So, you’ve created what in your eyes seems like the perfect website. It has a modernistic layout. It perfectly represents your company and your product. You made it SEO optimized to the best of your abilities. You’ve invested a considerate amount of time and money into developing it, but something just isn’t going your way. Developing such a good website hasn’t led to any significant spikes in your company’s business, your sales, the number of people reaching out for more information, or a possible business deal. Checking your Google Analytics has shown you that your website has a bounce rate of around 80%, which is a sure confirmation that something needs to be changed, that is, if you understand what a high bounce rate indicates.
For those of you who are maybe familiar with the term “bounce rate” but aren’t quite sure what it means, or if you are totally oblivious to its’ meaning, here’s a little rundown on the term bounce rate.
Bounce rate is a number that shows what percentage of people who visit your website, “bounce” right off it. They leave without visiting any other page on your site, without completing a single transaction, without viewing any of your ads, without submitting their email into your database. A high bounce rate can be an indicator of a bad business model. That you aren’t giving the visitor of your website what they came for, or that you simply aren’t connecting with your audience. While this definitely hurts your business, it could also hurt your position in Google search results.
Google might perceive your high bounce rate as a sign that your site shouldn’t be shown at a high position in the search results because it isn’t what the people are looking for when searching for a certain topic. And we all know how important positioning in the search results is. If your site loses its’ spot on the first page of search results on Google, it could lead to almost no organic traffic on your site, hurting both your website and your business.
An acceptable bounce rate ranges depend significantly on the type of website. Here are some average percentages of bounce rates on different types of sites:
- Retail sites 20-40%
- Landing sites 70-90%
- Portals 10-30%
- FAQs and self-service sites 10-30%
- Content-type sites 40-60%
- Lead generation sites 30-50%
They also vary depending on the source from which your traffic is coming from. If you receive a lot of traffic from social or mobile, your bounce rate will be higher than when the visitor is using a desktop or organic searches. A general rule of thumb is that a bounce around 80% and above is very bad, and a bounce rate of anything below 40% is something you should strive for.
So how do you reach that number below 40%?
Examine Your Target Audience
We often spend time developing a site perfect for us, without really taking into consideration the consumers of the website. Is that really what they are looking for? Examining your audience can tell you a lot of things. From which age groups do most of your visitors fall into, what is the most prominent region your visitors are coming from, to which color scheme and images do they prefer. By getting to know your audience better, you will be able to know which adjustments your website needs for it to be more enticing and have people spending more time on it.
Have a Fast-loading Page
Research shows that long load time is one of the primary reasons people exit a website. Acceptable loading time for your page should be 1-2 seconds, 3 seconds is where most people lose their patience.
A good way to check your page load speed is by using PageSpeed Insights. A score of 70 and below means there is room for improvement.
Implement The 3-second Rule
Find a person who isn’t familiar with your site or your business, give them three seconds to look at your site and then close it. In those three seconds, they should be able to get a correct idea of what your website and business are about.
One look at your website should be enough for the user to know: What you do? Who do you do it for? How does it benefit the customer?
Having a lot to say about your site is normal. If it’s something you created and you believe in, then, of course, you would want to share every detail that makes it great, but the user isn’t there to learn about that. They are there to find exactly what they are looking for, what led them to your site in the first place. Your main focus should be to present that to them, and then later by using links, suggestions, calls to action take them to another page, another feature, something that you think might interest them next.
Fulfill The Visitor’s Expectations
Your website needs to have what the user was looking for when they clicked on a link leading to your website. Make sure that an ad for your website matches the style of your actual website. A different appearance of the ad and your website can give the user a feeling like they were led to the wrong site. Sometimes it might even give them a sense that your website is a scam.
If you have a situation where your visitor has to be redirected to another page, like, for example, a thank you page after placing an order. They need to be redirected to a page on your site, not some external page that looks completely disassociated from yours.
If you are advertising one of your services, clicking on the ad should lead to a page on your site talking about that specific service. Linking an ad for a service to your landing page is a huge no. A user was looking for something specific, and you left them at the homepage to find it themselves, a sure way to make anyone exit instantly.
