If you’re in the digital marketing space, you know monitoring your metrics is extremely important (even if it’s not always fun). You rely on data to quantify your work and measure your success. One way of evaluating your website’s performance is by keeping track of your bounce rate.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after browsing only one page. They may have clicked the back button, typed in a new URL, clicked away to a different site, or closed their browser window. Calculating bounce rate is easy: simply divide single-page sessions by all recorded sessions.
Having a high bounce rate isn’t ideal, as this means visitors aren’t sticking around and exploring the rest of your site. However, sometimes high bounce rates have logical explanations. For instance, if you have a one-page website, anyone leaving will automatically count as a bounce. Maybe you’ve set up a CTA, like a form fill, so it’s completed on one page, eliminating the need to click around.
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But if your website doesn’t align with those examples and your bounce rate is still high, something’s probably off. Luckily, there are several simple ways to bring your bounce rate back down.
1. Reduce Loading Time
Have you ever clicked on a website, only to have it lag or load at a snail’s pace? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Visitors might be experiencing the same thing on your site. If a page takes too long to load, people are more likely to click away.
Check your web pages for media overload. Lots of pictures, video, and other media content on a single page can slow down your site. When uploading images, avoid using multiple high resolution files, as they take much longer to load than web-optimized ones.
2. Optimize Your Pages
As you analyze your website, you might notice that some pages perform better than others. Take a look at the pages with high bounce rates. Do they provide valuable information or have engaging content? If there’s nothing interesting or useful on a page, it might explain why visitors leave.
On the flip side, pages with low bounce rates can give you clues on how to improve. Determine if these pages have anything in common. Do they have interactive elements? Are they fully optimized for search? Would you consider the content high quality? Finding points of success and replicating them sitewide may help your overall bounce rate.
3. Reimagine Your Layout
Confusing, cluttered, and complex websites turn a lot of people away. Visitors coming to your site are probably looking for something specific, and if they can’t find it quickly, then they’re going to leave.
Your goal here should be developing a user-friendly layout. Use appropriate font sizes and colors to make text legible. Adding a navigation bar with logical headers and categories makes browsing easier.
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A lot of effective websites make good use of white space, or areas without text, images, and other elements. White space gives viewers’ eyes a break and visually draw attention to blocks of content. Basically, if you want someone to look at a certain bit of information, frame it with white space so it stands out against the page.
You should also make sure your website’s design is responsive, meaning that the layout adapts to different devices and platforms. Someone browsing on their iPhone probably won’t want to look at the desktop version of your site on a phone screen.
4. Add Internal Links
If you have a wealth of content at your disposal, then it’s likely that some topics will overlap.
You can leverage related material by linking your site’s pages within your content. Bloggers do this regularly, hyperlinking text in their posts to relevant pages (like I'm doing now). Creating a trail of links is a good way to boost pages that visitors might not find on their own while also potentially increasing the time they spend on your site.
Bringing your bounce rate down probably won’t happen overnight, but with tweaks and testing, you can see that percentage fall. Try reducing loading time, optimizing your page content, revamping your layouts, and linking your pages together to encourage browsing and keeping visitors’ attention on you.