Occasionally, I would mistakenly click on a wrong link, and I would immediately hit the back button on my browser. Of course, not every visitor that bounced on your site behaved like me. This post focuses on the experience of your website visitors to prevent bounces from those that are actually searching for contents like yours.
Brief Definition of Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who lands on your site and leaves without visiting a second page. Your visitor may leave your site by:
- Clicking the back button
- Closing the browser
- Visiting another site
- Doing nothing (session time-out)
(To learn more about bounce rate, I suggest you read What is Bounce Rate.)
The Typical Website Visitor’s Experience
Now, let’s try to understand a typical website visitor’s browsing experience so we can better understand why your website visitors might be opting out from your website.
The process flow of your website visitor can be broken into two big phases:
- When visitors see your link (social media, blog, search engine, etc.)
- When they click on the link and enter your website
Here are the questions: What were they expecting to see when they visited your site? What compelled them to leave? The 4 tips listed below will answer these two questions so you can decrease your website’s overall bounce rate.
Tip #1: Have a clear and concise title statement
Ever visited a website that you have no idea what they do or what that website is about? Do you try to figure out what they do or do you go to another website?
Your website or landing page should have a headline that clearly states what you do or what you’re all about. For example, if you have an Ecommerce website that sells computer accessories, your homepage positioning statement can be “We Sell Computer Accessories at Bargain Prices.” The statement should be simple and concise with a font size that shouts out to your website visitor, similar to how Servora uses “online accounting software with CRM” as their positioning statement.
Remember: a new website visitor that lands on your page only has an average attention span of 0 – 8 seconds. Thus, make sure your title statement (1) shouts out to your audience, (2) is not too long, and (3) is easy to understand.
Tip #2: Traffic source and title statement MUST match
Ever clicked on a link and felt like you were taken to the wrong website or webpage?
Similar to how Google AdWords uses quality score to rate your PPC ads, the referral sources and hyperlinks that you put out on the web should match the contents and title statement of the landing page. For instance, what do you think a website visitor when he clicks on this link:
and lands on this page?? (This is what really happened)
Even if your landing page has a clear title statement or image, they will still bounce if the content is not what the visitor was expecting or searching for. Thus, it is important that your inbound links (social media, blogs, search engine, PPC, etc.) convey consistent messages so you can get relevant website traffic that does not bounce. If you have multiple marketing messages to convey, you can create multiple landing pages, each tailored to a unique interest to a unique audience.
Tip #3: Avoid clutter at all costs
Ever visited a website that has text ads, flashy ads, products, links, text, and images all condensed on the homepage? How did you feel? Did you bother digging through those clutter or did you move on to another site?
Even if you followed Tips 1 and 2 above, your website visitor is still likely to bounce if they find your website contents hard to digest.
When you need to communicate lots of messages, you can break up your contents into digestible chunks using slideshows, interactive contents, images, videos, etc., each with its own headline. Or, you can have 2-3 different call-to-actions for your website visitors to choose from, like how Workday links demo, webinar, and blog on its homepage.
As mentioned earlier, an average website visitor has an attention span of 0 – 8 seconds. An easy to navigate landing page can engage your audience within that time frame and reduce your bounce rate.
Tip #4: Optimize for Mobile
Have you ever encountered a website on your phone where the text and navigation buttons are is just too small and hard to browse? Do you stay on the website or do you visit somewhere else?
More and more websites are browsed through phone or tablets, and this trend is only going to grow. A website optimized for mobile devices gives people a better browsing experience so they don’t bounce to other mobile-friendly sites. Adaptive web design and responsive web design are two ways that you can optimize your website.
The image below shows that American Airlines uses Adaptive Web Design:
Whereas Inflexion Interactive uses an Responsive Web Design:
Both designs can greatly decrease your bounce rate from mobile devices. Implementation of either design will depend on how you want your mobile visitors to interact with your site.
Tip #4.5: Improve your website’s load time
The most overlooked aspect of bounce rate is your website’s load time. According to data provided by KISSmetrics, for every additional second of load time, your bounce rate will increase by as much as 6.25%. To check your site’s page load time, you can use free services like pingdom tools or GTmetrix.
Not all bounce rates are bad. To determine whether you are using bounce rate metrics correctly, I suggest that you read my post: Do’s and Don’ts on Using Bounce Rate to Evaluate Your Website.
Keep in mind that the key to reducing bounce rate is how you manage your website visitor’s experience and expectations. If you follow these four tips, your website bounce rate should be reduced to the average benchmark rate within your industry, if not better. However, reducing bounce rate is just the first step to achieve what you want your website to do. The next step is to optimize your website for conversions so your website can be a true asset for you.
Do you know of any other ways to reduce your bounce rate?