What is a bounce rate?
A bounce rate refers to the number of people that leave your website after visiting a single page on your website.
Ways that people may bounce from your site:
- Click on a link that takes them to a different website.
- Click the back button on the browser to leave your website.
- Close the browser tab completely.
- They may type in a new url into the browser.
Why is your bounce rate so important?
Depending on what kind of website you have the bounce rate will vary some. But regardless of industry it is obviously in your interest to make sure that your visitors stick around for a while in order take some sort of action that is valuable to you. For instance you might have a link from a landing page that goes to a form where users can sign up for your service or make a payment. In most cases you will want your users to do more than just read content on a single page on your website. Your bounce rate is important because it is an very good indicator of how successful you have been in keeping people on your website and getting them to accomplish the goals you have set.
Low bounce rate means…
This means that your website is successful in attracting the appropriate audience for your services or products and these people are clicking through to other content pages on your website which means that there is a good chance they will convert. A conversion is when a user of your website completes an intended action on your website like filling out a form or purchasing a product.
High bounce rate means…
A high bounce rate occurs when people don’t’ find what they are looking for and don’t click through to view more pages on your website. These people leave immediately creating no value for your business. When this is occurring the problem needs to be addressed right away by conducting re-assessment of content and messaging strategies on your website.
Factors that can affect your bounce rate
Automatic popup advertisements can annoy visitors and cause them to leave your website immediately.
Having a cluttered website full of excessive advertising. This can cause distraction from the real content on the page and annoy visitors.
Automated music stream
Having music that plays automatically is not only incredibly annoying, but can also be an embarrassment to a visitor that may be working in a quiet environment like work. This was really popular about 5 years ago and I am not sure exactly why people still choose to do so even with all of the research showing that visitors don’t like this.
Automated video stream
Same as above, do not auto play your videos. This just urks people and can even be inappropriate in some social situations when the user is not aware of the content that might be displayed in the video.
If your page is overly cluttered and badly designed your visitors are going to leave. This is really web design 101 type stuff, make sure that your web pages clearly define what it is that you want the user to know or to do, otherwise what really is the point.
If your users come to your website expecting to see something else they will definitely leave. This can happen when your domain name does not reflect your service or when links back to your website contain the wrong anchor text.
If most of the links on your website are setup to lead visitors to other websites then you will most likely have a high bounce rate. If you have a portal website than this is to be expected.
Search engine results
Site titles and descriptions that show up in the search engines can be misleading if you have not taken to the time craft them specifically for each page. If you have not done so search engines will grab the content that it deems best which most times is not very effective and can result in an unusually high bounce rate. This can be remedied by good seo techniques. If you want to test the way that your website appears in the search engine results Sitebeam is a good tool to use.
Excessive loading times in many cases will make your visitors impatient and leave. Nowadays people are used to fast websites. The most important page on your website to optimize for speed is your homepage, make sure it’s simple and quick to load.
Content and voice
Just like you need to do with design the content of your website must also be interesting and relevant. If your demographic does not feel that the voice of your content meshes well with them they will leave. It is really important to know your audience and craft your voice effectively so that it resonates with them and creates trust.
Linking to other pages
One would think that creating direct links from the home page to important content should be an obvious thing to do but does not always happen. Your bounce rate will be high even if you have great content when it takes them 5 clicks to get there. Make it easy for your users to access your content otherwise they will bounce.
Page not found
When a visitor lands on a ‘404 error’ page not found they generally tend to bounce right away which is to be expected. This can happen when you have changed your link structure or old content has been deleted and you forgot to create redirects from your old links to new ones. A good tool to use to monitor this is Google Webmaster tools. In order to best retain the visitors to 404 pages you will want to design your 404 page with a brief overview of your website and some instructions and calls to action for your users to take to get into the high impact content portions of your website.
Calculating your bounce rate
Once you have installed Google analytics on your website you will be able to view your bounce rate over time. Within the Google Analytics dashboard you will see something like this:
Here you will be able to observe your bounce rate down to the month, week, day or hour.
Average bounce rate?
The lower the bounce rate the better, although there are exceptions noted at the bottom of the blog.
In general the average bounce rate is going to be around 40%, if your website is under 40% then you are doing a very good job!
The average bounce rate is also heavily impacted by the type of website that you have.
- Retail sites, drive well targeted traffic 20-40% bounce – 20-40% bounce.
- Simple landing pages, with a call to action such as “add to cart” 70-90% bounce.
- Portals, like MSN, Yahoo groups etc 10-30% bounce.
- Service sites, self service or FAQ sites – 10-30% bounce.
- Content websites, high search visibility (often for irrelevant terms) – 40-60% bounce.
- Lead generation, services for sale – 30-50% bounce.
There are exceptions to the rule
(Websites where a high bounce rate doesn’t matter)
A websites with a single page
If you have no other pages to view then every visitor will be a bounce.
A landing page where the call to action is on that page
If your visitor can convert on the very same page that they enter into the website on then you are accomplishing your goal with a single page and a high bounce rate here would not be a bad thing.
Blogs commonly have a high bounce rate because it is the content within that specific article that people are interested in and not the overall content within the website.
Work out if bounce rate is important to you
We would like to know if bounce rate is something that you have considered and are trying to improve, let us know in the comments below what you’re doing to reduce it.
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