see what you’re offering before you twist their arm.

As you can see, an intelligently designed and well-written and thought-out website can eliminate a lot of high bounce rates that are out there. If your product or service is great, give it a chance to
speak for itself. Don’t lose the war before the battle even begins!