Everyday internet users visit millions of web pages but don’t spend more than a few seconds on the most of them. They land on a page, scan it briefly and move on. Bounce rates are like a golf score. The lower the better. A high bounce rate may be an indication that a web page is not functioning optimally. While there are multiple reasons a visitor could bounce – not everything bad – it is generally a good idea to work toward lowering bounce rates.
What is bounce rate?
A measure of users that land on a page of your website but ditch it right away and don’t bother visiting any other pages. You can track the bounce rate for any of your pages using services like Google Analytics. Defining interaction is where bounce rate can get tricky and a little deceptive. An interaction is any activity that sends data to Google Analytics. Trackable interactions include clicking a link, sharing a page or post to social media and performing a transaction, like downloading an item. If you use analytics to set goals and track events, the event also counts as a hit.
Without interaction data, Google has no way to track a visitor’s time on a page. If a visitor clicks on a page, immediately decides it is not what they need, and leaves the page in 5 seconds, that is a bounce. A visitor clicks on a page, reads a article, copies the url to a document on their computer and leaves the page 15 minutes later, that is also a bounce. There are situations in which a bounce actually means that visitors have found what they wanted.
Bounce rates in context by looking at these factors:
- The impact of website bounce rates on your businesses bottom line:
Are you suffering from high bounce rates, or does your website provide a steady stream of leads? Which pages are providing the most leads, and how can others be modified to enhance performance?
- How your bounce rates compare to your industry:
According to analytics the average bounce rate across industries is at about 40%. Websites serve different purposes for different industries, and bounce rates can vary by as much as 70 percent from one industry to another. How is your website performing?
Ways to reduce your website bounce rate and encourage visitors to view more content.
1. Let visitors engage and provide previews and excerpts.
A great way to promote your site and spread the word is letting your visitors interact with it using social media. Allowing visitors to tweet about your articles, see what their friends have also ‘liked’ and check out what people are saying about your website/content, you can make your whole page a lot more engaging and alive. Social media encourages participation on the users’ end which is effective in keeping them on the page longer.
2. Pay attention to mobile (mobile statistics).
A page’s bounce rate on a mobile device will generally be higher than it is on a desktop. Keep an eye on this number. If a page’s bounce rate is considerably higher on a smartphone – more than 10 to 20 percent higher – this could mean the page has technical or usability issues that need to be addressed. Mobile-friendly is an absolute necessity for modern website design. A page can be responsive, and therefore qualify as mobile-friendly, while still providing a terrible user experience. Pay close attention to what you choose to display on mobile pages and in what order you choose to display it.
Make text readable and links easily clickable. Don’t force people to scroll through long pages to find what they need. Know your mobile users and design the experience around their requirements. An example of an unresponsive webpage is one that shows up great on a desktop computer but goes completely haywire on a mobile device. If your webpage analytics show that a good chunk of bouncers were viewing your webpage on a mobile device or a certain operating system, test your website across a range of platforms and devices to ensure it is universally responsive and adaptive.
3. Set goals and create content for the right people and get to the point.
You can establish goals for user activity and track those goals as events in Analytics. An event can be a range of actions, from watching a video or listening to a podcast to filling out a form or downloading an e-book. Setting goals can help reduce bounce rate and, more importantly, give you a deeper picture of how people are interacting with your site. This produces valuable data about where visitors drop off in the conversion process and about what conversion paths are working well. Tactics that reduce bounce rates also tend to be practices that enhance user experience. While it is unhealthy to think about bounce rates obsessively, attempting to reduce them should help your website’s usability and performance.
Google has been saying for a long time that the best way to rank well is to produce quality content. Google and your visitors agree. People will engaged with you if you provide them with unique content they can use. Your search marketing should focus on optimising the right users. Your marketing should contain a strategic mix of keywords to help ensure you are attracting the right visitors to your pages. Be specific, avoid vague descriptions, minimise interruptions and distractions and fulfil your promises. Don’t try to lure in your visitors under false pretences.
