In this post we are going to talk about the Bounce Rate, how to measure it and in the case that your Bounce rate percentage isn’t working for you, what could you be doing wrong and how to fix it, hoping to optimize your website to keep visitors from leaving, so read on my friend!

What is the Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without viewing any other pages on your website. In general, high bounce rates can indicate that the page is irrelevant or confusing to site visitors. If you have a poor site structure, for example, you’d probably have a high bounce rate. If your average bounce rate, for example, is 75%, this means that 75% 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 all boils down to is the fact that your website isn’t retaining its visitors. People are coming to your site and either finding what they want but nothing else or not finding what they want at all. But you shouldn’t just jump right into a site redesign if you have a high bounce rate you need to examine other metrics first and take a moment to think about the goals for your website to see if having a high bounce rate on your site is really a bad thing. The main thing you need to keep in mind about bounce rates is that they only tell you that someone entered a web page and left it without visiting any other page on your website. It doesn’t tell you how someone interacted with your page. If the page in question is a blog post and the time on site is long and readers are sharing the post, or your goal is not to have visitors browse endlessly through a maze of content, but instead to take a call to action then a high bounce rate might not be the end of the world. So when you’re investigating bounce rates, make sure you’re also looking at the page itself to see if there are additional metrics that’ll give you a fuller picture. Take a look at time on site and the device people are using you may uncover patterns with these additional metrics that could inform how you fix the bounce rate problem. If you have a high bounce rate only on mobile devices, for example, you probably have a poor mobile design, so you should look into getting a website redesign that’s responsive.

Common problems leading to a high Bounce Rate

  • Your website is visually unappealing. Sometimes the fix is obvious. A visitor has stumbled across your site, and they are unimpressed by your cheesy stock images and choice of Comic Sans as a font. Never underestimate the power of an attractive, easy-on-the-eyes website compared to a cluttered eye-sore. Great design creates credibility.
  • Your website is difficult to use. Maybe your site copy makes perfect sense to you, but visitors are left confused or, even worse, offended. It could also be that users are not visiting more pages because they can’t find them. Either because of poor layout, poor information architecture, technical errors, or malfunctioning buttons and page errors, users are left stranded.
  • Your website doesn’t meet user expectations. Unlike in the previous scenario, in which the user can’t easily leave the landing page, in this situation someone visits your website based on a promise that isn’t kept. If you do offer what they’re looking for it might not be easily located from the page they landed on. Users lack the motivation or time to scour every page you have, so it is crucial to remove the obstacles that cause them to give up and look elsewhere.
  • The people coming to your website aren’t the right people. The type of person viewing the page is just as important–if not more so–than the page itself. If people are bouncing it may be because they arrived based on a false promise. This is traffic you can’t really optimize, because they are going to bounce regardless. To avoid this, be sure your ads accurately represent your product and keywords align with your site’s mission.
  • There is no Call to Action. This issue is quite comparable to to the “lack of usability/navigation” issue, though likely even more detrimental to your bounce rate. Users arrive to your site one way or another, and simply don’t know where to go next—the shopping cart is nowhere to be found, it’s not clear how to subscribe to your blog, etc. Whatever the activity you’ve designated as conversion, if the user has no idea what you want them to do, there is a huge problem.
  • Loading speed. This pretty much goes without saying these days but nothing really effects bounce rate like having a web page that takes 10 seconds to load.Not only is this a confirmed ranking factor and lends directly to user experience, but it can cause your follower reach to stall, negatively impact your search rankings, and destroy your conversion rate.
  • Pop-ups and Ad heavy. Pop-up ads annoy people. In some rare cases they offer something worth the roadblock, but usually they disrupt the user experience. Also excessive advertisements distract and confuse your visitors.

Some tips to improve your Bounce Rate

  • Add links to more pages within your website in your content: Think about other pages that people interested in that piece of content would want to see, and link to them throughout the content.
  • Go 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. Maybe it will keep the visitor on the site long enough to make the sale.

  • Add links to content everyone will love to your sidebar: If your design includes a sidebar that remains throughout your website, then include links on that sidebar that everyone would enjoy. For example you could have a “first time guide” to visiting your site, top content, most popular products, and so on, all of which would 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, 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 high bounce rate and low average time on site and look at ways you could provide more information that would keep visitors on the page long enough to notice that there is more to your website without just immediately leaving.

Finally bounce rates might indicate something is off with your site’s layout, design, and/or copy, but you need to dig into additional metrics to figure out the solution. Even if you can’t keep visitors on your website, you can do your best to ensure they will return 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 bringing them back. It’s definitely something to consider if you don’t have these options already.

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