5 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase the Dwell Time on Your Website

Bounce rate is a metric you should be familiar with as it is important to SEO. It is also important to the success of your website as a high bounce rate is often an indicator there is something not right. This isn’t always the case as there are some situations where a high bounce rate is understandable. Most of the time, however, you should take steps to reduce bounce rate as much as possible.

What is Bounce Rate?

Understanding bounce rate is essential before you attempt to implement solutions to reduce it.

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website but then leave after looking at just one page. On most of the pages on your website, this is not a good thing. After all, someone who visits your website and leaves after looking at one page is unlikely to have been interested in what you offer.

Google takes a view that is similar to this too. Specifically, a visitor “bouncing” off a page is an indicator to Google that the person didn’t find what they were looking for. The faster the user bounces, the greater the likelihood this is the case.

How to Decrease Bounce Rate

Speed Optimisation

Users don’t wait around for slow loading pages. In fact, if the page takes longer than a couple of seconds to load, you risk losing the visitor because it is not fast enough.

If this is the case with your website, you should take steps to make it faster. Don’t forget the mobile versions of your pages too, as they should also load fast.

Internal Linking

One of the reasons that people bounce from your pages might be because you don’t give them enough options to stay. Internal linking where you add links to your content on other pages is one solution to this.

It is an essential solution, in fact, if your content includes elements that require more detailed explanation. If you don’t provide an internal link to that explanation, the user will leave your website to find it.

Also read: Backlinks Explained – Everything a Small Business Owner with a Website Needs to Know

Engaging Content

Having content on the page the interests and engages visitors is important too.

If the page is mostly text, you also need to make sure it is readable as large blogs of text and long sentences will put off visitors. This applies even when the content itself is fantastic – if it looks daunting to read, visitors will never know how good it is as they will “bounce” to find an alternative that looks less like a chore.

Adding Media

Following on from the last point, a great way to make your content more engaging is to add media. This includes videos, animations, images, infographics, and more. This gives visitors an alternative to reading text, plus it is often easier to explain a concept, service, or product in a short video than in words.

Target the Right Keywords

As mentioned above, people will bounce from your page if they don’t think it answers their query. This can happen if your content is not good enough, but it can also happen by accident, i.e. your pages appearing on search results for keywords not related to your industry, products, or services.

The solution is to refine your keyword strategy to ensure you target the right ones.

By going through each of the steps above, you will see your bounce rate start to fall.

The Importance of Page Titles and Meta Descriptions in Website Design

A crucial part of all good website design is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). More specifically, a good website designer will put the right SEO foundation in place, so you can improve or maintain your website’s position on Google search results pages.

Two important components of SEO in website design which are often overlooked, however, are page titles and meta descriptions. When a website designer doesn’t place enough emphasis on them, you end up with auto-generated versions that will not deliver for your business.

This is despite the fact that page titles and meta descriptions play a huge role in the success of your website in Google search, not least because page titles are one of the search giant’s key ranking factors.

When getting a new website designed, here’s what you need to know about page titles and meta descriptions.

The Role of Page Titles and Meta Descriptions in SEO

In technical terms, page titles are an HTML element – or tag – which lets Google and other search engines know the title of a webpage. If you’re writing a blog entry, it is the title of the blog. If you are writing copy for your sales page, it is the title of your sales page.

It is important to remember, however, that when we discuss page titles, we are not talking about headings. Headings use header tags (H1, H2, etc) and they are completely different things.

Page titles go in the middle of <title></title> HTML tags. While that is technical, it is important as Google uses page titles to help it understand the content of the page. If you don’t use the correct HTML tag, it can’t do this.

You can see page titles on every search results page – they are the clickable headline for each search result. Therefore, page titles are important for SEO and user experience. As a result, page titles should be a concise and accurate reflection of the content on the page.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, are short descriptions which summarise the content of your page for the benefit of search engines and the end-user. While meta descriptions are nowhere near as important as they used to be for SEO purposes, they still help.

