You analytics may give you a good indication as to how people are reacting and responding to your site, but what about those visitors who leave as quickly as they came?

Visitors who leave your site in under a few minutes are difficult to track. Who knows what turned them off? Who knows if it was even anything to do with your website?

One way that you can determine how long people are spending on your site is to look at your bounce rate.

Your bounce rate is:

“The percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.”

Determining whether your bounce rate is good or bad will depend on your industry and the type of landing page you have designed, but roughly speaking a bounce rate of-

  • 90-100% would be considered awful
  • 55-89% would indicate serious room for improvement
  • 40-54% would indicate that you are in the average range for most websites
  • 26-39% would indicate that you are performing really well and better than 80 percent of most websites
  • 0-25% may indicate that you are meddling with black magic- less than 6 percent of sites have this kind of bounce rate and if you are one of them, stop reading and keep doing what you are doing!

According to Google Analytics guru, Avinash Kausik-

“It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20 percent, anything over 35 percent is cause for concern, above 50 percent is worrying.”

Now, take all of this with a pinch of salt. You can’t just look at your bounce rates on their own. You also need to look at the average time users are spending on your site and how your customers are converting.

If you have a bounce rate of about 80 percent but the average user is spending 5 minutes on your site, it may not necessarily be cause for concern.

If you are experimenting with different traffic sources and still trying to find your niche audience, you may also find that your bounce rate is a little higher than normal.

What high bounce rates can tell us without a doubt however, is that there is room for improvement.

Discovering what turns your audience off is not difficult to do. In fact, time and time again we see that its generally the same 15 factors that cause people to leave your site prematurely.

We are going to share with you these 15 factors and what you can do to fix them so you can stop destroying your business.

15 Website Design Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Business (and How You Can Fix Them): 

1. Your Site Takes Forever to Load

By forever we really mean 3 seconds or more. Yes, unfortunately most people have a very short attention span when it comes to waiting for websites to load.

According to a report conducted by KISSmetrics, over 47 percent of consumers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less and 40 percent abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. In fact, for every one second delay, customer satisfaction rates drop by 16 percent.

Furthermore, another study conducted by Ericsson found that the longer it takes your website to load, the more your visitors are likely to blame your brand and business for the slow webpage rather than their internet connection.

Let’s face it, if your website loads in more than 4 seconds, you are destroying your business and creating a poor brand image in the eyes of your customers.

The good news is that getting your website to load faster is a fairly easy fix. Here are some strategies for you to follow-

  • Optimise your images:
    • ensure that your images are JPG not PNG/BMP/TIFF
    • Crop your images to the correct size
    • Reduce the color depth to the lowest possible level
  • Use Browser Caching: this saves some of the files on your user’s browser so they load faster
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN), this helps your information reach users in different locations faster
  • Compress the bandwith of your pages
  • Use only one external CSS stylesheet as additional stylesheets slow down your site
  • Reduce the number of plugins on your site (delete any unnecessary plugins)

If you want to take a more specific look at how your website can load faster, try running it through Google’s PageSpeed checker to learn what the trouble areas are on your site.

2. Your Site is not Optimised for Mobile

It can be painful to navigate a website on your phone that is not mobile friendly. Today, with so many people using their phone to access the web, you need to make sure that your site is not only compatible on mobile devices, but that it also loads and works efficiently.

If your site is not mobile friendly it is also likely that you are also being penalised by Google and other search engines, causing your site to not getting the visibility it deserves.

In order to put an end to this and to create a better customer experience, you need to create a mobile friendly web design. You can read more about this here.

3. Your Site Has Poor Navigation

If a user can’t go to your site and find what they are looking for quickly and easily, chances are they are going to bounce right on out of there.

A study conducted by Small Business Trends found that 80 percent of small B2B websites lacked a call to action, which made it extremely difficult for users to navigate the page.

If you don’t have a specific direction for your visitors to move in when they come to your page, it causes them to flounder, get lost and essentially leave in search of another website.

Ways to counteract this and direct your visitors in a logical way includes having-

  • A navigation bar/ menu
  • A search tool
  • A clear call to action (highlighted in a different colour so it stands out)

You also need to ensure that visitors know exactly what to expect when they come to your webpage so they are not wasting time looking for something that you can’t help them with.

Be sure that when someone comes to your website for the first time that you have clearly communicated in the first 5 seconds of them opening the page- what you can do, how you can help them and what they need to do to get your help.

