Copywriting and Design Tips to Reduce Bounce Rate

In a way, website owners are worse off than people who pay millions of dollars for thirty seconds of airtime. That’s because they only have ten seconds in which to get their message across and impress viewers. People who fail at this have a high bounce rate—the number of people who leave their site after ten seconds. Bounce rate is important because it’s the most accurate measure of a website’s efficiency. Google now ranks websites according to bounce rate rather than simple hits, so that only the most relevant make it to the top.

Design and navigation play big roles in a site’s bounce rate, but it’s usually the writing that makes the difference. If people find your first two sentences useful, they read the rest. Others skim through an article and spot interesting phrases before deciding to stay. In any case, catchy writing is key to a low bounce rate, a decent ranking, and a steady readership.

1) Nailing the headline

Some people’s attention spans only last long enough to read the headline. In a way, we’re all guilty of this: we scan news websites for headlines and only read articles that catch our eye. A title like “How I Spent My Sunday” doesn’t really say much about what follows, but “Shark Diving in Cape Town” is clear, catchy, and makes readers want to know more.

2) Going straight

Beating around the bush is for novelists. Online, you want to put the climax and ending out there for everyone to see. Get straight to the point—if you’re selling shoes, come out and say you have the best ballet flats on the Web instead of going off on a long tangent about the effect of poorly made heels on metatarsal comfort (see #4). Your visitors came to your site to look at shoes, so why make them wait?

3) Writing with direction

I mean this quite literally. Web writing, especially if you’re after sales, has to point the reader to a specific direction, a “next step” of sorts. When you’re done describing your product or service, cap it off with something that tells them how and where to buy.

4) Keeping it simple

Unless you’re targeting a limited audience (such as your development economics class at university), stick to language that a fourth-grader can understand. This isn’t undermining your audience’s intellectual capacity; it’s just appealing to as many people as possible. A good article reads the way a person talks to a friend. Few people say “thereupon” and “notwithstanding” in casual conversation, so avoid them as much as possible.

5) Targeting keywords

Savvy Web searchers learn to weed out article farms where people spew out keyword-stuffed nonsense. Most users, however, just click on the title that seems most appropriate. So they end up on such websites, realize it’s not useful, and go back to the search page. If you write to attract people but not to make them stay, you’re not helping your bounce rate. Think like a reader: if you type “used books” into Google, you’re likely looking for cheap books, and that’s the kind of reader you should write for. They probably know what used books are and that they’re cheap, so a more specialized article, like where to find used books, will be much more popular.

About the author:

Sarah  is part of the team that
manages and maintains Australian Credit Cards, a personal finance blog about credit card debts based in Sydney, Australia. Before she joined ACC, she was an assistant editor-in-chief of Sandigan.

5 Tips for SEO Friendly Web Design

  • HTML 5 and its Impact on SEO

HTML5 will help the way search engines crawl websites. Instead of using the old <div> or <span> tags, they will be replaced by <article>, <nav>, <header>, <footer>, <audio>, <video> and so on. This will be a lot easier for the search engine bots to understand the classification of content and how it is sorted on the site.

I would not recommend redesigning an entire site to be HTML 5 compliant but is definitely something new websites should be looking to implement. I do not foresee that HTML 5 websites will get higher rankings but where most of the value will be assigned, in my opinion, is the speed at which new sites, articles and pages will be indexed and crawled by the search engines.

  • Flash Hacks

If your website is one that will rely heavily on organic traffic and high rankings for competitive keywords, I would not recommend a site be built using Adobe Flash. Flash is primarily made of images, which will be discussed in greater detail later in this article, and cannot be indexed by search engines. Although Google and Adobe have taken steps in trying to make them compatible with one another, it is still highly recommended to stay away from Flash when rankings are your priority.

If flash is a necessity, the best thing to do would be to have a readable link from the flash page to a text-based page that has all the content and optimization needed to get the rankings you need.

  • Page Load Times

Page load times may not be something web designers or usability experts think of as the Internet connection speeds rise. However, the speed at which a page loads can seriously affect your bottom line. Page load times affect rankings because if the page does not load in the appropriate time frame, the page will not be cached. If the page cannot be cached, you can bet your deeper pages will not be cached either. This results in less organic traffic and ultimately leads to less ad clicks and impressions.

To stay on top of your load times, be sure to monitor them on a regular basis using the <a href=”http://”>Web Page Analyser Tool</a>.  Some tips that are recommended for reducing are:

1-    Using heights and widths to reduce the size of the image so the browser will know the correct size of the image and let it load in the background as the rest of the site loads.

