Having a website for your business is essential. It’s your shop front on the internet and the base to direct visitors to from social media and any advertising you might do. And one of the most important things you can do to ensure your site is converting well and engaging your target audience is to check your analytics regularly and look at your bounce rate.
Before you run off screaming about yet another piece of jargon and another thing for the never-ending ‘to do’ list, your bounce rate is simply the percentage of people who land on a single page on your website and then leave without visiting any other pages on your site or interacting with it (e.g. submitting a contact form).
Why should you care? Because your bounce rate tells you if people are finding what they need on your site and engaging with your content, or clicking away, never to return because you’re not wowing them.
If you want to convert people into buyers or subscribers, that matters a lot!
Does a Good Bounce Rate Matter to Every Business?
Not necessarily. It all depends on your goals for your website. If all you want to do is get people to click through from your site to your Etsy store and make a purchase, for example, and your landing page is making that happen for you, yes, your bounce rate will be high, but you’ll be getting exactly what you need from your website.
On the other hand, if your best way to convert people to buy your high-end service is to get them reading your blog and your case studies so they can see how much of an expert you are, you need them to browse from post to post and stick around for longer. Here, a high bounce rate would be a bad thing.
So your first step is to ensure you know what you want your website to do for you and how.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Ideally, you should have a bounce rate of below 40%, but up to around 55% is not bad. Above this, you need to start looking to improve if your aim is to keep visitors on your website.
Exploring Your Analytics to Improve Your Bounce Rate
Your website should come with basic analytics (ask your web designer if you’re not sure where to look), or you could install Google Analytics, which gives you far more information.
Google will show you an overall bounce rate for the site, but there are better places to look which will help you find out what keeps people on your site, what your best traffic sources are and where you need to improve.
Start by looking at your individual pages (go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages on Google Analytics). Each page will have its own bounce rate; you’ll be able to see which pages are the most popular, which pages are encouraging people to explore the site and which aren’t.
From there it’s a case of going through your content and doing more of what works. Start by improving the pages with the highest number of page views, but the highest bounce rate first, and you’ll have the biggest impact on your overall bounce rate and your conversions.
Next look at your traffic sources (Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals on Google Analytics). Here you’ll be able to check which sites are driving the most traffic to your site, and their bounce rates. And, with that information, you can choose to focus more on the sources that bring you the highest traffic and send you visitors that engage more with your site.
You can also do the same for keywords (under Search>Organic on Google Analytics) and pinpoint the ones that are really working for you.
Checklist to Reduce Your Bounce Rate:
• Do more internal linking to encourage people to browse your site (it’s also great for your SEO!). Link to related blog posts, and add a closing paragraph at the bottom of each post to link to something else that your visitors would like. Chances are, if they’re reading a post on content marketing, for example, they’re likely to be equally interested in your post on finding content ideas, or your case study on how your content marketing strategy helped a client.
• Check your website with an outside eye. Is it too cluttered and confusing, do you have too many ads above the fold, is there not enough white space, have you used every colour of the rainbow and then some, or decided you must use at least 10 different fonts? Your website needs to be clean, clear, easy to read and navigate, and designed to lead people through your sales funnel without any distractions. If it’s not, that might be your problem.
• Check your content. Is it highly targeted to your ideal clients, packed with enjoyable and useful information and highly engaging? If not, it’s time for a revamp!
• Add a sidebar that shows on every page of your website, put your most important content and top posts on there to encourage people to browse.
• Make sure your site loads quickly. According to Kissmetrics, 40% of visitors will leave if your site takes longer than three seconds to load. As it’s also a factor that Google uses for ranking, you need to have this sorted.
• Try well-done popups to get people to stay on your site. Having a great popup that points your visitor to more brilliant content just as they’re about to leave could work to keep them around.
Reducing your bounce rate really could make a difference to your conversions and to your bottom line, so it’s well worth paying attention to. And if you make sure that you have other ways for people to keep in touch highly visible on your sites, such as newsletter sign up and social media icons, chances are you’ll encourage them to come back too.