4. Make it accessible and legible (Use engaging colours and headings).
A simple web design tip that can actually make a significant difference. Your webpage might have a high bounce rate just because it’s dull. By spicing it up with colourful images and dividing the content using helpful and prominent headings, you could make your content a lot more engaging. Your website’s navigation and structure should be designed in a way that makes it super easy for visitors to access the information they are looking for. Complicated multi-level hierarchical structures and complicated wording can turn off visitors and make them switch to another website. Make sure the text is not to small in size that it’s a headache to read it or to big that it’s unprofessional. Use a sharp contrast between the background and font colours to improve readability.
5. Include multimedia (clickable content).
We are rapidly becoming a society that is forgetting the joys of reading. We want to see visuals, hear music and play games. To solve this problem in a design context, almost all content can be made more pleasing if it’s accompanied by an interesting video clip or relevant images. Because visuals can quickly generate curiosity and interest, they encourage your visitors to read what you have to say and find out more. You can also use hyperlinks to relevant posts on your website. Content like videos, slideshows, presentation-based infographics and live data provide opportunities for visitors to perform a measurable action. The more people spend time and engaged with your website, the more they are likely to begin to trust you, and more likely to convert.
6. Use a relevant content tool to recommend other pages or articles.
A visitor may be interested in your page content and spend several minutes reading it. That time is not recorded in Analytics data without a subsequent interaction. Once the visitor has reached the end of an article, proactively suggest another article or other media. Many recommended content plugins will produce a slide-out box containing recommendations that appears as the reader scrolls. Relevant links could also be placed within page content or in a sidebar.
7. Identify the bouncers.
Your analytics might tell you that the majority of bouncers are using Firefox. And, running your webpage in Firefox, you might discover that the browser wasn’t rendering your page completely or correctly. In such cases, the bounce rate is high because of technical issues- and not because of low quality content. Your bounce rate could seem artificially high if you are somehow attracting a lot of visitors that aren’t your target customers. By promoting your website in channels and communities that cater specifically to your customer base, you can eliminate the amount of ‘random’ visitors who only discover they are in the wrong place once they have landed on your page.
By properly profiling, segmenting and targeting your customers, your website will generate a higher percentage of hits from your desired audience. Do some research to find out the bounce rates for specific keywords. If your webpage is optimised highly for a keyword with a higher bounce rate, your conversion rate will suffer accordingly. Choose keywords that are directly pertinent to your content but have lower bounce rates – and abandon keywords with high bounce rates.
8. Deliver content in a flow, build intuitive navigation and use obvious calls to action.
Users should not have to search through several levels of navigation to find the right page. Every page should contain a conversion pathway. The call to action can be a read more button or a social share link, or a more lead-centric item like a click-to-call or live chat button. Visitors should never reach a page that prompts them to do nothing. Interactive content can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how it is implemented. Give visitors the chance to consume your content without being pestered.
Expecting a visitor to take the time to navigate your website and explore all the great posts you’ve posted recently is hopeful to say the least. If you want to extend the time visitors spend on your website, you need to present your content to them in a continuous flow: The end of one gallery should be the beginning of another, slideshows should be set to automatic play and there should be an overlap between the different sections on your website.
9. Reduce load times. Nobody likes to wait and nobody is as impatient as the average internet surfer who wants information to be at their fingertips immediately and without delay. The longer your page takes to load, the more you are testing your visitors’ patience. And with competitor websites and similar information so easily available, your visitor has no reason to wait for your site to finish loading when they could get quicker service elsewhere. Reduce your website’s load time by optimising your images and code for the web, and getting rid of any unnecessary heavy scripts, widgets and plugins.
Well designed websites with high quality content find their own audience and keep them coming back for more. The design choices you make can have a significant effect on the bounce rate. Reach out and we will help you.