Bounce rates and the health of your website

By Dodge Communications (not verified) on January 15th, 2015

Bounce rate is much more than a metric your webmaster should be tracking – it is one of the biggest indicators of your website's health. It can tell you a lot about campaign performance, the quality of your content and overall website health in a short amount of time.

Google defines bounce rate as "the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)." That basically boils down to the percentage of website visitors that had no interest in the page they entered your site on. A high bounce rate can indicate that visitors aren't looking for more content on your site, clicking on calls-to-action or converting into prospects.

The more you can lower your bounce rate, the more opportunity you have to convert visitors. However, there is only so low you can go with bounce rates. A certain level is inevitable and varies depending on the type of webpage. Here are some benchmarks to gauge your site against.

Average Bounce Rates by Page Type

  • Content Websites: 40-60%
  • Lead Generation: 30-50%
  • Blogs: 70-98%
  • Retail Sites: 20-40%
  • Service Sites: 10-30%
  • Landing Pages: 70-90%

If the bounce rates on your website are higher than these numbers, it is time to start making some changes. Unfortunately, there is no set of rules guaranteed to correct your bounce rate. Instead, I'm going to outline some tactical approaches for you that will hopefully work for your website.

5 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rates

1. Attract the Right Visitors

Sometimes we get so caught up in attracting visitors to our website that we forget to attract the right ones. Remembering whom you are trying to bring to your site can really pay off. A highly-targeted page might not draw as much traffic as a generic one full of popular keywords, but it is likely to create more conversions and sales opportunities in the long run.

  • Know who’s visiting your site.
  • Know what your visitors want.
  • Write for people, not so much for search engines.
  • Create multiple landing pages with unique content and keywords for your different buyer personas.
  • Improve targeting of online advertising campaigns.

2. Enhance Usability

When you created your website or added new content to it, how much were you thinking of the visitor’s wants and needs versus your own? How much work does the visitor have to do to get what they are looking for? These are usually the first questions I ask myself when assessing the overall usability of websites I have worked on. With so much competition for an Internet users attention, it is vital that they can effortlessly find what they want. Your competitor is only a click away.

  • Try to simplify navigation.
  • Eliminate the clutter.
  • Reduce the number of hurdles to get to desired content.
  • Make your website usable on phones and tablets, not just responsive.

3. Speed Up Page Load Time

Internet connections are slowly speeding up over time, but that is no excuse for a bloated website. Slow page load times can result in lost visitors, poor SEO rankings, and even more expensive online advertising. The time and money invested in a good web host and optimizing your site can easily be paid back many times over.

  • Eliminate self-loading multimedia content.
  • Switch to a better web host.
  • Optimize images.
  • Make sure to minify, compress, and cache.

4. Provide Quality Content

Is your content motivating website visitors to convert? Is that what you want them to do? Is that what they want to do? Quality content has an obvious main message, is tailored to the intended visitors and the desired result of the visitor is in line with that of the business.

  • Be clear and direct with messaging.
  • Use clear headers and subheads.
  • Use good supporting images.
  • Include a clear call-to-action and obvious links to next steps.

5. Update Your Look

The look and feel of your website communicates a lot to visitors. Do visitors think your website looks good? Do they trust it immediately? Does the design lead the visitor’s eyes to the right places? How do you know?

  • Study competitor’s websites, as well as the websites of top brands.
  • Start using a website heatmap analytics tool.
  • Distribute a survey to recent sales prospects.
  • Find an agency that can help.

How are your bounce rates doing compared to the averages above? Do you need help improving them?

We’ve got you covered. Let’s talk!

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