In my previous Business 2 Community post, I talked about some statistics worth looking into when analyzing your website. One of these stats was bounce rate. In this post, I would like to share some tips on how you can lower your bounce rate and attempt to capture more of your website’s visitors. Simply described, the lower your bounce rate is the better. Your bounce rate percentage increases when a visitor lands on a page of your site and leaves without visiting any other pages. In my experience as an SEO, an average bounce rate is usually between 30-40%. Depending on the type of website, a high bounce rate might not necessarily be bad but that is a topic for another post. For now, here are a few tips:

  1. Relevant Content: In my opinion, poor, misleading content is the biggest contributor to a high bounce rate. If you are running a PPC campaign or analyzing an organic search campaign, your ad copy and website content should be related to one another. In addition to helping with your site’s search engine placement, relevant content will give your visitors a better experience and encourage them to check out other areas of your website and ultimately decrease your bounce rate.
  2. Website Layout: Poor website layout can also contribute to a higher than normal bounce rate. If you have hard to follow or non-existent navigation, poor text placement or no call to action, your visitors are going to get lost and they are going to leave your site. My best advice to you as a website owner is to keep it simple. Create navigation that is evident upon arrival and incorporate your content and calls to action in areas that are easy to find and follow. Your website visitor shouldn’t feel like they’ve entered a maze after arriving to your site.
  3. Overall Design: Similar to your website’s layout, the overall design and theme can play a role in contributing to your bounce rate in one way or another. If your site is cluttered with ads, pop-ups or graphics from the 90’s your visitors are more likely to leave your site before reading what you have to offer or visiting other areas of your site. Make your design appealing and easy on the eye and your graphics unique and professional. Treat your website visitor as you would a hotel guest and give them an experience they will remember and enjoy coming back to.
  4. Website Loading Time: If your website is jam packed with high-resolution images, flash components, takes forever to load and/or freezes your visitor’s machine, you will lose visitors and potential customers. Gucci’s website is a perfect example of this. Even on my 50Mb line, the site takes too long to load. Use website speed test tools or browser plug-ins such as Firefox’s Firebug to test your page load times. P.S., Google also takes into account your page load time in their search ranking algorithm so kill two birds with one stone by speeding up your pages’ load times.

The first step to improving your site’s bounce rate is to realize where potential issues lie and be willing to address them. If you are stuck in your ways and feel that your visitors should adapt to your site’s poor content, hard to follow navigation, ugly design and longer than normal page load times, be ready to deal with higher than average bounce rates and some pretty irritated visitors. For the best results, think outside of the box and put yourself in your visitors’ shoes when developing a new website or revamping a current one. Have you addressed your site’s bounce rate recently? If so, what type of actions have you taken in addition to the above mentioned ones?