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Too Many Visitors Leaving From Home Page
Posted 13 June 2006 - 01:50 PM
Does anyone out there know of a tool that will help me figure out why so many visitors are leaving my site from the home page?
Posted 13 June 2006 - 02:16 PM
Posted 13 June 2006 - 02:25 PM
1. For those that are coming to your home page through search engines, what keywords are they using. Does your homepage address the needs of these users very quickly, or do they need to do some digging.
2. Does the site look professional or a mess, are links layed out clearly?
3. Pick up the book called "Dont Make Me Think" by Steve Krug.
Posted 13 June 2006 - 05:06 PM
That's really not that unusual either. You probably don't have to worry about it.
Posted 13 June 2006 - 08:17 PM
Definitely, people who come to your site don't see what they are looking for or have already found it in your homepage and there is no need to go further inside. Most likely the reason is the former.
Perhaps a lot of people who come to your site through search engine results or through links were not your target audience so it's obviously not of their interest.
Posted 14 June 2006 - 03:54 AM
"Also, a good portion of those are either typing in my URL directly or searching for my company name"Is your company name similar to a brand someplace . Eg sky is a common word but it is also a really big satellite broadcasting company. If a lot of people are finding you through your company name and then leaving, maybe the calls to action on the front page are not good enough, and, as pointed out above, they find what they want and leave. If you have all the information needed on the front page, then why would they go deeper?
Posted 14 June 2006 - 09:46 AM
Many times it is your clients who think getting the number or address off the site is faster than looking it up.
Posted 14 June 2006 - 01:56 PM
I found a similar percentage of visitors leaving from my home page until I did a better job of filtering robots out. Bots that revisit my pages generally do so directly without crawling a path through the site, as if they were "typing in" my URLs. They don't stay long, either.
Standard filtering of bots in the reader software I use is not sufficient. I have had to find ways to identify bots that squeek through and filter them out specifically. This has improved the usefulness of my reports a tad.
Posted 14 June 2006 - 04:44 PM
But I have a story.
One day, back in 1996 or so, I was making a website for a company I did some work for. The CEO had asked the graphics arts dept to make a nifty splash screen, and it had been uploaded for a while.
Anyway, I decided to would be nice to check out traffic on the site (and justify my job) so I decided to introduce the company to a fairly unknown concept at the time called web analytics.
The first couple of times, I just manually went through the logs. BTW, that's very, very hard, since there is a lot of chatter and it's hard to figure out what's going on, but since all the boss was interested in was referring domains, all I did was go looking for URL's showing up and making a list. Naturally, this was popular (most companies were not doing anything like this at the time) and I was asked to do it a lot more.
Since I'm not completely stupid, I decided that some software to help me was in order, and I downloaded and compiled some (they didn't have a lot of user friendly install programs at the time for OS stuff). Then I ran the software on the logs and looked through the report.
This is when I first became convinced that web analytics tools are absolutely essential, because the amount of information I got was huge.
To make a long story short, in this case it became very clear that the bounce rate from the home page was nearly 100%!!
So I went looking for a reason. It turns out that in those days most of our investors (we were a public company) were dialing into the website on 14.4 and 28.8k modems, and that nifty splash graphic on the home page was a whopping 400k in size. basically, people were giving up and going elsewhere.
We didn't notice this internally because the graphic was in everyone's cache, and the server was on our network. Duh.
So I got rid of the splash and life became better again.
This type of thing can also happen for Flash or Java. So maybe look for large or user un-friendly images or technology on that page.
Some other possible causes:
1. You have people (possibly employees) who use your site as a start page, then use their favorites to go to Google or something. This really isn't a bounce, it's more likely because the IT dept set it up and they have no idea how to change it.
2. Your homepage may suck or have bad usability. ::
3. You home page may be nice, but your domain may have been used by someone else for something else, and people are going there to find out it's not what they remember.
4. Your URL may be similar to a popular URL that people are mistyping or misspelling. If it's a dictionary name (ie car.com or some other common word as a domain), people may be just guessing.
5. For your industry, it may be normal for a lot of comparative shopping and this is a normal bounce rate if your prices are on the home page.
Finally, a 70% bounce rate isn't all that bad for some sites. Maybe they are finding out what they want to know on the home page (for example, the phone number mentioned above, or store hours, or where you ship to, or whatever. In this case, it might be an indication of good usability, rather than bad.
Hopefully you've got some ideas on where to go from here. Good luck!
Posted 16 June 2006 - 09:53 AM
If 70% Drop off rate isn't considered unusual what is?
IMHO If a Brick & mortar had 70% of walkin to their main entrance walk right out they wouldnt last. If your Main Entrance dosent attract how can your aisles (subpages) attract or convert?
Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:11 AM
The difference is that driving to the store requires a certain level of commitment to going inside while visiting a website takes about a second.
If a lot of people are using the page for their startup page in their browser- that could be most of the issue right there.
As the original poster says most of them are going directly to the home page or searching for the company name, it sounds like it's an internal thing and not a problem.
If you were getting most your traffic from "great keyword phrase" and no one was getting past the first page, I'd be more worried for you.
Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:20 AM
1. If I had to sign up for a "live demo" to see it, I was gone
2. If there was no indication of a price anywhere (usually this was in conjunction with the above "live demo") I was gone.
3. If it was clear that the software company had shown up for a search I had typed in, but didn't offer the software I wanted, I was gone (lot of consultants showed up for this).
4. If it was only made for the wrong operating system, I was gone.
5. If the site looked amaturish, I was gone.
Some of these things are the companies fault, and some of these are simply due to the fact that I know exactly what I want and was able to determine fairly quickly whether someone offered it or not.
BTW, there may have been a few companies that offered what I was looking for, but since there was no indication of it on their home page, I often didn't even check the products page.
You can agree or disagree with my search methods, but your opinion doesn't mean anything - it never does in a usability test. User behaviour is almost always a surprise to the programmers, and there is nothing they can do about it other than adapt or die.
Based on the above, you might want to do some usability testing, as well.
Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:43 AM
So this has the effect of (1) making it look like people abandoned your site from the home page, (2) artificially designating interior pages as entry pages, and (3) inflating your unique visitor count.
This was something we experienced prior to using cookies. But that was long ago, and perhaps this is no longer a common problem? Someone with more technical knowledge than I have may want to comment.
Even if this is true, it certainly wouldn't account for all 70%, but I thought it might be helpful to know.
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