Specifically, they help encourage Google search users to click on your website rather than one of your competitors. This is because the main function of a meta description is to display a short piece of information underneath the title in search engine results.

In summary:

  • Page titles help Google understand what your web page is about
  • Google uses this information to help it decide where to rank your website on its search results pages
  • Google also displays the page title on its search results pages
  • It displays the page’s meta description too
  • Both help convince users to click on your link

Writing Page Titles That Are Clickable

As page titles are so important both in terms of SEO and your click-through rate, knowing how to write them properly is crucial. In fact, taking the time to write an effective page title is a simple, high-impact task which can give your SEO a major boost.

Here are five simple tips to help you write killer page titles:

1. Keep Your Page Titles Concise – But Not Too Concise

Google simply cuts page titles that are too long, so users won’t see the full wording on a search results page. On the flip side, nobody is going to click on something which is half-complete.

The general rule is to keep page titles between 40 and 70 characters.

For a more technical explanation, the exact limit for a page title is based on a 600-pixel box. This is the width Google allocates to the page title. So, if your page title has lots of wide letters such as “W” or “O”, you are going to have less pixel space to play with. If, however, your page title features letters like “I” or lowercase letters such as “t” and “p”, you will fit more in.

2. Use Keywords Wisely but Don’t Spam

If you stuff your page title full of keywords, Google will penalise you and you will not rank very well. After all, page titles that are a list of keywords or keyword variations do nothing to improve user experience. Quite the opposite, in fact, which is why Google takes it so seriously.

Don’t try to outsmart Google, either, as its algorithm is now very good at spotting spammy page titles.

That said, your page title should include the main keyword of the page. In fact, this is critically important to SEO. Ideally, place the keyword at the start of the page title. While on the topic, it is also helpful to include the page’s keyword in your meta description.

3. Avoid Other Spam Triggers

Avoid anything else in your page title which could be considered as spam. A good example is the unnecessary use of capital letters – avoid this and instead use normal sentence or title capitalisation.

Another example is the use of special characters such as $ or ! or *. You should avoid using these too.

4. Write with Your Target Market in Mind

If you don’t focus on your target market through your title, what’s the point? After all, these are the people you are trying to make click on it.

So, write your titles in a way in a way that will attract clicks from people who are likely to have an interest in your product, service, or what you have to say.

Remember, your page titles are a potential visitor’s very first interaction with you when they find your website through a search engine result. This highlights the importance of writing page titles that present your brand in the best light possible.

5. Avoid Writing Page Titles that Could Be Considered as Clickbait

Clickbait is a term that often refers to page titles. Specifically, page titles that sensationalise or misrepresent the actual content on the page in order to get people to visit.

For some, it is a tempting approach, particularly if you are in a competitive market. However, the best advice when doing anything in relation to SEO is to never lose focus on users.

It is not hard to see that clickbait page titles do not add anything of value to users. In most cases, in fact, they cause frustration and annoyance.

Your page title can be confident, but you should never drift into sensationalism and you should always ensure the content behind the title delivers on expectations.

The SEO Payoff

Page titles and meta descriptions, particularly the former, are too often ignored by website designers. One of the reasons for this is that modern website design platforms will automatically fill in the gap to ensure your web page works.

However, this approach results in page titles that are not optimised so won’t help your SEO. By manually writing and optimising, you will get a competitive edge.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 2 – Getting Started with a Developer

This three-part blog series explains the various stages of a website development process so that you:

  • Know what the stages are
  • Understand what you can do to help it be a success
  • Know what you can expect from your developer

This is part 2 of the series. In this blog, we’ll look at getting quotes from developers, selecting a developer, and then getting the project started.

Of course, the exact process you will experience will depend on the type of website you are developing as well as the developer’s internal processes. This blog will, however, outline the key points and stages as well as highlighting things you should consider.

Think Carefully About the Proposals Process Before Seeking Quotes from Developers

You will probably need to get quotes from website developers, so you can select one to build your new website. Before beginning this process, however, think carefully about what you are asking the developers to do.

Asking them to plan the website out, give you an idea of the structure, and/or create a specification document, could be viewed as asking for free work.

