A More In-Depth Look at the Bounce Rate

Bounce RateWe have previously looked at a list of the most commonly used SEO terms that we feel you should be aware of and there have also been times in the past where we have studied a couple of the terms in their very own blog post. However, as the world of SEO is so vast and complicated, it does provide us with the opportunity to look at several of the others that do still play a role in the rather complex world of SEO.

Looking at the Bounce Rate Once Again.

In the other post we mentioned the concept of the bounce rate and this is certainly something that we need to investigate a bit further because of how important it is not only in an SEO way but also from the perspective of web design.

As we said, the bounce rate refers to the percentage of people that visit your website and then only checks out one page before leaving. From an SEO perspective, this is a major problem as it is then taken as meaning that your website is actually quite boring or else people would not just leave. In other words, it is best that you look closely at the design of your page to make sure that those visitors feel as if they have something to hang around for.

Now, there are a number of ways in which you can improve your bounce rate and yet we need to begin by thinking about one important thing, perhaps you are getting the wrong people to your website?

Yes, this is entirely possible and it makes a great deal of sense that if people are finding your website that do not really have any kind of an interest in what you are doing, then of course they are going to just click off almost immediately.

This can come down to the wrong type of SEO being done or the wrong keywords being used to draw people in so clearly changes have to be made.

However, there are a number of other methods that can be employed that should reduce this bounce rate quite considerably.

1. Provide clear navigation.

This is important because if people are struggling to find out how to move around your website then why would they then put themselves through that pressure of wondering where to go next? This only encourages people to just visit the one page simply because they do not understand how to move around. By providing clear navigation, rather than trying to be too clever, it reduces the chances of this happening.

2. The speed has a role to play.

People are seen as being less patient now when it comes to a website loading. In other words, if your site is slow then those visitors are not going to hang around too long before they are clicking to go elsewhere. We always appear to be in a rush so it is important to keep that in mind especially with the home page because if it is too complex and too heavy then it is best to change it.

3. Poor design is not a positive thing.

Perhaps due to the sheer choice of websites that are out there, people are now less likely to be willing to put up with a website that has a poor design. Now, we are not just talking about the layout but in actual fact we are referring to absolutely everything that then makes up the user experience. It is known that people make up their mind about your website within seconds of landing there so if their first impression is not positive, then what are they going to do? Obviously it is impossible for everybody to be happy with it, but if your bounce rate is far too high then perhaps a re-design is in order.

4. Consider mobile ready.

The final point that we are going to quickly discuss that can have an impact on your bounce rate is whether or not your site is actually mobile ready. Think about it for a moment. If your site is not going to work on smartphones or tablets then obviously people are going to just click off straight away. You should by all accounts have a responsive design in order to deal with this and if you do not, then we suggest that you change that immediately.

The point that we are trying to make here regarding the bounce rate is that it is all about that important first impression. You want people to be able to land on your home page, know what you are about and also where they have to go in order to get the answers to the questions that they are seeking. If they feel as if they have landed up against a rather plain and boring brick wall then they have no other option but to just leave without giving you the opportunity to convince them otherwise.

Common SEO Terms You Might Hear About With Your Website

You will probably be aware of the importance of SEO in order to get your website noticed, but the problem is that the lay person will have very limited knowledge of the industry, the methods and techniques, and even the terminology that can be used. However, it is often the case that a few common terms are used and by offering an explanation as to what they mean it should make things a bit clearer for you before you go ahead and start your SEO campaign.

Algorithm

The first term is algorithm and this is important. You see, when Google are working out the rankings of websites on their search engine they use something called an algorithm. Now, the way in which they calculate the positions does tend to change every now and then and you should keep an eye out for updates named after animals. Basically, just see this term as being an equation and the result of the equation is your ranking on Google.

