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We’ve mentioned in a few other blog posts that websites need to lower their bounce rates, both to help with SEO success and to raise conversion rates. In this blog post, we’ll expand upon that, discussing reasons why bounce rates could be high and exploring strategies to help lower them.

First of all, what does “bounce rate” mean? Your bounce rate refers to the number of visitors to your website that leave after only viewing one page. It relates to your exit rate, which calculates the number of visitors that leave your website from each individual webpage, but there is one key difference: your “exit rate” takes into account traffic that flowed to multiple pages and where it left from, while your bounce rate only tabulates visitors who came, viewed one page, and then left.

What gives a website a high bounce rate?

It’s difficult to determine exactly why your traffic is not engaged on your website, particularly because every website is different. You may need to try multiple solutions before you figure out exactly what the problem was. However, here are a few of the most common reasons why your bounce rate might be high:

  • Your website did not deliver on its promises. Traffic came to your website looking for specific information, but did not find it.
  • Your website did deliver on its promises. Traffic came to your site looking for specific information, quickly found the answer, and then left. Your website did not entice traffic to look at other pages.
  • Your website takes too long to load. Traffic got impatient waiting and decided to try another source.
  • Your website is difficult to navigate. Traffic came, got confused, and then gave up.
  • Your website is poorly designed. Something about it did not appeal to your traffic.
  • Your website was not optimized for mobile. A mobile version of your website may be available, but traffic found it difficult to use from their phones or tablets.

Lowering your bounce rate

Again, it may take multiple strategies to ultimately make a difference in your bounce rate. There is no one magic solution. Gradually introduce new ideas until you see your bounce rate decreasing. Even if your bounce rate does go down, you might decide to keep working on some of these methods to lower it.

1. Keep your message consistent

We’ll start by tackling #1, not delivering on promises. Your advertisements, headlines, or SERPs may be making promises your website cannot keep. Look back at those items and smooth out your messages. Make sure your content matches what’s in your headlines or advertisements. Without a consistent message, your traffic will feel cheated and leave.

2. Clean up your navigation

Web surfers never want to work too hard to get information. If they have a hard time finding what they are looking for, they’ll look somewhere else.

3. Tweak your web design

Make sure you aren’t committing any major homepage sins, like autoplay. Examine your color schemes and adjust them so they are more appealing to users. Make sure text is easy to read. Use CTAs to motivate traffic to flow to another page.

4. Speed up your website

If your website takes longer than 10 seconds to load, your bounce rate will go way, way up. Sometimes third party content, widgets, WordPress plugins, etc. can slow down your website. Find out what’s slowing your website down and eliminate it.

5. Double-check your website’s mobile side

Having a responsive design or a separate mobile website is helpful, but your website needs to be mobile-optimized, not just mobile-friendly. If your content is not readable from a device, traffic will leave. Break up text with bullet points and numbers. Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Make your language clear and simple.

A few simple changes to your website can make a huge difference in your bounce rate! And with a lower bounce rate comes better SEO success and a higher conversion rate. For more ideas on how to raise your conversion rate, learn how landing pages can make a big difference here.

Sources:

Eubanks, Nick. “Reduce Bounce Rate: 20 Things to Consider.” http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2237250/Reduce-Bounce-Rate-20-Things-to-Consider. (11 March 2014).

Hartwig, Elisha. “How to Lower Your Site’s Bounce Rate.” http://mashable.com/2013/11/22/bounce-rate-metrics/. (11 March 2014).