What are the top reasons people exit a site, and what can be done about it?

What are the top reasons people exit a site, and what can be done about it?

Your website can make or break your business, and if you're exclusively online, your website is your public facing business. While a bad website can quickly scare away potential customers, a good site will experience visitors who take their time shopping and ultimately buy from their business.

Visitors come to your website to learn more about your business, products and services. It’s crucial that you invest invest time into making sure your website reflects your brand appropriately and features your products effectively. Otherwise, consumers may leave your site for better options.

If you're finding that visitors are unexpectedly exiting your site, it's important to understand why. Were they simply uninterested in your product or were there other factors preventing them from going further down the purchase funnel?

Bounce Rate Vs. Exit Rate

Let’s first discuss the difference between a bounce rate and an exit rate.

A bounce rate is the percentage of single-engagement sessions on your site. This occurs whenever a user enters your site via one page and exits without visiting another page during their time on the site. The customer came, saw, and left without engaging, clicking, or interacting with anything else on your site.

An exit rate is the percentage of exits on a particular page from both single-page and multi-page sessions. The exit page is the page that was the last in the session. For example, the user may have entered your site on your home page, read your About Us section, and looked at a product or two and then left the site. The product page would be the page they exited on.

While bounce rates on an ecommerce site are most often times seen as bad, an exit rate isn't always a bad thing. If the majority of users are exiting your site on the 'order confirmation' page, well then, that's great news for you. They shopped, completed their purchase, and no longer need to remain on your site.

If your webpage has a high exit rate when the page is meant to push the user further down your conversion funnel (a product page for example) you’ll need to determine why people are leaving. Below, we’ve listed some common reasons visitors may be exiting your site and how to tackle them.

Couldn’t find what they were looking for

If a visitor is on your site, they are likely in search of a specific product or service. If they can't quickly find that product or service, chances are, they'll give up and look somewhere else. Your goal is to guide visitors through your site with the expectation that they'll make it all the way through the checkout process. If this isn't happening, you may want to take a deeper look at the layout of your site.

Solution: Try to keep things as simple as possible by keeping your site navigation clean and simple. If the visitor feels like they can easily navigate your site to find what they looking for, they will be more likely to shop around for a bit. Don’t overwhelm visitors with unnecessary links, this creates distractions and makes navigating your site more complicated.

The little things add up

Impress in eight seconds or less

When it comes to your website, unfortunately, it’s going to be judged by its cover. How good your site looks will probably determine whether visitors stay or leave.

The eight second rule refers to the length of time you have to convince most visitors to stay on your site. The rule exists because most sites lose 50% or more of their visitors within the first eight seconds of arrival.

Load fast

Poor website loading speed can be extremely harmful to businesses. Most consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of shoppers have said they will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Be error-free

Nothing screams “don’t shop here” like misspelled words and grammatical errors. And on the technical side, broken links and 404 pages not only make a site look messy and unmaintained, but create a huge headache for users. These types of performance issues have become unacceptable, so much so that 79% of shoppers that are dissatisfied with a website's performance are less likely to buy from that site again

Solution: Services like the McAfee SECURE website diagnostics tool can help monitor websites for simple human errors that make websites look unprofessional. The tool scans your site for little mistakes that can have a big impact on revenue, for example: slow-loading pages, broken links, missing images, and 404 pages.

They don’t feel secure

If your site has a high bounce rate, it could be because your visitors don’t feel safe shopping on your website. Creating trust makes your users feel comfortable, and more likely to spend time on your site.

76% of people have said that trust seals did affect their sense of trust in a particular website. Trust seals are more significant for smaller and lesser known retailers, as they offer some form of reassurance to first time shoppers.

Solution: The best way to show your customers that you are a trustworthy seller is to display a third-party trustmark that tells users that your website is secure. Because people feel more confident when they recognize a brand, 84% of consumers have greater confidence in trustmarks they know compared to trustmarks they’ve never seen before.

Too many distractions

Ads shouldn’t be the first thing visitors see, and they shouldn’t take up more of your site’s real estate than its actual content. 70% of Americans say they get annoyed by irrelevant ads which is understandable because it interrupts the user's experience. Perhaps nothing is more annoying than a video playing in the background that has nothing to do with what you are looking for.

Solution: Avoid using videos that automatically stream because it ruins the user experience. People want to decide for themselves when and if they want to watch a video, or listen to audio. Limit the number of popups you show to your audience and remember to keep the ads relevant. Consider using targeting options to ensure visitors don't see the same modals or offers over and over.

Wrapping up

Having a great looking site is simply not enough. It needs to be great throughout the shopping experience. A site that is updated, easy to navigate, free from errors, not cluttered with pop-ups and videos, and trustworthy will not only bring visitors back, but encourage new visitors to stay longer.