Every website has people who come, look for a second or two, and then leave. That’s called a bounce. Bounces are unavoidable. Even so, there are some ways to improve your site that will increase customer engagement and reduce your bounce rate. First though, we have to take a look at what constitutes a bounce and why it matters to the success of your business.
What Exactly is a Bounce Rate?
The bounce rate for your website is the percentage of sessions in which viewers never leave the first page on which they landed. In other words, the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page.
You’ll find your bounce rate using analytics software like Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Clicky. All of these tool connect to your ecommerce website. One great combo is RJ Metrics and its integration with Magento. It makes tracking bounce rate easy, so if you’re using Magento for your website and you’re already integrating inventory software or other tools, the RJ Metrics integration would be a great addition to your suite.
What Constitutes a Bounce?
To put it simply, a bounce occurs when a user exits your website from the same page they entered. Website visitors bounce from your site if they:
- leave the site by clicking an external link on your web page
- press their browser back button
- type in another URL into the web browser
- close the browser window or tab
- don’t interact with your web page for a long time – this is called a session time-out
- landed on your site accidentally and leave quickly
- don’t understand your navigation, or it is complicated, and they leave
- find your site is slow loading and they leave
- find no call-to-action, so they depart without taking an action
Why Does Bounce Rate Matter?
Your bounce rate tells you how successful you are at meeting your website visitors’ needs. Here’s a brick-and-mortar example:
You own a retail store. A couple walks into your store, they glance at your products from just inside the doorway, and then promptly walk out. They have “bounced” from your store.
Your website is the same. Your bounce rate tells you how welcoming and easy-to-navigate it is, and how useful and appealing your products are.
When visitors bounce from your site, it’s a safe assumption that they were either put-off or they didn’t find your products relevant. Every bounce is a lost sale and results in lower profits.
How Do You Reduce Your Website Bounce Rate?
What is the solution to high bounce rates? There is no one specific thing to do (or not do) that will completely resolve your bounce rate issues. But there are some strategies you can try that will help lower it significantly.
Optimize Your Content
Americans have a shorter attention span now than ever before. It’s essential to make your long-form content easily digestible. Here are four ways to pull it off.
- Break long blocks of text into smaller sections.
- Use design components like bullet points, subheadings, pictures, and sidebars.
- Avoid using technical language.
- Don’t be vague.
Make sure that you are writing with the purpose of converting. You want to drive your customer toward checkout with every word.
Very busy or cluttered website pages often confuse visitors and increase bounce rate. Customers don’t like to be bombarded with irrelevant information, especially on the first page they see. You will want to keep your homepage simple and attractive, and without unnecessary visual distractions. Place your copy in a way that will not be intrusive to your reader.
One distraction that customers just hate is pop-ups. Studies estimate that between 70 percent and 90 percent of users find pop-ups annoying, and that many will leave a site due only to that. However, marketing experts agree that pop-ups do work. So, if you are going to use pop-ups, make sure that they are relevant, infrequent, and not obnoxious.
Craft Compelling Call-To-Actions
A call-to-action is an instruction you immediately want your audience to follow. When customers land on your product pages directly, it’s important that you have an easily identifiable and compelling call-to-action (CTA) button. If your website visitors cannot readily find your CTA, they will feel frustrated and likely leave your page.
Your CTA should be prominent and should invite the customer to click. Even things as small as changing the color or the text on a CTA button can make a significant difference in bounce rate.
Speed Up Load Time
Most customers expect websites to load within 4 seconds. Any longer than that and they become impatient and are apt to abandon the site. With proper website maintenance, you should be able to cut download time and reduce bounce due to impatience.
Add Links to More Pages
Reducing bounce rate is about customer engagement and interaction. Consider placing more links to other pages that people will be interested in throughout your content. You can also use a simple “if you like this, you’ll love this” at the end of your content.
A/B Test Everything
Whether it is color, font size, button placement, or text, test everything! You will be surprised at the difference some seemingly unimportant details can make in getting customers to stick around your site. Changes that seem innocuous to you may have a dramatic effect on your bounce rate.
Making some subtle changes to your website can help reduce your bounce rate. Interesting content, visually appealing design, and easy navigation will increase your customers’ interaction with your site, and have them sticking around.