For our maintenance clients here at BED HQ, we provide monthly reports on Google Analytics and set up a nice plan for how we can improve or maintain the current success of the site.

One of the biggest alarm bells that can ring for a site is if the bounce rate is high! People are visiting the site and leaving instantly without looking any further. This can be for multiple reasons. Your site might not offer what the visitor is looking for, the site could aesthetically offend them or they may lose patience trying to find the further information they are looking for (more checks listed below!).

What Counts as a Bounce?

A visitor arrives on your site and looks no further than the first page they arrive on. Google calculates the number of visitors that take the quick route out and provides this as a percentage of total visitors – obviously you want to keep this low and then keep lowering it!

The person can leave by typing a new address into their browser, clicking the back button, closing the window or using an external link on the page to bounce instantly on to a new site. If your site isn’t efficient in engaging the visitor, the chances are much higher that they will move on straight away. Modern day patience doesn’t allow for too many obstacles for the visitor to traverse before they will give up and go elsewhere.

Good Bounce, Bad Bounce?

It is important to remember that an average ‘good’ bounce rate is industry dependent and across website types.

Landing pages and blogs tend to have a very high bounce rate (75-90%) as the information is provided all on one page, reducing the likelihood of someone then moving around the site. These pages can be linked to often by social media or other sites. This being the case, the website the page is held on has a bumped up bounce rate as the visitor will dip in for the information they have been directed to and then leave.

On average, retail websites will have a bounce rate of 20-40%. For these sites, it is key the visitor instantly feels they can trust the site (enough to input their card details!) and that the visitor can easily find what they are looking for to be able to move further in to the site.

Simple Steps to Reduce the Bounce

1)      Create a Visitor Persona

Imagine the market segment you are targeting. Imagine the type of branding that would appeal to them most. The voice used in the content of your site, is it speaking to that segment? Why would they be visiting your site and what do they want to get from the experience? Once your site appeals to this persona the likelihood they will engage increases significantly.

2)      Targeted Traffic

The work you’re putting in to SEO, PPC ads, keyword content etc. are they targeted correctly to your visitor personas? If it is all too vague it will be attracting the wrong people to your site. The wrong words will be directing the wrong traffic to your site, visitors expecting to find one thing and not finding anything relevant to them at all… leading to them then leaving instantly. Have a review of your content strategy using analytics to follow the user behaviour and search terms used to target those that are staying engaged and recapture those that are leaving.

3)      UX is Key

Like I mentioned above, if people can’t find information easily and fast they will soon leave the site in favour of sites with optimised navigation. Keep navigation simple and obvious, this will keep the visitor interested and make it easier for them to peruse the site further. Top of the list is to ensure your site looks professional and up-to-date, faith will be lost instantly in sites short of decent design and left in favour of a book with a prettier cover!

4)      Concise Content

As well as ensuring the content is targeted to your audience, keep it concise and easy to read. Patience related again… if the visitor can scan the page and pick out the relevant interesting information to them, they will rate the site much more user friendly. Combine the use of punchy paragraphs and bullet points, sectioned content with clear headings and dividers and plenty of images and icons to direct the visitor’s eye.

5)      Clicking Options

When a visitor lands on your site, make them want to click further! This is not only by the appearance and usability of the site itself, make it obvious the options available to click. Keep clear call-to-actions across the site to direct the visitor through the pages to the information they need.

6)      Make it Mobile

I don’t think we can shout about this enough. The exponential rise in mobile devices being used to view websites means the sites themselves need to evolve with the technology. Mobile bounce rates are far higher than desktop due to sites not being set up for optimal viewing. Ensure your site is responsive and easy to navigate on the smaller screens. This won’t just improve mobile UX and reduce bounce rate, it will also boost your ranking in Google (read here for more information – a recently updated algorithm in SEO).

Always worth a chat with BED HQ to see what we can offer you to improve the UX of your site and ways to keep visitors engaged for longer.

Why not also check out this useful blog about Bounce Rates and what counts as a good rate.

By Steve

11 / 05 / 2015


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