Have you checked the bounce rate for your website lately? Whatever it is, I’d be willing to bet it’s too high. According to data analytics company Kissmetrics, website bounce rates average about 40%. That means nearly half of your users may be leaving your website after visiting a single page. Striking, isn’t it? How often people pop in for a visit just to turn tail before you can offer a drink.

Have you ever wondered where they go? Why they go? If it might have been something you said? Or did?

The ugly truth is, it probably was. Here are five reasons your website may be turning off users and how you can stop it.

1. You are distracting your users

If your website or landing page houses a bevy of sliders, links, ads and competing calls-to-action, there is a good chance you’re distracting your users. When websites are cluttered, usability suffers, visitors get confused, and bounce rates go up.

Bottom line: Don’t feed the poor attention span! Optimize your web design to drive users to the next best step. Reduce clutter and invoke the principles of visual hierarchy to show users what’s important.

2. You’re being too cute

Nothing is wrong with cute. Cat videos… baby memes…whatever this is. We all love cute especially when we have time on our hands. But when visitors search information, as is the case in reportedly 80% of all searches, cute becomes cumbersome. Quickly.

Users want solutions and they want them now. Your website should serve up answers on a platinum gold platter. But if you’re hiding critical information behind vague headlines, “ironic” graphics, confusing navigation or an otherwise unhelpful user experience, they will likely look elsewhere for answers.

Don’t be cute. Be clear. Be convincing. From your home page welcome message to your landing page layouts, ensure that every aspect of your web presence is designed with the buyer’s journey in mind. It should guide them down a path to conversion with obvious value propositions, clear calls-to-action, descriptive menus and growth-driven design based on what works and not just what’s hot. When your web design speaks to the buyer’s journey, users don’t just stay, they convert. And I’d take conversions over cute any day.

3. You seem untrustworthy

Maybe your ecommerce website suffers from a lack of reviews or testimonials. Maybe the ones it has aren’t very credible (did Michelle Obama really endorse your new line of leg warmers)? Or perhaps your site suffers from outdated design, broken links and grammatically incorrect copy. Any of these pitfalls might kill your website’s credibility and send visitors running.

Don’t be the “creepy white van” of the Internet. Include customer logos, trust badges on transactional pages, and authentic testimonials to put users at ease. Feature photos of employees or even clients give your brand a face. And don’t forget to check links regularly, refresh your look, and avoid grammatical errors to establish trust.

4. You take your time

If your website takes forever to load, no one is going to stick around long enough to hear what you have to say. Don’t believe me? A Kissmetrics report cites that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Don’t be a slowpoke. Google doesn’t like it. Neither do your users.

Compress large images, optimize style sheets, and leverage browser caching to improve site speed. Or work with a front-end developer or experienced digital marketing agency to identify and fix other tortoissian culprits that might be hurting your load times.

5. Your content is stale

Does your content ever feel, well, not so fresh? If your latest blog post touts the benefits of QR codes in a Flash-enabled word cloud, your website just might be a little “8 years ago”. Does your copy reference news from days gone by? Do your graphics sport drop shadows and gradients? Has your blog been left untouched for months?
These are signs that suggest to users that nobody’s home. They tell visitors that your website is that decrepit house down the block, the one with sun-bleached siding and cobwebs in the crannies of its awnings.

If this sounds like your site, it’s probably time to do some remodeling. Be sure to blog regularly, update event calendars and press release pages, and consider replacing outdated graphics. When in doubt, skip shop talk on industry trends and stockpile evergreen content that remains relevant regardless of when you publish it.

Most of all, always remember that metrics are your friend and bounce rates are just the beginning. Check out our guide, 4 Essential Reports from Google Analytics for more metrics to help you measure your websites success.