Bounce rate is calculated when a person visits and leaves your site without interacting with it, e.g., clicking links or filling in forms and is a vital indicator of how well your website performs. Understanding what your bounce rate entails is an integral part of your marketing strategy if you own a website. It can help you know what you are doing well and areas you need to target for improvement.
To fully understand your statistics and how they can help you progress with your business, you need to know what signifies a high or a low bounce rate. Simply put, the lower your bounce rate, the better. This means more visitors engage with content on your site and are more likely to invest in your services. For example, it was indicated that an average bounce rate is between 41 – 55%, and anything above this would be considered a high bounce rate. Similarly, anything lower than this would be a low bounce rate (Lahey, 2020).
Of course, bounce rates are not a one-size-fits-all approach. Rates can differ depending on the industry and between each page on your site. So rather than looking at your bounce rate as a figure alone, we recommend using your trends over time to pinpoint weaknesses in your site.
How To Reduce Your Bounce Rate
- Optimise your homepage – Most of the time, this is the first opportunity for you to present a window to your business, so your homepage needs represent your ethos. A good designer will always recommend aiming for a level of intrigue on your homepage, as this invites users to explore the inner pages of your site. Video is proven to be one of the most effective ways to lower bounce rate. Co-ordinated with an eye-catching message overlayed across the video, this reduces the amount of time a user needs to invest in extracting information from the site. Remember the golden rule when incorporating video: ensure that the file is compressed so as not to harm site speed drastically.
- Clear and concise layout with an up-to-date design – An efficient website designer will advocate for a methodical format with systematic content. A website that feeds users the information they require to make decisions instantly becomes more appealing. Up-to-date design reinforces branding and certifies your written word as professional and believable. One study shows that 75% of people base a business’ credibility on the appearance of their website and 94% of people say that web design is a reason they mistrust a site (Hufford, 2021). Layout and design should always seek to do two things: confirm who you are and what you do, which will enforce users that they are on a trustworthy site.
- Engaging and innovative website copy – The majority of people visiting a website will not read all of the content word for word. They will skim-read, looking for key pieces of information. You need to ensure that your content is jargon-free and information can be easily extracted. Any decent copywriter will advise that the tone of writing should be kept light and breezy on pages where dense information is unavoidable as it influences the user’s journey. One report found that 73% of people would rather skim-read a post, with an average of 37 seconds being spent on an article (Lewis, 2021). Lengthy paragraphs will dissuade a user from reading on; instead, try breaking it down into smaller chunks and eradicating words that don’t add any value, e.g., intensifiers such as ‘very’ and hedges like ‘maybe’. The use of white space can help make your content more readable by splitting up the text. Treatment pages, by their nature, usually contain complex information that can be difficult to digest. Copywriters advise on stacking the text to tackle this problem, ensuring that vital information is listed first. Content that describes the treatment and why the client should choose your services should always be prioritised. This is especially important on conversion-focused pages, such as pay-per-click (PPC). Accessible routes to inner pages are essential on these types of pages. To achieve this, designers recommend condensed navigations and quick links, leading users in the direction you want.
- Mobile optimisation– With half of all website traffic generating from mobile phones, it is essential to adjust your website content to guarantee that visitors using mobiles have an experience customised to their device – simple changes such as tweaking the layout so that it is not compromised on a smaller screen. Text and images that are not cut off and are displayed with a high resolution will make all the difference. Drastically improving user experience on mobile devices includes implementing larger buttons, applying auto-fill form fields and keeping images small. All of which will prevent mobile users from becoming frustrated and impatient and ultimately abandoning the website.
- Site speed – A slow loading website is a recipe for failure for anyone. A low site speed can be a result of many things, including unoptimised images and embedded videos. Images with a high resolution or larger images that are then scaled down can needlessly increase the size of the site, thus slowing down the speed. Using JPEG images instead of PNG/GIF images, which are smaller in size, will improve your page’s load time. Implementing videos can be an effective way of displaying treatment processes and communicating information without the need for vast chunks of text. However, web designers advise on locally sourcing videos, i.e., embedding them into your site, rather than linking to videos hosted on platforms such as YouTube.
Overall, a website’s bounce rate is more than just a number. It can and will indicate where your website falls short if you interpret it correctly. Has it been a number of years since your website last had a re-design? Have you tested your website on a mobile or tablet to check the layout? The most important thing about your rate is not to look at the number in isolation. Instead, pay attention to the broader factors.