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What makes improving bounce rates so important? The success of your business depends on engaging your customers – and that can’t happen if they leave immediately after arriving.

Bounce rates are perhaps the most important (and most dreaded) metric in ecommerce. As probably know, a “bounce” is when a visitor leaves your site after viewing only one page. It’s the online equivalent of avoiding a street-canvasser – people consider your site for a minute, then immediately walk away.

While abandonment of any kind isn’t ideal, high bounce rates are especially frustrating because they demonstrate a lack of engagement.

Before anyone panics, it’s important to understand that site bounces are incredibly common. In fact, the average bounce rate for ecommerce sites is between 20-55%.

However, unlike other forms of abandonment, bounce rates aren’t usually the result of some kind of distraction or indecisiveness on the customer’s part. Indeed, when a bounce happens, it’s because a customer, based on their first impression, has decided not to continue doing business with your site.

Fixing your bounce rate is a hugely important step to improving your conversion rates. After all, if people aren’t engaging with your site, none of your other strategies are going to work either. However, before we discuss improving your bounce rate, it’s important to understand the difference between a good bounce and a bad bounce.

Not All Bounces are Bad

Even though bounce rates can be scary, sometimes a bounce actually indicates that your site is performing as it should. For example, if your “contact us” page has a high bounce rate, that’s probably a good thing. It demonstrates that customers are finding the information they need in one place, without a need to hunt down your contact info elsewhere.

The same is true of many blogs. Since they tend to be self-contained, one page posts, there’s likely not much more for them to click on. That being said, it’s always nice when your content is engaging enough to drive people toward your other articles.

However, while not all bounces are bad, in many cases, they’re indicative of a problem with your site.

Improving Bounce Rates Shouldn’t Be Scary

Although high bounce rates can be exasperating, there is good news. Since bounce rates are concentrated by page, improving bounce rates isn’t as complicated as some other metrics.

When thinking about bounce rates, it’s important to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes. In most cases, a bounce occurs on your site’s homepage, so most of your effort should go towards improving that initial impression.

Improving Outdated Design Elements

As we’ve discussed before in previous blogs, your homepage is your company’s storefront. 75% of customers judge a company’s credibility based on its website. Just like a shoddy storefront turns away business, a dated website can make visitors question the legitimacy of your business.

Let’s look at a few ways to improve your homepage – and thus, your bounce rate.

Benchmark Your Site with Competitors

Keeping up with web design trends can be difficult. Every year, certain fads go in and out. (Remember when EVERYONE had a visitor counter plug-in on their site?)

Instead of trying to keep up with every trend, an easy alternative is to take a look at your competitor’s site. How does your site design compare with theirs?

While it’s never good to create a carbon copy of your competitors’ sites, make sure you take note of what’s included – and what’s not. Is the site more copy or design-heavy? Are they promoting a sale, or focusing on new arrivals? Is the design clean and neat or more intricate?

By taking notes about sites similar to yours, you can evaluate where your site succeeds and where it may fall short.

Optimize for Mobile

Mobile is no longer simply “a nice thing to have.” A fully responsive mobile site is now vital to the success of an e-retail site. As of 2017, half of all ecommerce traffic now comes from a mobile device – and that number has been growing steadily.

Slow loading pages are one of the most common reasons for a site bounce – especially when using a mobile device. If you already have a mobile site, make sure to test its functionality on a regular basis. Mobile devices (and screen sizes) are constantly changing. It’s up to you to ensure that customers can access your content on their preferred device.

On-Entry Strategies

Using an on-entry incentive strategy seems like a great idea in theory. After all, if you’re offering a visitor an incentive as soon as they enter your site. It seems so welcoming!

Unfortunately, on-entry strategies often come across as invasive. If a visitor to your site is trying to ascertain an understanding of your business, an on-entry strategy becomes a roadblock – and an invitation to bounce.

Many on-entry strategies are an attempt to capture leads – often via an inboxed incentive. While emailed offers are great for visitors that know your site, asking for an email address immediately is off-putting. It’s akin to a stranger approaching you and immediately asking for your phone number.

General Site Upkeep

Although it may seem obvious, it’s vital that every aspect of your site works. Links should lead to the correct place, and outdated content should be removed.

In case of a problem, design a custom 404-error page. Visitors never want to wind up here, so try to make the page somewhat endearing – or at least something other than a blank “error” page.

Bouncing Back From Bad Bounce Rates

High bounce rates are frustrating. Fortunately, solutions are generally easy to implement. By optimizing your content, and keeping your website up to date, you can improve your bounce rate, actively engage visitors, and drive them toward conversion.