2-    Reduce the number of widgets you use on your site. For example, having a Facebook widget, Twitter widget, YouTube widget, calendar and latest comments on one page will slow down your load time. These channels are usually important tools for a web brand, so to speed up load times, place an image link of both Twitter and Facebook in the sidebar, instead of the widget.

3-    301-redirects can slow down web sites if there are a lot of them that are clicked at the same time. This can be very problematic if the homepage or first-level pages are being redirected. The reason this slows down a site is because the redirections are all server based. Every time someone clicks a link that is redirected, an action is sent to the server. Keep track of how many URLs are being redirected on your site and figure out if any of them can be removed to speed up the load time.

  • Images (Names and Alt)

This is pretty much known in the SEO community but images cannot be crawled by the search engines. This means that placing a relevant image in an article or on a page does not help your rankings directly. There are a few things that need to be considered when posting images if you want them to be SEO friendly.

The first thing to optimize is the image’s name. This is important because they will show up in the URL when a visitor clicks on the image.  This will help rank the image in Google Images and may help drive traffic. The second element to optimize is the image title. This is a simple line of HTML which is implemented in the image code.

The third and final method for optimizing images is to place alt tag. This is very similar to what the title of the image is and acts as another signal when a search engine crawls the image. Again, the alt tag is a simple line of code and can be placed as follows:

alt= “SEO Tips for Web Design”

  • Header’s for Copy

Headers are great for two reasons: (1) keeps readers engaged and (2) provides added SEO value to your content. It should act as a one line summary of what the upcoming content should be to ensure that the reader knows what’s ahead in the article and prompts them to continue reading.

The second added value that headers provide is helping the article rank for its targeted keywords. Placing a keyword in the header tag will provide more value then placing it strictly in the content.  For example, let’s say your article is about dog breeds and you want to rank for Terriers, you might consider writing your H tag as follows:

<h1>Terriers: The Best Dog Breed for Your Family</h1>

Keep your most important keywords at the front of the header.

I hope these SEO tips will help with your web ventures. All these SEO tactics can be implemented at a very low cost and will provide you with improved results immediately. Depending on the competition in your vertical, onsite SEO is all that is needed to get the rankings you need.

About The Author

Alex Galasso is a SEO Analyst at the Montreal web development company NVI Solutions Inc. In his spare time, Alex also writes about independent video games and manages a portfolio of websites. Feel free to contact Alex for any inquiries at agalasso [at] nvisolutions [dot] com.

How to Write a Killer Sales Page

Writing an Effective Sales Page

There’s a big difference between getting traffic to your site and getting customers to actually purchase something from you. If you’re only going the ad route, using AdSense or Clickbank or any other type of site to earn some PPC revenue, then traffic is your main concern. But if you have products to sell, then you need to do a lot more than convince people to stop by.

Someone once said the pen is mightier than the sword. And while this person undoubtedly had never been stabbed by a hard piece of steel, he was still onto something – the power of the written word compels you! It really does.

However, many people attempting to sell products assume that the product speaks for itself and all they have to do is yell and scream and type in bold print with weird 64pt font and the sell is automatic. Not so fast, my friends. There’s an art to writing an effective sales page, and it has nothing to do with urging folks to buy your product.

You’ll hear that the so-called all-important “call to action” is a powerful tool that can sell ice to Eskimos, sand to camels and even online casino games to a blackjack site.

Okay, let’s see how well that works.

Buy this product now for $99.99!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s going fast!!!!!!!!! Everyone wants it!!!!!! They need it!!!!!!! You need it too!!!!!

Yeah, that’s an epic fail, especially when we’re talking about big red letters. But don’t get it twisted; the art of subtly doesn’t rightly work either. What it takes is clean grammar, assertiveness, a product that’s actually worth a customer’s money, and a strong pitch that shows off aspects of the product that will improve their lives.

The trick here is to start out telling a little bit of something about your product. Keep it all short, simple and clean. No big words, no long sentences, and no flamboyant punctuation or print. Just the facts, ma’am.

Next up, never list your sales price until the end of the page, where the “buy now” button or link will be located. Showing the price early makes people immediately think they don’t want to spend that much, and thus they probably won’t continue reading. But offering some concise literature about the product, some bullet-point positive attributes and some scenarios in which this product can help their lives will make the customer feel as if they need the product.

Also, don’t get carried away with the “slashed” price. Don’t put a picture up of a $500 graphic and sell your product for $39.99. Why is it so cheap? Can you not sell it for $500 if it’s worth $500?

Last but not least, stand by your product. Don’t simply espouse its virtues; offer a money-back guarantee and let it be known that you’re serious about its effectiveness from the onset.

If you can keep it clean, light, true to the product, and refrain from using any big-letter, big-slashing tactics, then you can write a great sales page that will lead to people clicking that PayPal button.