Metrics can either be your best friend or worst nightmare. When things are going well, your life is great, but what happens when they start to go against you? You start to freak out. Our world today is centered around being the top or the best in whatever we do. In business, this is especially true when it comes to websites. If I could guess, I would say one of the biggest metrics you look at when assessing your website is the bounce rate. It might not be the first or second thing you look at, but it’s up there. I could also guarantee that at some point that number has been higher than you anticipated and freaked you out. What if I told you that a higher bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing? Take the opportunity to learn more about what to actually expect with bounces, and make the adjustments you think need to happen.
What is a bounce rate?
To put it in simple terms, a bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on your web page and then leave without traveling to another page (or blog) on your site. Most of the time this means they’ve only viewed a single page and then left.
High Bounce Rate = Bad, Right?
It depends. What are your website goals? What does your website look like? Usually, if you’re bringing traffic to a single page that doesn’t solicit for any other navigation or if your website is one page, then having a higher bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The same thing goes for blogs because most people come to read that specific content piece and leave. If you have a website that includes more than one page, then a higher bounce rate could indicate something is wrong.
If you’re unsure about where your bounce rate should land, Google Analytics put out their benchmark averages as follows:
- Blogs - 70-98%
- Content Websites - 40-60%
- Landing Pages - 70-90%
- Lead Generation - 30-50%
- Retail Sites - 20-40%
- Service Sites - 10-30%
As you can see, it’s perfectly normal to have a higher bounce rate depending on the page type. Just look how high the bounce rate benchmark goes for blogs! Nevertheless, if you’re concerned or want to lower your bounce rate, you first have to figure out why it could be so high.
Usually, the reason lies in at least one of these three things. First, a high bounce rate could be an indication that the visitor who came to the page didn’t find what they were looking for. It could also mean that the website isn’t loading properly. Lastly, and surprisingly enough, it could mean that the visitor found exactly what they were looking for. If they stayed and read the page and then closed out of the tab or browser your site was on, that too would count as a bounce (according to Google).
Why You Should Try To Keep Bounce Rates Low
Ultimately, your website should be enhancing the quality of the visitor’s experience. That’s why having a low bounce rate is important. If they aren’t having a good time, they’ll leave. This is concerning because even if just one person bounces, three things happen:
- That person doesn’t get the full experience of your website.
- You miss out on the opportunity to collect information on a potential qualified lead.
- You don’t get to showcase your product/service to someone that might have converted.
Now take these three aspects for one person and multiply it by however many people bounce. That’s a lot of missed opportunities! If you can fix this issue, it’s a win-win for both of you.
What You Can Do To Reduce Your Bounce Rate
Making these changes won’t make the bounce rate disappear, but it will help to reduce it (although if you somehow manage to make it disappear, share your secret!).
1. Speed up page load time. The biggest thing for people today is they like things to work as fast as possible. We’ve become impatient. If your site is loading too slow, chances are people will start clicking off. This especially goes for mobile users.
2. Optimize for mobile. Those that view your site on their phone or tablet not only want the page to load quickly, they want it to be able to work with their screen size. Having a responsive design will allow for the mobile experience to be smooth.
3. Optimize for relevance. If your website pages pop up with a title tag and meta description on one subject but really talk about something else, you’re doing your site no good. Even if the subject on the title tag and meta description is vague and your page is more specific, you want to make sure you’re reflecting what the page is truly talking about. If your viewer doesn’t see the value or information they were searching for, they’ll leave. Using natural, compelling language while also including targeted keywords can help.
4. Make a good first impression - have a good layout and effortless navigation. Like I’ve mentioned before, people don’t want to waste their time. If they have to dig for the information they’re looking for, they’ll leave. Make sure your website layout is easy to get from point A to point B. Don’t turn your site and pages into a scavenger hunt.
5. Provide quality content. This shouldn’t need any explanation. Make sure what your site says reflects your company and provides value. It’s that simple.
6. Update content. Figure out which pages on your site have the most traffic and update them. The more relevant the content is, the more valuable it’ll be to those seeking it.
7. Open up external links in new tabs. If a link opens up in the same tab and takes forever, isn’t what the visitor looking for, or just sits open on their screen they’ll eventually forget about your page and exit instead of hitting the back button. That counts as a bounce. If the link opens up in a new tab and the same thing happens, your website is still up, and they’ll eventually come back to your page.
8. Figure out what isn’t working for your page and fix it. Use heatmaps to see how users are navigating and interacting with your website. If you’re seeing that they’re only getting through a portion of the page, see what could be the cause and try out something else. Testing something new becomes your best friend here.
What You Can Do To Make Your Blog More Enticing
If you’re looking to get people to stay on the blog or travel elsewhere, these tips could be your answer:
1. Make the page readable. Especially text.
- The color should stand out and be easy to read
- The font should be larger
- Where there’s emphasis use a different style like bolding or italicizing
For the page itself break up the sections with:
- Larger headlines
- Bulleted lists
You want the page to flow and have the right amount of white space so the reader gets pulled from the top of the page all the way to the bottom.
2. Make sure you have internal links and that they are strategically placed. Having links to other areas of your website or to other blogs will help to reduce the bounce rate. Make sure you don’t include too many links because this can distract the reader or annoy them. Also make sure whatever links you include are relevant and provide value otherwise don’t include them.
3. Work in a suggested content section. Like product pages such as Amazon where they show you other products you might like, do the same thing with your content. This could help lower the bounce rate on your blog because people would be clicking to another page of the website instead of reading the article and leaving. This gives them another option and makes it easier for them to find something else.
4. Entice readers to comment and subscribe. Once a reader hits “submit” on their comment or information to subscribe what happens next? The page either refreshes or they get sent to a thank you page. When this happens, they’ve technically visited another page which excludes their visit from the bounce rate. It’s a win-win situation!
Remember, it’s all about user experience. Fix up your website or blog to cater towards easier navigation for your viewers and you’ll start to see the bounce rate drop. Don’t forget, it’s okay to have a higher bounce rate. Check your goals and make sure your website/blog content aligns with them. If it doesn’t, it’s time to change things up!