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How to Slay Your Website’s Bounce Rate

Are you struggling with a high bounce rate, wondering how to cut it down? While it’s impossible to prevent all visitors from bouncing, there are ways to keep your visitors engaged with your site.

If that’s your goal, keep reading because this article will share several big ways to slay your bounce rate.

What is a bounce rate and why does it matter?

What is a bounce rate and why does it matter?

Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who land on your website and leave without clicking on any links or viewing any other pages. In the vast sea of today’s metrics, your bounce rate is important. Unlike vanity metrics, your bounce rate matters and the lower it is, the better.

A low bounce rate means more of your visitors are sticking around to browse your website, interact with your content, and possibly buy from you. When you see your bounce rate increase, it means that more visitors are leaving your website without navigating beyond the page they first landed on.

Decreasing your bounce rate is important because the longer you can get people to stay on your website, the better chance you have at converting them.

Why all “bounces” aren’t necessarily bad

You might be thinking it’s always terrible when someone visits your website and leaves without exploring any other pages. This is sometimes true, but not always. For instance, your bounce rate doesn’t account for how long a visitor has remained on the one page they’ve visited. There are three specific things can skew your true bounce rate:

1. Sometimes visitors get value from the one and only page they visit and don’t need to look any further. When they leave, they haven’t truly “bounced” – they found exactly what they were looking for. This is a positive sign because it means your content was perfectly relevant to their search query.

2. Well-designed PPC ad landing pages don’t generally have navigation. This means your PPC ad clicks that don’t turn into conversions are contributing to your bounce rate. While this seems like a legitimate bounce, it’s not exactly.

A PPC ad landing page with no navigation is ideal for generating conversions, but it’s kind of a setup for increasing your bounce rate since your visitors can’t explore more of your website even if they want to. This means every visitor who doesn’t buy from you will be factored into your bounce rate, when they might be more appropriately factored into your exit rate.

Compare this with visitors who visit your website from search engine results. They may not buy from you, but many will click around and browse your website, which means they won’t be factored into your bounce rate.

3. Your entire website (or certain pages) are designed to send people away to other websites. If you have webpages designed to sell affiliate products, your bounce rate will be high no matter what. Your visitors won’t be browsing your site when the purpose of your webpage is to send people to someone else’s website to buy a product.

Although analytics software can’t avoid factoring these situations into your bounce rate, there are legitimate bounces that you can work on reducing.

Why do website visitors bounce?

There’s more than one reason visitors bounce, and it’s not always your content that is the problem. Sometimes it’s a technical error on your website, and other times your traffic just isn’t targeted.

Here are the biggest reasons visitors bounce:

1. Your traffic is untargeted.

Naturally, if your incoming traffic isn’t the right market, your visitors will bounce once they realize they’re in the wrong spot. The only way to fix this is to target a different market. If you’re generating traffic from search engines, make sure your content is related to your products and services. Amazing content can get you visitors, but it won’t automatically get you sales.

2. Your website has bugs.

When a website doesn’t work properly, people bounce. Regular visitors might come back later, knowing your site isn’t always a mess, but new people will simply move on to your competitors.

3. Webpages load slowly.

Site Speed Impacts Conversation Rates

Nothing can generate a high bounce rate like slow-loading webpages. Visitors simply won’t wait long for pages to load, so if your site doesn’t load fast enough, they’ll bounce.

The solution is to work on speeding up your site, either on your own or by hiring a website development agency to do it for you. If you don’t have experience building fast websites or building websites fast (two very different things), it’s recommended to hire a professional developer.

4. Misleading title tags or meta descriptions.

When visitors see how your site is described in the search engines, it needs to be accurate or they’ll bounce when they realize it’s not what they expected.

If it’s been a while since you’ve written or read your titles and meta descriptions, revisit them to make sure they accurately represent your content.

5. You have 404 errors.

If you include 404 errors in your bounce rate calculations, you could end up with a higher bounce rate than you’d like. If you put 301 redirects in place you have a chance at keeping a visitor’s interest. Otherwise, those 404 errors will cause immediate bounces.

6. Poorly crafted referral anchor text.

This one is out of your control, but it could be a factor in your bounce rate. If your site is linked on another website using misleading or inaccurate anchor text, those visitors are likely to bounce when they realize the mismatch.