Backlinks

Backlinks have always been important in SEO but the types of links that have been preferred by Google has certainly changed. The easy explanation of this term is that it is a link to your website from another website and Google sees this link in the same way as an Internet recommendation. Previously, it used to be the case that the more links you had the higher the ranking but now it is the quality of the site that is important rather than the number.

Black Hat

Black hat is something that has to be avoided as it focuses on methods and techniques that are purely aimed at the search engine and not the public. It includes methods that are against the terms and conditions of the search engines and if you are caught using them then your site is going to be punished by Google.

White Hat

On the other side is white hat and as you can imagine it is the complete opposite of black hat in that it focuses on methods and techniques that work and are in line with the terms and conditions of the search engines.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is a percentage of people that end up leaving your website after they have just landed on the home page. For Google, this is then seen as your website being boring and not worth visiting so it is a negative thing for your ranking if you have a high bounce rate.

Keyword Stuffing

You may know that keywords are important for good SEO, but overdo it and you end up doing keyword stuffing and that is bad. Google prefers keywords to be used naturally and for things to make sense so if your content is just keyword after keyword thrown in, then they are not going to be best pleased.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are things that you do not see, but they are required by the search engine as they use them to find websites after an individual has carried out a search. They then use this to show you the small sentence that appears on the list of searches so you know what the website is going to be about before clicking on a link.

Organic Search Results

Organic search results refers to the page that you see on Google when you carry out a search but not including the paid adverts that appear at the top or at the side of the page. The results that you see at the top should, by all accounts, be the pages that have been optimized correctly for the search terms that you entered.

Paid Search Results

Paid search results refers to those adverts that appear on the side or the top of the page when you go onto Google or any other search engine. This links in to Adwords and you can effectively buy your way to the top if you have the budget available for it.

Sitemap.xml

This is something slightly more technical, but it is a document that is going to be hosted beside your website that contains every page that is on your site. The search engine spiders that then come your way will look at this document and learn all about your website including how the pages link together. If your website is using WordPress, then this is something that is generated automatically.

Now, we are not saying that these are all of the important terms that you should know about when it comes to SEO for your website as there are many more. Instead, it is merely designed to give you some insight into what is actually being meant when you ask about SEO for your site and you are met by a host of terms that just seem to bewilder you.

The main thing is that if you do not understand these kinds of things, then ask for them to be explained. After all, you are the client and deserve to know what you are spending your money on.

Coming to Terms with the User Experience Concept

webfoot-uxIn a previous post, we mentioned the term ‘user experience’ and, considering the role that it plays in web design and also the way in which individuals interact with your site, we feel that it is important to offer a more detailed explanation of the term. Let’s be honest here, anybody that has a website wants to be sure that their visitors are getting what they want from it, don’t they?

Now, the actual phrase itself does come with various definitions depending on who you pay attention to, but at the end of the day it all boils down to one thing, making sure that your visitors are able to get what they are looking for from your website and able to do so with the absolute minimum amount of fuss. However, it is important to remember that this is not all about a fancy website design or trying to be all clever with what you are doing as it is more than that. It is all about making life as easy as possible for your users and that they can do what they want.

To better explain, there are several points that should be addressed that are seen as being central to this entire thing. Indeed, any website owner should keep these things in mind when their website is being created and even though they are general points, one should make sure that they apply them to their own products or services that are going to be mentioned on their site.

1. This involves each aspect of their interaction with you.

The first point is the idea that this is going to involve every single aspect of the interaction that they have with your website and this does mean from the moment that they land there. What do they see when they land? How do they then get to what they are looking for? Is it easy to understand and follow?

Think of this as the way in which you react when you first walk into a new store. What are your first impressions? Remember they really do count and that applies to how the products are laid out, how easy it is to find what you want, how the staff interact with you, everything right until the point where you are leaving. If one part is not up to the standards that you expect then your entire experience with that store is going to be tarnished.

Well, the exact same applies to your website and that is why user experience is so central to what you are doing.

