The importance of website retention and ways to reduce your site’s bounce ratio

With today’s improved software, servers, and coding technologies, it’s now easier than ever to set up and start running a website – whether that be just a simple blog or a full-blown corporate showcase or e-commerce site.

However, one problem unites all website owners – namely, keeping users engaged once they visit your site and avoiding that dreaded click back to Google or another search engine to find alternate content. Even the world’s biggest and most successful websites can suffer from low user retention – so just how can you keep a visitor’s attention once you’ve managed the equally hard task of getting them to come to your site in the first place?

Key ingredients for higher visitor retention

Most web admins are aware of the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and web marketing to get found in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and generate traffic. However, this really is only half the battle. With the majority of sites earning money through either advertising, sponsorship, product recommendations, or selling goods online, generating traffic is only the first step in a long battle to keep visitors engaged.

If you find your site suffers from high bounce rates and click backs, below are some tried and tested tips you could try to make visitors stay longer on your site:

Content rules online: While it may be 25 years since Bill Gates famously penned his seminal essay, “Content is King”, the sentiment rings as true today as ever. Without exception, if you look at the world’s most popular and successful websites, one thing unites them all – namely quality text, images, video, etc. If you want Rule 101 of keeping visitors on your site for longer, concentrate on producing the best quality content you can. Also, don’t discount the notion of User Generated Content (UGC), where you allow your visitors to post their own material on your site.

Bring added value: Even if you have the best website possible, you could still move things up a gear by offering visitors a unique experience or added service. For example, rather than serving static pages, perhaps think about building a dedicated web application to run alongside your main material that addresses a specific problem or makes life easier for your users. Think about approaching a web application development company to get ideas of what might be possible for your particular market.

Feature interactive content: Almost as an off-shoot of the above (though often considerably easier to create), you should consider featuring interactive content on your pages to engage users more. Quizzes, surveys, interactive video, etc., can work wonders for keeping visitors glued to your site.

Encourage conversation: While there has been a decided shift away from allowing replies on blog posts and forums, etc., conversation helps build a sense of belonging, which, in turn, can help build communities. Rather than simply turning off the comments feature on your blog (or other) website posts, spend some time filtering and monitoring them, publishing those that are worthy of being featured (even ones you don’t like). There are few things better than a sense of community for higher retention rates – plus for giving people that all-important incentive to return.