In internet parlance, a “bounce rate” is the percentage of visitors to your web site who leave after only viewing a single page. This is an important metric that reflects how many viewers turn to look at your web site then keep right on turning away from it. Since the whole purpose of a business’s web site is to attract customers and visitors, this is an obvious problem. The bad news is that there are a lot of different reasons someone could be bouncing away from you—poor layout, not being informative, feeling “sketchy,” etc.—but the good news is that there are definite steps you can take to improve your rate.
Before beginning, it’s important to know that there is no single, ideal bounce rate to aim for. Let’s use this article as an example. Since it is expected that some people will read this article, get the information they want and leave, the “good” bounce rate for this page is going to be higher than what would be considered good for, say, the home page. Generally speaking, the more a page is meant to illicit a certain course of action the lower your bounce rate should be. For example, a high bounce rate on a page with a purchase button is a sign that something is wrong with your approach.
Reasons People Bounce
Visitors will close a web page for any number of reasons, but there are a few common causes you should keep an eye out for. Who knows, you may have bounced from a few web sites yourself due to these exact same reasons.
People expect the web sites they visit to load quickly. If your page doesn’t open within two seconds, you’ve lost almost half your audience. Even among people with poor internet connections, a sluggish site is a big turn-off.
If you opened this article and saw a grammatical monstrosity in the first paragraph, it’s doubtful you’d have stuck around. Low-quality content stands out, lowers your credibility, and makes visitors turn away.
Visitors have likely come to your page looking for something specific. If you don’t have it, they will leave. What they’re looking for will depend on the type of page. It could be a certain product, a piece of unique or thorough information, or something else entirely. Look at your keywords for the page and see if what you’re advertising is what you’re actually providing.
A page that is cluttered and filled with ads will make visitors suspicious and less likely to stay around. Similarly, a page that’s filled with confusing images that make navigation difficult is likely to frustrate visitors and force them to give up. They will go and find an alternative that doesn’t confuse them and that offers an easier user experience.
Auto-play music and videos, pop-ups, and overlay content are widely despised and plenty of people will close a page with these items solely on principle. It doesn’t matter what kind of great deal or information you were offering either, since most visitors will reflexively close this spam (and yes, some do think of it as spam) without even reading it.
How to Get Visitors to Stay
So, now that you know what not to do, it’s time for the main meat. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your bounce rate and keep visitors around to turn into customers.
Optimize Your Load Times
Speeding up how fast it takes your content to load will prevent customers from getting impatient and turning away. There are many free (and not-so-free) tools online that you can use to assess and boost your web site’s speed.
Get as many pairs of eyes as you need on the site to figure out what will help your customers best. Sometimes it can be as simple as moving a menu bar to the other side of the screen, but other times it could mean changing a font, colouration, or size.
Getting a more noticeable call-to-action button, a longer search bar (the ideal length is 27 characters), and allowing for better filtering are just some of the things that can improve a user’s ability to find what he or she wants and get to it quickly.
Offer Quality Content
You need something that will make people choose you over the hundreds of other companies sharing your niche. This means quality content, depth, and uniqueness of information that will make you stand out from the crowd and engage potential customers.
Related and Popular Content
Keeping a sidebar that shows related pieces or popular content can help keep visitors around and make them explore more of the site. Make sure to put these near the bottom of the page so they’re in the line of sight once the visitor finishes reading.
Don’t Annoy Them
Turn off auto-play and definitely don’t have anything pop up when the page loads. If you must include pop-ups, make sure they appear in response to something the visitors do rather than as something that gets thrown at them.
Be Careful With Ad Placement
Visitors really don’t like when ads appear on a home page since it seems unprofessional. Don’t include ads at the top of an article for similar reasons. Also, if you have a purely visual ad, avoid placing it in the middle of a piece of content. Readers tend to assume an ad signals the end of an article and may end up leaving without realizing they didn’t read everything.
Be Mobile Friendly
Responsive design is the principle by which your web site will adapt its layout and size to suit the device on which it’s being viewed. In the age of smartphones and tablets, this is crucial for engaging readers who are checking you out on their mobile devices. Your web site may be perfect when viewed on a computer screen, but that won’t help an Android or iPhone user.
Get Trusted and Talented Help
Numero Uno Web Solutions is a provider of search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and mobile optimization solutions to startups and small companies from all industries and fields. As a trusted SEO and web design company in Toronto, we stay on the pulse of industry changes and adapt our practices to produce quality SEO and mobile optimization plans to fuel the growth of businesses across communities. Contact us to learn more about marketing techniques and how we can help improve your search profile across all platforms.