7 Reasons Your Bounce Rate Is High (And how to reduce it)
Are you seeing high bounce rates on your website?
The Bounce Rate, as defined by Google Analytics, is the number of people entering a page and exiting from that same page. High bounce rates are not always a bad thing. After all, if your site visitors are finding exactly what they need on the page and it is meeting your business goals, it’s a good thing that they are not having to search your site further.
However, bounce rate is often an indication of the opposite. They aren’t finding what they need and have no confidence that they can find it on your site — at least not quickly.
If users are abandoning your site like a sinking ship, you may need to make some changes.
Here are seven reasons your bounce rate may be high:
1 – Pop-ups
A well-timed pop-up can increase conversions, getting more people signed up for your mailing list or your products and services. There’s only one problem: many visitors find them extremely annoying. Others say pop ups work and don’t hurt conversions. Either way, I suggest you test it.
The timing of the pop-up is also something that could and should be tested. If you are finding that instantly displaying a pop-up is increasing your bounce rate, consider delaying the pop-up them so people can see the site first.
2 – Poor Design
Try to look at your site with an unbiased eye. Is it really appealing?
Readers are not designers, but they can sense poor design. Ideally your design should have a visually harmonious feel which should subtly reinforce your brand.
A poor design doesn’t necessarily mean the colors are a poor choice. As a designer once said to me if your design is really good it will work even if your site is in black and white. Design also goes hand in hand with the other important aspect of the user experience – usability.
3 – Navigation and Usability
As a web user, when you visit a cluttered site where you can’t find the information you want, then there’s no reason to stay. That’s part of having a site that complies with web usability standards. Even if you aren’t interested in becoming a master of Jakob Nielsen’s 113-point web usability checklist, understand these three basic components of web usability.
- Website visitors expect certain things to be in certain places, stick to conventions (like navigation across the top of the site) in most cases.
- Every square inch of your website doesn’t need to contain something, whitespace is your friend.
- Above all else, users should be able to determine what you do and what you offer within a few seconds of reaching any page on your site.
4 – Use of multimedia
Video and audio get phenomenal results on landing pages, but there’s definitely some best practices to consider when using these mediums.
- Be careful with auto play of video or audio content. It makes users feel out of control and often leads to a bounce. That being said, auto play of video might increase conversions as well. Test it.
- Include calls-to-action that tell your visitor what to do next.
- Experiment with the length of your video knowing that visitors will have little tolerance for irrelevant communications.
5 – Speed – or Lack of It
The more you add to your site (especially images, scripts and multimedia), the longer it takes to load. Research shows that website abandonment increases exponentially after the 3 to 4 second mark.
If, in the age of instant gratification, your site doesn’t load immediately, you’re history. If people don’t get the information they need straight away then they’ll go somewhere with a faster more streamlined experience. That’s one of the reasons that page speed is a variable that Google is now using in its ranking algorithm.
Dip into Google Webmaster Tools or the site speed metrics within your analytics program and see how your site speed might be an issue.
6 – It’s Not Mobile
By 2014, more people will be browsing sites on their smartphones than via desktop computers, according to recent Microsoft research.
Many other studies reinforce this trend. That means your site needs a mobile interface that works – NOW! If you have a smartphone, visit your site and see what it looks like and how easy it is to use. Any surprises? If the growing numbers of mobile device users have a poor experience of your site, then they won’t come back – and you can’t afford that.
If you are planning a redesign of your website, now is the time to implement a responsive web design.
If your site runs on WordPress, consider using a plug-in that will make your website mobile friendly.
7 – What’s In It For Them?
Last, but certainly not least, your site must answer what’s in it for me (WIIFM) for the users.
Remember that your website visitors are searching for outcomes. If your website doesn’t instantly give them the sense that they are moving toward the outcome, they will bounce.
The navigation, design, content and calls-to-action must all work together to communicate that you offer what they are looking for.
Instantly communicate your value to your site visitors.
Focus on being useful. Help them to see that you have the information they need.
How have you addresses the issue of high bounce rates in the past? What can you share that could help out The Daily Egg community?
About the author: Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger who has been writing for more than 20 years. Her favorite topics include web tools, social media, copywriting and online business. Find all of Sharon’s social media hangouts on her Google+ profile.