4. Your Site Has Excessive Pop Ups

There is nothing worse then coming to a website and being bombarded with pop ups. While pop ups are a great way to build your list and get visitors engaged in your website, having more than two can be detrimental.

Studies have also found that visitors get annoyed when the call to actions on your pop ups are also pushy or force the user to feel guilty. This includes pop ups that use copy like- “no thanks, I don’t want to have an awesome life”, which makes users feel guilty for opting out.

There are tactful and tasteful ways to use pop ups which include-

  • Using them in moderation
  • Optimising your pop ups to show for the right kind of visitors
  • Tracking your pop ups to see what effect they are having on your conversion rates
  • Using positive copy that does not make your visitors feel pushed or guilty
  • Experimenting with slide in CTA’s instead (these are becoming popular and are far less invasive)

5. Your Site Has Multimedia That Automatically Plays 

Have you ever clicked onto a website and had a video or audio file automatically start playing? Not only does it startle you, but if you are at work or in the middle of a quiet waiting room your first reaction is going to be to close the page.

Having audio content that automatically plays is not only a turn off to your visitors but it also shows a lack of courtesy. If your content is valuable, your visitors don’t need to be force fed it, so consider changing your strategy if you have this as a feature on your page.

One way around this would be to autoplay a video but with the sound off. Both Facebook and Instagram have success with this type of strategy and if your video has subtitles, visitors will still be able to take in your message without being worried about the sound.

6. Your Site is Distracting 

Flashing lights, loud music and neon signs may be great for a casino in Vegas, but not so great for your webpage.

Even though you may think your distractions look pretty, often they only serve to confuse your visitors and take them further away from your desired action.

Research has also found that if a user can’t find what they are looking for on your page in under 5 seconds, they are likely to hit the back button on their browser.

If you do have: – animations, autoplay videos, pop ups, blinking banners, flashing ads and lots of colourful images, you may find that they are helping to increase your bounce rate and confuse your users.

Keep your web page design very simple and clean. Try to only offer a few “clickable” features and make sure that your visitors can find what they are looking for easily and without fan fare.

7. Your Site Uses Cheesy Stock Photography 

Cheesy stock photography was accepted back in the 90’s but not so much anymore. Today, people want to see the real you. They want to see your team, your vision and even your fluffy cat Mr. Pickles.

When visitors see cheesy stock images it causes them to become skeptical of your brand and confuses them as to who they are really dealing with.

Especially if you are looking to develop life long relationships with your customers or clients, its so important that you open up and share an honest photo of yourself and your team.

Research also supports this theory and has found that businesses that promote real images often convert better than businesses that don’t.

If you must use stock images, try to make them look as realistic as possible and definitely stay away from generic, forced images.

8. Your Site Doesn’t Offer Multiple Points of Contact

Contact forms are not reassuring. Contact forms are also very generic. How is your customer or visitor to know that you will even look at your contact form, or if the contact form is the best way to reach you for their particular query?

When it comes to building trust and making your brand more appealing you have to offer multiple points of contact, not just a generic “contact me” form.

These points of contact could include-

  • Your office address
  • Your phone number
  • A dedicated email address for a specific query
  • A live chat feature
  • Social Media

9. Your Content is Not Scannable

If any of the content on your page is delivered in large chunks of text, chances are it is going to be a turn-off for your visitors.

While it is ok to offer detail or long blog posts, they need to be formatted in a way that is easy to read and broken down into bullet lists, dot points or clear cut paragraphs.

The same applies for your home page, product descriptions and sales pages. You only have a few seconds to grab your readers attention, so make sure that your content is scannable so your readers can easily determine if they want to continue reading.

Some ways to create scannable content includes-

  • Using bullet points, numbered lists and subheadings
  • Making sure your copy is to the point and precise
  • Offering a brief product description before a more detailed one
  • Using clear and easy to read fonts
  • Bolding and highlighting certain words
  • Offering a conclusion or summary to your longer blog posts
  • Adding visuals such as graphs, tables and infographs to help deliver information

10. Your Site Requires an Account or Registration 

One of the easiest ways to turn away a visitor is to make it difficult to access your content. This includes asking a visitor to create an account or insert their email address in order to keep reading.

When you do this, it not only frustrates your visitor but it also makes them leave your site in search of another that won’t make them jump through any hoops to get information.

