*Whew* you mumble tiredly as you finalize the upload of your new ministry website. Finally, you’re good to go.
The feeling is awesome. You’re rocking Cloud-9. The sites up and your Senior Pastor is ecstatic.
You then jump over to your Google Analytics and other various metric-systems and see the first visitor pop up:
“Wow! How did that person is Topeka, Kansas find my site?!?”
You couldn’t be more happy… until they leave 5 seconds later:
“Wait… wah? What happened…?! We have awesome videos, podcasts, picture galleries… why’d they leave?!?”
You see, half the battle of great web design is attracting those first initial visitors. In fact, the much larger portion is helping them to stay there.
So here are 10 reasons that I’ve found, via analyzing metrics for big business (and analyzing ChurchCrunch’s traffic patterns), why people don’t stick around, and the 1 reason they should leave:
1. Can’t Access Your Content
Accessibility is one of those internet/web design buzz words that a lot of people throw out but few people understand. Essentially, can people view your site on different browsers, different internet speeds, different operating systems, different languages, and with handicaps (hard of hearing, bad eyesite – larger fonts!)? The ease of “reading” the content falls in this category as well.
2. Can’t Find Your Content
This has as much to do about your navigation as it does your design elements and structure. If your navigation is terrible then they’re going to leave out of frustration. Make it easy. If you’re a big site, get a sitemap.
3. Can’t Stay On Your Site
Every site has links to other websites, and blogs are full of them (blogroll anyone?). These are called “outbound” or “external” links. Although your intention might be good (to provide valuable links to sites that matter) many times the visitors simply do not return to your site. This isn’t always a “bad” thing but you can’t guarantee that the site you just linked them to has a link back to your site.
4. Can’t Help But Reach for the Candy Bar at the Checkout Aisle
Advertisements (or other ministry initiatives on your church site) can be distracting and can detract from the user experience. But, if they work well, they’ll take your viewers away from your site (that’s why they are paying you, right?). So place them strategically, if you can.
5. Can’t Stop the Flashing in My Eyes Issue
Annoying advertisements will just make people mad. Don’t buy ’em, or ask the business to create “appealing” ads. Your peeps will leave.
6. Can’t Understand What You’re About
Sometimes it’s just plain hard to understand what your church and/or organization is about. If they don’t understand, then they won’t have an worthwhile experience. This is not what they had anticipated and therefore they feel let down or just plain pissed. Use descriptive page titles and accurate labeling of content, etc.
7. Can’t Find the Goodness
A lot of visitors will give up and go home if they can’t find what they are looking for. Although you can’t service ever visitor, you’d better have a way for them to get to every spot on your site within 1 or 2 clicks (1 preferably). Give them “the goodness” quick.
8. Can’t Appreciate Your Style
I’ll say this nicely, but if your site “looks” bad, then sometimes that’s just enough for them to hit the “back” button. If it’s unprofessional looking or just simply ugly, then time for an upgrade.
9. Can’t See Anything
If your users can’t see anything that means your site is loading too slow because the site is too darn heavy. Get rid of the extra unnecessary scripts, media files, images, and bogus content that detracts from the pages. You simply don’t need it. Trust me on this. Trust me.
10. Can’t Understand Your “Taste”
Some people find your site boring. Let’s fix that. Some people don’t appreciate the audio or video automatically playing when you jump in the site. Stop it, that’s so 90’s. Some people think your site is too “busy” or “outdated”. Find the balance here.
11. Got My Fill
This is the #1 reason that you should be gunning for: They leave your site satisfied. They came to get something, they left happy.
Anything you’d add?