There can’t be any disconnect between the site and an outer link/ad for your site. Having content that matches the outer link/ad will make the people feel like they are in the right place, causing them to stick around and reduce your bounce rate.
Content with a homogenous appearance feels more like reading a book than viewing a website. You should use different sizes of fonts to emphasize what needs to be emphasized. Divide the text content into paragraphs, so your reader doesn’t get overwhelmed with a huge block of text. Your links and calls to action should be apparent, so use a different font color for your links and style your calls to action in a button style.
No matter how much your site has to offer, never put more than seven items in your navigation menu. Give your site visitor options, but don’t put everything on display right away. Your navigation menu should consist of links to the most important pages on your site. When the user decides on one of the items, you can always build around the topic. Add relevant links and suggestions to it, anything that the user might find useful. The idea is for the user to find what they are looking for easily, or to encourage the ones who are unsure, to take some sort of action.
Content Comes First
When planning the layout of your site, the central position should go to the content. Not your company’s story or an ad from your biggest sponsor. Incorporating those things on your website is easy and necessary, but they should never hold the most prominent position. You can easily test if your site is obeying by this by using the three-second rule mentioned above.
It Must Be Responsive
In 2019, the era of smartphones, having a responsive site should be a basic requirement for any website. Surprisingly there are still websites that don’t have a mobile-friendly version and give us a headache while trying to browse them in desktop mode while using our phone. A non-responsive website gives the user a sense of unprofessionalism and indifference from the company’s side. With that impression, the user won’t be browsing your site for a long time or have any desire to come back.
Set Up Proper Analytics
It’s not rare that a company’s bounce rate seems to be at a satisfying level, but their business isn’t profiting, ads aren’t getting enough clicks, no real engagement is happening on their site. Usually, this occurs when their website has improper analytics set up, and they aren’t receiving accurate numbers for their bounce rate. For you to be able to see the real picture, you will need to have a proper analytics set up. You might need the assistance of a developer for this, but that will inevitably cost you less than being unaware of the issues on your site.
Go Easy On The Pop-ups
While the debate around pop-ups remains undecided, with some saying that they are a necessity and others seeing them as the most annoying thing ever. Especially since most of us associate them with fake giveaways on sketchy websites. Despite that, there is no doubt that they can be beneficial when placed correctly. They can be used for multiple purposes, from advertising to grow your customer email database. They also come in many different forms. Like timed pop-ups, pop-ups that appear when a user scrolls to a specific percentage of the site, exit pop-us, and many more. Unfortunately, they aren’t always a hit with the audience, so use them smartly, sparingly, and only when it seems appropriate.
I think we all have had our attention captured by an interesting video on a website at least once. A well-placed video will surely increase the on-page time and decrease the bounce rate of your website. A few details you should pay attention too when placing a video on your site are:
- Make sure it doesn’t autoplay, especially with the sound on. There is nothing worse than to be disrupted while browsing a website by an unexpected noise.
- Have a good thumbnail for the video, something that will make the user want to know what the video is about
Get Another Perspective
Sometimes it’s hard to see where we went wrong on your own site. That’s because of something called the curse of knowledge. We already know what the best way is to use our website. How to navigate through it, where each click will lead us, what pop-up to expect when. Similarly to the three-second rule, have someone who is unfamiliar with your website and business look at your website, but this time let them fully explore it and ask them for feedback on the user experience. Do this with a group of people since several opinions are far more valuable than just one or two.
Another fact to consider is that your computer is “cookies”. Chances are you aren’t getting the same alert messages and popups as a new visitor of the website would receive. Take a look at your website in incognito mode and see how the website behaves with a new visitor. You might be surprised by what you see.
Now that you know a bit more about what high bounce rate means and what could be causing it, it’s time to examine where you went wrong when it comes to your website. Whether it be inaccurate advertisements, poor design choices, too many pop-ups, or something else, the good thing is that you have recognized that there is a problem, and you have decided to take action in order to fix it. This article can’t possibly cover every possible issue that could be causing a high bounce rate on your site, but it can surely serve as a good guideline for you in the process.