The case for a focus on your website
This blog post will talk about having a focus on websites and in social media.
There was a time when websites were measured by hits. Some still are, even though, a website isn’t responsible for the visitor (how can it be?). Hits are a good measure of marketing, but not of a website. A Website can only get people into it (then back to it).
So a true measure of a website is the bounce rate. The bounce rate is simply this:
The percentage number of people who come to a site and don’t click a link.
The bounce rate is the true measure of a corporate or brand website. Avinash Kaushik says it really means this: I came, I puked, I left.
The bounce rate is a clear indication that the page lacks a focus (with the exceptiuon of media companies — they might have high bounce rates if people skim headlines and don’t actually click the articles).
But, when talking about brand or corporate sites, chances are if people come to a site and don’t do anything, it’s because the site was not designed to tell them what to so. Sites have top navigation and left navigation and even bottom navigation. Then around all this navigation they fill the space with stuff. Lots of stiff.
The eye doesn’t always know where to go, and the copy doesn’t tell the people what to do.
And yet, there’s a good example out there to copy. It’s one of the most famous websites in the world, and I’ll bet it has a bounce rate in the single digits. When you come to the site, there are a lot of options, but one really jumps out.
On this page, there are 15 links. Included in that list is a more that if clicked, opens a drop down menu that includes another 12 links plus an “Even More”.
Yes, it’s Google. But its clean and it works. This is a company trying to be one thing to people. Why can’t brands do that? Why can’t there be a Print Ad-like focus on web sites?
I think the answer is found in the way the internet was sold. It was “the world wide web”, meaning with this new marketing tool, one could literally market to the world. So websites were designed to be everything for everyone.
I even remember, in the early days of doing websites, an account person saying to me that she didn’t think her dad would like the website. Even though the brand’s target market was a lot younger than her dad.
Point is, websites rarely say “I want you to do this”. Google’s does, and they are multi-billionaires. Maybe there’s a lesson there?
Next week, how this applies to social media.
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