It can be a constant struggle to try to reduce the bounce rate of your website. A high bounce rate indicates that people leave quickly after arriving, meaning they don’t explore your site or even consider becoming a paying customer.
Theories and strategies abound to address this issue, but research has shown that a lot of issues with bounce rates are related to accessibility issues. If your website is not accessible to everyone, then you can end up losing a big portion of your visitors.
Fifteen to twenty percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. These disabilities can be broken up into five general categories in regards to how they affect the person’s ability to view and interact with a website:
Keeping your website accessible to everyone is not only needed to keep your bounce rates low, but in a lot of countries, it is the law. In places like Canada and Europe, the law states that if your website is for an organization with a certain number of employees, then you need to ensure that everyone is able to access your content regardless of their abilities. Big name companies, like Target for example, have been on the receiving end of lawsuits for issues regarding accessibility on their website. They were made to pay $6 million to the National Federation of the Blind in 2008 due to not including Alt Text along with pictures on their website.
But there are ways to combat accessibility issues to bring about a lower bounce rate. Think about a time when you visited a website and ended up exiting soon thereafter because it was hard to look at, or a video started automatically playing in the background and you couldn’t figure out how to get it to stop, or it was just hard to find what you were looking for. These issues are annoying at the best of times, but try to see it from the viewpoint of someone with vision impairment or a sensory disorder. These small annoyances can all of a sudden become insurmountable obstacles to an individual with a disability, leading to that person abandon your website before finding exactly what they needed.
Making simple adaptations to your website can open it up to an entirely new audience. And most of these changes are easy to make with a huge payoff in the end for your company and business:
Describe your links: When posting an external link on your site, make sure to not just label it as “Click Here”. Some individuals need a description so that they know exactly what they are clicking on, and where it will take them. Example: Instead of “...to find out more, click here”. Try adding a little more context like “Here is an article all about Ensuring Web Accessibility”.
Alt tags: Alt tags are a resource for people with visual impairments that allow them to hear a description of a picture that is on your website.
Include an accessibility guide: somewhere on your website, include a guide that explains what you have done to your website to make it more accessible to your audiences. You can also post tips for your site here.
Clickables: Some people with motor disabilities may have a hard time keeping the clicker steady enough to click a small link. If you make the range around the clickable link larger, it will enable the visitor to more easily click the link to access the information.
Subtitles: If you are including videos on your website adding subtitles is an easy way to help those with hearing impairments.
Keep it simple: Keeping your web copy as simple as possible can be very beneficial to people with learning disabilities. Keep paragraphs short and concise and use language that is appropriate for your target audience.
Font choice: Yes, those swirly, fancy fonts can be gorgeous, but honestly they are just super hard to read most of the time. Using a Sans Serif font, like Arial, will decrease the chances that someone will back out of your website because they can’t understand the script.
Keyboard control: Allowing functions like tab control, will allow for visitors with disabilities that do not allow them to use a mouse to still be able to search through your website to find the content they are looking for.
Making sure that your website is accessible to all is not just common courtesy anymore, it is absolutely required to ensure that everyone who comes across your website will be able to enjoy the content. Consider doing an accessibility audit for a thorough review of your site’s accessibility. Some of the above recommendations are just skimming the top of what can be done to ensure your website is ready to be seen.