You’re probably already aware there’s a direct correlation between the loading time of your website and the bounce rate of your site; meaning the number of people that visit your site but then leave either before the page has finished loading or upon visiting the homepage – meaning they exit straight away without clicking anywhere.

This is very frustrating, and costly, to most blow owners as if you have paid for that traffic via a Google or Facebook advert for instance, then you’ve just wasted a considerable amount of money in getting a visitor to your site – without any benefit to your blogging business.

To better explain the term ‘bounce rate’ it can be helpful to picture a busy high street or shopping mall where many people are walking around, in search of a solution.  When it comes to blogging, most times, people are searching for information rather than a product, but in many ways, information today, in the information age we are living in, is a commodity in itself.

People tend to browse a few different stores (in this case, blogs), and as the store owner, your job is to engage visitors so they turn into customers.  

The best way to do this is to ensure they spend a reasonable amount of time in your store/blog; as research suggests the more time they spend the greater the chance they’ll spend money.  There’s also a direct correlation between the length of time spent in a store and the amount spent at checkout, which is why large retail brands invest so much into visual merchandising.

However, online, there’s less you can do in the way of the visual merchandising tricks the supermarkets use to activate our impulse psychology, which is why factors such as clear navigation and fast load speeds play such a vital role in driving engagement, increasing the average order value and gaining customer loyalty.

In the digital world, the analogy of a shop which has people walk in then walk straight out is to say they have high traffic but low engagement, and due to this low level of engagement, people simply don’t buy anything (i.e. low conversion).  This is essentially what we mean by the term bounce rate.

Now, when you think about how much easier it is to leave a website than a physical store – you’ll see why online shoppers and browsers are so quick to click off a page that’s too slow to load.

There’s no awkwardness in walking out of an online store, and there was no effort required to get there in the first place, meaning they are less invested in visiting the store than if they had driven all the way there, parked their car, and physically walked into your store.

Whilst a high bounce rate can be attributed to other factors such as lack of engaging content, lack of relevance, or difficult navigation, it has been found that 40% of customers will leave your website if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load.

In an increasingly impatient world, particularly online, where people are overwhelmed with options ensuring an optimum load speed of your website is very important.

A good way to view the online world, today, is akin to going to a trade exhibition, where the hall itself is Google – directing traffic to it’s forum of vendor’s each within their own vendor booth; the exhibition might point traffic in the right direction to your booth, but it’s ultimately up to you, as the vendor, to attract and engage the traffic that’s been sent your way.

There are many ways to make your blog more appealing to users, and this is where User Experience (UX) design comes in.  This will increase the speed at which users navigate your content and therefore improve engagement considerably.

When we think about user experience design, we often think about how a website looks, yet it is more to do with functionality and information architecture; just like how a supermarket will have a strategy to help people find relevant items, you too need a clear way of helping people find the information they seek, such as a search option.

In summary, the slow loading nature of a blog has the potential to cripple your blog, as people simply won’t hang around to wait and see if they find something relevant to what they’re looking for… but similarly, if your content architecture is all over the place, then you’re unlikely to have the high levels of engagement you seek too.

*This is a contributed post.