Understanding Your Website Bounce Rate and How to Lower It
One of the most troubling problems to many website owners is a persistently high bounce rate. A “bounce rate” is simply a measurement of how often those who visit your website leave as single-page viewers. Or, if we are measuring bounce rate for a particular web page, then bounce rate is how often visits to that page did not lead to a visit to another one of your web pages.
There are many reasons for “bounces,” and not all of them are problematic, but in general, a high bounce rate is an ominous sign. It invariably corresponds to a low conversion rate and indicates that, for any variety of reasons, your website is failing to convince its users to buy your products/services or take any number of other conversion goals.
Causes of High Bounce Rates
A high bounce rate can be caused by many different things. Bounces occur when someone accidentally clicks on your link, for example, and then immediately backs out again. It can also occur when a user, for any reason, closes the window he/she is viewing your website on, types in a new URL, or abandons his computer until the session times out.
With blogs and news articles, or when a user has simply found what he is looking for and is ready to move on, leaving your website could be counted as a bounce despite no real marketing failure taking place. And if a visitor spends a lot of time on one of your webpages and exits by backing out, it would still increase your bounce rate.
However, all of these sorts of factors are already taken into account when we say that a high bounce rate is a sign of trouble in making conversions. If your bounce rate is higher than average, your landing pages may not be making conversions, or other specific pages may be getting excessively high bounce rates. It could also be you are drawing lots of traffic to your website but the wrong kind, people not from your target audience and who are likely to be motivated by your product/service.
It could also be that most of your site visitors are abandoning your website as soon as they see the home page because of its appearance or its organization. Or, it could be unacceptably slow load times, or poor configurations for mobile devices. Finally, high bounce rates can also result from simply not including and prominently displaying a clear call to action.
But that is to oversimplify. In reality, a “good bounce rate” is also defined by the type of website involved. For example, retail sites have only 20% to 40% bounce rates on average, while service-focused sites see only 10% to 30% averages. For content-focused sites, a 40% to 60% bounce rate is normal, and for landing pages with a single call to action, 70% to 90% bounce rates are the norm.
How to Reduce a High Bounce Rate
Having covered what a bounce rate is, why it’s important, and how to gauge which rate to aim at, the question naturally arises, “How can I reduce my website’s high bounce rate?”
There are many answers to that question, relating to website design, user-friendliness, marketing strategies, and more. We cannot hope to cover them all here. However, here are five strategies to get rid of your website’s high bounce rate:
1. Improve User Experience
Site visitors will seldom stay long on your site or bother to go to another of your web pages if the page they are on is giving them an unpleasant experience. If there are so many ads and high-memory features that load time is very slow, they will likely go elsewhere.
High-quality videos, whether inset or background, individual or slide-show images, unique logos and branding, text large enough to be easily read (even on small, mobile screens), bullets and numbered lists for easy scanning, plenty of white space, attractive contrasting or complementary color combinations, and lack of “screen clutter” all improve user experience and help drive down bounce rates.
2. Make Navigation Intuitive
One reason for bounces is that visitors simply cannot easily figure out how to get from one part of your website to another. What they are looking for is indeed on your site, but you lose them anyway as they exit and look for it somewhere else. That is both ironic and “tragic” to your bounce rate.
A permanent navigation bar at the top of the screen is pretty standard, and works well. But piling up too many categories and sub-categories can make navigation complex. Keep things simple and straightforward and when “accordion” or pop-down menus must be used, keep menus as short as possible and make sure every menu item “naturally” fits where you’ve put it.
3. Improve Calls to Action
As soon as a screen containing a call to action loads, it should be visible already without the user having to scroll down to see it. The headline should be short but contain all information necessary to direct the user as to what to do next and why.
If the CTA is on a landing page, or any other page for that matter, you should A/B test. And you should even consider creating different landing pages to target different groups. Effective CTAs/landing pages are at the very “front lines” of reducing bounce rates, so give them adequate attention.
4. Re-target Keywords and Content
You may need to choose better keywords that will more selectively target your desired audience. Bringing in floods of uninterested viewers will certainly up your bounce rate.
And you can use special software to target website users based on which page they are on and what actions they have taken. This will allow you to make the most relevant offers and put other content before your users who they are likely to navigate to.
5. Display Trustworthiness
You are a reliable, legitimate company, and you need your prospective customers to think so as well. Be sure you are showing HTTPS and the “security lock” in the URL bar so users know it is a secure site.
Also include an About Us page, company contact data and phone numbers, reviews and testimonials, industry awards, and anything else that helps establish your company’s reputation.
Reducing a too-high bounce rate is key to improving your website’s conversion capability. Understanding the causes of high bounce rates and how to improve them can do wonders for your website and your business.
Contact Foxxr today so that we can identify high bounce rates with a bounce rate checker and via tools on Google Analytics, and then move to implement proven solutions that can get your bounce rate down and keep it down.