What Does Bounce Rate Mean For You? And How To Overcome It

Simply put, bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and then leave without visiting any other page. For example, if your bounce rate is 50%, this means that 50% of the visitors left your website after they viewed only the page that they landed on initially. The obvious issue with high bounce rate is that your website is not retaining the visitors once they come to visit. So, if you’ve had problems with increasing search traffic, acquiring more clients and improving email signups, it’s possible that you are having too high bounce rate.

It is different from exit rate because bounce rate will show you the percentage of people who arrive on your website (e.g. homepage or some internal page) and then leave without navigating to other pages, and the exit rate refers to the page from which they left and that page doesn’t necessarily need to be the first one they landed on as it can be the very last one. So your main focus when checking out your analytics software should be on the bounce rate as is more important. To give you a quick example, a high exit rate on a thank you page is fine as it’s usually the last page a visitor sees after they download the offer, fill out an opt-in form or something of that nature, so is normal that people will exit it from there and not go to browse other pages.

Bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing because the goals of websites vary. For example, you don’t need to worry if your bounce rate is high if you only require people to visit one page. This is the case for websites and landing pages where there is a single lead form that is not designed to take the visitor to another page once is filled or a contact page where you just have a toll-free number listed which visitors need to call.

One way to combat high bounce rates is to give your content marketing a push. This is because a 2013 study showed that businesses with 40 or more pages get 12 times more leads than those with much fewer pages. A bounce can happen in several ways, including when someone hits the back button, clicks on an external link or closes the window.

Depending on your website, high bounce rate might be a good or a bad thing and if you have a high bounce rate then that means your website is falling into one of these two scenarios:

  1. Your traffic is targeted and the right kind for that specific page
  2. Your traffic is completely untargeted and wrong

In the first case, high bounce rate doesn’t need to mean that something is off. If your page is designed to quickly solve a problem or answer a question, then the visitor doesn’t have a need to stay on your website longer and browse around. Visitors come, get their questions answered and then simply leave. Here’s an example of a page that answers a specific query with 71.1% bounce rate: 

stats

On the flipside, you might want the visitors to come to your website, browse around and eventually maybe result in a conversion. In this case, a high bounce rate is very bad and you should do anything that you can to decrease it as this will have a direct impact on your website’s success.

Where Can You See Your Bounce Rate?

Hopefully, you already have Google Analytics set up on your website as this is where you can see your bounce rate. If not, go and set it up and track your site’s bounce rate over a period of time so you have a good idea of the average value. As bounce rate can be a very powerful metric in tracking the quality of traffic to your website, you should be bothered about high bounce rate and a high bounce rate usually means that the entrance page isn’t relevant to your visitors. To give you some rough values of what you should look when examining the numbers, you see in your Google Analytics account, it is usually hard to get the bounce rate below 20%, 35% or over might be a cause for concern and if you have over 50% then that is very worrying.

In Google Analytics, you can see all sorts of metrics that will help you to pinpoint the cause of a high bounce rate. The first stop in your account should be Content > Site Content > Pages and here you’ll see the pages on your website with the most traffic and their corresponding bounce rates.

google analytics

Pages with low bounce rate indicate that they are leading visitors to more pages and which pages need to be worked at. In this case, the homepage has around 50% bounce rate, meaning that visitors that land there then goes to visit at least another page on the website.

Next, you should examine the traffic sources. To see this information, head to Traffic Sources > All Traffic. This information is useful in a way that it shows you which exact traffic source has brought you the most visitors and you can also see their bounce rates. Low bounce rates referrals mean that they are more likely to stick around and check out other pages on your website. Then, you can focus on sharing similar content on those traffic sources as they have a proven track record of bringing in traffic that stays longer.

google analytics 2

BOUNCE RATE CHECKLIST

Now that you know what bounce rate is and where to see it, let’s take a look at some of the proven ways to reduce bounce rates. Remember, bounce rates tell you just that someone visited your website and then left. It doesn’t tell you how that person interacted with that page. Because of this, you need to closely examine other metrics and other things in order to figure out what might be causing high bounce rates.