2. Think of layout, images, sounds, and your brand.

The one thing that you do not want to do when it comes to user experience is having a point where the visitor has no idea what they are looking at, what they are hearing, or even aware of your brand. If one of these parts is wrong then it is going to destroy their user experience and hardly make them likely to then do the actions that you are trying to tempt them into doing.

Your website has to be the most attractive and informative store front that you have ever seen. It needs to have your brand all over and remember this includes your professionalism, customer relations and so much more related to your business.

3. Make sure all questions are answered.

This point is a bit of a guess on your part, but your market research should have indicated the kinds of things that people are going to be asking of your website before you get it designed. That market research should have a series of questions and answers and they must all be included in your layout and overall design.

What you are looking for with user experience in a website is to get to this point whereby your visitors have a question and can immediately become aware of where they have to click in order to get the answer. Searching around, links not working, confused messages and generally annoying added extras that serve no purpose whatsoever are not exactly going to contribute to a nice experience for them. In short, they will click off and that could account for the bounce rate that you see on your website, or at least part of it.

So, what do you do? Well, you do not rush into a design just for the sake of having a website. Get inside the mind of your users. What would you expect if you were in their shoes? What annoys you about a website? What is your own concept of user experience? Seek advice from your web designer who can guide you towards the best solution for the products or services you are offering.

So, after that explanation of the user experience concept, it does hopefully make it easier for you to understand what is expected by the visitors to your site and how to then provide them with this. After all, if your visitors are not happy with their experience then how on earth can you ever expect your website to grow in size and stature? Keep the user experience in mind throughout the design process and see the difference it makes overall.

Getting to Grips with 301 and 404 Errors

In the world of web design there is always going to be a point where pages have been moved or changed and yet individuals visiting the website find themselves being pointed back to the old pages. However, thankfully there are things in place that makes those errors seem less of a problem thanks to the way in which they are able to explain to the visitor what is going on.

By doing this, it makes it less likely that the individual visiting your website is even going to be aware of something going on or, at the very least, they are not going to be too annoyed that the page they were trying to visit appears to have either been deleted or moved.

So, what are these things in place that we are talking about? Well, they might sound a bit boring and non-descriptive but they are known as 301 and 404 errors and we should perhaps explain a bit more about them.

301 Errors.

If we can start off with a little bit of more technical stuff because basically a 301 error is the Http response status code that indicates a page has been permanently moved. Now that the technical part is past we can now get on with really explaining what is going on.

This error is also a redirect in that it then sends individuals to the new page and indeed it is regarded as being the best way of redirecting individuals on websites although we need to perhaps provide an example of how this error can work.

Say your ‘About Us’ page used to be at .com/aboutus and yet it has now been redesigned or perhaps you have changed your entire website so the page that contains information about your company is actually now at .com/ourcompany. Now, the individual visiting your page could type in the first option but of course it is no longer there so a 301 error picks up on this and redirects them to the new page. It makes the changes seem less annoying and you also do not miss out on the individuals finding the page and going off elsewhere so you can understand why this is so important.

301 errors can be used on any webpage that has since been moved or altered and you should see it as something that takes you by the hand when you are lost and redirects you to where you want to be. It is essential that any website that has made changes has this implemented as it does make the website seem more professional.

404 Errors.

The other type of error that we are talking about are 404 errors and, once again, we need to start off with some technical stuff before we provide an easier to follow explanation.

From a technical point of view, a 404 is an Http standard response code for when an individual has been able to communicate with the server that the website is on but the server is unable to complete whatever it is that they have asked of it. However, in this instance you will receive a 404 error when it is something that the individual has done wrong at their end rather than something that is wrong with the website.

In most occasions, it will happen because the individual has types in the wrong URL and the server is basically telling you that the page that you are trying to reach does not exist on the server. It may have once been there but now it has been deleted and they have just not updated their bookmarks or changed the URL that they are typing in.

