What if we told you that there are ways to lower your bounce rate and increase dwell time on your site?
For website owners that are still learning the lingo, a high bounce rate is not something you should get excited about. On the contrary, it is something that should be addressed as quickly as possible.
In fact, it is a specific metric you should always monitor for the sake of reaching any success online and maintaining a strong digital presence. But to clarify and avoid any confusion, the bounce rate tells you how many visitors leave within the first ten seconds. It also shoots up like a rocket when visitors never go further than a single page.
And what this means is that you are losing valuable customers or clients.
Making a good first impression with a website should be a priority to any and all website owners. Thanks to existing competition, as well as the competition that joins the fray every day, users are very comfortable in their roles.
What are these roles exactly? To easily get what they want, when they want it. This translates into you having to take responsibility for impressing your visitors the moment they land on the first page.
There is simply no getting around how crucial it is to maintain a low bounce rate and increase conversions.
But you are probably wondering why the bounce rate is high in the first place? Here are some of the most common reasons why bounce rates can get out of control.
Problem – Your Site Is Not What Visitors Expected
Nothing makes a user click the back button quicker than a false expectation.
More specifically, their search included keywords tied to the content of your site. But the problem is that your keywords are not really relevant to the posted content. This frustrates the user and sends them straight into the arms of the competition.
And take note that using keywords that are not relevant to the content is considered a black-hat strategy – meaning search engines will penalize the website sooner or later. So, make sure the content and keywords are relevant to each other at all times.
How to fix this – Check in with your competition and see how you compare. Is your website visually appealing? Or user friendly? It may be that your page titles and meta descriptions are misleading. Focus on matching user intent with your site to increase conversions.
Problem – Your Site Content Is Too Broad
As smart as search engines are getting, they are still not perfect.
The consequences are that some search results can have some irrelevant results on the first page. And when the user realizes that the site has nothing to do with what they are looking for, it hurts your bounce rate. Search Engine Optimization services can help solve this problem.
How to fix this – Optimize your content to focus on niche problems. Instead of appearing for broad terms that are not what people want, you will work towards appearing for long-tail keywords that increase your chances of a conversion.
Problem – Your Site Provides A Sub-Par Experience
It is not an easy reality to face, but it’s a reality nonetheless. If your site is not designed to impress, engage and stimulate, it will suffer from a high bounce rate.
This is especially true if there are many distractions like ads or pop-ups. Not to mention the frustration of having to search for navigation buttons, or being blinded by the flashing banners. If this sounds like your site, then you already have a good idea of why the bounce rate is high.
According to small business entrepreneurs from Mark Rogerson Glass, providing a better user experience can really assist in improving bounce rate, they say “Creating a smoother online experience for our customers saw our bounce rate decreases, meaning customers are spending more time finding out about our services.”
How to fix this – Upgrade your website. It’s that simple. Make sure it is fast, mobile friendly and using the latest best practices to ensure it is every bit as professional as you are.
Problem – Your Site Is Not Engaging Enough
Everything should be easy and functional for visitors the moment they land.
From where to go next and what to do, always focus on guiding visitors as opposed to giving them too much time to think. Remember that most purchases tend to be emotional ones. So, if you give visitors a reason or chance to re-think the purchase, it’s a second too long.
The point is to never assume visitors will find what you want them to. Because if you do then a high bounce rate should not come as a surprise.
How to fix this – Simplify your approach. Reduce the steps needed to achieve your desired goals and you will reduce the friction that stands in the way of a conversion. Think less forms in a contact field.
Problem – Your Site Options Are Overwhelming
It might make sense that offering more options to your visitors will make them happy. But in reality, too many options can eventually prevent your visitors from taking any action at all. Just like there should be at least one clear call to action, you also want to think about the number of options you make available.
Sometimes, fewer options are better for keeping the bounce rate at a minimum.
According to the funeral professionals at Perth Cremations, simplifying your site can improve your users’ experience, they say “In our industry, clarity and simplicity are everything. Our clients are in a sensitive situation so it benefits both us and them to make our website as succinct as possible.”
But experts can be very useful in this regard, seeing as they know how to approach call to actions with high conversion rates.
How to fix this – Keep it Simple Superstar. People want solutions, not headaches. Always keep the needs of your customers first which means reducing content and clutter. Even if you like it, always ask, “do they?”
3 Super Simple Tips To Bring Down The Bounce Rate
If you are hoping for some quick solutions, you are out of luck. Because keeping the bounce rate low depends on several different factors. But here are some strategies that are usually effective for gaining some control over the bounce rate.
#1 – Test Landing Pages
You are not going to learn very much from looking at the overall bounce rate. You have to dig deeper if you want to find the source of the problem.
According to the team at Drink Driving Defense Melbourne, this means taking your top landing pages and establishing their individual bounce rates. They explain “We wanted to track our bounce rates across multiple landing pages. To do this we split the data up to track the success of the different tactics we were implementing on each page. From there it was much easier to establish which landing pages are responsible for which results and need immediate attention. Once we had this data we were able to make chances and see our bounce rate come down.”
Additionally, this tactic can point out landing pages that show promise with some tweaking.
#2 – Do A Survey
While they are not always as effective as you want them to be, surveys can help in terms of learning about your audience. You will also find many tools and software for running engaging surveys. Just don’t set your expectations too high. Because if you already have a high bounce rate, it will be tough getting people to participate in the survey.
#3 – Monitor Visitor Habits
By following the movement of your visitors with software like Clicktale, monitoring what your visitors are doing becomes incredibly easy. Everything from where they click and scroll to where they opt-out of the site altogether is going to surface with the right tools in place.
But you need to utilize these tools if you are going to turn the bounce rate around.
According to the expert team of massage therapists at Peak Performance Massage, tracking visitor activity is invaluable to improving web traffic, they say “Being able to monitor which of our services are receiving the most attention allows us to tailor our site to complement those behaviors.”
At the end of the day, heatmaps about what visitors are doing on your site can serve you well. And the more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to cater to their needs.
There are many different types of testing you can do on your site. For instance, you can split test different layouts and designs. And you can also split test landing pages.
This is a good way to weed out the bad ideas from the good ones. But more importantly, it can help to keep the bounce rate low and your conversions high.
So, it is worth consulting with professionals in terms of optimizing the site. They already know how to approach all the testing mentioned above, which can save you valuable time.
Now you have to ask yourself, are you happy with the bounce rate at the moment? Or do you know for a fact your site can do a lot better?
Because there is no time like the present to make some effective changes and bring that bounce rate down to where you don’t even notice it anymore.
What can you do today to improve your bounce rate tomorrow?
Luke Kurtz is a freelance writer and a student majoring in Accounting in Sydney. Luke’s favorite pastime is watching movies. This is what he does when he is not in school.