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I've been doing some research in Analytics to hopefully discover why my bounce rate is higher post-redesign, and thus far, my results have been inconclusive.

How important is it that a site has content on the landing page?

Is it possible to retain users somehow without content on the landing page? Also, does content (in this case) mean copy? Could it also mean interactive elements (a music player, videos, or a gallery)?

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Hi kurzweilguy, I am having difficulty in understanding what the question is. Do you want to know how to do null hypothesis testing (without testing)? Since, you are asking for insight from others without providing any test data. –  rk. May 5 '13 at 21:53
    
See my update above. –  kurzweilguy May 5 '13 at 21:58
    
@kurzweilguy There is a good question in there, but right now your question is too much of a "review my site" question. Focus on the need for landing page content, and it will be useful to both you and other people. –  JohnGB May 5 '13 at 22:07
    
@JohnGB: Does my addendum help this? –  kurzweilguy May 5 '13 at 22:10
    
@kurzweilguy You need to rewrite the question to not be about your site, not just add a comment to it. The addendum is an good part to include. If you aren't sure how to phrase the question, feel free to ask in chat. –  JohnGB May 5 '13 at 22:11

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The landing page of your site is a chance to grab people's attention with something that they are likely looking for. You are choosing to not grab their attention with anything, and when you don't demonstrate why staying is interesting, people will leave.

As it stands now, your landing page amounts to a menu. I don't see anything that you are gaining by doing that as opposed to serving some content that you think would be most useful to the goals of the site.

The general consensus in the last few years of testing has been that content should be front and centre on your site. The only real exceptions to this are sites that are there to perform a service such as Google.

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I like this sort of feedback. Very helpful. –  kurzweilguy May 5 '13 at 22:08
    
Beat me too it while I was typing. lol –  Josh Campbell May 5 '13 at 22:31

Who is Casey Kidd? Why should I care? Oh great, another college kids senior web portfolio project- There aren't enough of those gunking up the internet.

Unfortunately, these are just a few of the thoughts that went through my head when your site came up. Unless I knew who you are, or deliberately searched for you or your music, I would instantly bounce as well. It's not about how much content you have on your landing page, in fact less is often more, but it's the quality of the content that counts. A landing page must instantly grip the user, pull them in and sell your site. It must entice visitors to want to explore what else you have to offer. Does your LP do this? Do you think it does?

Another issue I see, from a design perspective, is that your navigation should be skewed to the right. I see that it flows nicely with the darkened portion of your image, but this can easily be inverted with CSS or Photoshop and maintain a natural look. The reason for this is human nature. We instinctively scan from left to right while dropping down as soon as a page opens, so following this logic your navigation is easily skipped over. You can find tips like this in Microsoft's UX guideline. I highly recommend giving it a look over.

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Good stuff! Thanks! –  kurzweilguy May 5 '13 at 22:31
    
By "skewed," do you mean moved-over to the right, or do you mean use a horizontal menu? –  kurzweilguy May 5 '13 at 22:37
    
I mean your navigation should be floated to the right, because that's where visitors eyes instinctively track. This is why most sites have the side-bar navigation and advertisements on the right side. Also, because your navigation flows well with background image on the left side (white on black) I would suggest using a CSS transformation to flip and mirror your image so that you and the piano face the right side of the screen instead of the left. This will leave the overall color flow undamaged. Sorry, but I don't have time to hunt down a tutorial right now. Perhaps someone will be so kind.. –  Josh Campbell May 5 '13 at 23:17
    
Actually, I've read otherwise in studies where heatmaps have shown that we're most likely to focus on what's on the left first. –  kurzweilguy May 6 '13 at 3:59
    
It's important not to misinterpret the finer points of the Gutenberg Rule 51bits.com/articles/design-by-gutenberg Nothing is cut and dry, but the left hand side is pretty much dead space for the first few seconds a visitor lands on your site. You wan't your desert along the top of the page, the meat and potatoes down the right, and the veggies should go on the left in case they're still hungry. Navigation on the left is perfectly fine if you have much more interesting content for the right side of the page, however your LP had nothing but a block nav, so... it goes on the right. –  Josh Campbell May 6 '13 at 4:56

It's hard to say without having a possibility to compare both versions of the site, but some quick thoughts.

Optimize the site for intent - try to put on the homepage something that would attract users, what they came for. In this case, it should be music. Try to create a playlist that would let users stay on the homepage longer and make them interested in the rest of the content. It should not be automatically started, generally, but... if this is what people came for, it may be not that much true. See http://davidlynch.com/index/ for example. Clean design followed by background music (which is exactly what the user came for).

You can of course run some A/B tests on any further optimizations of the layout to identify the ones that increase the traffic.

By the way - there factors that can cause bounce rate getting higher are numerous. There is a nice article that may help you identify some problems: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2237250/Reduce-Bounce-Rate-20-Things-to-Consider.

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Not directly a answer - but an aside on the metric.

Bounce rate is a lousy metric to judge success or failure by.

It really doesn't matter if bounce rate is low or high as long as the customers are achieving whatever goal you want them to achieve.

Track sign ins, or purchases, or registrations, or.... something that's actually tied to the value the site provides and the tasks that you want the customer to complete.

Bounce rate is a distraction. At best it's a stand in for the metric you really want to be measuring. At worst you optimise for bounce rate and make your site worse not better.

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