The same applies for your checkout process. Requiring people to make an account in order to check out, adds more effort and another reason to not purchase your product.

If you offer a specific service that is accessible only by an account that is one thing, but if you are doing it to help build leads, you may want to reconsider your strategy.

Remember, the less barriers you have between you and your customers, the easier it will be to encourage them to purchase.

11. Your Content is Stuffed with Keywords (and it’s obvious)

Strategically lacing keywords throughout your copy is an art form, however stuffing your content with keywords just for the sake of SEO is not only going to annoy your customers but also hurt your business.

Keyword stuffing generally leads to poorly written content, so even if your readers may have no idea what a keyword even is, chances are your stuffing strategy will backfire.

The general rule for SEO is that you want your keywords to be in the headline of your page and featured in the body of your content at least once, that’s it. Anymore than that and you risk being penalised by Google and you risk the integrity of your content.

SEO is a delicate strategy, so if you need help with it, read more here. 

12. Your Site Doesn’t Have Social Sharing Buttons

If you want to grow your social profile, develop your brand and engage with your audience you not only have to be on social media, but you also have to include social sharing buttons on your site.

This allows your readers to share your interesting content with their friends and followers, which helps to increase traffic to your site and enhance your reputation.

There are many services out there that provide beautiful social sharing buttons that can be integrated into every type of website. These include social sharing bars that float, social sharing bars in your footer, social sharing bars in your header and so on.

Having a tally of how many social shares your content has received also helps to build social proof and can make your customers more trusting of your brand.

13. Your Website is Out of Date or Contains Broken Links

If the last time you updated your website was 1999 you may  have a problem. Keeping your website updated shows your customers that you are actively participating in your business and that there is actually someone reliable running the show.

While most businesses do a pretty good job at updating their website, many forget that it is also important to continually test and tweak site elements in order to keep improving.

You may have the prettiest website in all of history, but if it is not converting your customers, it may not be so pretty after all.

When it comes to updating your website, it is also important that you routinely check links to ensure they are not broken and stay on top of glitches as soon as they occur.

Most plugins also need to be regularly updated, so be sure you keep up to date with these and monitor that your updated plugin is not tampering with your site.

14. Your Site Contains Too Many Ads

Ads can be a great way to monetise your site, but if you use too many it can quickly become frustrating to your readers.

As a general rule, your site should not contain more ads than content. Your ads should also not be the first thing that your readers see, nor should your users be faced with a different set of adds every time they hit the scroll button.

Pop up ads can also be highly invasive and can distract your visitors from the main intention or goal of your page.

Monetising from ads alone is a definitely not a good long term strategy, so if you are running a blog you may want to think about supplementing your ad income with a product, ebook or ecourse.

While there is nothing wrong with running ads on your site, you want to make sure that they are tasteful and blend in seamlessly with the layout and existing content of your site.

You also need to properly test your ads to see if they are actually helping or hindering your business.

15. Your Site Lacks Personality

Nobody wants to do business with a brand that is dry. Today, people go in search of products, businesses and companies that stand for something and have a personality.

A recent study conducted by the Millward Brown Agency discovered-

“There is a relationship between the way brands express themselves in different countries and the strength of the consumer relationships they generate.”

For example, in their study Millward Brown found-

  • Australia: prefers in control and generous personalities
  • USA: prefers in control, wise and generous personalities
  • India: prefers friendly, adventurous and caring personalities
  • France: prefers in control, assertive and creative personalities
  • China: prefers wise, caring, creative, straightforward and brave personalities
  • Japan: prefers creative and fun personalities

While the personality you communicate will ultimately depend on your target audience and who you are trying to cater to, this study does prove that personality matters and is an important part of your brand identity.


To summarise in a list, here are the top 15 website design mistakes that are destroying your business and alienating your visitors-

  1. Slow site load time
  2. Unresponsive design or not mobile compatible
  3. Poor navigation
  4. Excessive Pop Ups
  5. Multimedia that autoplays
  6. Too many distractions
  7. Fake stock images
  8. Lack of contact information
  9. Content that can’t be scanned
  10. Requires an account or registration
  11. Content is keyword stuffed
  12. Lack of social sharing buttons
  13. Out of date design or broken links
  14. Too many ads
  15. Lacks personality

The good news is that all of these factors are easily fixed and can significantly help you to improve your bounce rate, conversion rates and sales.