If you like Basketball you would most likely love the word ‘bounce’ but not if you are a website owner, blogger, anyone in the web or online industry. Well, SEO and website traffic consultants might like this term as they deal with this and get paid for it 🙂
What is Bounce Rate?
A website visitor entering a site and leaving the site from the same page constitutes a bounce; this ratio is the bounce rate. For example, if a visitor to your site has landed on a blog post and has not clicked on any other internal links and exits from the same page that is considered a bounce. The visitors to your site maybe exiting due to many reasons and we have covered 18 of the most common ones below. These tips will not only help you improve your bounce rate but they will also increase your conversions.
You can use any of our Infographics in your site with a link-back to us.
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Content is Readable
Regardless of how you get a visitor to your website, if the content is not readable then you will lose the visitor. Producing good quality content is all about the user experience; how the text is laid out on the screen, how the images break up the text, how the text is formatted with sub headings and paragraphs.
Tip #2: Do Not Use Pop-ups
Well this one is debatable. Experts believe using a pop-up to grow your mailing list is a great trick. On the other hand they can be annoying and make people exit your site faster than taking the freeway exit. From a long term organic traffic generation and user experience pop-ups are bad; avoid them if your site has a higher bounce rate. You can use a slider instead of a pop-up to collect emails if you have to. The choice on this one is yours and it may well depend on your website objective – email vs search traffic etc.
Tip #3: Use Intuitive Navigation
Poor website navigation is a one way ticket to bounce land. Can readers access the Home page or blog roll from any page, is the information in your site organised into an easy to use menu structure, can they navigate between posts, are there categories and a search feature to help users find what they want? These questions will help answer some of the common website navigation related concerns.
Tip #4: Use Good Web Design
Website design, themes and templates have improved drastically over the years. Use a good theme and make sure it is not cluttered. Use appealing colour combinations. There is nothing worse than an outdated web site design. A good, engaging design can be the difference between a user spending more time on your site or going back to search land or wherever they came from.
Tip #5: Have a Click Worthy Call-to-Action
In other words have a compelling call-to-action. If you want users to do something then you need to remind them. Provide a button, text or image that grabs people’s attention and place it above the fold on the screen. This not only helps decrease bounce rate but will also help with improving conversions.
Tip #6: Use a Good Story
You should read this as ‘use a true story’. Story telling can emotionally connect with the readers and keep them engaged. You can also use images to enhance your story.
Think about Pat Flynn and how he lost his job during the Global Financial Crisis but has since built a blog that turns over a million dollars every year. Similarly, you may have heard how Jon Morrow was hospitalized, lost his job and went broke. He then built a blog that earns more than $100,000 a month. Remember the morale of the story is truth; we don’t all have fascinating stories to tell but we can try to create a story for each blog post. Make an emotional connection or something similar.
Tip #7: Produce Fresh Content
It goes without saying any website that wants to keep their audience engaged needs fresh content; that is tailored to the target market, rich with multimedia.
“Companies that blog generate 126% more leads than those that don’t. Increasing your blog publishing frequency leads to more customers.” – britekite.com.au
Tip #8: Produce Content that Fits Your Audience
There is no point in producing content that is not relevant to your audience as this will mean a higher bounce rate. Look for topic ideas and pain points in your niche. Use tools like Quora, Google Trends and Twitter Trends to find what is trending, what is being talked about in your niche. This post on Content Marketing Tools can give you more content creation ideas.
Consistently producing good content that is relevant builds momentum and trust from your website visitors. The more trust you build the more repetitive traffic you will get; this will produce better conversion and lower your bounce rate.
Tip #9: Target Traffic Rich Keywords
By now you probably know there are two types of keywords; informational and commercial. You can target both of these keywords as long as you understand the difference.
Example of an informational keyword is ‘free infographic’ where as a commercial keyword could be ‘order an infographic’.
People who are searching for informational keywords are not ready to buy yet but you can create multiple pieces of content that can walk them through the various stages. One stage might be to review a product, the next stage might be to compare it to a competing product. Creating multiple pages that inter link with each other will reduce website bounce rate and increase your conversions.
