I originally wrote this a little over a year ago. I re-read it and I think it still applies. If you are running a blog you should take a moment to read this. Read my 6 Sure Fire Ways Visitors Will Hit the Back Button When They Visit Your Blog.
1. Your Website is S-L-O-W
This is my #1 reason for visitors hitting the Back Button on your site and go back to looking at LOL Cats.
So if your page is taking 5 minutes to load the possible reasons for this are:
- You have way too many plug-ins (or poorly written ones!)
- You haven’t optimized your site in any way
- Your images aren’t optimized
- Your host provider sucks (as in the Linux computer you have in your Mom’s basement).
Either way I’m not going to stick around even if your content is AWESOME!
But there are ways to fix this! I’ll briefly list some possible fixes below:
Remove un-necessary plug-ins. Not all plug-ins are bad (just the poorly coded ones that do much). But you should figure out if there is a snippet of code that does it instead as it will load much faster than the plug-in you currently have installed.
A few of my “Must Have” Plug-ins:
I’ve only listed 3 of them. But if you want the full list of ones I recommend you can click here for them!
- W3-Total Cache – When you have this configured correctly it can dramatically reduce the load times of your site!
- WP-Optimize - This tool will keep your database optimized and running in tip-top shape.
- Better WordPress Minify - This takes the multiple CSS scripts and smushes them into one large file. Also it will remove any type of “white space” making it easier for computers to interpret.
My suggestion? Pay for a 3rd Party framework such as Thesis (affiliate link), Genesis or Headway It might be a pain to setup in the beginning. But it will pay off after you have your site running with them!
Change Your Web Hosting Service
You should anyways if you have had terrible customer service or poor performance issues. Do your research and find out what other bloggers use (and not just their affiliate links!). A few popular ones to use are Blue Host or Host Gator. I have used Host Gator personally for past projects and I can attest to not only having fast servers but awesome customer service (See? No Affiliate Link!)
Switch to Self-Hosted
A special note on if you are using a free service such as Blogger or WordPress.com. I would suggest switching to a self-hosted solution. Not only is it faster, but it portrays a better overall image and level of professionalism to visitors. Plus – you get a sense of ownership!
2. You Have a Pop Up Blocking Your Content
I understand. Really I do. You want to build up your Facebook Likes, Mail Subscription Rates, or have some type of awesome mailing list to sign up for or product you want to sell me. It is a great strategy that can and does work
You need to be very careful that your not losing visitors with pop-ups. Make sure to test and make sure your pop-ups are converting your visitors to subscribers/customers etc. If you find that you are losing them instead of gaining them? You need to re-evaluate your use of them.
Email Opt-In Forms
Provide Email Opt-In Forms instead on your blog or website. Although they might take up some choice real estate – take down the Google Ad and put the sign up form there instead! I’m talking about in that top corner of your Blog! You know it’s the first thing people see when they visit your blog? Add another one down above the comment section too! Oh, and if you want people to find out more information about a product? Have the sign up IN the article itself! And another place where it has been effective (even for my little blog) has been in the About and Contact Me pages. (You do have those on your site correct?)
If I visit your site and you wish to sell me something? Do NOT rub it in my face like I’ve been a bad dog who doodied on your living room floor. That is a sure fire way for me to not only hit the back button but will ensure I will never visit your site again.
Instead have a tasteful ad on your sidebar. Or you can offer it above the Comments section of your blog. Or even better is to have a special Landing Page just for your product! And try and make it look professional looking! Don’t make it look like some type of page from the 1990’s – to me that just screams “IT’S A SCAM RUN AWAY!”.
3. You Have Too Many Ads
I understand you want to make a buck. I’m sure most people blogging do. We all need to eat, pay for hosting costs, or buy a Hawaiian island. But if your site has too many advertisements this is another big turnoff for potential visitors.
Visitors want to see your CONTENT. What I don’t want to see are poorly placed Google Ads or every other word I highlight over popup with an advertisement. If you look at a recent guest post on avgjoegeek.net you can read a great article on ad placement there.
Read More: Ad Relevance and Effective Ad Implementation
The general idea for ad placement is to try to make it as unobtrusive as possible while still placing them so people will click on them. It’s a fine line between flooding a site with too many ads vs. having ads that still perform well.
4. You Use Generic Stock Images
So you have great content, a well designed site, proper ad placement, product placement, and email opt-in forms. Why would you ruin it with Stock Images? Nothing says “I could care less about your experience” than using a generic stock image. As soon as a visitor sees the generic smiling face with a headset on – they are outta there and could care less about your content.
You see these all over the place on the web as it is. So don’t be guilty of taking that final shortcut and use them! Get creative! Use pictures you have taken yourself. Or ask photographers if you can use their images.
Another reason as to why you shouldn’t use stock images? More and more social media sites are starting to use your images like Pinterest, Tumblr or StumbleUpon. If you want your content shared on these sites – it is imperative that you think about the imagery you use on your site.
5. Your Content Sucks
Of course you could have the best designed site in the world. But if you’re posting ‘Top 10 Basket Weaving Techniques’ on your Tech blog? Visitors are not going to read any more than the title – give a sigh, shake there heads and click the back button never to visit your site again. Below are a few tips to ensure visitors will keep reading!
Make sure your content is relevant to your niche or topics on your blog. Stick to the topic! If your running out of material to write about? Ask for a guest blog post. Or do a List post. Make a post about your old content. Do an interview. Or anything as long as it is relevant to your blogs overall topic!
I admit it. I am a grammar nazi. And with so many spell checkers, dictionaries online, even the one in WordPress sort of works. There is no reason as to why you should have a misspelled word in your post. Or improper use of wording (which I’m sure I’ll have a few too *grr*). So do your best and before hitting that publish button re-read your post and check for grammar! Believe me it helps.
Writing for People
Although you have seen a BILLION posts on how to write for SEO, Create Killer Titles, Make sure your keyword density blah blah blah. They forget to tell you one very important fact. Write for people – not search engines. Sure it is important to sprinkle SEO into your article. But write for those who will be reading your content first. Because if I see something that looks like it has been scraped and re-written poorly? *Poof* there I go clicking the back button and you will have lost a reader for life.
6. You Don’t Moderate Your Comments
The final straw for visitors to ensure they never visit your blog again? You don’t moderate your comments! I know part of the mystical formula that is Google’s Page Rank is to get a ton of Comments. But not moderating them is actually worse than having no Comments at all!
Having spammy comments, links to porn, pharmacy sites, or other spam sites will hurt your site more than if you only have 1-2 comments from real people. Not to mention it will turn away your visitors if they see you don’t care enough to moderate your Comments section.
Some ways to fix the Spam on your site though are pretty simple:
Install Anti-Spam Software
Make sure you are using SPAM plugins like Akismet or GASP. They might not filter it all out. But they will filter out a large majority!
Get a Comment Plugin
There is a ton out there though. Personally I prefer CommentLuv though it might promote spammy visitors but has great tools to block it as well! Some other great alternatives are DISQUS, LiveFyre, and even Facebook has one now which could replace your Comment section entirely!
Although I am personally against Captchas – they can be quite effective at fighting off the Spam from your site. There is the default one that comes with WordPress – or a ton of other options.
What to Take Away From This?
If what you are doing is working? Then by no means change it! If that pop-up is getting you tons of sales or email subscribers – then don’t worry about it!
Now if you think I am pointing my finger at you? Then you should audit your blog and work on making some changes. Remember that blogs are always changing – so nothing is wrong if you’re making them for the positive! But make sure you test them to make sure they don’t hurt your blog instead of helping it grow!
Did I miss anything? Leave a comment below!
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