It’s the Bounce Rate. It’s mysterious. It’s menacing. It’s misunderstood.
Simply stated, the bounce rate is the number of visitors that land on your site and exit from the same page without viewing any content on your site. It is easy to understand why it would be preferable to keep this number lower, but sometimes a higher bounce rate may not be the “bogeyman” you assume it is. By taking the time to better understand the nature of the bounce rate, you can make it less of an enemy and more of an informant.
WHAT IS AN “ACCEPTABLE” BOUNCE RATE ?
According to Google, the average website bounce rate is 40%. While that may sound simple and straightforward, that figure alone is really not a reliable statistic for determining how your website is functioning. Acceptable bounce rates take into consideration a number of variants. These include, but are not limited to:
- Type of site
- Type of page
- Location of page on the site
- Brand recognition
HOW HIGH IS TOO HIGH?
- Doug, who owns a landscaping business, reorganized his website so that the majority of his pertinent information (contact information, hours, services provided, location, etc.) is right there on the landing page. Visitors get the information they require there and consequently have no need to advance further on the site. His bounce rate increased, however he also found that his call volume and paying client base increased. For Doug, the increased bounce rate is not a major concern.
- If the main purpose of a landing page is to send visitors to another site (an article, video, etc.), then the bounce rate, which will be very high, is irrelevant as leaving the website from that page is what is intended.
HOW DO YOU REDUCE “BAD BOUNCE?”
You’ve gone over the analytics, and you’ve concluded that the high bounce rate is signaling that your website is not doing the job you had intended. What can you do to treat the situation? Here are a few questions you might want to ask for starters.
- Is your website’s text clean and clear? A website needs to be easily readable, and ones that cause eyestrain can be an immediate turnoff to a visitor. Does yours employ fonts that are difficult to read due to size or contrast with the background? Are the colors used pleasing to the eye, or are they too loud and intense, possibly causing some visitors to squint?
- Do all of the landing pages of your website clearly convey their purpose? Generally, you put a good deal of care and attention into your home page, but that is not necessarily your landing page! When visitors are directed to your site, they may not be taken to your home page. It is important to discover through which pages people are entering your site and focus on making them clear, attractive, and purposeful. Certainly this is a goal for every page of your site, but begin by focusing on the points of entry.
- Are ads placed in a manner that is distracting or obtrusive? Advertising on your site may be a necessity. If they add confusion or clutter, however, they will often result in people immediately navigating away from your business. While it is important to keep ads prominent, be mindful to place them in areas where they will not cause confusion or result in accidental clicking, such as near menus or “add to cart” buttons. And those pop-up ads? They are akin to having a horsefly buzzing around your page and will have visitors using the back button as a flyswatter. Eliminate them before they eliminate your potential customers.
- Are your pages taking too long to load? Let’s face it, this is the age of instant gratification, and nothing will result in an instant goodbye quite the way a slow-loading webpage will. Work with your website designer to eliminate any unnecessary plugins or links and to optimize your website’s graphics for eye-catching, interesting pages that will load quickly and keep visitors longer.
These are just a few things to examine when diagnosing a spike in the temperature of your website’s bounce rate. If you’re still not seeing the rate decrease, it’s time to chat with your web designer who can provide a deeper understanding of the analytics and offer the proper remedy that will give your business a bounce…in sales!
This post is from Bola Olonisakin, Creative Head & Online Strategist at GTechDesigns LLC. Bola specializes in web design and development techniques, standards and methodology. She works to enable organizations to grow their web strategy and increase the visibility of their websites. If you’re interested in improving your web presence, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or @gtechdesigns on Twitter. This post was originally posted at www.gtechdesigns.com.