6 Reasons Why Visitors Abandon Your Site

visitors abandon siteSometimes getting traffic isn’t the hardest part.

Sure, it’s not always easy. But quality content and few links should get at least some visitors to your site.

The real challenge is not cracking up when you see them all flee it in a snap.

Conversions are the ultimate goal of your efforts. After all, you’re not bringing those visitors for nothing. You want them to buy, sign up or simply realise that a particular brand even exists.

But sometimes your site stands on the way. Its design and structure might be causing anger and frustration, pushing visitors away. Here are 6 ways this often happens.

1. The site is difficult to navigate

Users expect a website to be easy to use and well organised. Complex, inconsistent or poorly organised navigation makes them angry and frustrated, wanting to do nothing else but to leave the site.

Instead they should be able to quickly find information they want. And certainly they shouldn’t need a manual to do so.

But in spite of this being an obvious fact, there are still sites out there which leave even a professional baffled as to what to do next.

poor navigation

(Snapshot of actual website I found online. Its navigation is so complex that it has to include information on how to use it. In fairness even I had problems using it at the start too!)

2. Poor Readability

Readability is a serious issue for online users. Nearly half of US population is near-sighted (and I am sure it’s no different in other countries) and reading small text might pose a serious problem to them. In fact, small font size and poor contrast are mentioned as #1 complaint web users have in relation to reading online (source).


Good typography and contrast are important for several reasons:

  • Easy to read text ensures that readers focus on the message and don’t get tired trying to decipher the words
  • It makes reading effortless, making readers more inclined to respond to your C2A’s (source)
  • It makes it easier for users to find information.

Simply increasing a font size can thus have a dramatic effect on your conversions. One study reported that increasing font size to 13px increased conversions up to 30%.

3. Visual Clutter

Today’s advanced technology allows us to include a lot of different content on a web page. But with all the information you want to convey, it’s easy to end up with clutter simply can’t break through.

Some common problems with cluttered websites include:

  1. Poor organisation of information. When all elements on a page scream for equal visitor’s attention, users are most likely to notice none of them.
    website clutter
  2. Lack of white space. Over cluttered websites try to make use of the entire screen real estate, leaving no space between elements. Whitespace however makes your content readable and site usable. It gives your visitors a break and helps them to focus on what’s the most important on a page.
  3. Too much information. Similarly a site may simply include too much information scatter across it making it unreadable for any user.
    website clutter

4. Distracting Multimedia

Explainer videos, presentations and other multimedia content are often ideal to state your selling points. But making them play automatically every time a user lands on a page can cause frustrations, and for various reasons:

  • The visitor already knows the content and isn’t interested in viewing the video again.
  • They are in a place where they can’t fully enjoy the content (work, public transport) and might feel missing out.

Most people prefer to chose what content they absorb and when. Therefore use multimedia in a way that doesn’t drive them away:

  1. Give them an option to absorb it when they please.
  2. Don’t auto-load a video in a popup after visitor lands on a site. It’s OK if it displays this way once they initiate viewing though.
  3. Provide a synopsis of the multimedia content to consume in places where user can’t view it.

5. Slow Load Time

Much has been said about the correlation between site load time and lost conversions. In this infographic for instance, Kissmetrics point how each second of delay increases the probability of page abandonment. A 1 second delay in response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

site load time

(Image: Kissmetrics)

Moreover, 73% of mobile users says they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load. 16% of web users claim they will wait maximum 5 seconds before abandoning a page (source).

6. Lack of security and trust seals

Web and security do not always go hand in hand these days. In 2012, Ujwala Dange from Priyadarshini Engineering College and Vinay Kimar from S. B. Patil Institute of Management developed a model for online customer behavior in which they identified security concerns as major filtering element preventing a buyer from completing the purchase.

Trust seals confirm to a visitor that a site is legitimate and safe to buy from.

trust seals

But, not all trust seals work the same. According to this research by Econsultancy, visitors primarily believe those they recognize and are familiar with. So make sure you know which trust seals your audience expects to see before you invest in obtaining one for your site.

Key Takeaway

Getting traffic to a site isn’t always the hardest part. Retaining customers and gaining their interest is often more difficult.  That’s why it’s important that you remove all possible elements that might cause users’ frustration and anger when browsing your site.


Creative commons image by Craig Sunter / Flickr

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