You’ve poured a ton of effort into driving traffic to your website. You’re tapping into the spectrum of online marketing tactics, and practicing content marketing, social media, search, email marketing and more.

New visitors begin to arrive to your website in droves.

What happens next?


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Newcomers to your website will spend just a few seconds to size up your virtual storefront and make the decision to stick around and click around, or head elsewhere.

In the digital world, “bounce rate” is the term used to describe the percentage of people who bail on your site before clicking on a second page. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, most websites suffer very high bounce rates—upwards of 50%.

Your challenge then, is to assure the visitor he or she has arrived at the right place. You want your visitors to feel comfortable. You want them to know you understand their challenge and the place they just came to is where they will be able to solve it.

It’s Connection Time

The visitor’s done his part. He’s arrived. Now it’s time to do yours. You need to connect: visually, emotionally, and literally.

Let’s take a look now at some of the leading reasons why disconnects occur and how you can overcome these challenges.

The place is messy.

Most companies (especially those with vast resources on their sites) feel compelled to populate their home page and key landing pages with all kinds of choices. Links to this and that. Multiple menus. News feeds. Numerous widgets. Case studies. Slider animations showcasing a variety of services or solutions.

Though it is understood that an interested visitor is perfectly willing to scroll down the page, millions still cling to the idea that numerous content components should “appear above the fold,” meaning visible at first glance.

This archaic approach results in visual noise. The place is messy and the effect created is confusing. Just as you’d be turned off by walking into the lobby of a business and be instantly bombarded with everything in it, you’ll respond negatively to sensory overload when first discovering a website.

A more modern, practical, and effective approach calls for simplicity, elegance, and cleanliness. Embrace white space. Allow your navigation bar to do its job, giving visitors the guidance they need to discover additional information.

Note how Fitbit embraces white space and simplicity on its elegant, non-fussy home page.
Note how Fitbit embraces white space and simplicity on its elegant, non-fussy home page.

Develop a single “hero shot” (an image) and headline that quickly communicates to the visitor the value of spending time on your website. Organize the rest of your page top-down with a short series of links to the content you believe will be most appealing for first-timers.

Be selective. If you begin to suspect your page is getting busy, be assured it is. Nix it.

Failing the F test.

“There’s this amazingly scientific, oft-cited study that unamazingly reveals users fix their eyes first and foremost in an F-shaped patter on the page,” writes Barry Feldman in his eBook, “21 Pointers to Sharpen Your Website.”

The passage continues, “Use the F space wisely by showcasing a clean logo, the site’s navigation, contacts, shortcuts and whichever elements are most important for engaging your visitor.”

Note that Zopim adheres to the conclusions of eye-tracking research by placing its logo in the upper left corner where visitors first look.
Note that Zopim adheres to the conclusions of eye-tracking research by placing its logo in the upper left corner where visitors first look.

Heed this advice and make no compromises here. The intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines of an uppercase F is the top left spot on your website. Your logo belongs there. Resist the urge to challenge convention. Go with this strategy making absolutely sure to attach your brand to the user experience with its foremost signature: your logo.

Of course, if you’re a startup or an even an established company lacking confidence in your logo’s ability to immediately evoke a positive response, make no compromises with its design. Task an experienced professional with developing a number of logo options for your consideration or explore a powerful do-it-yourself resource such as

No one’s home

Imagine a store where it’s impossible to find help. The place may be spotless. The aisles may be clearly marked. There might even be a vast selection of stuff to read or view. Still, you have questions. It sure would be nice if there were an expert available to help you out.

If you could easily offer high-touch customer service to help accommodate the needs of your shoppers, why wouldn’t you? Though it seems blatantly obvious you should greet your visitors and offer them an opportunity to ask questions there and then—when they’re doing their research or shopping—few companies actually do.

Live chat has proven to be an effective solution for engaging visitors during the online experience. It’s not pushy or passive. On the contrary, it’s practical and personal. You can emulate the physical shopping experience by simply saying, “Hello” and “How can I help you?”

A great article from KISSmetrics offers “5 Reasons Why Live Chat is the Untapped Potential for Your Business.” The bullets there highlight the benefits of live chat:

  • Is convenient for customers
  • Cuts expenses
  • Increases sales
  • Gives you a competitive edge
  • Effectively addresses customer pain points

Goodbye’s no good

As they say in sales, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

If you intend for your website to play a useful role in your marketing and sales process, you need to make a great first impression by employing smart design and putting helpful customer service tools in place.

Remember, your visitor will do one of two things: stay or go. Go means saying goodbye to potential sales.

You don’t want to say goodbye. Say hello.