You love your website, your blogs, and your landing pages. Sure, then why doesn’t everybody else? It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that something you have put so much work into, is not loved or sometimes even liked by internet users. And that is what is giving your blogs, website pages, and landing pages high bounce rates.
What is Bounce Rate?
Simply put, bounce rate is the percentage of visitors coming to your site or landing on a particular page and leaving in a hurry; meaning they are ‘bouncing’. But you are not alone in this. Marketers all over the world face this problem when they notice that the website is not exactly doing what it’s supposed to do. However, it’s not always a bad thing.
A high bounce rate also means that those who are landing on your page are easily able to comprehend what they need to know without having to browse further. But when high bounce rates comply with low conversions, then you need to worry.
Most websites fall between 20% to 70% when it comes to bounce rates. However, it is noticed and even admitted by Google that usually blogs face higher bounce rates. So, when do you need to worry? We’ll tell you all about it but before that - What are the factors that could cause high bounce rates? Let’s understand this further.
Unoriginal, Uninteresting, and Incomprehensible Content
We all know how this story goes. You write unique content, map the right keywords, backlink properly, and Google is happy. Or you copy the content, stuff keywords, and Google calls your bluff. Visitors usually land on a website when they need to learn more about a particular thing or when they have organically searched for it because they are sure it will be fulfilling their purpose. So, if your site is stuffed with content that’s boring, messy, scattered, and unrelated, the visitors will bounce and find a competing site that gives them something much better to read.
Possible Technical Errors and Bad User Experience
Have you ever walked into a restaurant and instantly walked out because you didn’t like the ambience or the chairs were in your way or the music didn’t appeal to you or simply it didn’t give you the “vibe” to sit and enjoy food? This is the user experience. A lot of times it is possible that your site hits a roadblock in terms of technical errors. You may not have been aware but these errors are possible to exist on your site, other than of course not-so-friendly user experience. In the digital world, user experience is everything. Right from the navigation menu, page speed to the aesthetics of the page/site and just the right amount of content, everything accounts to great user experience. If any of these things are lacking, including having relevant images, your site could experience a very high bounce rate.
Poor Page Load Speed
How would you like it if you asked someone a question and they took forever to answer? You might just drop the conservation, right? The same thing happens with your website as well if it doesn’t load fast. Flickering attention span and always having the “next best option” give your visitors all the more reason for not staying at your page longer than they wish to. According to Crazy Egg, even one second delay in page loading can lead to 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions! That’s crazy, right? But true!
How To Reduce High Bounce Rate
1. Smart, Relevant, Readable, and Accessible Content
Ever landed on a blog post and wanted to leave immediately? When you are presented with a text-heavy document, you can almost certainly cringe - even if the content is highly valuable and unique. All that text could also prove to be really aesthetically unpleasing. Thankfully, there are ways to present your content in a better, smarter, and in more intelligent ways that what you are doing now. Let’s understand some of the tips:
- Make good use of the white space on the page
- Don’t flood the page with only text and super long sentences
- Pay attention to formatting
- Use H1, H2 headings properly and insert frequent sub-headings
- Use appropriate images or graphs/values to break the monotony of text
- Use more bullet points - exactly like this!
- Make sure you have fixed all the SEO errors
2. Look at the “Time on Site”
A lot of times marketers get the bounce rates mixed up the time the visitors are spending on the site. Cross-referencing of both could help understand this from a broader perspective. If you take into account the time spent on individual pages and the website as a whole, you’ll know where the loopholes are.
For example, if the time spent on the site is decent and the bounce rate is high only on your blog pages, then your content clearly needs to be better than what it is now. But if the visitors are spending a good amount of time on your blogs but not on the site as a whole, then you know they are not getting what they want from your site and you need to make the message either more compelling or clearer. Here’s detailed information on how Google estimates “time on page” and “session duration” for better understanding.
3. Analyse the Data and A/B Test
One of the best ways to see if anything will work with amendments is A/B testing. After you have analysed the data and identified the worst performing pages, i.e. giving the highest bounce rates, it’s time to A/B test. Pick up elements from the page that you feel might have been the culprit and try to change/modify/realign them.
Sometimes all you need is a little twist in the way your page looks or slight reshuffling of the content to make it more attractive. Check your CTAs and determine whether they are making any sense where they are or not. Pick up your headlines and sub-headings and determine if they are making any sense to you as a visitor. Cross check your data/stats if you have used on the site - if they are fresh or even hold true as of today. And finally, look at the images and other graphical elements and modify them according to your new understanding of what your users are NOT liking when they land on your site.
4. Implement the Results of A/B Testing
After you have successfully identified the areas that need improvement or any modification, implement the findings so you can easily compare the results.
Either use tools such as “Heatmaps” or take help of Google Analytics, but monitor the performance of all the pages, especially the ones that were high on the list of bounce rates and compare. If your comparison results are satisfactory, you don’t need to worry about future bounce rates and if not, then conduct another A/B testing. Make more modifications or changes, implement them, and then compare again. Repeat the cycle till you have the bounce rates to a considerable low.
5. Take Care of "404"
If users have to spend time shrinking their eyebrows every time they try to land on your page and are faced with 404, then there’s something wrong with your site search altogether. Whether your site lands on the first page of Google search results or the last, your site search functionality is not something that can be overlooked at any stage.
If a particular page is genuinely under construction, then make sure you have the right message - and maybe slightly humorous. If nothing is under construction and your site is displaying results such as “404” or “page not found”, then make this a priority on the list of things to optimise and do not, under any circumstance, consider this an “afterthought”. That’s the only way you can be sure that you are going to stick around for longer because people can’t search for what doesn’t exist for them, right?
6. Are You Mobile Optimised?
As important as this must be and as many times as this must have been reiterated, mobile optimisation is not something that can be ignored, no matter the size of your business. Not able to successfully optimise your site for mobile users would literally be asking them to go elsewhere. And that’s not what you want, do you?
With mobile users increasing every year, it is imperative to not underestimate the power of being mobile-friendly. Yes, it will take more efforts, time, resources, and money but in the long run, this will be the holy grail of your business and a magnet to attract the right audience (in fact it already is). While you mobile optimise your site, also work towards the load speed. If your site is the prettiest looking but taking forever to load, it’s of practically no use.
It’s almost impossible to keep your bounce rate an all-time low due to fluctuating interests and attention spans of the visitors. However, if over a span of time your site’s bounce rate has been noticeably high, then you have a checklist to follow. In the end, it all comes down to delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time and high bounce rates are a sign that it’s not getting accomplished quite right. If you are experiencing this, go through the above-mentioned steps and get your bounce rates right back on track.