Bounce Rate Too High? Here’s How to Make it Drop
Your website’s bounce rate is a telling test of the quality and relevance of your content as well as the ease caliber of your user interface (UI). When your bounce rate rises to unacceptable levels, it’s clear that something must be done. Afterall, people don’t land on a page and then leave right away for no reason. Your job is to locate the source(s) of resistance and make the necessary adjustments to help your bounce rate drop.
What is a Good Bounce Rate? Spoiler Alert: No One Knows
Before you start stressing about your bounce rate, it would help to define what level is acceptable. Your bounce rate might seem fine, in your opinion. Most webmasters and marketers look at their websites like their children. They don’t take criticism very well because they largely had a hand in creating the site, like parents are with their kids. That is why it is important to get information straight from the source’s mouth.
At the end of the day, it’s all about conversions. If your bounce rate is high, yet your conversions remain just as high and consistent, something must be working. That high rate merely means visitors are finding everything they need right on that very page, and that can only be good news. It would be better to judge your bounce rate against other metrics, such as the time spent on the page, for instance. If a person sticks around for a long time and then left, that may still be enough exposure to convert that customer later.
So, to answer the question – what is a good bounce rate? The answer is subjective, but this advice is for those instances where you know your rate is too high and you want to lower it at all costs. Here are the steps to follow.
1. Optimize for Faster Loading
Get rid of bulky plugins and oversized images that can add loading time to your website, especially if you’re already working with a site that is below average. If your website takes more than a few seconds to load, you might as well not have a website at all. In fact, nearly half of all web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less. The only people who will wait around for a site like that are the ones who click and then go on to do something else. Individuals who are paying attention will back-click and choose a competing site. That’s because our time is short and our attention spans are shorter. The faster your site loads, the better.
2. Check Readability
Be cognizant of the fact that your audience may be reading your content on very tiny screens. Not everyone has the best vision and you never want your message to become too complex or missed altogether. Avoid this by choosing a font that keeps everything simple.
Choosing a font that is easy to read will not only ensure that your written content will be read, but also that your video’s will be watched and images will be seen. Avoid squiggly lines or cursive fonts. The font you choose should be large enough to be read on any device. Test your text on various screen sizes to make sure it’s not eye strain that is causing your audience to bounce in such high numbers.
To see how readability can ruin your web experience, take a look at this website. It’s not responsive, the text is difficult to read and it’s far too busy.
As a contrast, look at Infusionsoft’s website. The soothing colors and vivid imagery keep you on the page and the simple, no-nonsense navigation puts every page at your fingertips. And the font is easy to read no matter what device you’re on.
3. Test Elements, Images & Colors
While you’re at it, it would be wise to ensure every element of your site meshes well. In some instances, your title might be making promises that your content doesn’t actually deliver. The image on your home page may look unprofessional, turning your audience off. Your background color may not mesh well with your logo, or your site layout may be confusing. Your product pages may force visitors to search for the price or shipping information, and your home page may be so filled with content the visitor doesn’t even know where to begin. These are all parts of your site that should be A/B tested to ensure you have the right combination for an enviable bounce.
4. Format for Skimmers
You should always assume that people will be consuming your site in bite-sized chunks. In most cases, an individual lands on your site with a single goal. That could be to glance at information, entertainment (such as blogs or videos), signing up for your newsletter, or to buy your latest product. That website visitor doesn’t have time to read every single word. Therefore, front-load your sentences and keep them short, but still informative. Use short paragraphs with lots of white space between. Keep your images sparse and relevant, and use bolded subheadings as well as numbered and bulleted lists to make your content even easier to consume.
5. No Tangents
It is perfectly acceptable to ask for newsletter sign-ups on each page of your website and in the sidebar, but don’t go too heavy with the sidebars and columns. Keep your content narrowly-focused on each page so that it’s easy for the visitor to know where their eyes should travel. For best results, pass your content around and test it out with those familiar to you. Ask where their eyes go when they view each page and if they feel as though the information is precision-targeted for each page. A site that’s too busy only turns people off, and they’ll be more likely to bounce in search of simpler pages to view if they can’t determine what your site is about within a few seconds.
While you’re at it, make sure you only have a single call-to-action (CTA) on each page. Again, you can have a newsletter sign up in your sidebar, and then a CTA that reads “Book an Appointment Today!” at the bottom of the page. However, it’s important to note that you don’t ask for signups, appointments, purchases, and other CTAs on the same page.
When faced with too many choices, it’s too easy for someone to back-click and choose none. Give your visitors one decision to make things easy, and your visitors might be more willing to follow through. Your bounce rate may rise or fall, but following that CTA is what it’s all about.
6. Send Visitors on a Journey Through Your Site
Internal linking can keep visitors on your site longer by giving them an excuse to click-through to new content. Use internal linking sparingly so that it’s not so obvious. Make sure that the hypertext you choose and the link are relevant to one another. For example, the sentence “decreasing your bounce rate is no small feat” uses the hypertext “bounce rate” that leads to the Google Analytics page that defines the metric. You would not, for example, use “bounce rate” as the hypertext for a link that lead to a page about website load times. There is nothing more frustrating to a visitor than clicking on a link and receiving information that is different from what they expected. Keep your site user-friendly and use internal links as stepping stones to the more valuable parts of your site, directing your visitors on the web-journey you want them to take.
As a general rule, your visitors should never have to click more than three times to find the content they need. There should be a search bar, easy navigation, clear headers, and even a side menu if you want to make it super easy. The layout of your site and ease of finding content – even on mobile devices – is critical to lowering your bounce rate. Test this on yourself and with your colleagues to see if you can find specific content in two clicks or less. If not, it may be time to go back to the web design drawing board.
While you are undoubtedly proud of your website, there may be problems that you cannot see because of your parental-like bias. Making sure that all text is legible, that all ideas are concise and targeted, and keeping to a single offer can help your bounce rate immensely. But again, don’t get so hung up on the bounce rate.
As long as your site works, bounce rate is just another metric that gives you insight as to what can be improved. Follow the tips in this article even if your bounce rate is acceptable, you may just discover how low it can truly go.
Author Bio: Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, a B2B marketing agency. Ryan helps medium and large brands improve sales and market share by developing integrated marketing experiences distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement and conversion.