Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) is an Internet marketing term used in web traffic analysis. It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.
There are numerous reasons why people quickly leave a website. It’s not just poor design, ill-considered navigation, or uninspiring content; it may be a combination of these factors, maybe even more.
Tools such as Google Analytics not only show how visitors arrive at your site, they can also help track bounce rates of individual pages. Broadly speaking, a bounce rate of 50 percent may be considered average; rates above 80 percent are generally considered a problem.
Analytical tools alone can’t fix your website – that’s down to you.
When you know what’s really wrong with your site, you can take the necessary steps to keep people on your site longer, hopefully resulting in more sales.
Here are 8 tips to help you decrease your website’s bounce rate.
Tip# 1: First Impressions Count
How is your website perceived by new visitors? People make judgments based on first impressions and this will determine if they explore your site further. Aim to look professional. Poorly chosen fonts and contrast problems will only deter visitors from staying on your site. There are also no excuses for spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
Tip # 2: Don’t Test Your Visitors’ Patience
One of the major reasons people will quickly leave a website is if it takes too long to load. Most people don’t have the time or the patience to wait, especially new visitors. Optimize your website’s speed by cutting out the clutter. Limit the number and size of images, and use the correct file formats. There are many free online tools for checking your website’s speed, and more resources to help you improve your website’s load time.
Tip # 3: Simplify Your Navigation
Poor navigation is one of the biggest contributors to high bounce rates. It should be uncomplicated and intuitive. Position the main navigational links above the fold. Visitors who don’t see what they’re looking for before scrolling down your page will often simply leave. Design every page with the visitor in mind, with one main call to action per page. Chunky, eye-catching buttons will help, with trigger words that relate to their reason for visiting your site.
Tip# 4: Tell Your Visitors Who You Are
Many visitors will visit your site to learn more about your company before they take any further action, so an “About Us” page is imperative. It’s another way to improve transparency and gain the trust of your visitors, which should improve the bounce rate in the long run. At the same time, make it instantly obvious what your website represents. If it’s not clear what you are offering in a few seconds, visitors will often look elsewhere.
Tip # 5: Make Searching Easy
If you have a fairly large website, consider inserting a search box on each page. Google’s Site Search can help make your site more user-friendly, and you can also analyze the searches on your website. If visitors are repeatedly searching for a particular term on each page, add a specific link to make your site even more user-friendly.
Tip# 6: Adopt SEO Best Practices
Good SEO practices can also improve a website’s bounce rate. For example, if you use the correct keywords and phrases that relate specifically to your products and services, targeted visitors are more likely to enter your site and find what they’re looking for. Don’t use generic terms. This could lead to your site receiving a mass of irrelevant traffic. Relevant headlines will also help your SEO power and seduce visitors into reading more of your content.
Tip # 7: Don’t Force Registration
Forcing visitors to register before you give them more information can be a big turnoff. Give people a little of what they want first. People don’t want to register unless they know exactly what they’re going to get out of it. Describe exactly what you can offer people and why they will benefit from interacting with you.
Tip # 8: Don’t Employ Gimmicks
Websites that feature a soundtrack or automatically play advertisements with sound will often drive visitors away. Remove anything from your site that makes a sound automatically. Pop-up ads also fail to enhance a visitor’s experience of your site, and will probably increase your bounce rate.
By making a few simple adjustments, you can dramatically improve the bounce rate of your website and send the right message to potential customers.
Your site will never be perfect for everyone, but if you concentrate on removing the negative elements that cause visitors to bounce, your site should be more effective and profitable.
Now Over to you
Do you monitor your website’s bounce rates? Have you conducted any tests (A/B or multivariate) to decrease bounce rates? Share your experiences below.