In 2017, in order to run a successful business it’s pretty much guaranteed that you also need to run a successful website. The metric “bounce rate”—the percentage of sessions in which a user goes to your site but doesn’t interact with it before leaving—is a huge part of that success. In our opinion, it’s one of the most important, yet overlooked, pieces of data for business owners and marketers.
If your website has a high bounce rate percentage, chances are it also has a low conversion rate, and thus is not very successful. The good news is that once you’ve determined your bounce rate percentage, there are plenty of things you can do to try to improve the quality of your site in order to entice visitors to stay awhile longer and hopefully make a purchase (thus improving your bounce rate metric). Below we’ve compiled a list of tips you can use to decrease your bounce rate and improve your website’s user experience.
Use Google Analytics to Analyze your Site’s Bounce Rate
One of the first things you should do is tap into Google Analytics in order to analyze your site’s bounce rate and see how much improvement needs to be made. You can compare the bounce rates of your different web pages to see if some are functioning better than others. Once you’ve determined where there might be a problem, make the necessary changes and then continue to check back with Google Analytics to ensure the changes are having a positive effect. You will probably have to try more than one intervention before you see consistent improvement.
If you’re an Agency Analytics user, the app integrates with Google Analytics so you can see your Bounce Rate quickly and easily. Below shows you what you’ll see:
Note: There is no “good” bounce rate metric. This differs for every company and every type of business. The best you can do is monitor this rate to give yourself a bench mark, and then track your progress for better or worse.
Utilize A/B Testing
After you’ve determined your bounce rate percentage, you’ll most likely want to utilize A/B testing when integrating some of the tips listed below so you can see how each strategy performs. You’ll want to test things like differing keywords, various landing page designs, different target audiences, etc., A/B testing will make it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t because it allows you to serve one version of your website to half of your visitors, and another version to the other half, thus helping you determine which is more effective (just make sure not to change too much!). And again, you should always go back to Google Analytics to monitor your bounce rate so you have some solid numbers to back up your work. Below is an example from Visual Optimizer that shows how colors and layout can make a big difference:
If you’re unsure how to get started with A/B tests or what you should change to get focused data, visit here.
Make Your Webpages Easy to Read
This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people get caught up in the design of their site and don’t consider whether the text is easy to read or that the pages are easy to navigate. There’s nothing more frustrating for a user than a convoluted website that doesn’t have a clear design, and it’s one of the top reasons why they would abandon the site before making a conversion. Your text should be readable and legible, and you should try to avoid large chunks of text that might overwhelm a user; chances are they’ll skim right past it.
Include Clear CTAs and Consider Their Placement
If your site doesn’t have some compelling call-to-actions (CTAs), that’s one of the first things you’ll need to improve upon. Your CTAs should engage users and compel them to do something—click on the link, sign up for the newsletter, share on social media, etc.—thus increasing your chances for a conversion. Make the text or button visually appealing, and link to something that customers will want to click on, such as a free trial of your product.
You should also consider the placement of your CTAs. If you feel like they’re engaging but you’re not getting a lot of hits, then they might be in the wrong place. Most users will decide to stay on or leave a website within a few seconds, so they’re (definitely) not going to go hunting for a CTA. It should be immediately visible on the page in order to entice them to click to the next page.
Consider this example from Evernote; the call to action appears immediately on their homepage, and the text is compelling and engaging: “remember everything.” I’ll bet many of their users remember that CTA!
Don’t Use Pop-ups
When you visit a website, do you like to be inundated with popups? Probably not, and neither do your users. They annoy visitors and compel them to leave your site, thereby increasing your bounce rate. Some marketers will swear by their effectiveness, but I truly believe there are better ways to engage your audience. According to NeilPatel.com, only 4% of consumers will consider responding to a popup ad, compared to 51% who respond positively to email offers. Those statistics are enough to convince me that popups aren’t an effective strategy and should be avoided at all costs.
Use Videos and Images to Engage Your Audience
Instead of resorting to annoying popups, consider incorporating videos and images into your website pages in order to attract your audience and convince them to stick around. Videos are powerful and extremely effective and can be added to any page or call to action in order to grab the attention of visitors. They’re also cheap and relatively easy to make, so you don’t need a large marketing budget.
Images can also be a powerful tool, as long as they’re high quality and places in appropriate places on your website. No one is going to be impressed by a grainy image, and again they’re not going to spend the time searching for one either, so if you’re going to use photos make sure you choose quality ones and place them in optimal spaces on your site. Websites like Buzzfeed are constantly including images and videos to enhance their site, and Dunkin Donuts crushed the competition when they released this live video tour of their test kitchen last Valentine’s Day.
Make Sure Your Website Loads Quickly
Another way to quickly turn off users is to have a website that loads slowly. Again, visitors to your site will most likely decide in a matter of seconds whether they’re going to stay and investigate or bounce, and if your site hasn’t fully loaded in those seconds the decision is going to be easy for them. Google PageSpeed Insights Insights is an extremely easy-to-use tool that can help show you what needs improvement in terms of page speed in order to optimize all your pages and make sure they load in a timely manner.
If you still find yourself stuck in this area, you may want to check out the competition to see what they’re doing to combat bounce rates. We at Agency Analytics put together a helpful list of competitor analysis tools that are definitely worth checking out.
Have you tried any of these tips, or do you know of other ways to improve your site’s bounce rate? We’d love to hear from you! Comment in the section below.
Image credit 1: analytics-ninja.com
Image credit 2: screenshot taken by author May 2017
Image credit 3: vwo.com/split-testing/
Image credit 2: evernote.com
Image credit 3: screenshot taken by author May 2017