Avoid Disruptions

One of the usual reasons why visitors tend to leave a website as soon as they arrive is due to intrusive popups. The majority of people find irrelevant popups to be very annoying. Popups are always a topic of debate among marketers and whether they should be avoided because of this problem. Have you ever been on a website and you immediately saw a popup and decided to leave? Me too.

On the other side, popups can work well for collecting emails from visitors. You should avoid popups that significantly disrupt the user experience so they don’t leave and maybe use ones (if you have to) like well-crafted inbound messages that add context to that page.

Improve Page Load Speed

In today’s time, visitors expect for the page to load in 2 seconds or less. Research has indicated that after 3 seconds, visitors tend to leave the website if is not fully loaded. So if your website is slow then it’ll directly impact your bounce rate. Not to forget that page load speed is also a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. Faster loading pages also see an increase in conversion rate as you can see from the statistics graph below:

page load

To test your current website speed, head over to Pingdom, enter your URL and click “Test Now. If your load time is over 3 seconds, you should really work on getting that number lower.

Implement Intuitive Navigation

Always provide a clear and obvious path for users to get to the content or information they are looking for. People get frustrated when they can’t find something that should be obvious which you probably experienced for yourself when you were on some website and you couldn’t figure out how or where to navigate. Try using some heatmap software to see where users might be trying to click.

Improve Content’s Readability

If people can’t read your content properly and easily, they are likely to leave. This is an important part of a good user experience. An example to avoid would be large chunks of text so break them into smaller paragraphs and format it properly. Everyone prefers to read short and clean paragraphs If you are using WordPress, then you can easily format the content.

readibility

Here are some tips that you can implement today:

  • Bold important keywords a few times (don’t overdo it!)
  • Always use bullet points when appropriate
  • Use subheadings throughout the content
  • Use images, charts, and screenshots where appropriate
  • End your content with a subheading like “In conclusion”

Optimize Your Website For Mobile Devices

Right now there is more traffic coming in from mobile devices than desktops and this is why you should provide a great mobile experience on every device such as iPhone, tablets and other mobile devices. People don’t want to come to your website and be forced to scale the content and zoom in each section in order to read it. There are many business websites that are not responsive so Google added this in their algorithm and those websites saw a drop in rankings because they were not mobile optimized. Responsive design can do wonders for your bounce rate!

mobile consumption

You should test your website to see how are things looking at the moment:

  1. Go to Google’s mobile friendly test tool, type in your website URL and hit “Analyse)
  2. If your website is mobile friendly, you’ll see this result:
mobile friendly test

Colour Contrast

People like the contrast. As there are many things happening on the page and the web moves towards different mediums of content, you should use specific colours and patterns to draw visitor’s eyes toward the section on your website that you want. Contrast can make your plain boring page look exciting and compelling.

Have A Clear Call To Action

Thinking about what a user wants in the content is one thing, but you should also think about what specific action you want users to take and once you know exactly what that is, you can prompt them with a crystal-clear call to action. Don’t try to include many CTA’s on a single page because visitors will be overwhelmed and confused. A clear call to action should take a 3 seconds maximum for a visitor to see.

When you write a compelling content and visitors are intrigued, don’t lose them with a weak call to action. Main reason why B2B websites have high bounce rate is they lack any call to action. If you don’t include any CTA, then the visitors won’t know where to go or what to do next.

When you implemented a specific and clear call to action, next step would be to A/B test different variations to see what gets you the highest click-through rate. Things that you should test is the text on the button, shape and size of the button, and button colour.

People will stay longer on your website because you gave them directions on what to do which will directly improve your conversion rate and lower bounce rate.

b2b stats

CONCLUSION

It is very important to look at the full picture when investigating your bounce rate. Some of the things to look at include what device people are using, how much time they spend on your website, and where they are coming from. You might see a pattern that you can use to fix your problem. There’s no single fix for high bounce rate, but rather many moving parts which you need to check individually.

Besides this, you should always strive to have a great content strategy because if you don’t currently have it, fixing your bounce rate will be just a temporary fix and you’ll face it again in the future. Keep your website layout simple and not bloated with unnecessary clutter and your website will be readable and ease to digest. Make sure that people can find what they came for quickly and you’ll also have a greater chance of them opting-in, paying for a product or clicking through to the next page on your website.