How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate and Raise Interaction on Your Website

by 40 08/12/2013

Got a high bounce rate?

Have you tried everything you can think of to make it lower, but without success?

Don’t worry — there’s good news.

Here are seven little-known ways to reduce your bounce rate and encourage longer visits (with more interaction) on your site …

1. Freshen-Up Your Content

If your old posts from 2005 are still showing in the search engines, visitors may click, take one look at the date, and then bolt.

They may never even bother to check the newer content you’ve created.  If your older posts are still getting traffic, why not freshen them up and make them more current?

Changes in technology and trends make nearly any post “refreshable,” so take a stroll down archive lane and see what you can do to modernize it.

A few ideas:

  • Update statistics
  • Find new examples
  • Add a case study
  • Incorporate new insights

2. Simplify that Wall of Text

No matter what the topic, seeing a huge, scrolling wall of text will scare any visitor off.

Their brain will kick into “its not worth the trouble to read all this” mode and they’ll move on to something that looks easier to read.

Consider “chunking” your text into meaningful, mentally digestible “bites” (one idea per paragraph is best).

Once you’ve done that, consider adding in graphics that make everything even easier to understand.

Charts, diagrams, graphs, illustrations are all great choices. They do the work of a thousand words, and could mean the difference between scaring off visitors and getting them to stick around.

charts are easier to read

3. Know Your Numbers

Do you know your industry’s average bounce rate?

Trying to reduce your bounce rate without a goal in mind, is like shooting at a target while blindfolded.

You’ll get there a lot quicker by knowing what you’re aiming for.

Also, knowing your industry’s average bounce rate can help keep you sane. That’s because you won’t be trying to lower a number that’s perfectly normal for your industry, a number that will stay there no matter what you try to do.

These industry standards are from an infographic on KISSmetrics:

bounce rates by industry

One more thing to note: Sometimes a high bounce rate is a good thing. But you’ll only know this if you know your industry’s numbers.

For example, affiliate sites and sites that make money through advertisers want to have a high bounce rate. That’s because a visitor leaving your site to an advertiser’s page means more money for you.

Either way, don’t look at bounce rate as an indicator of your success or failure.

As you get more traffic from various sources, some of those are going to be high quality, and some are going to be low quality.  Some of your posts are going to be the perfect match for your audience, and others will find the information too technical, or too basic for their needs.

So if you’re already at your average bounce rate, focus on the conversions you’re getting from different channels.

Improved conversions is what matters at the end of the day, anyways. Plus, it’ll help counteract the effects of a stubborn bounce rate that refuses to go down.

4. Tweak Your Pay-Per-Click Ads

If your ads aren’t relevant to your landing page, you may have a big bounce rate problem on your hands.

This is especially true if your ads have exact match targeting, where the user searches for “blue widgets” and your PPC ad matches the term accordingly.

The fix? On your landing page, make sure you acknowledge the search term the visitor used to find your site. Like this one does:

acknowledge keyword users searched

It’s easy to do: If they searched for “blue widgets” and clicked your ppc ad with “blue widgets” in the title. you could say something like:

Welcome Google User! We noticed you searched for ‘blue widgets’ – here’s what we have in stock:”

By doing this, you’ll have a better chance of presenting your site as relevant to their search.

Even if you don’t have “blue widgets” in stock, you can present other choices that may be of interest to your reader.  This will keep them on your page longer, and may lead to better conversions.

(It can also help to “declutter” your website by getting your ad-to-content ratio right.)

5. Shake Up Your Keyword Strategy

Times change, people change and keywords change.

Every six months, do an audit on your site’s keywords to determine which ones are losing popularity, and which keywords are currently leading people to your site.

You’ll also want to study your analytics, check your keywords in Google Trends, and measure changes over time.

Keeping your keywords current will help keep your ads and landing pages relevant. As a result, your bounce rate is likely to decrease.

6. Help Your Homepage

If your homepage bounce rate is unusually high, it could be because you’re featuring your latest blog posts there.

What typically happens is visitors will land on your home page, read your newest content, and then leave.

So what can you do to make them stick around?

This may be the perfect time to use the aforementioned “freshening up” strategy to point them to “old-made-new-again” content at the bottom of each post.

This will get them exploring other content that may be a little “hidden” on your site.

(Here are some strategies for effective home pages.)

7. Turn Off the Autoplay

noise

I get it – you’ve just created the most amazing video ever and you’re sure conversions will go through the roof.

Even if that’s the case, let the user decide when to play it instead of springing it on them the moment they hit your home page.

Nothing’s worse than being blasted with background music or a voice when you’re not expecting it – especially if you’re at work or you have multiple tabs open and can’t figure out which one the sound is coming from!

Above all, possibly the most important thing you can do to lower bounce rates is to focus on consistently creating good, relevant content that appeals to your readers’ needs and questions.

Survey them from time to time by asking “What would you like to see more of?” and “What could you stand to see less of?” to determine which types of posts make the best impression.

Have you successfully lowered your bounce rate below the industry average?  How’d you do it?  Share your ideas and comments below!

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Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve conversion rates with custom design, copywriting and website reviews.  Get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up by visiting iElectrify.com.

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40 COMMENTS

Matthew Ozolins

I don’t agree about with the auto play thing. Virtual Staff Finder and Office Autopilot both use it and have tested it and they are making millions.

