What Is Bounce Rate (and 7 Ways to Improve)

Lower Bounce Rate
Understanding and Optimizing Your Bounce Rate

What Is Bounce Rate (and 7 Ways to Improve)

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Will Rogers

Bounce Rate: What Is It?

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on a single page of your website, and leave after viewing only one page.  They also did not engage with anything on your page.  They did not click on any links, buy anything, fill out any forms….they…bounced.

Why Is It So Important?

Apparently in the world of websites…we only get 3-5 seconds to make that first impression.  Therefore, understanding bounce rate is crucial.

Having a good understanding of these metrics helps to determine the quality of your web pages and discover:

  • How are people reacting to your landing pages?
  • What pages are driving visitors away?  
  • What pages are making people stay, pullng them in, leading to more clicks further into your site?

What kind of Bounce Rate do you Want?

Optimal Bounce Rate

When someone clicks away…(a bounce)…the bounce rate goes up. Optimally we want our bounce rate to be low.  

It should be noted that different types of websites (and even different types of pages within one site) have various average bounce rates, and different sources of traffic can impact a website’s bounce rate too.  So when trying to compare your percentage, make sure you are comparing your metrics with similar website metrics.  It might be normal that your bounce rate seems high if you have a certain type of site.

Average Bounce Rates

How to Determine your Bounce Rate

Don’t sleep on Google Analytics!

It is your go-to source for metrics and various break downs of your website’s bounce rates. For example:

  • Audience Overview report:  This provides the overall bounce rate figure for entire site
Google Analytics Audience Overview
Audience Overview Report
  • Channels Report: Provides bounce rate for each channel grouping
Google Analytics Channel Report
Channels Report
  • All Traffic Report: Provides the bounce rate for each source/medium pair
Google Analytics All Traffic Report
All Traffic Report
  • All Pages Report: provides the bounce rate for individual pages
Google Analytics All Pages Report
All Pages Report

And there are so much more: such as the time spent on page, average session duration page, you will find everything you need to determine how your page is performing.  Be sure to look at the big picture.  Don’t take just one metric out of context to analyze your page’s success. You need to determine if the problem is with the entire site, or just one page.

So now you have determined that your bounce rate is less than stellar. Don’t cry. We can fix this. What do we do?

So first, let’s talk about the contributing factors of an unsatisfactory bounce rate. Most likely you need to fix:

  • “Above the Fold” Content
  • Poor Quality or Unappealing Content
  • Page Loading Speed
  • Usability/Difficult to Navigate
  • Poorly Optimized title Tags and meta description
  • Poor mobile friendly optimization
  • Poor Use of Calls To Action

How can we improve these 7 items??

1. Poor Quality Or Unappealing Content

Fix This Error

First off…you could have extremely helpful information. It could be life changing. But what good is it if the user clicks to your page and they see a dreaded: NOT FOUND, or UNDER CONTSTRUCTION.  

Make sure your page is free from technical errors and that…there’s a page at all.

Also…if the page looks outdated and like it was built in 1994, the user will very likely click away. It could have been written ten seconds ago, but they will assume it’s outdated information and your site loses all credibility.

Spell check and proof read your content. Use fonts large enough so that people don’t have to pinch and zoom in unnecessarily.

Use color, graphics, make sure the design is pleasing to the eye.

People say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” But sadly they do.

2. “Above the Fold” Content

Above The Fold Content

If you want people to see your beautifully designed page…be sure they feel compelled to scroll down.

The phrase “above the fold” dates back to when the newspaper industry first started.  It referred to what people saw on the top half of the page. This needed to be bold, attention grabbing, and compel people to pick up a copy.

The same concept applies to a website.  Above the fold is what a viewer sees on the page before having to scroll down.  Do what you must to grab a person’s attention.  This goes beyond simply using nice images and web design.

Make an appealing promise to deliver needed material, prove why you are the go-to source, and have an exciting transition that encourages the reader to scroll down.

3. Usability/Navigation

Anchor Links Improve Bounce Rate

Don’t make people have to think.  They have enough on their minds.  Is your website easy to navigate?  

Don’t scare people away with large clusters of text. Break it up into subheadings, keep paragraph’s short and easy to skim.

Consider having a navigation bar and buttons that will encourage and make it easy for people to visit other parts of you site.

Utilize anchor links, or a table of contents. If someone is only looking for one specific thing on a blog of 25 suggestions, help them find their link quickly. Here’s a helpful guide to creating anchor links and how it lowers the likelihood of someone bouncing.

4. Loading Speed

Page Speed Affects Bounce Rate

This needs to be carefully balanced with the implemented suggestions above.  While you should optimize a page by adding images or relevant graphics, you don’t want to bog down the page speed.  It needs to load quickly. Slow loading speed has a direct correlation to high bounce rate.

Condense graphics, CSS code,and javaScript.  Optimize HTML and script code.  Make sure your page is running smoothing.

Utilize tools such as:


GTmetrix  

https://gtmetrix.com/

WebPageTest

https://www.webpagetest.org/

PageSpeed Insights

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

These can help you pinpoint exactly what is making your page run slow. Implement the recommendations.

5. Poorly Optimized title Tags and meta description

Meta Descriptions

You want to use keywords in your tags and meta descriptions, it’s what helps drive traffic to your site. But make sure your descriptions match up with what you actually deliver.  Do not click bait people. Deliver on your promised content. People will not be fooled. Or pleased.

6. Call To Action-Correctly

Call To Action For Bounce Rate

You might see the term “call to action” frequently referred to as “CTA.” This is any prompt on your page that urges the user to take some form of action such as: sign up for e-mail newsletters, share on social media, read related articles, add to cart, check-out, etc.

A CTA encourages users to continue interacting with the page they are on, and it compels them to visit other pages on your site.

As soon as someone visits an additional page on your website, it doesn’t count as a bounce once they leave.

CTA’s also helps direct users to complete a task that they might have specifically came to do( such as purchasing an item).

If you have them, make sure they are inviting and visible.  Make them relevant to your page, and easy to do.

HOWEVER, a huge caveat is necessary.

Avoid pop ups or prompts that feel invasive. Don’t have too many. We don’t want our user to equate a call to action with pressure or think we are sleazy sales people. Ever come to a page and but then a huge “SUBSCRIBE WITH E-MAIL” window pops up, blocking your view of the other content. And it won’t go away?  Please…don’t do that.

7. Optimize for all Devices

Mobile Friendly

Last but certainly not least, make sure your content is user friendly on all mobile devices.  The majority of people now browse the internet on their device rather than on a desktop.

Implement above suggestions, such as making sure the page loads quickly on a phone, double check the design elements, etc.  

You don’t want to do all the work on your page, for it to look terrible on a phone or tablet.

Utilize mobile optimization tools such as mobiReady.

In Conclusion…

Optimizing your website…even optimizing a single page to improve your bounce rate might seem daunting. However, it is crucial to understand it, and invest the time to improve it. Once you see your analytics showing that people are actually spending time on your page…you will be thankful.

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Shawn Christie

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