Fighting a losing battle with a high bounce rate? There are a few simple ways in which you can reduce it, but lets start at the beginning…
What is a bounce rate?
The Wikipedia entry explains bounce rate as “the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave (“bounce”) rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site. Bounce rate is calculated by counting the number of single page visits and dividing that by the total visits. It is then represented as a percentage of total visits.”
According to Custom Media Labs, a good bounce rate can vary depending on the type of website. The full benchmarked bounce rate averages for the most common kinds of websites are below:
How to Find Your Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is displayed in your Google Analytics account. There are quite a few places that you can see it as essentially it’s just a data point which you can correlate with any other piece of data. A few couple common places you might want to check are:
Ok great, so how can I reduce my bounce rate?
Below are some things you can do right now to reduce the bounce rate on your site;
If one of you are looking to decrease your bounce rate, then you will probably want to stay away from popups. If you have existing pop ups on your site you should evaluate their success before turning them off. From our experience pop ups don’t work unless necessary for a specific purpose such as consent notifications etc.
Create yourself a great 404
A 404 error page is the page that shows up when a visitor follows an invalid link to your website — a link that does not yet have any content up on it. The goal of a 404 error page is to prevent a bounce, by giving the user a place to go next. Providing other blog posts or a route back to your main page is good practise.
*Ours (above) is animated to a degree and gives the user an option to return home.
Get a little creative with it. Don’t just provide ample navigation for your stranded users – give them something to interact with or smile about when they see it. This nice example from Mapzen is a brilliant physics based 404 that allows user interaction and directs users safely back to their homepage.
Open links in a new window
A no brainer really – in most cases an external link should open a new browser window and In WordPress there is a pluginthat will automatically open all of your external links in a new tab. Otherwise add target=”_blank” in all of your external links.
It’s extremely important to consider your sites navigation when looking to reduce bounce rates. Most web designers don’t fully invest in the process behind navigation and how it can confuse a user. Generally, the default home, services, about, blog and contact pages are placed into wireframes and then ported over to the actual design phase without any consideration for the users on-page behaviour.
*While we were guilty of standard ‘Blog’ and ‘Contact’ pages, we did opt for ‘Why us’ and ‘What we do’ as well as a ‘Get started’ CTA, which introduces our users to various tools and assets.
Insert internal links whenever possible
Internal linking is essential to modern day SEO and can also help to reduce bounce rates. Internal linking is a simple practise, which involves linking to another resource on your website. Internal linking within your blogs posts is an easy thing to achieve and should be common practise.
*We link to other relevant blog posts whenever we can.
Text and Image clarity
This is something we’ve all done – you can’t quite see the text on a page without moving closer, and let’s face it, we’re not about to move our heads any closer to our screens…not for anyone. Ensure you adhere to general web guidelines and consider 16px as your ideal font size for your main body text. The same can be said for low res or pixelated imagery. Get used to using hi resolution photography and images. We use Unsplash a lot because of the vast selection of hi quality, royalty free images and for resizing we use compressor.io for optimising images for quick loading on web.
Mobile is king
The shift to mobile gets bigger everyday and its important to know how a users behaviour is different depending on the device they are using. When a smartphone user clicks through to an article that isn’t mobile optimised, they are much more likely to bounce, especially if they arrived from a social channel, where an endless stream of content is just a swipe away.
We hope this tip came in handy, keep an eye out for our next tip coming up soon.