7. A difficult or obnoxious user experience (UX).

It’s common to get caught up in technicalities and forget what users consider easy. Unfortunately, a poor or difficult user experience can have a significantly negative impact on your bounce rate. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including a website that isn’t mobile-friendly.

It’s worth getting your site professionally reviewed for usability, not just to help your bounce rate, but to make your site more enjoyable for your users.

8. An onslaught of pop-ups.

When a visitor first lands on a webpage and they’re trying to read the information, the last thing they want is to be bombarded with pop-ups. If your site delivers a pop-up right away, and then another pop-up several seconds later, visitors will get annoyed and bounce.

While there’s nothing wrong with using pop-ups, implementing them incorrectly can be annoying enough to cause people to quickly leave your site. For instance, you’ll get more email signups with a pop-up delayed by 60 seconds compared to 45 or 75 seconds.

9. Elements that aren’t mobile-friendly.

Unresponsive websites make visitors bounce

People on mobile devices have the highest bounce rates, and that makes sense considering how small the screen is. It’s harder to compensate for a broken or frustrating website on a smartphone than it is on a desktop computer. If something doesn’t work on a mobile device, users will bounce immediately.

As you can see, you have control over some factors that contribute to a high bounce rate, but not all. So, don’t worry too much about factors outside your control – at least not at first.

What is considered a good bounce rate?

Almost everyone would say that a 0% bounce rate is the highest ideal, but that’s not exactly realistic. The ideal bounce rate is between 26-40%, and getting under 20% isn’t very likely. Expect to have a bounce rate of at least 30% or higher.

What is considered a bad bounce rate?

A bounce rate of 70% or higher is considered bad. However, there are varying degrees of high bounce rates. For instance, once your bounce rate reaches 56%, it’s considered high and you’ll need to do some hard work to see a decrease.

However, a bounce rate higher than 90% is usually caused by something obvious like bad web design, buggy scripts, tracking code errors, or some kind of coding mistake that makes your website inaccessible.

How to reduce a high bounce rate

How to reduce a high bounce rate

To reduce your bounce rate, your first steps should include looking for the most obvious reasons a visitor might bounce. Start with usability and then look at your website’s design. Take care of the easy stuff first, like fixing bugs, mobile usability issues, and intruding pop-ups.

Once you’ve tackled the easy things, then look at your content and traffic sources to see if you’re targeting the right demographics in your ads. If your ad traffic is correctly targeted, look at your content to make sure it’s interesting and relevant. Nobody’s going to click around on your site unless your content is what they were looking for when they found your website.

It’s also imperative to look at the keywords your web pages rank for, and make sure the content is relevant to those keywords and phrases. If people are landing on a webpage after typing a specific search term, but your content isn’t a match, that’s going to make people bounce. In this case, either adjust your content to be more relevant to the searches it ranks for, or start implementing better SEO to rank for more relevant keywords and phrases.

Want to decrease your bounce rate? Get a professional website

Getting a professionally designed website is one of the best ways to decrease your bounce rate. Although DIY website design is popular, it’s also an easy way to make mistakes that contribute to a high bounce rate.

A professionally designed website will help you in the following ways:

  • Your site will load quickly.
  • Your users won’t encounter random bugs caused by unsupported scripts.
  • You’ll get clean and easy navigation menus.
  • Your UX/UI will be professionally implemented.
  • Your site will be set up for proper analytics.
  • Your content will be engaging.
  • Users won’t encounter frustrating barriers, like multiple pop-ups.
  • Pop-ups will be created correctly.
  • Your content will be relevant to your products and services when you work with a content marketing team.
  • You’ll have a familiar developer to consult before making changes.

Kick your bounce rate to the curb with Website.Design

If you’re ready to ditch a high bounce rate, reach out to our design team today. We’ll assess your site and identify opportunities for improvement to decrease the number of visitors who bounce. Sometimes it’s a matter of site structure, while other times it’s a matter of creating better content. Whatever you need, we’ve got you covered.

There’s more than one way to capture and hold visitor attention, and our web design teams are experts in this area. If you’re ready to drop your bounce rate, connect with us today – we’d love to work with you.

Ryan Nead
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