The key to running a successful website is maintenance, and it’s not always about having the latest security updates. In order to be successful, it’s important to monitor your analytics account and keep an eye on key metrics. Bounce rate is one of those.
The first thing website managers focus on, after the site is built, is traffic. But any webmaster will tell you that traffic alone usually isn’t enough to make money. The only time this works is when you’re running a very specific type of ad-based site, so we’re not even going to get into that for now.
Since most of the online world is concerned with having a lower bounce rate, we’re going to look at some of our best improve bounce rate tips.
Bounce rate explained
Still asking, “What does bounce rate mean?” Bounce rate is defined as a percentage of website visitors who exit the website after only viewing one page.
How to improve bounce rate on a website:
1. Install Google Analytics
If you haven’t already, installing Google analytics, or something comparable, is a must. Without analytics, you’re just guessing. By some stroke of luck, it may be working for you, but the chances of experiencing lasting success without working for it are slim to none. You can’t figure out how to lower your bounce rate without all of the facts.
2. Review website data
Results can almost be seen immediately after the tracking code is installed, but let’s not be too hasty. Keep an eye on what users are doing, but don’t stress about it. No one can tell you the precise amount of time you should wait before you are able to draw some conclusions from your website data. It will depend on the volume of traffic you’re getting. If you only have a visitor or two each day, you may need to wait a month or two before you have enough data to measure. In the meantime, you can work on getting more traffic to your website.
3. Focus on the most popular point of exit
If you’re new to online marketing, you may be surprised at your bounce rate. That’s probably because you haven’t asked, “What is a high bounce rate?” It’s probably higher than you think. It’s an adjustment for most new site owners to realize that not everyone who visits your site will stick around. The average website bounce rate will vary by industry, so be sure to do some research on your industry’s rate before you freak out. You may already be within the range of a typical bounce rate for a website in your industry. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still improve. Look at where most users are bouncing. Users are landing on one of your website’s pages and deciding to move on. Most often this occurs on the homepage, but it could also be a landing page or an interior page. See where people are exiting and focus most of your effort on that page.
You yourself are a website visitor. If you just landed on your site for the first time, what would you think? It can be difficult to answer this question for yourself, so if possible, enlist the help of a few friends who aren’t as familiar with your business. It will also help if those friends are within your target demographic.
5. Implement changes
Once you have given some creative thought to the reasons why people are bouncing instead of converting, it’s time to do something about it. Make the changes to your website that better guide your visitors from the point of entry to the conversion point. If you are unsure about which changes to make, you may want to consult an expert. Changes may include adding buttons, changing copy or adjusting the color scheme. Many studies have been done on the behavior of website visitors, so feel free to do some research.
6. Do A/B testing
Even if you hire an expert consultant to suggest changes that will improve your bounce rate, you should probably still do some testing. Testing two versions of one web page will help you determine which changes visitors respond to and which turn them off. The perfect web page for you may be a combination of multiple tests.
7. Review referring traffic
Take a look at how visitors landed on your website. Was it through a keyword search? Another website? An ad? This will give you some indication of what those people might be expecting and why your website in its current form did not meet their expectations.
8. Analyze results
It’s not enough to know that one thing worked over another. If you want to truly find success, you need to know why things are working or why they are not. Review the results of your testing to see which elements people are responding to. It may be a button a link or a form, but if people are more likely to take action, there’s a reason. Figure out what your audience is responding to, whether it is color, copy or placement. These are elements that you won’t be likely to change any time soon, and they may also help in other places.
9. Brainstorm some more
Unless everything is picture perfect after the first round of changes, it’s time for another. Armed with the information you’ve gleaned from split testing, you can create hybrids of your test pages and possibly test some new things that you hadn’t thought of before. If you’re concerned with your blog bounce rate, maybe you’ll test featuring different posts.
10. Implement more changes
At this point, you should be getting closer to a low bounce rate, but the act of reducing bounce rate is an ongoing process. Continue making changes until you feel you have achieved the best possible results and cannot decrease bounce rate further. Just don’t stop paying attention to the analytics. What works today may not work in a few months.