Lowering Your Website’s Bounce Rate

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Bounce rates can tell you a lot about the performance and effectiveness, or lack thereof, of certain pages of your website.

A high bounce rate will indicate that something is amiss with your webpage, as it is not enticing visitors to continue viewing other pages of your website. A page with a low bounce rate indicates that the design, messaging, and navigation of the page are successful in encouraging users to browse through other areas of your site.

Understanding how bounce rates are derived, and how to improve them, will make the overall effectiveness of your website much better.

What is Bounce Rate?

So what is bounce rate, and how is it calculated? Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after visiting only one page. There is a session time-out component involved in calculating bounce rate, which is generally set at 30 minutes. In other words, if a user enters your website through a given page, and fails to navigate to any other pages of your website within 30 minutes, a bounce will be recorded.

The terms “bounce rate” and “exit rate” are sometimes used synonymously, although they refer to two completely different website measurements. As we have just discussed, bounce rates measure website exits after the viewing of a single page.

Exit rates, on the other hand, show the percentage of visitors leaving from a given page, regardless of how many pages they have visited prior to that page. For example, a visitor who enters a website through Page A and leaves without browsing to another page will incur both bounce rate and an exit rate of 100% for Page A. If the same visitor enters a website through Page A, and navigates to Page B before leaving, there would be no bounce recorded, and Page B would have an exit rate of 100%.

So, what is considered a “high” bounce rate, and what is considered an acceptable bounce rate? Realistically, it varies for every website. In general, online marketing experts agree that anything below 50% is considered good, 60-70% is average, 70-80% is bad, and anything over 80% is really bad.

However, as we will discuss later, other factors should also be considered before determining whether the bounce of a given webpage is good or bad.

Reasons for High Bounce Rates

As you might have guessed, there are several factors that may cause a webpage to have a high bounce rate. One of the main contributors to a page’s bounce rate is a poorly set up navigation menu. If visitors aren’t sure how to move on to the next page of their choice, they are likely to leave your site entirely. Overly complex navigation menus with tons of choices can be overwhelming to visitors, so it is best to keep your navigation menus to about five choices.

Additionally, slow load times, browser incompatibility issues, and other technical glitches will cause visitors to ditch your website, as will having incoherent, irrelevant page content and headings.

An Important Note About Bounce Rates

While a high bounce rate can certainly indicate problems with a given webpage, it is also important to take into account what the ultimate purpose of your webpage is. For example, landing pages created specifically for PPC campaigns that contain an online form or other direct call to action may have a high bounce rate when compared to other pages of a website. In this case, however, the landing page is not designed to drive visitors to other pages of the site, but rather to complete a specific action on that page.

Improving Your Bounce Rate

Improving your bounce rate means lowering the percentage of visitors that leave your website after only visiting one page. One key way to do this is to improve the layout and design of your website’s pages, which can pay off huge when it comes to keeping the interest of visitors and leading them to other pages of your website. Simple adjustments such as improving the content of a webpage, testing out a new image, or simplifying your navigation can help to lower bounce rates. Delivering your key message clearly and above the fold is also a simple, but very effective way to decrease a page’s bounce rate.

Attention should also be given to the technical aspects of a webpage that may be suffering from a high bounce rate. Removing excess code on the backend, as well as optimizing images and videos, will help to increase page load time and keep visitors on-site. Additionally, regular browser compatibility checks will help to ensure that your webpages are accessible to all users, providing them the chance to navigate to other pages of your website.  Focus on improving the user experience of each page, and you will start to see your bounce rates drop.

While improving your bounce rate is important, there will inevitably be a percentage of users who exit your site after viewing just one page. It’s normal—there isn’t a website in the world without some kind of bounce rate, so don’t take it too hard. But in those cases, you can still capitalize on your exiting traffic by implementing monetization strategies for your exiting traffic, such as Exit Yield.

Remember that improving your bounce rate takes analyzing, monitoring, and testing. Keep at it, and you’ll surely see results. Good luck!