5 reasons visitors leave your website (and how you can fix them)


Jonathan Herrick, Hatchbuck

You’ve invested a significant chunk of money and a good amount of effort into your online marketing and SEO strategies. And it’s starting to pay off. Well, sort of.

People are coming to your website. Unfortunately, they’re not staying.

Bounce rate is something every business must be concerned with today because it’s a measure of how well you are engaging with and nurturing leads. If visitors to your site are clicking away in mere seconds, you’re missing out on the opportunity to convert them into paying customers, which means you’re ultimately losing money.

So what gives? Here’s a quick rundown of the most common reasons people skip out on a website or landing page and—more importantly—how to prevent them from skipping out on yours.


1. Slow load times

Research indicates that the average website visitor will spend just 15 seconds deciding whether to stay or move on. Logically speaking, if your site or landing page takes even a fraction of that time to load, your risk of losing visitors skyrockets.

How does your site measure up? You can test it using resources like PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom. Or simply head over to one of your competitor’s sites. If their website is faster, then yours is too slow.

To fix a slow-loading site, stay away from large files, too much media, and too many flashy page effects. Instead, ditch the theatrics, and focus on delivering your message in a clear, concise, and straightforward way.


2. Poor design and functionality

Even if your site loads at lightning speed, if the way it looks and feels is lacking, you’ll quickly lose the interest of your visitors. Pages that are overcrowded, feature lousy content, have broken links, or are difficult to navigate only serve to frustrate users and drive them away.

On the other hand, a site that features a clear, cohesive, and visually appealing design, well-developed copy, relevant links, and easy navigation provides a positive user experience that can help convince visitors to stick around.

There are loads of free tools that will help you more effectively think through and map out your on-site experience so that your website is optimized for the best possible outcome—more customers for your business.

And since more than half of all web traffic is now generated through mobile devices, optimizing your site so it’s responsive to any device is an absolute must.


3. Reaching the wrong audience

Another common reason for a high bounce rate is that the wrong audience is being targeted. If your ideal customer is a woman between the ages of 35 and 45 but the traffic being driven to your site is comprised mostly of senior men, you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

This, of course, has less to do with the site itself and more to do with your inbound marketing and SEO efforts. For instance, if you’re using Facebook Ads and you haven’t set the parameters to match your ideal client, you’re wasting your money.

Honing your advertising and marketing approach won’t prevent visitors from bouncing entirely, but it will remove from the equation people who weren’t going to engage with your brand in the first place.


4. Complex or confusing copy

Since you have just a few precious seconds to capture the attention of your web visitors, it’s absolutely imperative that you do so with clear, concise, and easy-to-understand copy. This is especially true of landing pages, which, by design, should have only one purpose, whether it’s downloading an ebook, signing up for a free trial, setting up an appointment, or buying now.

If your message isn’t straightforward and easy to grasp quickly, you will lose business—plain and simple.

To prevent this, make sure your copy quickly conveys what you have to offer and includes a strong, compelling call to action. Landing pages should be relevant to whatever ads are driving traffic to them. And, lastly, the process of getting your audience to take action should be fast and easy.


5. Improper tracking

If your website gets an A+ in all of the above categories and you’ve done absolutely everything you can think of to optimize for incoming traffic, maybe your site isn’t the problem. Most businesses use Google Analytics to track their web stats—it’s free and easy. But if you haven’t set up your tracking tag properly, you’re not getting the right data. Of all the fixes we’ve mentioned, this is probably the easiest to address. Google even has a handy tag assistant to help you out.

Whether it’s a sluggish page with poorly arranged content, contradictory or confusing messages or you’re simply going after the wrong audience, bounces equate to missed opportunities. The key to success is fixing what’s fixable. Addressing the five key areas above should help you keep visitors’ attention longer and improve your chances of converting them into paying customers.


Jonathan Herrick is president, co-founder, and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform based in St. Louis. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by over 2,000%. A purpose-driven leader in all aspects, Jonathan has a passion for cultivating his team’s culture, spending time with his family, and making a difference in the St. Louis community.