Did you ever host a party with lots of guests only to find that some of them slipped away before you were able to properly spend some time with them?
This can happen at your web site too, understanding Exit Pages in your web site’s statistics can show which door they left by, and perhaps that they left because they just didn’t like the canapes.
Your web site’s statistics software should be able to show you Exit Pages, similar to Entry Pages you will commonly get a list or a top 10 view of the Exit Pages. Top of the list will be the most popular page that people leave on. Brace yourself for this one, if your Home Page is number 1 in your list of Exit Pages you have a problem. Commonly what this means is that people visit your web site, have a look at the Home Page then leave.
(Its harsh but akin to looking at your finger food and decided to make a run for it!)
Remember the Internet gives otherwise normal people incredibly short attention spans; if they don’t see what they want right this instant – they’re gone.
So if your web site suffers from HPDS AKA Home-Page-Deserter-Syndrome (yes I did just make that up) you need to review it.
Be realistic, you are never going to completely be free of HPDS, you will always get visitors that are looking for information on Green Squares when you obviously are all about Orange Triangles, but can attempt to reduce it.
Give your Home Page the quick once over:
- View your Home Page objectively, is it instantly obvious what it is that you do / sell /inform about?
- Even better, get someone who’s never seen your site, doesn’t know what its about and get them to answer
- Is it visually interesting?
- Is it obvious what to do / where to click to delve into the site’s content?
- Can you see any other reason as to why users are not engaged right away? [yes that flash introduction with your logo spinning around to bad 80’s music – that could be it]
So while we have focused on HPDS (the acronym is starting to grow on you isn’t it?) understand there is more to consider when looking at your Exit Page statistics. Apart from leaving on your Home Page there will be other common pages that your users leave from. You should visit these pages and attempt to understand why. What conclusions can be drawn if users leave at your shopping cart page, or your product display page, or a page showing your terms and conditions.
Obviously its going to be different for each web site but its important, if users are leaving before they complete a transaction with your web site or send you an enquiry you need to understand why.