If you’ve been struggling with increasing traffic to your site, acquire downloads, leads, clients, etc. it’s possible that it’s due to a high bounce rate. A high bounce rate is one of the most common conversion killers. If the majority of your users are abandoning your website on the first page, you have no chance to convert them to a subscriber or customer.
There are many things that can cause a site to have a high bounce rate. If this is something you’re concerned about, learn more about bounce rate and the top 5 ways to reduce it.
What is Bounce Rate?
A “bounce” is a single-page session on your site. In Google Analytics, bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of users that land on your site but do nothing on the page before leaving. It’s calculated by dividing all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server. In other words, it collects all sessions where a visitor only visited one page and divides it by all sessions.
What is a “good” or “bad” bounce rate really depends on site and business goals. For example, if your home page is the gateway to the rest of your site and a high percentage of users are viewing only your home page, then you do not want your bounce rate to be high. On the other hand, if you have a single-page site like a blog, or offer other types of content for which single-page sessions are expected, then a high bounce rate is fine. There is a general rule of thumb that:
- 80%+ is very poor
- 70-80% is poor
- 50-70% is average
- 30-50% is excellent
- 20% or below is likely a tracking error that should be further looked into
While these metrics are a good start, bounce rates do vary across industry and content, so it’s beneficial to do deeper research depending on your niche. If your bounce rate is higher than average it could be caused by many different factors, such as slow page load time, bad design, lacking clear-call-to-action, etc.
5 Ways to Reduce Your Bounce Rate:
1. Optimize Page Load Time, Especially for Mobile
The most common cause of a high bounce rate is slow page load time. 47% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. It doesn’t matter the quality of the page’s content if the user can’t read it, or even see it. This is even more true on mobile. According to Radware, a connection speed delay of just 500 milliseconds can result in an increase in “peak frustration” of more than 26%, and a decrease in engagement of 8%. Not only does slow page load time increase bounce rate, it can also cause you to slip in Google search rankings. There are endless amounts of free tools to test page load time. If you have problems with page load time you can reduce it by:
- Optimizing Caches: This ensures that your mobile browser uses local memory to cache resources in order to avoid unnecessary server requests.
- Minimize Image Sizes: High resolution images are heavy and usually absorb more bandwidth and take longer to process. Keeping images under 100kb can help achieve the ideal page load time for your site.
- Apply CSS3 and HTML5: This framework is lightweight and makes it easier for mobile web pages to load quickly.
2. Use Pop-Ups, Sidebar Widgets, and Promotions Sparingly
It’s no secret that pretty much all users are annoyed by pop-ups. Most marketing experts advise against using pop-ups just because they usually lead to a higher bounce rate. Sometimes, well designed pop-ups can be beneficial for growing email lists quickly. If that’s the main goal of your site, then pop-ups can be valuable, but if you want to build a long-term site that generates a good amount of organic visitors, it’s best to limit pop-ups or avoid them all together.
Some webpages are ideal vehicles for offering relevant content, offers, and other material. However, cramming the digital margins of your content with ads, offers, award emblems, etc. is a surefire way to overwhelm visitors, tempting them to bounce. If you want to highlight additional content from your sidebar, it should be done so in a way that offers value to the reader. For example, related article recommendations that expand upon the topic covered in a blog post is a great way to make your site “stickier” as well as provide genuinely valuable and useful content to your readers. Also, be sure to give users enough time to immerse themselves in the content before pouncing on them with promotions.
3. A/B Test Multiple Landing Pages
It’s possible that your headline, call-to-action, or page design is just not working. This is why it’s so important to run A/B split tests to see how different factors perform. To run an A/B test, you need to create two different versions of one piece of content, with changes to a single variable. Then, you’ll show these two versions to two similarly sized audiences and analyze which one performed better over a specific period of time. It’s important to make sure you run the test long enough to gain accurate results. Once the test is complete you can see what performance best among your audience. You should never stop A/B testing, though. It’s best to continue to tweak different factors and create new pages to ensure your site is the best it can be.
4. Improve Site Readability
Another reason users may want to quickly leave your site is lack of readability. Readability is an essential part of user experience. You need to make sure that your content is easily readable on all devices. This isn’t just limited to font size and color, this also includes line spacing, margins, language style, tone, etc. Some ways to improve your site’s readability are by:
- Making headlines and subheadings big and bold
- Using bullet points for lists or anything worth noting
- Including charts, images, screenshots, etc
- Bolding keywords
5. Utilize Images and Videos to Engage Users
High quality images and videos are two of the most effective ways to engage users. Today, many websites use high-quality images as fullscreen backgrounds because they’ve proven to be effective. You can purchase professional photographs from various stock websites, but there are several sites that offer royalty-free images as well. You can use these images as fullscreen backgrounds, parallax backgrounds, background slides, or as inline images next to your call to actions. Videos are even more effective in grabbing users’ attention and engaging them. You can use animations, music, audio, narration, colors, and so many different forms of persuasion tools. You can create a very effective video presentation with a small budget by hiring a freelancer.
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