What does “bounce rate” mean?

The Google definition of bounce rate is as follows:

“Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.”

So the lower the bounce rate the better, as this means more of your visitors are clicking through to other content on your website.

Below are 20 methods which can be used to lower this bounce rate and keep visitors engaged.

 

1) Page load time

Your page should take no more than about 6 seconds to load if possible. Optimise your images and code, and cut out any clutter.

 

2) Audio

Many users will exit your site immediately if they start hearing something they don’t like. Remove anything that automatically starts making a noise, such as soundtracks and auto-starting videos. This applies to both speech and music.

 

3) Initial visual impact

Your website needs to instantly portray an image of quality, and an image relevant to your product or service, e.g. comfortable/welcoming if a hotel, trustworthy if an online store, knowledgeable if a blog or resource.

 

4) Compatibility

If 50% of your audience still use Internet Explorer 6, and your site breaks in this browser, then 50% of your audience will leave. Test in all relevant browsers.

 

5) Relevant headings

If users have been searching for “blue widgets” and your headline doesn’t say “here is the info about the blue widgets you wanted” then they may leave.

There is a technical way to “fudge” this. You could use a script which analyzes where the visitor came from and display a relevant message. For example if someone searched for “blue widgets” in Google, the script could detect this and display a heading including these keywords. If they are visiting from another website, you could display a welcome message that includes where they just came from to make it feel more personal, and even more relevant.

 

6) Enticing headings

As well as relevant, headlines need to entice the visitor into reading on and ultimately taking action.

 

7) Images

A well chosen image, such as a screenshot of your product can give an instant idea of what it is about, what it looks like (e.g. the usability of a software product) and some of its features. For example, if the user is searching for a product which converts MPEG video files in AVI files, then show a screenshot of a big button which has “convert MPEG to AVI” written on it. The visitor then instantly knows this product will do what they want, without reading a word.

 

8) Stay above the fold

Definition: Any content which is visible in the users browser without them having to scroll down.
Keep the key info, and next steps above the fold. Users who don’t see what they want without scrolling down might leave.

 

9) Simplicity

Make the rest of the page simple, uncluttered and with no more than 5 navigational choices to be made. There should only really be 1 main call to action that should be very clear for the next step, e.g. “more info”, “add to cart”, “sign up” etc. Recent design trends have shown that these calls to action are often really big, chunky buttons which jump out of the page.

 

10) Language

Use relevant language to your audience. You could alienate people if you talk to them in the wrong way, and you might even offend them. Consider whether your audience is young, old, computer literate, creative, technical, professionals, consumers etc. Also check for spelling mistakes!

 

11) Bite size chunks

It is daunting to be presented with 100 line paragraphs. Break it down into bite size chunks with clear headings above each one. That way they can scan down and pick out what’s relevant to them.

 

12) Show relevant content

Stick to the topic, give visitors what they want, don’t waffle or go on about other topics.

 

13) Show relevant alternative content

If someone has found your site by searching for blue widgets, and you don’t currently have any in stock, then show them green, red, and yellow ones instead, they might prefer them rather than being disappointed.

 

14) Remove distractions

Remove automatic popup windows, scrolling text, spinning logos and Flash adverts where possible.

 

15) Clear navigation to the rest of your website

Make sure you have an easy to see and use main menu. Visitors might want to check your company history or check you have a phone number listed on your contact page before making a purchase for example. If they cant find these things easily they might leave.

It has become common practice to have the main company logo link to the site homepage, so if all else fails and the visitor hasn’t found what they want, at least make it easy for them to find their way home to start again.

 

16) Keep up to date

If you are not regularly updating the content then remove any reference to dates. “last modified September 2001″ is guaranteed to turn a user off.

 

17) Technical restrictions

If your page relies on a Flash movie to demonstrate your product, are you certain that your target audience will be able to see it? Quite often corporate networks are restricted and block this kind of content. If users see a blank box, or error message they will probably move on.

 

18) Add a search box

Users often search for what they are looking for if they don’t see it immediately.

 

19) Testimonials

Use a well placed testimonial to show that other “real people” have had a good experience or some level of success with your product or service. Human nature is such that the user will feel like they also want to achieve this success.

 

20) Forms

If the required action is for the user to fill in a form, make it as short as possible. If they are requesting a downloadable product, do you really need to require they enter their postal address and force them to do so using form validation?

Hopefully this article has helped, it would be great to hear if you have tried any of these methods and can report on how they affected your bounce rates.

20 thoughts on “20 ways to improve website bounce rates

  1. This is an excellent well thought out post, I think you covered the main reasons why people go to or leave web pages in general. Ultimately there is a lot of narcissism involved sometimes in web design and marketing and people forget to serve the needs of their users first.

  2. Thankyou for your generous and extremely useful post. I’m now implementing your very smart advice.

    Best, Robin

  3. Thanks for the list, I’m relieved to know that I’ve checked off many of these. :)

  4. Very useful and complete list! Thanks

  5. Very useful/helpful list. I will be making sure I have implemented them.

  6. Very helpful/useful list. I will be making sure I have implemented them.

  7. THANK YOU FOR THE 20WAYS TO IMPROVE WEBSITE BOUNCE RATES ;-)

  8. Fantastic post thank you, I am definitely going to take your helpful advice.

  9. Thanks for the advice I will use some of these ideas.

  10. Some very good points there. Thanks for the article.

  11. Thanks for the tips
    Thumbs up !

  12. Excellent post – I tweak my site a couple times a month – It’s hard to figure out the exact right way

    I’ll learn – Your post helped :)

  13. This is a really helpful list of tips. I’ll implement some of these ideas and see what happens.

  14. Raj

    I had made my website seo friendly. Everything is in perfect form, even my website traffic is also well but now, the bounce rate is increasing day by day. Right now my website bounce rate is 75% but before it was around 55%. So let me know, what extra work should I have to done to reduce my bounce rate.

  15. Very effective information..I’will keep browsing up for more new info..Thanks!

  16. alok singh

    excellent post

  17. Dating in Ireland

    Very good article, easy to read and relevant advises.
    What would be an average boucing rate?
    Is 35% ok?
    Cheers

  18. Really good article about bounce rate, we are trying to use everything read here to reduce our SEO traffic bounce rate.

    Thanks

  19. Thank you for this great info. I just started a PPC campaign and had a bounce rate of 29.38% and thought I’d better check up and find out what that meant! It seems the website is quite sticky then as analytics said average stay was 13 minutes. So now, learning madly all these new terms and techniques, I’m off to check your list on the site! thanks again…

  20. Great information. I am also relieved to know that I have accomlished a lot of the items on this list.

    Thanks again…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit