Horizon Featured Article

7 Tips for Reducing Your Bounce Rates

You Can't Convert Without Effective Engagement

When you're trying to capture the attention of new customers, how does your site help you accomplish that?

At Northsail, we've been providing these articles for you to expand your business best practices, as well as always completing projects for our clients on-time, on-spec, and on-budget.

But if you haven't established that kind of credibility with your customer base, or you’re a new brand that's just trying to grow awareness for your business, you might be struggling to find the right kinds of ways to engage.

In fact, if you're noticing that the bounce rates on your site are higher than you'd like them to be, it might be time to take a step back and think about what's causing so many visitors to leave after visiting only a single landing page.

Before we jump into some tips for reducing your bounce rates, let's talk about exactly what they are, as well as how to calculate the bounce rate formula for your website.

What is Your Website's Bounce Rate?

The technical definition for bounce rates is the percentage of visitors to your site that leave after visiting only a single page, also called a ‘single-page session’.

Some businesses will take that to the next level by including all visitors that don't convert as part of this metric, but that's not an accurate way to track your metrics and support business growth.

Customers make leave after a single page session for any number of reasons. You might be providing them with the wrong content. Your content delivery network might be causing slow load times. You might be using high-value keywords that are irrelevant to your industry. The possibilities are limitless. Sometimes consumers are just fickle. They may not like your page design and leave because of that.

Think of it this way: a mobile user sees one of your PPC ads, but when they reach the landing page attached to that product, the customer finds the landing page difficult to navigate; with no clear path-to-purchase.

So, they click away and check out a competitor's site. Not only have you paid for the click on that ad and gotten nothing for it, but that customer just increased your bounce rate, because they only visited a single page.

How to Calculate the Bounce Rate Formula

The formula for calculating this important Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is actually pretty straightforward. And bounce rate metrics are definitely something that you should absolutely be tracking.

Take the number of single-page user sessions and divide it by the total number of user sessions across the whole site.

So, if you have 100 visitors come to your site, and 10 of them leave after only exploring a single page, you have a bounce rate of 10%.

This isn't to be confused with exit rates, which is how you track the specific pages that visitors choose to leave your site from. That’s another metric that’s equally important, but we’ll discuss in-depth another time.

Don't worry if your bounce rate is a bit higher than that. According to Google Analytics, the average bounce rate for websites is between 41%-55%, with 26% to 41% being the optimal range that you want to try and fall into.

Even if your average bounce rate is closer to 50%, all is not lost. You're not too far outside of where you should be. It's not actually a bad bounce rate; with some work, you can get there!

How Does Your Bounce Rates Impact Conversions?

In a way, you can almost call your bounce rates 'anti-conversions'.

These are the situations in which customers have decided that the products or services that you're offering just aren't for them - at least right now.

If your bounce rates are too high, it means you're actively losing out on potential conversions. The real question becomes "what's causing people to turn away from the site"?

That's where finding the right kinds of solutions might take a bit of trial and error.

7 Suggestions for How to Reduce Your Bounce Rates:

1.) Create Valuable, Relevant Website Resources

Potential customers don't always want to just go straight through your sales funnel to the checkout. Sometimes, they may want to learn more about your brand, your products, or your industry, before they decide to make a purchase.

Whether it's through effective blog content, informative articles, or FAQ pages to answer customer questions, there are lots of different ways that you can create valuable pieces of content for your users to access.

Be sure to include regular fresh content upgrades for your site. You never know how often the same visitors are checking out your site. Frequently updating your website copy is a great way to keep things interesting and engaging for new and old customers alike.

If you're not sure what types of resources would be the most useful for you, and you don't want to put time/resources into creating the wrong content, you can turn to marketing professionals or agencies for content recommendations that will work best for your brand.

2.) Have a Strong, Clean UX

Nothing is more disheartening for new visitors to a site than a poor user experience that's either muddled, messy, or unprofessional looking.

If your page design is poorly optimized, or your content delivery network isn’t set up properly, it could result in slow load times. There will always be a percentage of visitors that have no patience for slow sites. If yours is loading too slowly, they'll simply go check out a competitor's site instead.

This is especially true for your mobile bounce rate (how often you're getting single page sessions from mobile users), because mobile users want to be able to do things quickly and easily - after all, they're often on the go. They won't have a lot of patience for slow-loading pages.

Also, make sure your navigation menu is clear and intuitive. Check to ensure your calls to action are easily visible and engaging. Even not being able to quickly find the 'BUY NOW' button can create a bad user experience for someone in a hurry.

Sometimes, it can be useful to have some people on your team pretend to go through your sales funnel as a customer, to see how easy it is for them to navigate your path-to-purchase.

And remember those exit rates we mentioned earlier? Keep an eye on those. It could help you identify specific landing pages that need to have their UX reexamined.

3.) Only Use High-Quality Content

We've talked about this topic many times before, but it's no less important to this discussion than any other.

High-quality content is engaging and informative. Low-quality content is unclear, inaccurate, unhelpful, or even annoying to visitors.

Your content strategy needs to be well thought out, so that every piece of copy that you put on your site helps reinforce a positive user experience.

Think about the type of search intent many of your visitors have. Use those insights to then build content that either helps answer questions, add credibility to your brand, or show customers actively how your brand is going to help them solve problems.

In some cases, it's a good idea to hire a content writer to assist with building these custom content website resources. They can provide regular fresh content upgrades for the site, and many experienced writers can also provide content recommendations; based on the pieces of content you're looking to produce, your industry, and your target demographics.

4.) Don't Overlook Your Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions

You may not realize it, but meta titles and meta descriptions are one of the most powerful tools that you have at your disposal for helping your site stand out in search queries.

In fact, if you're looking to increase your click-through rates on search engines, you should really take the time to fine tune these useful micro-copy elements.

These are the first things that a potential visitor sees when your website appears in their Search Engine Results Pages or ‘SERPs’. Titles are important because they call out to the main topic, but meta descriptions are where you really get to shine.

These are long-form, mini-summaries of what the users can expect to find when they click through onto the page. They can help build engagement, before the visitor has even gotten to your landing page.

However, that means that it must be relevant content to what they're going to find on the page. Not only will that hurt your rankings in Google Analytics if it's inaccurate or irrelevant, but it's almost guaranteed to pad your bounce rate percentages.

Once you've gotten your meta descriptions to a high enough quality, you can even go above and beyond; incorporating valuable keywords into the descriptions, for bonus SEO benefits.

5.) Use SEO, But Don't Overdo Your Keywords

Speaking of SEO, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) impacts bounce rates more than you might think.

What do we mean by overdoing your SEO? The most common example of this is keyword stuffing. What's keyword stuffing? Using excessive amounts of keywords in a short period of space, to the point where it's obvious that the keyword placement is more important to the business than the actual information being conveyed.

High-value keywords are a great way to draw more organic traffic, but that doesn't necessarily translate to more conversions.

Without relevant keywords, you might be driving high volumes of traffic, but it may not be high-value traffic. Meaning that you might just be driving your bounce rates up by driving traffic to the site that isn't actually the demographics you're trying to serve or would be interested in what you’re offering.

In turn, they'll simply click away, when they realize your site isn't what they expected.

Google Analytics is also improving their algorithms all the time, and it's becoming easier for them to reduce the appearances of sites that aren't offering relevant or compelling content quality for users.

We're not saying you shouldn't use keywords. We're just saying that your content strategy needs to focus on drawing high-value traffic, if your goal is to increase conversions.

6.) Consider Long-Form & Video Content

Sometimes, giving internet users a bit more to look at can be enough to hold their attention a bit longer and encourage them to explore more of your site. That's where videos and long-from educational content can be useful.

Obviously, video content is often more expensive to produce than the average written copy. However, if you build these expenses in when you're designing your content marketing strategy, it's much easier to absorb those costs; rather than scrambling to find the resources down the line.

This is another place where you really have to be careful to stick to your user intent. The long-form or video content you produce needs to be extremely relevant - either to your industry, your brand, or (preferably) both.

These types of content can be an effective tool for increasing engagement with your average users, which in turn, will increase their time on site. However, if you're going to go with lengthy articles, you need to be absolutely sure the copy is interesting, and written in an easy-to-read format.

Keep the user in mind when you're creating these resources. Not everything that would appeal to you as a business owner is going to appeal to users. If you don't want them to click away once they're done with that piece of content, be sure to include relevant internal links into the end of the pieces, so they'll be encouraged to explore more of the site and stay in your sales funnel.

This is where strong calls-to-action can make all the difference between visitor and customer.

7.) Keep Your Path-to-Purchase Simple

Button fatigue is a serious problem for businesses that create extensive, layered websites that require 5-6 button clicks to reach the product/checkout.

Ideally content marketers will tell you that you should try to keep the amount of button clicks between entering your site and reaching the checkout between 2-3, if possible. It keeps users happier and encourages more conversions.

Of course, this also means ensuring that you never have any broken links on your website as well. All of your internal and external links need to be functional at all times, including image links.

As soon as consumers find a broken link, a percentage of people will give up on their intent to purchase from you. Instead, they'll move onto a competitor.

This is why every page should have clear action buttons, your credit card or online payment page needs to be easy to navigate, and it should function just as easily for both desktop and mobile users.

A clear, responsive design that drives traffic through the sales funnel effectively is the best way to reach your ideal customers, and through that, more easily achieve your business goals.

Good Conversion Rates Start with Strong Websites

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