How To Improve Your Website’s Bounce Rate And Grow Your Audience
When we think of web traffic and what drives it to various sites, we automatically think of search engine optimization (SEO). While important, a site’s SEO can only do so much, i.e. attract visitors. What SEO can’t do, however, is retain the traffic that you’ve already attracted.That’s where the bounce rate comes in.
In simple terms, a site’s bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to a website and leave without viewing any other pages. If you look into your site’s Google Analytics, you’ll see ‘bounce rate’ as a certain percentage figure. If your average bounce rate, for example, is 65 percent, this means that 65 percent of the people who come to your website leave after only viewing the page they entered on, whether it was your homepage or an internal page.
What this really boils down to is the fact that your website isn’t retaining its visitors. Users are coming to your site and either finding what they want but not anything else or not finding what they want at all.
According to KickoffLabs, there are some telltale signs of a site with a higher bounce rate:
Slow page load times. When you utilize the cheapest hosting you can find, you get what you pay for.
Intrusive advertisements. Certain types of popup and banner ads are distracting and can reduce the amount of trust your visitors feel when on your site. Without trust, they’re unlikely to provide you with email addresses, contact information, or payment information.
Sending users to the wrong landing pages. Anyone with a budget can drive a ton of traffic to a landing page… the question is whether or not you can drive the RIGHT traffic to your landing page.
Filling your landing page with poor grammar and spelling mistakes. Visitors are looking for any reason not to buy what you are selling and give you their personal information or credit card. Don’t give them ones that are easy to avoid.
Producing low-quality content that’s difficult to understand. The copy needs to quickly communicate to the visitor that you understand their problem, you have a solution that could be used to solve it and that they need to just take the following next step.
If a visitor fails out at any of these checkpoints, they’re going to bounce before they go any further.
Making your website ugly. People like looking at attractive things. A poor or unpolished visual design can distract visitors to your site, but it can also reduce the amount of time the person is willing to look at the page for purely aesthetic reasons.
Asking for too much information. It’s just rude on a first date to ask for someone’s mother’s maiden name and social security number. Your landing page is no different.
Neglecting mobile. Everyone isn’t always at their desktop. Making your landing pages unresponsive to mobile so that people have to scroll, pinch, and zoom around to fill out your opt in forms is just cruel.
While these are indeed some serious digital marketing malpractices, they’re all items that are relatively easy to solve. When constructing a landing page, you really have to think of it as a social contract with the visitor. It has to display a level of legitimacy that instills a sense of trust in the visitor. And that can sometimes mean that, in terms of content, less is more.
The chart above, from RocketFuel, details the respective average bounce rates for websites on each internet platform, with mobile platforms seeing the highest bounce rate and desktops seeing the lowest.
As a good rule, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is considered excellent. The 41 to 55 percent range is roughly average. The 56 to 70 percent range is higher than average, but may not necessarily be cause for alarm depending on the website. Anything over 70 percent is disappointing for everything outside of blogs, news, events, etc.
According to Kissmetrics blog, when it comes to ‘fixing’ a site’s bounce rate, i.e. lowering it, there are a few methods that, if implemented correctly, should begin to turn the web traffic tide in your favor.
Add links to more pages within your website in your content. Think about other pages that people interested in that piece of content will want to see, and link to them throughout the copy and content. You can even include some at the end in a “if you liked this, you’ll love this” kind of way.
Expand beyond just product pages. Someone may not be ready to purchase a product, but they might just want to learn more about it. Instead of just having the sales copy, include some links such as a product manual, guides on how to use the product to achieve a specific result, what other customers have said about the product, or other similar ideas. It may just keep the visitor on the site long enough to make the sale.
Add links to popular content to your sidebar. If your design includes a sidebar that remains constant throughout your website, then include links on that sidebar that everyone would enjoy. For example, a new visitor could end up on any page within your website without knowing anything about you, so you could have an About Me / About My Company page linked to the sidebar. You could also have a “first time guide” to visiting your site, top content, and most popular products, all of which would ultimately attract visitors deeper into your website.
Improve your content. If you notice the issue on some of your content isn’t just a high bounce rate but also a low average time on site (meaning people leave pretty quickly), then it might be an issue with your content not providing what the visitor wants. Be sure to review pages on your website with a higher bounce rate and lower average time on site and look at ways you could provide more information that would keep visitors on the page (like video) long enough to notice that there is more to your website without just immediately leaving.
Last, but not least, even if you can’t seem to keep visitors on your website, you can do your best to ensure they will return to your site by giving them links accessible throughout your website to your social media profiles, newsletter, or other online properties. If they leave your website but become a fan of your Facebook page or start following your Twitter account, you will still have a chance of engaging with them further and bringing them back. It’s definitely something to consider if you don’t have these options already!