How to reduce your website bounce rate in 11 simple ways

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Posted by John Mwaniki on 14 Sep 2017

While most enterprises today invest in increasing site traffic, many forget to consider one important factor: their bounce rate. Focusing on social engagement, paid media, and content distribution are all effective ways to drive relevant traffic to your site, but understanding the power of a bounce rate is just as crucial to measuring your success.

High bounce rate is one of the most common conversion killers. If majority of your users are abandoning your website on first page, then you don’t have a chance to convert them into subscribers or customers.

So, what exactly is a bounce rate?

A bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors who land on your website and leave after only viewing one page. Lets say, if your site bounce rate is 60%, it means that 60% of your site users landed on one particular page and left without navigating to any other page or taking any further action.

A higher bounce rate indicates that you were not able to convince the user to stay and act on your call-to-action (i.e buy your products or services).

A visitor can bounce from your site by clicking on a link to a different website, clicking the back button to leave your website, closing the open window / tab, typing a new URL, or due to a session time out (caused by web hosting errors).

The figures below shows how bad or how good your bounce rate can be considered.

80%+ is very bad
70 – 80% is poor
50 – 70% is average
30 – 50% is excellent
20% or below could be likely a tracking error (due to duplicate analytics code, incorrect implementation of events tracking, third-party addons such as live-chat).

Different industries have different ranges of bounce rates: retail sites get 20-40%, content sites gets 40-60%, service sites see 10-30%, etc. Many of these bounces come from first time visitors.

While bounce rates are disappointing, they are also an indicator that something can (and should) be fixed on your site. Whether it’s simple navigation changes, design layout, or targeting efforts, there are a few things you can do immediately to reduce your bounce rate.

Before you start, it’s a good idea to identify your top pages with the highest bounce rate as this will help you identify the problem areas and fix them. You can do this by going to Google Analytics and clicking on Behavior » Site Content » Landing Pages

In this article, we will share 11 proven methods to reduce your bounce rate and increase your conversions.

1. Improve your site's load speed

The biggest single reason visitors do not stay at a Website is taking too long to load. User attention is increasingly limited today, and if a page doesn’t load within a matter of seconds, the user will abandon the site. Believe it or not, 47% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less else will abandon a site.

To speed up your site, you should optimize your images, use a CDN, add better caching, combining multiple style sheets into one, reducing scripts and putting them at the bottom of the page and consider switching to a faster hosting provider.

2. Improve Your Content’s Readability

One reason that your target customers might leave your site is a lack of readability. User experience begins when your content is readable and legible. You need to make sure that the text on your website is easily readable on all devices. It shouldn’t be too small or else users will have to squint or zoom in to read it. Use font sizes that are large enough on smaller screens but not too large to the extent of scaring readers away. Also it is good to use proper spacing and simple language that is easy to understand.

3. Use simple and intuitive navigation

It’s crucial that your site navigation be as effortless as it possibly can be and simple to allow visitors to move from one page to another with. It is preferred that links to other pages be in a position where they are easily seen especially at the top of the page. They should be easily identifiable and look different from other texts to avoid clicking them by mistake and also not to miss them when required. Use mostly text for navigation with descriptive anchor texts. For large websites, provide a search box to aid easily locate content. For navigation, the focus should be on simplicity and ease of use.

4. Focus on attracting the right audience

Keyword optimization is a crucial part of directing users to your site. But make sure you’re not attracting the wrong kinds of users.

For example, if you sell shoes, optimize for shoe-related keywords. The goal is that visitors who have searched for shoes will be happy with your results if you are delivering on the SEO promise that you do, in fact, sell shoes. Don’t optimize around socks and shoelaces unless you also sell those. It’s a waste of your your visitors’ time – plus it increases bounce rate.

5. Optimize for mobile devices

The number of users accessing the Web primarily from mobile devices is increasing every year. Actually, more than half of all Internet users now consume content on their mobile devices. failing to optimize your site for mobile is practically begging for users to bounce and take their business elsewhere.

6. Avoid popups

There is no doubt pop-up ads annoy people. In some rare cases they offer something worth the roadblock, but usually they disrupt the user experience and causes them to leave your website.

7. Add internal links

One of the key components to calculating bounce rate is the number of people who only view one page on your website.

It follows, then, that one of the easiest ways to lower your bounce rate it to keep people on your site.

Internal linking of pages is the simplest way to do this. You can accomplish this by ensuring that every post you publish on your site has at least one internal link, ideally three.

For the strategy to work you have to link to actually useful information.

8. Create a compelling Call-to-Action

After you’ve attracted visitors with your headline and built interesting content, don’t lose them buy not giving them direction of what to do next. You want every site visitor to buy, or at least think about it.

Make sure that in every page there is a clear Call-to-Action that lead the visitors to the next relevant place, whether it’s additional reading, product descriptions or check-out pages.

Make your call to action clear and honest. Misleading users will create bad user experience which is the number one reason for high bounce rate and low conversions.

9. Use a good design for the site

The first thing that most people notice immediately after landing into your website is the design. An unattractive or poorly built site is likely to scare visitors away before they even navigate to other pages. The site need to be visually appealing and organized and content needs to be attractive; both in terms of graphical treatments and readability.

 10. Set External Links to Open in New Tabs 

When the users click a link to an external page that opens in the same tab, they have to leave your website. They may get distracted by the new site and may not return back to your site. This will decrease your page views and increase your bounce rate.

A solution to this is to open the external links in new tabs. This is done by using target attribute with value blank in anchor tags (ie target=“_blank”).

11. Make good use of description meta tags

One of the biggest issues that we see with meta descriptions is that they don’t reflect the page’s actual content. As the old expression says, “Don’t promise what you can’t deliver”. The good news is, improving your meta description is an easy fix.

When writing the meta description for your page, make sure that you’re providing detailed, highly accurate information so that your users are less likely to bounce. As long as the description remains consistent with the page itself and your users discover what they’re looking for, your bounce rates will naturally decrease.

As you can see, understanding how to reduce bounce rate isn’t hard. Following these steps will help you reduce bounce rate, boost engagement, and conversions.

We hope that this article was of help to you.

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