If you can’t provide this information to developers so they can prepare a proposal, and the developer can’t cost the job without the information, you should consider investing in a needs analysis process. This involves putting together information the developer will require so they properly understand what you want to achieve.

If the website you are planning is relatively standard and you have a rough idea of the pages, content, and functionality you want, you may be able to obtain quotes without getting a needs analysis.

Select a Developer

You should now be at the point of choosing and appointing a website developer. Here are some things you should find out and understand:

  • The proposed timeframe and schedule
  • The developer’s skills, including the skills of the individuals who will be working on your project
  • What is the developer’s track record? Have you read their testimonials and case studies?
  • How much will the project cost?
  • Is everything included in that cost?
  • What are the arrangements for post-sales support and website maintenance?
  • What platform does the developer plan to use to build the website?
  • Does the developer build bespoke websites or use template designs?
  • Do you get a good feeling about the developer? Do you think you can work with the team, and are you happy they are committed to making your website a success?

First Things the Developer Will Need

Once you appoint a developer, it’s worthwhile considering the following points. Your developer is likely to ask them, probably in your first meeting. Your answers will help the developer better understand your business.

The things your developer will want to know includes:

  • The company mission statement
  • How you want your business to be perceived
  • What do visitors to your website want to achieve?
  • What is the most important message on the website?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who is your competition?
  • Why do customers choose you instead of the competition?
  • Websites you like and why
  • Websites you don’t like and why
  • How you will measure success

The Next Stages

In the third and final part of this blog series, we’ll look at the steps involved in the build process – what you can expect, what the developer will do, and how you might be involved.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 1 – Initial Planning

Many people become frustrated with website development projects. For others, the process might be smooth, but the result doesn’t live up to expectations. These situations occur when you fail to properly plan for a new website design project.

Now, before going on, you might be thinking it is up to the website designer to plan the project for you. Of course, they need a plan too, but there are also things you need to do, think about, and/or be aware of. By doing these things, you will end up with a better and more successful website.

Three Important Things to Remember Before You Start

  1. Your website is about users, not you – try not to design the website for you or from the perspective of your business. Instead, make it about the users by focusing on why they will want to visit your website and what they want to achieve by doing so.
  2. The website you get at the end of the development process is not static. In fact, you should never consider your website as being finished. A good website should be a dynamic tool that changes and adapts according to the needs of your business.
  3. The value of your website should not be underestimated. After all, it is one of the first experiences people will have with your company.

Understand that Website Development is a Marketing Function

Website development is often mistaken as being a technical task, but it’s not. Instead, website development is a marketing function. After all, your website is a marketing tool, so the process of getting a new website developed should be led by your marketing team.

Decide on the Website’s Main Objectives

What do you want your business to achieve by getting a new website? This could be any one or a combination of the following common objectives:

  • Enhance the profile of your brand
  • Make sales directly on the website (if it’s an eCommerce website)
  • Generate leads
  • Get potential customers to phone or email your business
  • Encourage people to visit your physical location
  • Register
  • Click on ads

Being clear about the objectives of your website is essential before you can move on.

What Do You Want the Website to Do?

You should also decide on the functionality you want the website to have. You don’t have to make a final list at this stage as the website developer you choose can help you with this part of the process. If there are things you want, however, list them out.

Remember as well, you might not be able to get all the functionality on your wish list. After all, you probably have a set budget that you must stay within, which may restrict the features you can have.

Two Additional Points to Consider at this Stage

  • Brand – many small businesses don’t have a brand when they decide to get a new website. If this applies in your situation, you will need to get a brand either as part of the website development process (if the developer has designers with branding and logo creation skills) or separate to it. You should factor this into your budget.
  • Domain name – if you don’t already have one, you will also need a domain name.

The Next Stages

In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at the process of selecting and beginning work with a developer.

Choosing A Platform For Your Website Project

Picking a platform for your website is an important decision for the online presence of your business. With vendors providing countless options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. The important factors you need to consider are functionality, ease of use, and reasonable pricing.

