Going online and making a website effective the way a developer wants to is not always a cakewalk. Many developers do not know which metrics to look at to ensure site performance. This is because there are so many things to look at. Among the Google Analytics metrics out there, ‘bounce rate’ is one such metric that tells you a lot of things to help optimize conversions on your website.
Here, we will discover the factors affecting the bounce rate and how it can be improved!
What is Bounce Rate?
According to Wikipedia bounce rate is the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to different websites rather than continuing on various pages of the same site! A bounce occurs when a web site visitor only views a single page on a website; that is, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs.
There is no industry standard minimum or maximum time by which a visitor must leave for a bounce to occur. Instead, this is determined by the session timeout of the analytics tracking software. The formula used to calculate the bounce rate of a website:
Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing One Page / Total Number of Visits to that Page
Importance of Bounce Rate in Business
The success of a business depends on the amount of time spent by your target audience on your website. If the bounce rate of your site is high, you need to reconsider certain factors and find a solution to reduce the bounce rate.
In the internet marketing industry, two fundamental items traditionally create online success.
- To bring as many visitors as possible to your site
- To ensure your website turns the most significant number of visitors into customers!
Rating Bounce Rates
Bounce rates vary in different industries. While some may offer a better bounce rate than others, what I have done is tried to give a guideline for websites as a whole as to what is an acceptable bounce rate.
Awful – 80%-100% – Less than 3% of our sites measured to have an average bounce rate this poor. Time to rethink your online strategy.
Very rare to see a site that performs this poorly unless it is strictly an informational website.
Bad – 55% to 80% – Surprisingly, we see that 25% of sites fall within this range in the first few months that we measure. This metric is improved by introducing A/B and split testing for site improvement.
Average – 40% – 55% – Most sites we measure, about 45% fall within this range. If you are here you can likely be making significant improvements using Website Optimizer.
Good – 26% – 40% – 20% of sites that we measure fall within this range. If your bounce rate is in this range you are doing very well. There are still improvements that can be made though so keep measuring!
Very Good – 0% – 25% – Less than 6% of the sites we measure have a bounce rate this low. If you have metrics this good you are doing something very right!
The low/Good bounce rate indicates that visitor engagement on your site is good. High/Bad ratings are a bad situation and improvement plans should be made. A high bounce rate means that your website’s entry or doorway page (landing pages/ entrance pages) are not speaking to the audience properly.
Tips for Improving Bounce Rate
Here are some essential tips for reducing your site’s bounce rate:
1. Check the Design of Your Website
When a potential customer visits your website, the first thing that he will notice is the content and layout design of your site. If your homepage design is appealing, he will surely go more in-depth and explore your products or services. Therefore, your website should be designed with a professional layout to catch the attention of your visitor. As much as possible, pay attention to your website’s readability, contrast and colours.
Unprofessional fonts and bad colour combination will inevitably affect the interest of your visitor, as well as the appeal of your website. You should also double-check your site’s content to ensure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
2. Increase your content quality
Most of the bounce rate that you experience is related to your content quality. In other words, if people don’t like your content, they will leave immediately and try other websites. It’s a signal to increase your content quality. Re-read your site content, and see whether your content quality is good or needs improvement, or whether you don’t break up big paragraphs in your content. It is important to have quality content on your site so that people will stay long!
3. Make Your Site Lightweight
One thing that you need to remember is that time is gold, not just for you but for your visitors as well. If someone goes to your site, he will not wait for a long time just to see the contents and what you have to offer. In case the loading time of your website is long, your visitor will surely skip and look for another site. To avoid this, make sure that your site is optimized for faster page loading.
If you could, eliminate unnecessary flash elements and load fewer images to make it faster.
4. Simplify the Site’s Navigation System
Another reason why some websites have a high bounce rate is due to the poor navigation system. When putting up your website, make sure that all navigational links are placed on top of the page, where visitors can easily see them.
If you prefer using a drop-down menu, ensure that the primary categories are placed properly in the menu bar, along with the subcategories.
5. Show your Visitors what you Offer
The first thing being checked by some website visitors is the site’s “About Us” page in order to get an idea of what is being offered. To help your potential customers understand your service or product, make sure that everything is clearly stated on that page. This may not increase your bounce rate immediately but if you do have a transparent “About Us” page, you can start establishing the identity of your brand and this will eventually lower your website’s bounce rate.
6. Avoid Pop-Ups and Lessen Advertisements
Pop-ups can be very irritating and this can surely drive visitors away from your website. To avoid this from happening, make sure that you do not use pop-ups on your site. Advertisements, on the other hand, are considered as the major source of income or revenue for most websites.
