Front-end Developer (Developer Supervisor), 8+ Years of Web Development Expertise, 2x Recipient of IMPACT's Helpfulness Core Value Award
January 30th, 2017
Think of your website like a mom and pop store. Are people visiting your store and exiting within 5 minutes or less without purchasing anything?
If so, this should concern you, as a business owner or marketing manager, and you should investigate why people are leaving so quickly.
You may start to ask yourself a million questions.
Where does the problem lie? Do we not carry the product/item or service they were looking for? Or maybe was it too expensive? Did the site render correctly on their browser? Was the site mobile-friendly?
Just like a physical store, your website can lose visitors when they can’t find what they need, when they’re waiting too long, or if they have a poor experience in general.
Those are all things you should take into consideration, when it comes to reducing your website's bounce rate.
In the words of Google, your bounce rate is the percentage at which a person leaves your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page.
A high bounce rate generally indicates that they either didn’t find what they were looking for or website didn’t load correctly.
A visitor can bounce from your website by clicking the back button, closing the window, clicking on an external link within the page, or they just typing in a new URL.
You might be thinking, “what if a visitor came to my site and viewed several pages or stayed on the page for a particular amount of time?” That's a good question.
You don't want to confuse bounce rate with exit rate. You will want to keep in mind that the exit rate is the percentage of page views where that page was the last of their session, where as a bounce rate is based only on visits that start and end with that page.
The average bounce rate is 40.5%. You may say “hey I’m right at the average,” but keep in mind the average bounce will change based on, type of site, type of page, industry, user intent, brand credibility, and many other factors.
Regardless of how someone bounces off your site, you want to keep it to a minimum. The longer someone stays on your website, the more content they are likely to consume, and hopefully convert on.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to lower your bounce rate.
1. Define a Clear Navigation Path
Your website’s navigation should be high up on your list of priorities.
If visitors have a hard time figuring out how to get from point A to point B, it’s likely they won’t stick around.
If you’re website implements a navigation bar at the top of the page, consider how one in the footer could improve the user experience.
Drop-down menus are a great way to segment your pages into a series of relevant categories.
Before a visitor even clicks on a link, they should have a good feel for what type of content will be on the page that they are navigating to. This means that you must come up with comprehensive section titles that spell it out for them. Use language that your user will understand and resonate with.
It’s also important that everything is clickable. Check, and check again to be sure that all of your navigation links lead you to the correct page.
The easier it is to explore your website, the more exploring people will do, which in turn will increase the chance that they will convert.
2. Ease Readability
People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.
In order to avoid a visitor’s departure, create a website that is easy to read, and comprehend.
Avoid dishing out a lot of long-winded written content. Do your best to implement headers, sub-headers, bullet points, bold a few words here and there, and add visuals in between blocks of text to ease readability, and make the information seem less intimidating.
You want your visitors to be able to digest the message you are trying to get across because if it is unclear, they may not stick around long enough to figure it out.
When you are creating written content for your website, keep it simple. Avoid going off on a tangent and focus on consolidating your information into a more welcoming, user-friendly format. Don’t be afraid to make it conversational. The more you engage your visitors, the more they will be willing to interact with your website.
That leads us to our next tip, while you are working on your readability of your content, why not give it a facelift?
3. Freshen Up Your Content
Is your content stale and outdated? There is nothing worse than landing on a blog article or a page you think will solve all your problems only to see it’s from 2009 or 2005.
The content and format probably looks nothing like it does today and I wouldn’t be surprised if the content is out of date. Is this the kind of first impression you want to make when someone finds you organically? I doubt it.
If you're using HubSpot, identify which pages on your site have the most traffic and Regularly review and update the content on those pages.
While you’re are working on making your site responsive, keep website load time in mind as well.
5. Improve Website Load Time
Tick.. Tock.. Tick.. Tock..
There's nothing worse than a website that takes minutes to load. If your site doesn’t load in three seconds, I bet you more than half of your visitors probably have left and gone to one of your competitors.
In today’s day and age, people are always on-the-go and don’t have time to wait for something to load.
They need answers right then and there.
There are big culprits are that usually play a role in your site loading slow, images, videos, and scripts. Make sure your images and videos are optimized, and that you don’t have a ton of scripts running on your site. Ask your developer and designer for help if you are running into any of these issues.
6. Identify Cross-Browser Compatibility
A common issue many are faced with today is cross-browser compatibility.
Unfortunately, not everyone visiting your website is going to use the same browser as you.
You’ll likely find that your audience is accessing your site through Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, and Edge. Even if they are using the same browser, there’s no guarantee they’ll be be using the same version, or even the same operating system. All the factors above will cause your site to render differently.
To ensure that your site is rendering correctly across a variety of browsers, be sure to use a site like BrowserStack. Not only can browser compatibility issues occur on desktop but they are often even more likely to render incorrectly on mobile.
7. Keyword Research
A big part of your inbound marketing strategy should rely on developing a content and keyword strategy. This is how you tell users and search engines what is on your website and urge people to click through.
Does the content you're generating really match the keywords you're utilizing. If your keywords are irrelevant or misleading, people are likely to bounce of your site when things don’t meet their expectations.
It's important to ensure that your visitors know what they’re getting upon landing on your landing page or website.
Thorough keyword research and accurate optimization will help ensure that the people who click onto your site will be met with content they’re actually looking for, keeping your bounce rate down.
8. Compare High Bounce Pages to Low Bounce Pages
Not every page on your site is going to have a high bounce rate. Therefore, you should compare those landing pages with higher rates to those with a lower rate to see perhaps what’s working on one, but not the other.
You might want to take a closer look at your calls-to-action (CTA) that correspond with each landing page.
Often times the copy within your CTA is giving the wrong impression. It's like seeing an ad for a brand new table on Craigslist and when you see it in person it quickly becomes obvious that the table isn't new, not even a few months old. It looks like it's been in the family for generations.
The point here is that no one likes to be deceived. You aren't going to find qualified traffic if you’re not putting accurate information out there. You're just going to get visitors that keep bouncing.
9. Limit the Number of External Links
Sharing external content is great, but in moderation. While an admirable deed, your high bounce rate often could be attributed to the number of external links you're using.
If your visitors are quickly leaving any page that has an external link, you might want to reconsider using them or perhaps deterring attention from them.
In the end, your goal should be to keep them on your site. Don't give them a reason to leave.
If you want to include those links you might want to take into consideration what words you're linking. You might be missing the opportunity to push those visitors further into your site.
If you end up using external links, make sure they open in a new window.
Not sure how to implement these tactics on your website? We can help! Talk to us and we'll help you determine the best next step for improving your website and marketing overall.