The term ‘bounce rate’ is a metric most marketers dread. It refers to the specific percentage of your website visitors that come on to your site but decide to leave without viewing a second web page.
Basically, the lower the rate, the better your website is performing in moving people through your site. And, comparatively, the higher the rate, the more your web visitors are clicking straight off your site.
Fortunately, finding and measuring your bounce rate is pretty easy. Simply look at any web analytics tool. However, if you notice your bounce rates are particularly high, it likely means your marketing and website efforts are being delivered in vain.
Therefore, reducing your bounce rate should be seen as a fundamental pillar of your website’s performance and to improve conversion rate.
Follow these 10 steps to reduce your site’s bounce rate:
1- Fix Broken Links
Let’s face it, nobody likes 404 errors, search engines included. If your site visitor clicks on a broken link, it looks unprofessional and amateur. The good news is there are a number of tools readily available to fix that. Use a broken link checker such as Dr. Link Check to find dead links and fix them.
2- Optimize Your Call to Action (CTA)
Adding a killer CTA that convinces people to act (and stay on your site) is essential for reducing bounce rates. You want your visitors to know what you expect them to do as a next step, and having a clear path through your website is essential. If your visitors don’t understand what action you want them to take next, they’ll leave. Attention-time is short, so make sure your CTA is clear, bold and catchy.
Don’t make the mistake of burying your CTA in the page, be as descriptive as you can (rather than a generic, ‘read now’), add a button to highlight it, and make sure the CTA relates to the content.
3- Improve Page Load Time
As more and more web traffic is coming from mobile devices, fast page loading times is becoming a make or break factor in landing page performance. According to a Google study, 53% of mobile users abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. Your visitors expect your pages to load within 2 seconds or less. Anything slower quickly increases the chances of them abandoning your site.
Use GTmetrix to test your page load time and implement the recommendations, or Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool for practical recommendations on how to improve your website’s load speed. As a general rule, make sure you use compressed images, limit the amount of multimedia content on your website, make sure your host can handle large amounts of traffic, disable unused plugins, and keep your database clean.
4- Keep Your Content Fresh
Nobody wants to read a 5-year-old blog post with outdated information. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to update your website every day, or even week. But you do need to make sure the content is still relevant. Additionally, regularly updating your content will boost your SEO performance as search engines will continually crawl your site.
5- Avoid Pop-Ups and Distracting Ads
While some businesses love pop-ups and ads to try and convert leads, most are hugely annoying and drive visitors away. When designing your website, think of the user experience in mind. They don’t want to come on to your site and be hit immediately with a huge advert. It’s a turn-off. In some instance, less is more. Focus on quality instead and get rid of off-putting distractions.
6- Improve Readability
This is a big one as it essentially means your site will be easier to scan and read. Make sure you format your content correctly (especially for mobile devices). Think about using headers, suitable images, bulleted lists, short paragraphs, keywords and video. Additionally, highlight key information so it’s nice and easy to skim. Over 50% of online traffic is from mobile phones and tablets, so your site needs to be readable on mobile.
7- Make Your Pages Mobile-Friendly
As with the above, mobile devices are driving traffic. Focus on how your website pages render and display on a variety of displays. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll not only lose visitors and see high bounce rates, but you’ll lose search rankings too (Google now ranks mobile over desktop). Think about responsive design, your text can be read on a smaller screen and your pages load quickly.
8- Display Credibility
Think about it. The more brand trust you have, the longer your visitors will stay and consume your content. To display credibility, include reviews, endorsements from clients, awards, certifications, and so on. This will send trust signals to your visitors and encourage them to look at other pages.
9- Improve Meta Descriptions for SERPs
This is an ongoing task that needs to be regularly updated. Firstly, make sure every page on your site has a meta description. Secondly, make sure they are optimized to show up in search results, match the content and are not misleading. If someone clicks through thinking they are going to find something they are not, they’ll click straight off. And that means they will be a bounce. Meta descriptions aren’t just about attracting visitors.
10- Add Helpful Internal Links
Helpful links help direct your traffic to related content within your website. That’s important as then the visitor is more likely to move on to a new page, rather than leave. Therefore, visitors will follow the internal links and stay on your site longer. Just make sure the links are relevant otherwise they’ll be ignored.
So to finish, here are the key steps to take to reduce those ever-important bounce rates:
- Find and fix any broken links
- Use catchy and relevant CTAs
- Make sure your site loads quickly
- Regularly update content to keep it relevant
- Get rid of annoying distractions
- Ensure your site is easy to read
- Focus on being mobile-friendly
- Show off your credibility
- Add relevant, optimized meta descriptions
- Include internal links to add value
If you are suffering from these fails, your website and business will suffer as visitors leave you for the competition. So think again if you aren’t taking bounce rates seriously.