Understanding Bounce Rate and How to Improve It

You might have a lot of visitors (hits) on your website but if those visitors leave without looking around you are missing opportunities. Bounce Rate is the proportion of people who leave your site having only viewed one page. Although a crude measure the Bounce Rate shows whether your website is engaging visitors or turning them off. A high Bounce Rate shows potential customers lost before you’ve even had a chance to set out your stall. Worse still, if you’re utilising any pay per click advertising you’re paying for those ‘bounces’ too. Although it’s impossible to eliminate ‘bounce’ completely there are some strategies to reducing it.

Setting the Target Rate

A respectable Bounce Rate will vary wildly based on the type of website and where your visitors are coming from. Have a look at Bounce Rates of different pages within your website. If some are significantly higher than others ask yourself why. Aiming to bring all your pages up to the level of the best performing one isn’t the most scientific approach but should give you a manageable and measureable target.

Try to classify visits by the type of referral. Users visiting from referral sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are likely to be casual browsers and not looking specifically for your offering. A high Bounce Rate is to be expected. However, users who have sought you out through search engines are looking for your products. A high Bounce Rate from search engine traffic is likely indicative of a problem.

Give Visitors What They Expect

Whatever route visitors take to your website they will have come for a particular piece of content. If they can’t see what they want straight away they’re likely leave. Look at the traffic that bounces and the links or search terms it’s come from. Try to understand the what your bounces are looking for and put it front and centre on the page. You might want to hook people by showing other products or special offers but make sure you don’t obscure what visitors have come for.

Present The Webpage in a Meaningful Way

Increasingly, people don’t enter websites via the homepage. Search results and external links can direct visitors to any part of your website. Webpages must make sense in isolation to visitors. Make it clear who you are and what you do on every page. Indicate where in the site the page sits to give context to its content. If you have a unique selling point that drives your business make it clear on every webpage a user could land on. Giving context should support the content users are looking for and direct them to the next click on your website.

Offer the Next Step

Show users where they are and offer them a next step or related alternative. Amazon offers visitors ‘Add to Cart’ in a prominent position. If you don’t like the product they also offer alternatives. Make it as clear and simple as possible for visitors to give you that second click. Keep the options to a minimum to avoid any confusion. The clearer and simpler the steps from visitors to customer are the better your conversion rate will be.

Summary

Monitoring your Bounce Rate is by no means a long term strategy for web analytics on its own but it can be a useful first measure of engagement for a website. For large, complex websites it can help target where more detailed analytics are required or can set a meaningful target for the most valuable segments of a website. If you would like to discuss how your business could benefit from working with eSlice on improving your website then please contact us today.

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