We’ve all come across a website that was poorly designed or we couldn’t find what we were looking for, leading to us immediately closing that page. This action we’ve done thousands of times without a thought contributes to a site’s bounce rate.
A high bounce rate means there is a low chance your site’s visitors convert into leads and customers. There are a variety of ways to turn bounce rates around to increase repeat traffic to your site and grow conversion rates.
What is Bounce Rate and Why Is It Important?
Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions where users open one page and leave without viewing another page. While bounce rate is expected with sites with a single page like a blog, a high bounce rate is a big problem for sites that depend on users learning more about products and services or checking out their cart.
A high bounce rate can be symptomatic of bigger problems with your site including:
Here are five ways to decrease bounce rates throughout your website:
1. Use Analytics Tools to Measure Bounce Rates
Without a comprehensive analytics tool, you won’t know how widespread high bounce rates are on your site. Some of the most popular analytics platforms include HubSpot and Google Analytics that allow you to measure the key performance indicators of individual pages, including their bounce rates.
For Google Analytics, there are four different reports: Audience Overview, Channels, All Traffic and All Pages. With Google Analytics, you can investigate the causes for high bounce rates from several angles.
For example, if your overall bounce rate for your site in the Audience Overview report is high, the problem may lie with your general site design. If the bounce rate changes drastically for different pages seen in the All Pages report, it may have to do with the individual page content, such as page titles or calls to action.
2. Improve Navigation
One of the main reasons why visitors may leave your site without viewing another page is your site was hard to navigate. To solve this, review the navigation on your site by looking over your site map and content flows.
Tools like Google Analytics also provide a visual of content flows, how your visitors go from one page to another.
If you realize your visitors are not moving on to the pages they are supposed to, change the site hierarchy and organization. You might find yourself adding subsections that more clearly define content or consolidating categories if the list was too crowded to navigate.
You may also want to make your navigation better by adding more visual elements that draw visitors’ attention to desired links or pages. Include buttons and contrasting text to your improved navigation design so users can find the content they want faster.
3. Enhance Site Speed
Site speed is another issue that could increase bounce rates. If the first page users click on is slow to load, users have the expectation that the rest of your site is slow and will leave without clicking on another link.
Go into an analytics tool and note the number of seconds it takes for pages to load. You can access this report through Google Analytics by going to Reports -> Behavior -> Site Speed.
If you determine that your pages are loading too slowly, you can troubleshoot the cause to speed up your page load times. Fixes for slow loading pages may include compressing images and reducing redirects to pages.
4. Optimize Interlinking Between Pages
When visitors find interesting content, they naturally want to continue to read more. This is why interlinking optimization should be a key part of your strategy to reduce bounce rates. Here are problems with interlinking that could contribute to a higher bounce rate:
- Links are hidden. Depending on your site design, it may be hard for visitors to see links. The anchor text of the pages you link to should be clearly defined, such as through a contrasting color or through an underline appearing under the anchor text when hovering over it with the mouse.
- Links are broken. If you have links that take readers to a 404 page not found page, this can impact your bounce rates. Use an analytics tool to find broken links and fix them. The linked pages themselves should be related to whatever page your visitors find themselves on.
5. Modify Content to be More Descriptive (Calls to Action, Page Titles, etc.)
Finally, the bounce rate issue may be the result of the page content itself. For example, landing pages need a strong call to action so users know the next step to take, usually clicking on the next page that will take them closer to becoming a lead or purchasing a product or service.
In this case, you will need to revise your content so the next step in the marketing or sales funnel is transparent. If you want them to download a whitepaper or other content marketing piece as the next step, draw attention to and link to it in a call to action.
Additionally, when users land on a page after finding your site via a search engine result, the page content may not be what they were expecting. For example, the meta title may have been changed recently, but the initially published title may not have been updated.
What happens is the title users clicked on in a search engine page may be different than the one they see when they open your site page, making users confused why they clicked on the result in the first place and exit the page.
Furthermore, ensure your meta titles and meta descriptions are specific so you set the right expectations for users before they see your content.
After taking these steps, review your bounce rates using analytics tools again and see whether there is a decrease in these rates to see if you were successful.