Over a decade ago, there were only HTML-based websites that were built from scratch by writing code in a plain text editor. Technology has progressed a long way since then and now there are a wide variety of solutions available, including Content Management Systems (CMS).

Nowadays, the big web development shops in New Zealand offer custom CMS platforms with promises of glory and expensive price tags. Instead of listening to a sales person, we recommended that, in the first instance, you ask yourself what you are looking for and then decide.

We are going to compare some of the popular platforms to help give you an idea of what you should pick.

Content Management Systems

What is a content management system?
A CMS is an application that allows you to create and run your website. You will get an interface where you can create and update pages, posts, and other types of content including images, videos, and more. You can also organise the content however you want to.

In addition, you can change the design of the website through the admin panel. You perform these actions by clicking buttons or by drag and drop.

There are two types of CMS: open source CMS, and custom or proprietary CMS.

Open Source CMS
An open source CMS is a platform built using code that is readily available to anyone to use, copy, edit, or redistribute. Some of the most popular open source CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

Using an open source CMS is simple – you buy your own domain, set up website hosting, and install the open source CMS on your web server. You then choose a theme for your website, add plugins for advanced functionality, and create the content.

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An open source CMS allows you great control of your website. In addition, you can create and update your website without any knowledge of coding languages. According to Yoast, the most popular open source CMS platform is WordPress. It is used on over 70 million websites around the world.

With WordPress, you can easily add pages, images, blog posts, and much more. Moreover, there are a vast number of plugins to help you easily add functionality to your website.

There are countless advantages of using the WordPress platform too. Firstly, you can create any type website – static websites, blogs, e-commerce websites, forums, membership sites, and more. Secondly, you get full ownership of your website so you can change your hosting company without losing the site. Last but not least, WordPress is fully customisable unlike custom CMS platforms and website builders.

If you are looking for a solution that is highly customised as well as being affordable without the hassle of monthly billing, you should consider this route as a proprietary CMS may not be dynamic enough for your needs.

Proprietary CMS

A propriety CMS, or custom CMS, is a platform built and maintained by a single company. This means the source code cannot be modified and you do not own the website. This type of platform is used by web companies who develop their own CMS for their clients. They typically charge a monthly fee and provide support.

Furthermore, these websites are not flexible or easily expandable. The addition of more features to your website, for example, will require manual programming by the CMS owner as you will not have access to the source code. The worst part is that you cannot migrate to any other vendor without losing your website.

As stated by GadgeTopia, we strongly discourage websites which are developed on custom CMS platforms as it is similar to renting a website rather than owning one. In addition, this option is usually expensive in long run.

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Website Builders

Website builders allow you to create websites using a drag and drop interface. You simply choose a template and customise the content. A few examples of common website builders are Wix, Weebly, Shopify, and Squarespace.

One of the best things about website builders is that your website and hosting are provided with one simple package that usually includes a free domain name. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about coding, software maintenance, or other technical aspects of owning a website.

The worst part of website builders is that you only have limited templates to choose from. The customisation options are also limited.

Ecommerce Platforms

If you want to create an online store, an e-commerce platform will be the right choice for your business. Some of the popular e-commerce platforms are Shopify, BigCommerce, and PrestaShop. These platforms allow you to quickly setup an online store without any coding experience.

One of the perks with hosted e-commerce platforms like the examples above is that you don’t have to worry about website hosting or payment processing. In addition, you get 24/7 support and transaction security. However, these platforms are extremely expensive and you cannot fully customise your website.

HTML website

If you want to go for an old-school static website which requires design and code from scratch, then you should consider this option. Simple HTML websites are good for small businesses as they are fast and user-friendly.

Pick this option if you don’t have to change your content very often. If the website requires regular maintenance or frequent content changes, you will have difficulties.

In Conclusion

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To conclude, all platforms have pros and cons but in our opinion, we prefer the open source CMS WordPress. The biggest advantage of using WordPress is that you own your website so can change your hosting company without losing the site. Also, your website is fully customisable and there is a user-friendly interface.