How To Reduce Bounce Rate: 10 Proven Ways
Keeping an eye on your conversion rate is not the only way to bring about more bang for your buck. When optimizing, you should also focus on some other, just as important metrics. For example the bounce rate: one of the most crucial indicators of whether your website is performing well or it sucks – especially when it comes to the first impression it makes on your visitors.
The bounce rate shows you the percentage of visitors that come to your page, but leave without taking any action (literally: they didn’t send any hits to the analytics tool). There are a few ways the bounce rate can be tricky or imprecise to interpret – so why not take a few moments to check out this post about this important metric and find out how to you can modify it to your advantage.
In some ways a high bounce rate might not be a disaster, but normally, if your bounce rate is more than average for your particular industry, you should get down to doing something about it without delay.
Why? Because with every user that bounces, you lose money. It’s simple: you have to pay out to attract users (through SEO, PPC, social etc) but if they are not at all interested in your content, you will be effectively getting lower ROI on your marketing. You will be literally losing chances to get conversions.
So, reducing your bounce rates is a MUST when it comes to getting more revenue from your website.
In this article I will provide you with 10 proven, data-driven ways to reduce your bounce rates and make your website extremely effective. It’s all based on the data and the best practices we have been using during the more than 5 years we have been helping grow our clients’ businesses.
Firstly, I will show you which Analytics reports you should use to detect any issues (and remove them), then I will provide you with some quick tips on how to improve usability and site design to reduce your bounce rates. And last but not least, I‘ll provide you with some guidelines on how you can ‘pimp’ your offer and keep your ad and landing page relevant.
Dive deep into Google Analytics
1. Improve your site speed
Site speed is a killer when it comes to conversion. According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that doesn’t load within 3 seconds. So if your users have to wait more than 3 seconds to see your page after they have landed on it – expect a bounce.
Behavior -> Site Speed -> Page Timings -> Avg. Page Load Time compared to site average.
Identify the slowest pages on your website. If they are very important, like your homepage – you have to take immediate action to improve site speed (for example through all unoptimized images, which can affect page loading).
Behavior -> Site Speed -> Overview -> Browser
Another great thing about the page speed overview is the ability to break down average page load times by user types. Possible choices are Browser, Country, and Page. For example: knowing that more than 60% of your traffic uses Opera, you can’t allow poor site loading speeds on that browser.
Behavior -> Site Speed -> Suggestions
If you click Page Suggestions, PageSpeed Insights will open in a new tab. Google Analytics gives you suggestions on how to increase the speed of every page. Make use of them: the hints are clear and actionable.
2. Website health check
You can’t ignore web design problems. There may be plenty of technical obstacles that can cause high bounce rates. For example, your website could be wrongly displayed at particular screen resolutions or badly adjusted for specific browsers.
Audience -> Technology -> Screen Resolution -> Bounce Rate compared to site average
This report shows us that screen resolution 360×640 has a much higher bounce rate than other resolutions. This should set alarm bells ringing! It’s time to tweak your page so it looks better on a bigger screen.
Now let’s look at Devices.
According to research, higher bounce rates can be seen on mobile and tablet devices. Generally, you can expect mobile bounce rates to ring in at about 10 to 20 percent higher than desktop bounce rates. However, this doesn’t mean you have to automatically accept higher bounce rates on these devices.
You should be extremely careful when it comes to mobile and tablet traffic. If your website doesn’t fit well on smartphone screens or it crashes all the time, don’t be surprised that your bounce rates are high. Check the Mobile Segment in your Google Analytics account: Audience -> Technology -> Mobile.
Audience -> Mobile -> Overview -> Bounce Rate compared to site average
This report shows us that mobile devices have much higher bounce rates than the site average.
To reduce your bounce rates on mobile and tablet devices, you have to give your users a better experience. Firstly, check what your site looks like on smartphone screens (you can use simple emulator tools such as http://mobiletest.me/). Improve usability and navigation, optimize headlines and keep your mobile website clear and simple.
If you have been putting mobiles aside up to now – it’s time for a change. The good news is that even small changes can reward you with lower bounce rates.
3. Focus on keywords
Do you spend a lot on PPC campaigns? I bet you do. You’ll need to make sure you’re not pouring your money down the drain, by using the wrong keywords. In Google Analytics you can easily evaluate your keywords – if you notice that some of them have more than a 50% bounce rate, you should consider removing them (or even exclude them – you can find instructions on how to do that in Google Adwords).
Let’s assume you offer hand-made jewellery. You may use the keywords ‘cheap jewellery’ to get tons of traffic. But if your jewellery is not cheap – you will lose the money you invested in those particular keywords and get nothing. The people who are coming to your website are expecting cheap stuff from China and they will simply bounce when they see your prices.
Acquisition -> Campaigns -> Paid keywords -> Bounce Rate compared to site average
With Google Analytics you can monitor your keywords. You will have to review whether they are bringing you high quality traffic. There is no reason to continue bringing people to your website, who are not looking for the content you are providing and who have no interest at all in your offer at all. You’ll get both higher bounce rates, as well as a lower ROI at the same time.
Does London Met University really offer Asian cookery courses? No, they don’t. They are not only wasting money on the wrong keywords, they are also getting high bounce rates.
4. Don’t lose the chance to scroll
People don’t scroll is definitely a myth (you can check out my previous article), but if your website design is wrong, people won’t scroll – and they will bounce because they might assume there is nothing more on your website.
Thanks to In-Page Analytics, you can get a picture of how people use your website (what they click, how deep they scroll or which part of the website they see most). Our pro tip is to look at the percentiles in the Browser Size report.