However, the pages that they then see that contain the 404 error can often be customized so that there are graphics and messages on there telling them what has gone wrong. Some companies make light hearted comments on there so that the individual is not frustrated at getting a 404 error and then there are attempts to get them to go elsewhere on the website.

In other words, there is a bit of an apology from the website for the error even though it is down to a mistake by the individual visiting and this 404 error is like a polite notice just informing them of something that has gone wrong.

So, as you can see both 301 and 404 errors do play an important role in keeping people aware of what is going on with websites when changes have been made or the visitor has made an error when trying to access a page. They are not just useful things to have but rather they are essential pieces of kit that are able to explain to the visitor what has gone wrong rather than them just being given a completely blank page. After all, if you just provided them with no information then why on earth would then then continue to another page of your website? The answer is that they wouldn’t so thanks to these errors that will never be a problem.

10 Web Design Terms That You Really Should Know

301 Whenever you are entering the world of having a website designed, one of the things that you will notice is that there are often terms that are being used that perhaps just do not make much sense to you. Now, we admit that some are more complex to understand than others but getting to grips with the terminology does make it easier for you to understand the process of developing your website. So, keeping that in mind, we thought that we would pull together 10 different terms that you might want to know about.

1. 301 redirect.

This sounds confusing, but what it refers to is the person hitting your website being referred from an old page to a new and update page. For example, a 301 redirect would be used if the ‘About Us’ page was now at domainname.com/ourcompany. Most times, you are not even going to be aware of this going on but it makes a website far more professional with the visitor being sent to the correct place so they are still able to get the information that they are looking for.

2. 404.

This is a code that is shown when an individual lands on a page that does not exist. This happens when they type in the wrong URL or the page was perhaps deleted by you. A 404 page will often have an explanation as to what has gone wrong.

3. Call to Action.

This is also referred to as CTA and it refers to a button or banner, text or image that urges the individual visiting your website to take action in some way. This could be used to get an individual to move to another web page or email or perhaps even to purchase something on an e-commerce website.

4. Content Management System.

This is shortened to CMS and is a system that allows you to control the content on your website in an easy to follow manner. Programs such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are prime examples.

5. CSS.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet and is used by developers to control how your website looks. It sets up colors, images, and text styles amongst other things and creates a sense of uniformity throughout your website.

6. Favicon.

The favicon is the small image that sits in the browser bar as well as bookmarks and is linked to the website. It is often their logo or something that makes it easy to identify the site.

7. Responsive Design.

Responsive design is something that is extremely important for websites as it is a type of design that changes according to the type of screen that the site is being viewed on. For this, everything in the design has to be fluid so that the website is still easy to navigate no matter if it is being viewed on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

8. Slider.

Sometimes in the design of a website you may hear the term ‘slider’ being used. What this refers to is a series of images that are usually in the form of a banner and appearing on the homepage that rotate on a constant basis. Often, you will see this towards the top of the page.

9. User Experience.

User experience is important simply because it focuses on the way in which the visitor to the website is able to interact. Every single part of the design process right down to every single word that appears on a website is going to be linked to the idea of providing the best user experience possible. You need things to work smoothly, easy to navigate, easy to understand and to just make visiting your site a pleasure.

10. WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG stands for ‘What You See Is What You Get’ and it refers specifically to Content Management Systems whereby you are able to preview changes to your website from within the system and the user is able to see things in advance regarding text and graphics without them actually needing to have any specific knowledge of coding. This is often seen as being an easier way of editing and updating websites where you can effectively ‘check’ your work before it is made live.

Now, obviously there are a whole host of other terms that are used within the world of web design and it is important that you do fully understand everything before you get too involved in the production of your site. However, any web designer is going to be quite happy to explain the terminology in advance as there is an understanding that aspects of the industry are rather complex and difficult to follow especially for those with no prior experience.

Never be afraid to ask for an explanation because, after all, you are the client so you deserve to know what is going on at all times.

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