7 Design Tips for a Better Bounce Rate

Picture yourself as the owner of a small, local shop. You watch the foot traffic roll in and out throughout the day, and you begin to notice a pattern. The majority of sales come from a small percentage of the people who enter your store.

Essentially, those customers who walk in and out are “bouncing.” They’ve seen something that brought them through the door, but they didn’t see a reason to stick around.

On your website, these people visit one of your web pages, but leave before viewing any other pages. Something attracted them to your site, but they didn’t see any reason to check out the rest of your content. Your goal is to keep your bounce rate as low as possible.

What’s a Good Bounce Rate?

A good bounce rate is determined by the type of website. People are more likely to browse through retail sites because they’re price shopping or comparison shopping. Blog viewership, on the other hand, is generally more of a leisure-time activity. Many readers may only read one article before leaving. Here are Google Analytics’ benchmark averages for bounce rate, as visualized by Quick Sprout:

Average bounce rate by type of site

The key takeaway: you want to have a good bounce rate in comparison to other similar sites. If you’re selling books and I’m blogging about design, it’s unreasonable for me to expect people to browse my site as often as yours.

So why is this important? Well, it can be critical to maintaining a high SEO ranking. Bounce rates measure how engaged users are with your site. If readers are frequently engaging with your site, the search engine will assume it’s useful to readers, and rank it higher on a search.

In other words, it helps put your shop on Main Street rather than a dark, hidden back alley.

Here are seven design tips to boost your bounce rate and get people clicking through your site, proving your worth to search engines, and possibly increasing sales or engagement in the process.

1. Improve Content Organization

If your content isn’t organized and easy to read, people are going to go somewhere else. Would you dig through piles of cans at a grocery store looking for beans, or simply go to the shelf that has them? Make the information people want to see easy to find.

Mint is a great example. Mint’s homepage tells you to sign up for their service, or to learn more about it if you’re undecided. Their homepage is organized to accomplish both of these goals:

Mint.com

2. Implement Good Design

Not completely separate from organization, good web design is critical. More than 90% of content viewers mention poor design as a reason to not trust a website.

Consider this: how do you feel about walking into a store with mismatched paint, cracked tiles, and missing windows? How about a well-maintained, stylish shop that offers the same products?

Or, take a real world example:

bounce rate example of good web design

This is the website for the same recovery center in both 2010 and 2015. The new design is much more readable, trustworthy, and clearly navigable. That big purple CTA gives visitors something to do next, whereas the old website left it up to the visitor to figure out how to proceed.

Linking to outside sites is an excellent way to make your site seem more credible. When that user clicks away from your site, though, you’re allowing them to bounce away from your site. By making links to outside sites open in a new tab, you’re not driving traffic away from your site. That way, once your readers have read the linked content, they are more likely to come back and continue reading your site.

You can take this one step further—give the reader a reason to come back to your tab. Take a tip from Mention’s blog. The moment you open a link in a new tab, Mention’s page title changes to “Don’t forget us!”

Mention blog tab cta

Little design tricks like this keep readers coming back for more, lowering your bounce rate over time.

4. Practice Smart Internal Linking

Have you ever noticed chocolate bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows all located on the same shelf in the supermarket during the summer? You’re not crazy (they aren’t usually in the same aisle). Stores often place complementary items near each other to generate additional sales. Sure, you only wanted graham crackers but a s’more sounds way better.

Similarly, readers don’t know what else is available on your site unless you tell them. Use internal links to show your readers the marshmallows while they’re looking at the graham crackers. Take eZanga’s blog as an example. In many of our posts, there is a “Related Articles” section at the bottom, for posts that pair with the original article to make a tasty s’more.

eZanga post header and related posts

Ideally, if the reader finds the 5 PPC Pros topic interesting, they would find the three related articles interesting as well. After all, someone may come to the site looking for the whole s’more, rather than just a stray marshmallow.

5. Keep Info Above the Fold

More than half of readers spend 15 seconds or less engaged with a web page. When links, CTAs, and captivating content take center stage, it draws readers further into your site.

Consider the following example, where the content in red is only accessible after clicking or scrolling past the CTA:

bounce rate example web design above the fold

The Grid is a project to create an automatic website builder that designs itself. While it’s still in development, a minimalist design helps draw in the reader. The landing page makes excellent use of CTA buttons, floating text, attractive images, calling the user’s attention for further engagement.

6. Ensure Mobile Accessibility

comScore announced last year that 60% of the time people spend on the web is through mobile devices such as phones and tablets. Your content may look great on a desktop, but if it fails with mobile users, readers will likely bounce from your site to find something more user friendly.

Mobile isn’t going anywhere anytime soon either. For instance, Google implemented changes that sparked Mobilegeddon 2015. With these changes, mobile-friendly sites rank higher in organic search, while sites without a mobile interface will see their search rankings tank.

7. Improve Site Speed

We’re a fast-paced society and we want what we want when we want it.

Online, your window of opportunity is as small as two seconds. When your site is weighed down by heavy coding or massive flash content, you’re sending away readers. There are many hidden causes behind slow web pages, and it’s important to make the experience as immediate as possible.

Reviewing the bounce rate of your site helps you identify problems. Say you have a 100% bounce rate; something about your website must be keeping readers from going any further in your site.

Likewise, if you have a low bounce rate, users like engaging with your website. This is a great problem to have, but one that needs to be closely monitored with any website changes. If the bounce rate increases after a major change, users might be having a hard time finding the right content.

Conclusion

The human race has an eight second attention span (one second shorter than that of a goldfish). If you don’t capture and retain the reader’s attention, they will leave your site. By designing your site around these concepts, you’ll draw the reader in at just the right moments, keeping them attentive for longer.

Make your site as easy to navigate as possible. Point your readers in the right direction, so they continue exploring your web pages. Use links, CTAs, and design elements strategically to pull your readers back in when they might be growing disinterested. Design your way to a lower bounce rate, and hopefully you’ll gain more conversions in the long-run.