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6 Reasons Why People Leave Your Website And How To Entice Them To Stay

It's not the best feeling to spend time and money planning and building a website for your business only to have it spend months or years on the internet with little or no traffic. Google analytics shows visitors coming and going without ever interacting with your site. Perhaps you’ve even installed heatmap tracking only to see visitors spending seconds instead of minutes on your homepage without ever going further. Now you’d like to know why and what you can do to make them stay.

Why do some websites enjoy a steady stream of visitors who interact, buy and return religiously? What makes visitors stay beyond the mere seconds it takes for them to scan the page? Imagine your site becoming one of the popular ones visitors can’t pull themselves away from...

The good news is, your business website can become a popular site people can’t wait to visit every day. But first, I have to share with you some common reasons why visitors leave your website sooner than you would like and how you can entice them to stay.

1. Your Website Has Little or No Content - If visitors come to your website and see just basic information about your company, they will leave. Period. Even if you are offering something they really need, they will still move on. They will think they can find what they need elsewhere and the truth in most cases is that they can and will. 

You have to get in front of them and stay in front by offering good content they can use. This means crafting helpful articles on your website on a consistent basis. Or offering something a little more fun like podcasts, webinars and online courses. Your articles do not have to be about your business; they just need to be helpful to your visitors. Your articles need to provide value. 

Example: Our business,, doesn’t provide marketing services but we are so passionate about helping our visitors in any way we can that we’ve created our Market Star Magazine to offer marketing ideas for blog and online store owners. Marketing is such a huge challenge for any business and an opportunity to help.

2. Your Website Has Poor Quality Content - So you think you’re hot stuff because your site has tons of content? It may have content but is it good quality content or poor quality content? What makes poor quality content? Fluff articles for one. Fluff is content that says nothing of value to your website visitors or the same thing everyone else is saying in the same way everyone else is saying it. You are basically putting content on your website because you know you’re “supposed” to in order to get more site traffic. You could care less about what your posting. Website visitors will see right through this and leave if you have nothing worthwhile to say.

The remedy to this is simple. You have to take the time to come up with a way to give your website visitors something other than what you are selling. This could be articles, podcasts, webinars and online courses that teach people who to do something that will help them in their lives. Also don’t be afraid to offer your experiences or the experiences of others to inspire and teach as well.

3. Your Website Is A Visual Mess - Sit back for a few minutes and think of the worst website you have ever seen. I bet it had a ton of graphics on it, a hodgepodge of someone poor business owner’s thoughts, no direction, terrible navigation if any and maybe even animated gifs from the 90s (the horror). Your site design matters! No one wants to wade through the visual gumbo that is your website.

I realize that hiring a good web designer can be cost prohibitive at times. At those times, it’s best to spend some time scouring sites like ThemeForest for a clean, professional looking website visitors will respect. Once this respect has turned into sales for you, then you will want to invest money into a custom website design. It is more than worth it. It is after all your business. Take care of it. If you don’t love it, who will?

4. Your Website Is Unclear - When a user visits your website they will leave if they can’t understand what the site is about at first glance. Some people might scroll to give you a chance but most won’t. 

The purpose of your website has to be clear to visitors at first glance. Put your purpose/message above the fold where the users won’t have to scroll. This will encourage them to scroll to find out more. Use bullet lists to get your point across and make your web page easy to scan. Scan is the keyword here. Once you get this idea into your head, your website will be more effective.

5. Your Website Has Errors In The Code - Having errors in your code will turn visitors away faster than you can blink an eye. Most people will not report them to you. The area where I see the most code errors are website forms. The validation is broken or it’s not posting to the correct URL or the layout is messed up. 

Test. Test. And test your website again for code errors. If you are not tech savvy, take care when hiring a developer or web designer. You want someone who takes pride in their code and who will test it before turning it over to you. Another way is to use a company to test new websites and new features. It’s called User Testing in that someone from the company will test whatever features you ask or the whole site. It is best to use one that tests for code errors as well. We do and offer user testing for free when you sign up on our mailing list. 

6. Your Website Has A Missing or Hidden SSL Cert - There are still too many businesses asking for credit card details or other sensitive data without having installed a SSL certificate. I have personally left many websites never to return once I discovered their order process was not secure. Even web surfers who are not internet savvy know to look for the green padlock on their browser or other indications that the website is secure before purchasing. 

There are free SSL certs now through Let’s Encrypt and a few others as well as excellent, affordable SSL certs through companies like Rapid SSL. Many web hosting companies will install the cert for you or you can do it yourself. Most of the time when you purchase an SSL certificate, there are detailed instructions on how to install it on various platforms and control panels.

 It can also be off-putting to site visitors when you embed another company’s payment form into your website. Often times to the user, it doesn’t look like the payment form is secure when in fact it is. You could eliminate this issue by installing an SSL cert for your own website as well. It’s redundant but customers want and need to see that the page is secure if they are entering sensitive data.

Remember, your business is about more than just what you are selling. It is a brand; an entity unto itself. You want and need website visitors to become fans not just customers. In summary, provide them with the best quality, most relevant content, consistently and as often as you can keep up, spend a little more time and/or money on a clean, functional design to eliminate clutter and make your website easy to scan, make sure your website has no noticeable or show-stopping errors in its code, and for the love of all that is good, please make sure you have a noticeable SSL certificate installed for your website whenever you are collecting sensitive data from them, especially credit card data.

Peo hedy
About Tressa Sanders:
Ruby on Rails developer and devops engineer for with twenty years working as an IT professional for large companies such as J.P. Morgan, Raymond James Financial, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. She enjoys building enterprise-level web soulutions and world travel.


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