In case you cannot get rid of all the advertisements on your site, try to minimize the number of ads to free your website from clutter.
Improving Bounce Rate With Google Analytics
There are many ways you can improve your bounce rate with Google Analytics! Your site content is one of the major factors used to determine the bounce rate.
Optimizing your content can be an excellent way to reduce the bounce rate as people love interesting content and will stick around! So, you can use Google Analytics to find out the performance of your content and analyze it for a decreased Bounce Rate! Here are some ways you can do it:
Find Poor Performing Content
A quick and easy way of understanding how your content is performing is looking at whether your landing pages cause visitors to “engage” rather than “bounce” to another site. Lets create a quick and easy report to show pages that need attention:
Click on “CONTENT: TOP LANDING PAGES” then sort by “BOUNCE RATE”
As we can see, there are a large number of single pages and we should filter these out because they take away from more significant data. To filter these go to the bottom of the report and add an Exclusion filter for ENTRANCES greater than (say) 10.
What we see in this report are all pages that have been viewed 10 times or more and sorted by the bounce rate. It is always a good habit to use more than one metric to draw conclusions from. So take a peek at the pages with the highest bounce rates and lowest average time on page.
Once you have determined pages viewed most by highest bounce rate you can then examine the poorest performing pages.
Here are some key items to consider when improving the bounce rate:
1) Is there too much text?
Keep your message on each page punchy and clear. Customer conversion is not about bombarding a visitor with too much information. Provide it in the right format and amount. Visitors love bullet points!
2) Do you have a clear call to action?
Your site design should incorporate a clear path to conversion. We call this a Sales Funnel and it all begins with leading your website visitors in the first step in the right direction. Make it easy for your visitor.
3) Is the page visually appealing?
A high-quality design that is conversion-focused makes all the difference. There is no excuse for poor quality web design these days, heavens knows the number of web developers out there! It is always better to spend some money and make sure that your development company understands search engine marketing and especially conversion.
4) Web Designers Should Leave Their Creativity At The Door
For web designers – leave your creativity at the door. I commonly see web designers over design things that actually distract from the core marketing message that the site is trying to communicate.
5) Does the page clearly show what visitors are searching for?
Check the keywords that the visitors searched for that caused them to land on each web page and make sure that your content reflects what they are searched for.
Visitors are bouncing for two reasons; Either they have come to a page that doesn’t accurately reflect what they are trying to find (we can’t do too much about this – except adjust any paid advertising keywords or ad copy) or they have come to the right page and they have not found what they are looking for or been engaged enough to go further into your site!
Within a few minutes you should now understand how to find poor performing pages and learned how to decide whether the page itself is engaging. Now you need to identify a couple of things to improve and monitor the results. It should be a cyclical process!
Importance Of Value Propositions To Improve Bounce Rate
A value proposition is a key phrase that tells customers what value they will receive for doing business with you.
The problem that most companies have is that they tend to create broad level slogans that are so cryptic that nobody understands what you do. In this ‘click-happy’ world it has never been so important to display a statement of value.
Your visitor needs to understand why your product or service will help them and offer a method to learn more about this offer immediately upon visiting your website. It needs to be clear, concise and simple enough for a 12 year old to comprehend.
Some of the successful value propositions include:
Twitter: “Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world.”
Facebook: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”
So how then, do we go about creating one of these value propositions? Here is a quick set of questions that you can use to test out your own value proposition ideas.
- The “anyone can say that” test. Run through your list of ideas and after each one says, “Anyone can say that.” If the statement is true, it’s probably not an effective value proposition. Don’t be too broad!
- The “Yes, but what do they DO?” test. Just like the previous method, say this phrase after each one. If the statement rings true, it’s probably not going to pass the 3-second test. Be descriptive!
- Take a look at your service or product from a benefits perspective. Why will I benefit from buying your new brand of glue? Will it hold better? Is it cheaper? “We’re stuck on customer service” simply isn’t good enough. “Our glue holds forever. Guaranteed.” — Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse!
Make sure you put your statement to the test before splashing it across your homepage. On the web, company slogans are useless unless they help to keep or convert visitors. Show them value, give them something for nothing, feature an offer or product, clearly state what it is that you do – but please, please don’t give them a fluff tag-line, “Customer service you can count on.” . After all – “Anyone can say that.”
With these tips and assessments, you can considerably reduce your page’s bounce rate, and an increased conversion rate in your business can be observed!