when it comes to website bounce rates bigger isn’t better.
Posted on 17th February 2022
The bounce rate – no doubt you will have heard this term at least once over the past couple of years if you have a website (you might have heard of it even if you don’t have a website). When it comes to measuring your website’s performance, when it comes to bounce rates - bigger isn’t better.
Unlike other website activity measurements where a high number is good, with the bounce rate a lower number is better. So, what is your ’bounce rate’, what does it mean to your business and how do you improve it?
What is the bounce rate?
So, what do we mean by bounce rate? It’s a term to describe a user’s visit to a landing page or website that lasts no more than 2-3 seconds before they leave, or ‘bounce’ from the page or website, whether it’s via a mobile device or on a desktop.
The bounce rate, which can be viewed via your website analytics, is a percentage of the people that land and leave; they don’t move to another page of the website, act on a call to action (CTA), fill out a form for more information or click on anything to do with the website, they immediately leave entirely.
On average, the bounce rate across all industries is 47%, although in B2B industries it can be higher. The most popular way to find your bounce rate is via Google Analytics, which will also provide you with the number of visitors to the website, the pages per visit and how long they spent on the site – all of these are related to the bounce rate.
A low bounce rate indicates that the landing page or homepage of the website is delivering the right user experience for a visitor to want to stay and explore the website further. A high bounce – anything above 60% is considered a high bounce rate - means that visitors are making a decision within seconds that the website is not for them.
However, it’s wrong to say that just because the page has a high bounce rate, you’ve got a problem because that’s not always the case.
Where to find your bounce rate?
If you use Google Analytics to monitor activity, like the bounce rate, get ready for a change because in Google’s latest version of the Universal Analytics tool, the bounce rate has gone. It is being replaced with what Google calls ‘Engaged Sessions’. Before you start heading to another web analytics tool, let’s just explain Google’s reasoning because sticking with their Universal Analytics might actually give you more information that the bounce rate did.
Previously, your bounce rate parameters were based on the number of sessions that ended immediately (0 seconds) and had just one page view. With Engaged Sessions, Google’s monitoring parameters have been extended to the number of sessions that were over 10 seconds and had more than one page view, or had what Google called a Conversion Event. The new algorithm does not consider 0 seconds and one page view as an Engaged Session.
Engaged Sessions are similar to bounce rates; however, you are receiving much more in-depth user information and therefore better visibility on how visitors are interacting with your website.
Why is it important?
Every website will have a bounce rate; this is because there are some circumstances when people will land on your page to look for something, i.e. an address or a contact number, and then leave the site. That’s not a bad thing. However, a high bounce rate occurs when a visitor to your site or landing page is reacting to an online search, review or recommendation but doesn't stay, i.e. don’t convert.
Some content or simple landing pages have a tendency to incur a higher bounce rate, such as a blog, a contact page or a landing page that has a call to action. The problem comes when you have multiple pages on the website (which most websites have) and you want your visitors to explore your other pages, but they don’t. The main reasons for a high bounce rate include:
● The visitor can’t find what they are looking for easily and quickly.
● Low quality content.
● Slow page/image loading times.
● A poor user experience.
● Technical errors.
The one thing to remember is that if your pages are getting a high bounce rate, it doesn’t mean re-designing them or the entire website. A few changes in the right places can make all the difference.
How do you improve your bounce rate?
If your website or landing pages are receiving a high bounce rate, here are five steps you must take to reduce your bounce rate.
1. Design for user engagement – the aim of landing pages and websites is to not only attract visitors but ensure user engagement, i.e. they stay and visit other pages. Whether you offer products or services, or it is an e-commerce platform, think about user navigation and the east of finding/reacting to CTAs. Make sure your page layouts are well-organised, not too busy, responsive across all browsers, avoid pop-ups (they were once popular but no longer) and if you do have ads on your website, make sure they are to one side so they don’t obstruct the user’s view.
2. Speed up page/image load times – the slower the loading speed, the higher the bounce rate. Google’s research demonstrated that a page load speed of more than 3 seconds increases the bounce rate by 32%. So, consider the size of your images – you can still keep high resolution with a smaller sized image – ensuring any multimedia content, i.e. videos, are self-loading and make sure your website server has the capacity to accommodate quick page loading times. Test the page loading speed regularly to keep on top of it and make corrections when necessary.
3. Increase content quality – this is probably one of the quickest, easiest ways to reduce your bounce rate and up user engagement, as well as provide a unique user experience. Three questions to ask yourself:
a. Is it informative, useful and engaging, i.e. does it make your visitor want to continue reading and stay on your site?
b. Is it clear and well-laid out, i.e. is it laid out in a format that is readable, easy to understand and assimilate?
c. Is it relevant, i.e. does it help your visitor, answer their questions, solve a problem or interest them?
4. Make it mobile – 54% of website traffic globally (yes, in this digital age, every website is global) is via mobile devices. Visitors are expecting their user experience on mobile devices to be the same (if not better in some cases) as it would be on a desktop.
5. SEO is crucial – SEO, or search engine optimisation, is crucial in reducing your bounce rate and is incorporated into every aspect of your landing pages and website. Whether it is using the relevant keywords in your content, ensuring all meta titles descriptions for images, multimedia, pages and website URLs, link text, email campaigns and online advertising is optimised for user searches will make a significant difference to users staying and exploring your website and landing pages.
At It’seeze Wimbledon web designers provide affordable, professional web design and ongoing expert support. We ensure that every website we design and build is WCAG compliant and meets web accessibility regulations.
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