These are two website analytic terms that confuse a lot of B2B marketers. They seem to be similar, but aren’t. According to Google, bounce rate is, “Bounce rate is the percentage of visits that go only one page before exiting a site.”, while the exit rate is, “the exit rate is the percentage (of visits) that were the last in the (page viewing) session.”
That means that the bounce rate is only the number of times a visitor looked at only ONE page of your site, while the exit rate is simply the LAST page they looked at on your site.
“As a rule of thumb, a 50 percent bounce rate is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 80 percent, you’ve got a major problem.” – Inc magazine article
If you’ve just started paying attention to your website analytics and are frightened by your bounce rates, here are some tips that will help you make sure you’re not scaring off website visitors.
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1. Have an updated website and fresh content appearing on it regularly. Seems like a no-brainer, but there are MANY websites out there that have bad layouts, horrendous font choices, and stale content on it. Pay a web designer to revamp your old site, and find some copywriters to keep pumping out fresh content for it.
2. Use intuitive and easy-to-find navigation for all the important content. What I mean is that all the important pages on your site should be easy to get to from a well-designed and seen navigation bar. Some sites have it at the very top of the page, others just under your header image, but wherever it is, make it easy to find. The second part of this is to create a navigation bar that is intuitive to use. The link names on the choices should link to appropriately named pages and content, and not force the visitor to guess what link they need to click to find the content they want.
3. Eliminate all website errors. This means getting rid of the error pages that crop up when a user searches for something on your site, or clicks a link to another page. Everything should be working properly, and so you should test it periodically to make sure it still does. This is particularly important when adding new content/pages/functionality to the site. You may spend a lot of time designing the new feature, but if it doesn’t work, your bounce rates are going to skyrocket.
4. Verify that your site works in all formats. Does it work in all the major browsers? How about mobile devices? Bet you didn’t think of that one, now did you? Mobile website use is increasing, so you’ve GOT to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. Even the B2B website. Just think of how many times you’ve been on a business trip lately, and are browsing online while waiting for your flight? Try BrowserShots for a free option, or Browserstack for a robust paid option that includes mobile device emulators.
5. Verify the load speed of your website. It should load up pretty quickly in all browsers and devices. Sometimes reducing the number of graphics on your pages can help. Remember to check all third-party widgets and links, like social media connectors, as these are notorious for slowing down your site loads. Another reason to check this is that your web host may no longer be meeting your needs. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your current web host. Verifying the load speed of your site can help you pinpoint the reason, and then you can take corrective action as necessary.
6. Get traffic from the right sources. Website owners sometimes forget that this stat can be misleading. Having a lot of visitors to your B2B technology website is good, but if they’re coming from SERs of the wrong keywords, then those numbers do you no good. For example, if you sell B2B accounting software, but you’re getting most of your traffic from SERs on “sports” and “automobile racing”, the chances of you converting one of those visitors into a lead or customer are pretty slim. Make sure that you’re using the right keywords for your business and niche, then revisit the list periodically to confirm that you’re maximizing the opportunities those keywords are giving you.
7. Have a Search box on your site. This is another one that seems so simple, but a lot of B2B technology websites don’t have them. This is a mistake on a few levels, including the fact that you assume you’ve got your navigation and content set up the right way for each visitor (which is never the case). Besides, a visitor might have come to your site looking for something else, but then thought of some other product or service that you could provide, but they can’t find it if there’s no Search box.
8. Do you have a Call to Action on every page? This is important because you want your visitors to do something after reading your content, right? Whether it’s to download a demo of your B2B software product, give you their contact information so you can build your email marketing list, you’ve got to have a Call-to-Action (CTA) on each page. Otherwise visitors will have no reason to continue looking at your site.
9. Use high-quality graphics and images. Having graphics and images on a web page increases the readability of the page, but they better be high-quality ones, otherwise visitors will leave your site pretty quickly. There are a lot of sites that have royalty-free images on them, but if you don’t mind shelling out some money for them, then sign up for a service like iStockphoto or Thinkstock.
10. Have a lean & mean B2B technology website. How many pages do you have on your site? Are your bounce rates higher for some of the pages, and lower for others? Take a look at those with a high bounce rate and see if it’s really necessary to your site. It’s possible that the content there isn’t necessary or informative enough, so visitors are simply leaving your site. Get rid of the unused, duplicate, and unnecessary content on your site.
11. Mean what you say and link to what you say. All the internal links on your site, whether they’re text- or graphic- based, should lead to the appropriate page. The words that entice the visitor to click on the link and visit your site should take them to the appropriate page, and not just your home page. It’s frustrating to the users if you take them somewhere else on your site.
There are 11 tips that will help you get the bounce rate on your B2B technology site under control. Give these a try and you’ll notice a difference.