Most websites aim to keep people on the site and interacting. Yet, all sites suffer from the problem of people leaving shortly after they arrive. This is the bounce rate and the global average bounce rate hovers around 40%.
It’s easy to see why everyone wants to improve that bounce rate. If 4-in-10 people walked out of a restaurant without looking at a menu, the owners would panic. They’d also scour the restaurant looking for the reason.
You face much the same problem with your website. To improve your bounce rate, though, you need a baseline. Once you know that, you can start taking steps to cut down on your bounce rate.
So let’s jump in and look at ways for you to do that!
Global vs. Local Average Bounce Rate
The global bounce rate of 40% isn’t the whole story.
Bounce rates vary by industry and the type of website. Landing pages often see bounce rates over 70%. Service page bounce rates might come in as low as 10%.
You’ll want to track down the bounce rate for your industry and page type to get a sense of what’s normal.
If your bounce rate falls into the normal range or under it, that means you’re already doing a lot of things right. It also means your best case scenario is small, incremental improvements.
If your bounce rate is high, you can probably see substantial improvement with the right changes.
Tracking Bounce Rates
The most common way to track bounce rates is to use a website analytics tool. Google Analytics is free and the most often used tool, but there are lots of alternatives.
When choosing an analytics tool, make sure it reports your bounce rate as a standard feature.
You’ll want to track your bounce rate for several weeks to a month to set your baseline.
Pro tip: Don’t start tracking during the holiday shopping season because it’ll skew your results.
Fewer Bounces through Content
One of the big reasons people leave a site is because there isn’t enough content.
Say you went to a site promoting itself as the go-to place for computer repair advice. Once you get to the site, you find that it has three blog posts and an anemic homepage. Most people would leave as soon as they see the condition of the site.
The lack of content means you’re unlikely to find the advice you want. You may also feel like the site advertising deceived you.
Beefing up your overall level of content gives your visitor the impression that the website is solid.
Take care not to sacrifice quality on the altar of quantity. You don’t want your content to fall into any of these traps:
- Not edited for typos and grammar
- Poor formatting
- Content that offers no value
- Not relevant to your audience
- Lots of jargon
Jargon is unavoidable in certain niches, like medicine, law, and business. If you write movie reviews for a lay audience, jargon is your enemy.
A good rule of thumb for website design is that it should make things effortless for visitors. Ever visit a page without an obvious navigation menu? It’s aggravating when you can’t find what you want.
Some parts of good website design happen under the hood. Making your site work on mobile devices means building it with responsive design.
Cutting down your loading speed calls for compressing images and limiting the scripts on any given page. Pay close attention to your loading speed. A lot of people will leave a slow-loading site and increase your average bounce rate.
Make sure your navigation menu is obvious and accessible from anywhere on the page. No one wants to scroll to the top of the page after reading a long blog post.
When in doubt, test it. Ask people to try the site out and tell you what didn’t work for them. If the same complaint keeps cropping up, make an effort to fix it.
Embrace Internal Linking
Internal linking is a 2-for-1 bargain. You get SEO credit for doing it and it helps improve your average bounce rate.
Internal linking is when you link from one page on your site to another page. Blog posts make this easy for you.
Say you run a digital marketing firm. Two months ago you wrote a blog post about writing awesome email subject lines. This week you want to write about email open rates.
You can mention the role of subject lines in improving open rates and link to the subject line post.
The ideal situation is that the reader clicks on the link and reads the other post. This keeps them on the site and interacting, which lowers your bounce rate.
Calls to Action
A lot of otherwise good websites forget one key element in keeping people engaged. They don’t offer a call to action or any kind of next step.
It’s important to remember that a call to action doesn’t always involve selling a product. If your goal is to keep them engaged, recommend another page or blog post on the site. Encourage them to subscribe or get a free ebook.
When you write a call to action, focus it on taking an action. Use action words or phrases, such as:
- Click here
- Sign up
Make sure that you encourage a specific action. If you hyperlink the phrase “keep reading,” it’s vague. If you recommend that they “check out this post on exciting thing x,” it’s specific.
You can overcome a high average bounce rate.
You start by finding out what’s normal for your industry and website type. It helps set realistic expectations. Once you know that, you can use analytics software to establish the baseline for your website.
Then, you can use several tactics to improve that bounce rate.
More or better content helps keep people on the site. Internal linking and calls to action help keep people engaged. Good website design keeps the site fast and easy to use.
Stack those tactics up and you should start seeing your bounce rate drop.
iStats.com specializes in content to help you get the most from your website. Want to weigh in or comment on improving average bounce rate? Reach out to us today.