Behaviour -> In-Page Analytics -> Browser size
The orange lines show you the bottom of the screen for most users. Do not leave empty space there; a lot of users might think there is nothing below and they could bounce from the website straightaway.
Look at the design
5. Headlines, headlines
It’s simple: you have to inform your users where they are and what you have to offer them. Remember: this particular page your user is on is their first contact with your site (or your company). Any user who lands there will need clear directions so as not to get lost. It’s not rocket science. So why do so many landing pages miss good, communicative, clear headlines?
There are plenty of case studies on the Internet which show that adding a simple, informative headline can reduce bounce rates and have a great impact on conversion rates as well.
Look at the landing page above. Do you know what the offer is (assuming you don’t know Asana? The information is not clear to users. “Move work forward” is quite a nice claim, but I still don’t know (1) what the product is (2) why I should stay on the website.
Using good headlines applies to every page. If you get traffic from PPC and you direct the traffic to a category page – always add a suitable headline. Don’t force your users to guess where they are. And be aware that every second the uncertainty continues could cost you a bounce.
You don’t have to be over-creative. Just add a headline which informs users where they have landed. Here’s a good example: a nice big, clear headline above the category page. Good job!
6. Compelling Call To Action
There are a few great ways to encourage users to interact with a website.
Make sure that the most important elements of the page (Call To Actions) are contrasting. The aim is to draw people’s attention, so make sure there is a significant contrast between the background and other elements.
Prepare good Call to Action copy. Tell people what the reward for their click will be (ie what they will get) and encourage them to take action – for example using verbs such as ‘get’, ‘start’ or ‘buy’.
You can achieve good contrast by using different colors, leaving more whitespace or putting a form within a border with a contrasting background color.
Put as much effort as you can into attracting people with your call to action. Add directional clues such as arrows or a picture of a person looking at your call to action.
7. No distractions
A lot of pages are extremely cluttered with too many elements competing for user’s attention. With too many shiny buttons, headlines, popups and banners users have problems finding the content that they are looking for.
Users don’t read online. They scan. And if they have got problems in finding the content they are looking for by scanning your website, they simply hit the back button and go away.
8. Keep consistent communication between ads and landing pages
If I had to choose one factor that affects bounce rates the most, it would be communication between an ad and a landing page. Relevance is absolutely important when it comes to bounce rate improvement. Your users have made a decision to go to your website based on your ad. On the way in, they will have some expectations and wishes based on the ad. If you don’t meet them – there’s zero chance they will make any interaction with your website.
That’s why you should always keep any promises you make in your ads. If you offer a 50% discount or a 100+ choice – always inform users about the offer on your landing page. If it’s a display ad – try to make it similar to your website design.
I clicked on this ad, expecting very cheap men’s t-shirts, with free delivery and a six month guarantee…
Here’s an example of a relevant landing page. I can see a clear headline (I know I’m in men’s shirts territory) and I can see info about the price and the free delivery from the ad. There should also be something about the guarantee, but still – good job!
9. Add your Unique Selling Proposition on every landing page
You only have a few seconds to draw your users’ attention and get their approval when they land on your website. So you will need to do your best to communicate clearly why they should purchase / leave their e-mail / fill out the form etc on your site and not on your competitors’ website. And remember to use the same USP you communicated in your ad.
TOM’s shoes have one of the best killer USPs on the Web. The unique and compelling part of their story is that they give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you purchase. And they communicate this fact almost everywhere on their website (also using big exit pop-ups and emotional copy). Well done!
Our pro tip is to beef up your USP with numbers. A USP with numbers is more credible and will help speed up your visitors‘ decision-making process . “Get your paperwork done in 50% less time” is always better than “Get your paperwork done faster”.
10. Engage your users
This is a very broad subject; there are plenty of great techniques to make users interact strongly with your website. It’s also a great way to reduce your bounce rates (and improve your conversion rates at the same time).
Firstly, you can use triggers and incentives to make your users buy (or fill out the form, go to the reservation page etc).
Some e-commerce websites have perfected this art. Look at Booking.com. They use a bunch of triggers, such as limited offers or time pressures.
Secondly, you can improve internal linking, to make people explore your website. Inner linking will make your readers more involved in your content. There is a chance that they might go to other posts on your blog and read them as well. Or they will look at more examples of your products. This will increase your users’ time on your website and it will help you to decrease your bounce rates.
Thirdly, you can use interactive content to attract users. Most users are really passive on the Internet: they scroll around your page and they leave. Try to fight your bounce rates by producing engagement content. Try adding embed share buttons, videos, quizzes, infographics or calculators.
Filled with knowledge of bounce rate? If so, it’s time to move on and learn even more about crucial metrics. Read this article and discover the difference between bounce rate and exit rate.
If you want to be sure that your bounce rates are correct, or you need an audit of your current analytics tools (Google Analytics, AT Internet, Adobe Analytics or Webtrends), or perhaps you would like to set up a comprehensive data quality assurance process or turn your company into a data-driven machine, contact Mavenec today to learn more about our approach to digital analytics.
Psst. If you want to lift your conversion rates (and who doesn’t!) you might be interested in our Free Ultimate Conversion Rate Optimization Toolkit in which we reveal our conversion rate optimization secrets in a set of actionable guidebooks. Check it out!
Author: Mariusz Michalczuk
I am a co-founder of Mavenec. For over 5 years I have been focused on creating business value by leveraging data from digital channels. With strong statistical background and certifications from top analytics vendors I change business leaders’ approach to digital marketing from gut- to data-driven.
Follow me on Twitter: @mariuszmich