Tip #10: Provide a Good User Experience
To keep the visitors in your site you need to provide a good user experience by using images, infographics, podcasts, video etc. If you are only producing one form of content and that is purely text based, maybe it is time to go out of your comfort zone and push the envelope further?
Other ways of providing a better user experience:
- Organise the information in your site from a user’s perspective,
- Have a search function and
- Make sure your 404 error page provides something useful like your latest or best posts. You can use a catchy image like the following from DesignBump.
Check out this infographic for tips on how to provide a better user experience.
Tip #11: Be Creative with the Meta Description
Your meta description is what gets displayed in search engines. If they are not click worthy or engaging, then you will not get traffic or you will get the wrong audience which will lead to a higher bounce rate. So make sure your Meta is descriptive and creative for each individual post.
Tip #12: Create Multiple Landing Pages
New blogs traditionally have only one landing page – the home page or the blog page. Landing pages are targeted entry to a website. Some landing pages are created for the purpose of selling a product or service and some are created to capture email addresses or to register for a webinar.
Websites with a high bounce rate typically have very few landing pages. You can overcome this issue by creating multiple landing pages that are optimised and targeted.
This post on HubSpot can give you more details about why you need more landing pages and how to create them.
Tip #13: Reduce Page Load Time
People don’t like to wait – whether it is on the freeway, takeaway joint or at the local clinic. Speed is everything and so is your website speed or load time. If your site takes more than 4 seconds to load then you are in trouble. Here is an Infographic that will help with your website performance improvement. The longer your site takes to load the more website traffic, search engine rankings and potential customers you will be losing.
Tip #14: Open External Links in New Window
It is very easy to open all links in the same window as this is the default behaviour in most if not all content management systems like WordPress. You have to open all external links in a new window so you don’t lose your viewer when they click on an outgoing link. There may be some links that you do not have control over like a widget that links to your social media profiles but where you have control follow this rule meticulously.
The opposite is also true, i.e. – always open internal links in the same window. Firstly, you don’t want 5 windows of your site open in the user’s web browser simply because they clicked on 5 links. Secondly, your bounce rate could be high since you are always opening new windows and at some point the original window might get closed and count against you from a bounce rate perspective.
Tip #15: Ensure a Mobile Friendly Site
Mobile friendliness and website speed pretty much comes in every list we have created so far. But let’s see how far the use of the internet on mobile devices has come: (Stats courtesy of Yelp)
- 90% of smart phone owners in Australia used the Internet on their smartphone daily
- 58% used the search engine on their mobile devices daily
- 52% visited the website of a business or service after local search
If you are not convinced yet, how about this one for a stat?
- 75% of Americans bring their phones to the bathroom
Make your site mobile friendly or become extinct. If you are using WordPress and your site is not responsive, all you have to do is install JetPack plugin and activate mobile responsiveness. The alternate is to find a mobile responsive theme. Don’t forget your site’s mobile responsiveness is now a Search Engine ranking factor.
Tip #16: Show Credibility
When people come to your site they want to know if you can be trusted. The best way to build this trust is by displaying what others have said about you. If you have any feedback from experts or if you have done a project with an expert then let people know. Showing credibility can build trust and increase conversions. After all, would you buy anything from someone or a website you don’t trust?
Tip #17: Display Related Posts or Popular Posts
An awesome internal marketing trick is to display related or popular posts on every blog post. This will make sure users don’t just leave your site once they are done with a piece of content; they are being offered something more that can keep them engaged. This of course lowers your bounce rate.
Tip #18: Reduce Ads and Widgets
Remember, we discussed there are some links that open on the same page and you don’t have control over them. Two examples of these are advertisements and widgets. Traditionally, social share button widgets open on the same page and this would count as a bounce since the user is now off to another site depending on their landing page. So do test various widgets when selecting, avoid unnecessary widgets and get rid of distractions from the user. After all, who will come back to your site after they visit Twitter or FB land?
I learnt a lot by doing research on this topic. I am slowly implementing some of these tips myself and guilty of opening all internal links in a new window (without thinking too much), so apologies if you were a victim of this. Go forth and lower your bounce rate and also think about the conversions. After all if there are no conversions, it’s a blog with no income just expenses.
- dukeo.com (Check this post out if you want to know what are the standard bounce rates for various website types and industries)