You’ve done everything right — you have a website that looks great on every device from a desktop computer right down to a smartphone. You’ve added quality, SEO-friendly content and followed all the rules. If a quick look at your analytics program shows that visitors aren’t staying on your site, however, you have a problem.

In fact, a high bounce rate has a negative effect on your Google ranking and that’s a BIG problem. Not only that, but engaged visitors often become customers. If visitors leave your site as soon as they arrive, you’ve lost them.

Browsing websites

So, what can you do to keep potential customers on your site longer? Try these 5 tips.

1. Think Content First

Your goal? To give visitors the information they want without scrolling or swiping. How to do it? Put your content above the fold, right at the top. No ads, no giant images — just straight-forward information where, at a minimum, the first sentence of your content is visible with no additional user action required.

More people conduct searches on smartphones now than computers. Information read on-the-go has to be visible, to the point and clear. If your site doesn’t give visitors the information they want immediately, they’ll find a site that does.

2. Keep It Simple

Ah, the beauty of simplicity. It can’t be overstated. It’s tempting to add animations and flowery prose, but what you think of as an “enhancement” may send visitors running. Simplicity is particularly important when it comes to site navigation. Don’t overload menus with links about your history and other trivia that’s interesting to you but not your visitors. Don’t make viewers work to find what they came for. They won’t bother.

3. Make Your Content Sticky

Your content may be easy to find and still turn people off. Effective content has to engage and interest the reader. It has to be easily read on a screen. It has to be something from which potential customers find value. It has to make them want more. Here are some ways to make your content sticky:

  • Be clear: What does your business do? What problem does your product or service solve? State your purpose clearly without muddying up the water.
  • Know your target audience: Obviously, not everyone in the world needs or wants your product or service. Who is your target audience? What are their interests, problems, hobbies and concerns? Gear your content toward the very people who would benefit most from your product or service.
  • The fresher, the better: It doesn’t bode well if a visitor comes to your website and finds that your latest news is from 2011. Fresh content keeps customers coming back. It’s also a valuable part of any SEO strategy because Google gives more weight to active, changing sites.
  • Break up content: Paragraphs should be no more than two to five sentences long. Use bold, clear headlines and subheadings to break content into sections and make subjects easier to find. Use bulleted lists for quick reading.
  • Check your spelling and grammar: A clear sign of a fraudulent email is when it’s full of spelling and word usage errors. Spelling and grammar errors on your site understandably scares people away and sends the wrong message. Avoid language, spelling and usage errors as much as possible. If you find an error, correct it immediately.

Website traffic analysis

4. Add Relevant Links

One of the advantages of concise content is the ability to add internal links. Internal links give visitors who want more information a reason to stay on your site. Avoid excessive linking, however. It appears spammy. Use no more than two to five relevant links per page.

5. Add a Call to Action

A call to action is one of the most important parts of a website and is often the most overlooked. Visitors need to know what to do after they read your engaging content.

If you want people to sign up for your email newsletter, make it easy by providing a link at the end of the article. If you offer free consultations, link to a contact page with a form and your contact information. Ask visitors to like your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter.

Tell your visitors what you want them to do. They’ll thank you for it.