Have you ever scanned through your website’s analytics and wondered what in the world a bounce rate is? Did you then ask yourself, “Is a bounce good or bad, and if it’s bad, how do I fix it?” Well, if you still have these questions, you’re not alone, so keep reading and we’ll clear things up for you.
What Is a Bounce Rate, Anyway?
In a nutshell, a bounce rate is the percentage of page visitors who enter one of your web pages and leave it without visiting any other pages on your site.
High bounce rates can indicate that:
- You are acquiring the wrong kind of traffic to your page(s).
- You’re actually accomplishing what you’re setting out to do and attracting your targeted audience to your website, and they are either finding what they want immediately, or unfortunately they are finding the page they land on to be inconsequential, confusing, or initially unappealing. Either way, good or bad, you want your visitors spending at least a little time interested in what you have to say.
- None of the above. This is the portion of the investigation where you realize that although bounce rates are important, and analyzing and repairing them, if necessary, is crucial to your website’s success, they must be looked at subjectively, and here’s why:
Have you Noticed High Bounce Rates on YOUR Website?
If you have are experiencing high bounce rates on your website, there are a few things you can do to ameliorate the problem, but first of all, don’t jump to conclusions! There are a lot of variables that can contribute to a high bounce rate, so completely redesigning your page is not the way to proceed. Before determining the fix, make sure you are considering all metrics to ensure that there is actually a problem in the first place.
First You Must Analyze
One of the most important analytical metrics to consider when determining the severity of your high bounce rate is page TYPE:
- If you are experiencing a high bounce rate on a Thank You page, this can be very bad, as it indicates visitors are able to reach this page without filling out a form on a landing page and therefore aren’t going through the proper inbound marketing process by reaching the page via a landing page, thus negating the purpose of the page altogether as you are not receiving their information in exchange for your content this way. A high bounce rate on a Thank You page should be a red flag that requires immediate attention. Make sure your landing page form “submit” button is linking to your Thank You page, and that the page cannot be accessed any other way.
You must keep in mind that although the bounce rates are showing you how many people are entering and leaving your site without navigating to any other page, you might not be seeing what they are doing while they are there.
- If it is a blog post on your website that is receiving a high bounce rate, it might not necessarily be a bad sign, as visitors could have reached your blog from an outside link, read the entire post, and then immediately left. The severity of the bounce rate on a blog post, for example, could be better determined by the amount of time the visitor spent on the page and whether or not they shared it with others. Metrics such as these must be evaluated before determining whether a high bounce rate on a blog post page is in fact a bad sign.
Upon further investigation, if visitors are not spending enough time on the page to read the post or are not sharing it in social media, consider changing the blog topics, layout, and images you are using in that particular post. Use AB testing to test your audience’s reaction to different types of blog posts to determine what your visitors want to see.
- If you’re having a consistently high bounce rate on mobile devices, you more than likely have a poor mobile design and might want to look into a more mobile-friendly website.
Good Practices, No Matter What
Although there are a myriad of variables to determine what your pages’ bounce rates are telling you, these are a few practices that can never hurt when trying to improve a visitor’s experience and lower the bounce rate of the page:
- Avoid excessive pop-up ads: no one clicks off of a page faster than on one that immediately greets them with multiple pop-up ads.
- Concentrate on design: visitors make snapshot judgments about your page and if they are not intrigued in the first blink, they are gone.
- Be sure include a mix of newsworthy content and evergreen content. Newsworthy content often keeps people on that page longer, but evergreen content is also important to ensure your website always contains some relevant content.
Ultimately, improving website bounce rates can be done by adjusting some parts of your website, but it is imperative to first figure out the story behind the stats, and then begin the repair if necessary. Improving bounce rates is unique to each page for each company’s website.