How long do people stay on your website?
Do they stay long enough to find what they need and convert into a customer or do they just leave?
In general, bounce rate refers to the number of visitors who land on your website and leave without visiting another page. Bounce rate is not a perfect metric, but it can give you some insight into how people are interacting with your website.
But, it also doesn’t account for how long they were on that page before they left, so you need to rely on other metrics like time on page, event tracking, and more to get a full picture. However, pages with a high bounce rate give you a place to start when you’re looking for ways to improve your site.
A high bounce rate could mean that your page is entertaining and informative. If they’re spending time on the page and interacting with it, they could have found exactly what they need and then moved on with their day. But, a high bounce rate could also mean that there is something wrong with your page or that it misses the mark for those visitors. From an SEO standpoint, a high bounce rate should raise a red flag and warrant further investigation.
Every situation will be different and the best ways to reduce bounce rate on your website will need to be customized to your situation. Still, there are a few standard approaches you can take to start narrowing down areas for improvement. Here’s how to reduce bounce rate on your website:
1. Crawl Your Site for Errors
Website errors are a common reason why someone might “bounce” off of your website. Incorrect redirects, redirect chains, 404 errors, and more all result in people not being able to find the page they were looking for so they just leave instead. By using a site audit tool to crawl your site for errors, you can identify potential errors that may be increasing your bounce rate and then fix them.
2. Do a General Performance Audit of Your Site
In addition to crawling for page errors, it’s also a good idea to analyze and audit the performance of your site overall. Slow page loads, server response issues, and more can all contribute to a poor user experience and a higher bounce rate.
Consult with your hosting provider to make sure your server and network are sufficient for your needs and aren’t holding your site back. Then, get developers skilled in site optimization to help you improve your website speed. At the very least, this will ensure your site is poised with a strong foundation and the right tools to deliver a speedy experience to visitors.
3. Analyze and Improve Individual Pages
Reducing issues on your website and improving performance overall can help lower the bounce rate for your website, which is a good thing. However, you don’t want to stop there. You’ll start to uncover a ton of opportunities for improvement when you get into analyzing and improving individual pages.
After all, visitors are landing on various pages of your website and you want to make sure they’re finding what they need and have a great user experience regardless of which page is the first one they see. Here are a few tactics to use when you’re analyzing individual pages for improvement:
Dig Into Analytics
Start by digging into Google Analytics, or another analytics tool you’re using, to see how users are interacting with individual pages of your website. In Google Analytics, the Landing Pages report will be useful when you’re starting to look at how to reduce bounce rate.
You’ll be able to see where the majority of your visitors are hitting first on your website and how quickly they leave without going anywhere else. This will help you identify your pages with the highest bounce rates so you can look into them further and determine the appropriate improvements.
Look for Obvious Improvements
You may be in love with your website and may be able to find what you need, but what about your website visitors? Their approach to your website will be different from yours, especially because some of them will be seeing it for the first time.
Take a look at each page individually and try to imagine it from a user’s perspective – are there any obvious pain points or frustrations on the page that jump out? Is anything confusing or distracting? Does it look cluttered or overwhelming? Does it provide enough information for what they need?
Get other people to look at the page and share their experiences with you. It’s common to rely on your network of connections, friends, and family for something like this. You may get some great feedback, but it may not give you everything you need to know.
Tools with heat mapping, click tracking, and session recording abilities can give you more information about how your potential customers interact with the page. You can even go as far as creating randomized focus groups of website testers to record their interactions with the page and have them provide feedback.
All of these things will give you insight into more “obvious” improvements you can make to the page. The feedback you get will center around what jumps out most to people when they visit the page and all of it will be useful to you, even if it doesn’t end up being a specific change that you make. Because a lot of the principles focus on user experience and matching intent, you can also take elements from landing page optimization best practices and apply them to other pages of your website.
Match Content to User Intent
Make sure you carve out time when you’re checking out these individual pages to think about the content on the page.
But, don’t just stop on the surface. Really dig into what the page is about, why a visitor would want to be on that page, what they’re hoping to get from the page, and the value the current content is providing.
A high bounce rate could indicate that the content on a page is not providing the information a user needs when they land on it.
By examining the user intent and then comparing it to what the current content is providing and who it is written for, you can determine potential improvements to the content of the page to make it more relevant to users.
The more relevant the content is on a page, the more likely a user will stay to engage with it, and the less likely they will just immediately bounce back to the search engine results to continue looking for what they need.
Make sure your content provides what they’re looking for.
Check Your Forms and CTAs
Every page on your website should have a next logical step for user flow and a way to contact you so they can convert into a lead. Oftentimes, this is through calls-to-action (CTAs), which can be a form, they can be text-based, and also occur in other formats.
If you have forms on your page, make sure you take a look at them.
How many fields does a user need to fill out before they can submit? What information are you asking for? Which fields are required?
Many times, forms have too many fields, ask for too much personal information too early, and are a pain to submit, in general.
You may want to know everything there is to know about someone when they’re submitting a form on your website. But, if your offer isn’t good enough or they’re just getting to know your business, it’s too much, too fast, and tends to be a big turn-off – all of which decreases conversions and increases your bounce rate.
In addition to form fields, also consider the words you’re using for your CTAs. Whether you’re encouraging someone to fill out a form to access a resource, contact you for a quote, give you a call, or something else, the words you use matter.
Test word changes, color changes, and placement to help improve your conversion rate for those pages and also help to reduce bounce rate on them.
There are a lot of elements to a good user experience and even more reasons why someone would bounce off of your website.
Figuring out the best improvements to make to your page is both an art and a science. With these tips for how to reduce bounce rate on your website, you can hit the ground running.
If your website isn’t performing or doesn’t look the way you think it should to represent your business, contact us for a meeting of the MINDs! We’ll help you get your website back on track and working hard for your business!