The Five Whys is a technique for understanding the root cause of a problem. The premise is to ask ‘Why?’ five times in a row to discover the real problem. Let’s apply the 5 Whys to a problem faced by many forum owners, a high bounce rate.
1. Why is the bounce rate high?
- Because most users who bounce, come in via Google and they’re in search mode, not browse mode.
2. Why are users “in search mode, not browse mode”?
- Because they’re looking for an answer to a specific question.
3. Why are they looking for an answer to a specific question?
- Because they have a problem and the solution is not readily available elsewhere.
4. Why is the solution not readily available elsewhere?
- Because sound, trustworthy advice is hard to come by.
5. Why is sound, trustworthy advice hard to come by?
- Experts in any field are rare and answers are often need to be personalized based on unique circumstances.
The answer to the 5th Why in this series is where forums excel: connecting users who seek knowledge with those who have it. Understanding this lesson helps us devise ways to lower the bounce rate. If we can convey to visitors that we can provide sound, trustworthy advice personalized based on individual circumstances, we should be able to lower the bounce rate on our forums.