August 13, 2013 Reply

    Sherice Jacob

    Hey, if they tested it and it works well for them – go for it! But I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve landed on a site with a serious intention to browse and possibly buy, and some loud-mouthed announcer blares right into my ears. To make matters worse, I have no idea which tab it’s coming from of the 20+ I regularly have open.

    August 13, 2013 Reply

      Matthew Ozolins

      Okay. Can you present some examples of how you have individually tested these tips of yours on your own website? Showing first how each one improved the bounce rate on their own, followed by how these various tips worked together. Just looking to find a little bit more validity and credibility in the content I take advise from than “I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve landed on a site with a serious intention to browse and possibly buy, and some loud-mouthed announcer blares right into my ears.”

      Cheers,
      Matthew

      September 4, 2013 Reply

        Kathryn Aragon

        Matthew, every point Sherice makes is current usability best-practice. As for auto-play, studies have shown that people tend to click off if you have audio set on auto-play. Not only that, ‘W3C’ recommends turning off auto-play. They “discourage the practice of automatically starting sounds (especially if they last more than 3 seconds), and encourage that the sound be started by an action initiated by the user after they reach the page.” Hope that helps.

        September 4, 2013 Reply

          Matthew Ozolins

          There is an issue with that. If this is based 100% off of best practice, why does this post even exist? I feel like maybe I am missing something. There are two other posts on this blog alone about the same topic and nobody is doing an awesome job of proving why these best practices are the best practices. Is there data somewhere to back up the auto-play thing?

          September 4, 2013

          Sherice Jacob

          Nowhere in my article did I say that these are set-in-stone, 100% best practices that work for everyone, all the time. The thing about best practices is that what works for one industry may cause conversions to tank for another. I’ve worked with enough clients to be able to share my experiences in this article in the hopes that people with a poor bounce rate can apply any or all of these suggestions to improve it.

          If you’re looking for someone to hand you “guaranteed best practices” that work every single time, you’ll be searching a LONG time because such a thing doesn’t exist.

          September 4, 2013

        Sherice Jacob

        My own client’s results are confidential and private, but here is some more information on this very hot-button topic:

        Autoplay or Not? That’s the Video Question:
        http://www.dougwilliams.com/blog/526/autoplay-or-not-that-is-the-video-question-/

        A rant from ReelSEO on the subject
        http://www.reelseo.com/autoplay-video-ads-website/

        Bottom line: It may help or hinder conversion rates, but people seem to universally dislike it. Remember, conversions aren’t solely about numbers, they’re about optimizing the user experience too.

        September 4, 2013 Reply

          Marc

          Hi Sherice,

          I agree with your point of view regarding to autoplay.
          Anyway, do you know a good source to analyze/compare bounce rates typical for industry.

          BR Marc

          October 12, 2013

girish

Fresh-up your content: Agree with this. content is a main thing to interact with your visitor. If you want to interact with your visitor then update your site with informative and attractive content.

August 15, 2013 Reply

Sameer

Those are some new points about reducing bounce rate on sites. However, can you please tell me what should be optimal bounce rate of a lyrics website?

August 16, 2013 Reply

suresh khandelwal

I think this is right way to reduse bounce rate but i am confuse in last point.
Thank you

September 3, 2013 Reply

Manish Bothra

Its relly great information to reduce bounce rate.

September 3, 2013 Reply

Manish Kumar

This Is Awesome post .

Thank you

September 3, 2013 Reply

CheenaChatti

@Sherice : Sorry, have a few doubts. Please excuse if its silly.

1) You have mentioned about refreshing the contents. I am running a recipe blog. Do I need to re edit my old posts or create a new post and link to old one?

2) I found this plugin http://wordpress.org/plugins/reduce-bounce-rate/ and I started using it today onward. Is there any issues in using this plugin? Is it against Google policies? Any advice?

September 4, 2013 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Hi Cheena, I don’t think the tip about refreshing content applies to you. If a recipe tastes good, no one cares how old it is. I had never heard of your plugin but it looks okay to me. Be sure to check back in and let us know if it works for you.

    September 4, 2013 Reply

    Sherice Jacob

    HI Cheena,

    “Evergreen” content sites (think lyrics and recipes) tend to not need fresh content, but rather more of what’s in demand. So if people are looking for paleo recipe snacks, including those in your recipe blog often will help improve the rate at which the search engines (and visitors) return to your site because they know it’s relevant to what they want.

    As for the plugin, I’m not familiar with it, but I’m keen to try it out myself and see what happens. I think “every ten seconds” in timing to let Google know someone is still there is a long interval between “pings” but I can’t see where it would penalize you. Let me know how it works out for you! :-)

    September 4, 2013 Reply

Vivek Khanduri

My bounce rate is around 80%.

September 4, 2013 Reply

shoaib Marfatiya

i agreed with your all point, very informative blogs thanks.

September 5, 2013 Reply

Andy

Thanks for the helpful tips and links! I am looking into Kissmetrics and a few others right now. I appreciate the suggestions.

October 5, 2013 Reply

Chris Goward

You’ve got some good tips on here that should be tested, Sherice!

However, I think it’s important to clarify that reducing bounce rate shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. In many cases, reducing your bounce rate can hurt sales (see this article to learn why: Don’t Try To Lower Your Bounce Rate)

The goal of your website optimization should be to maximized conversion rate and revenue per visitor rather than focusing on the bounce rate.

By the way, at WiderFunnel we’re big fans of CrazyEgg and use it often to form test hypotheses.

October 26, 2013 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Great point, Chris! We appreciate your input. (Thanks for the plug! We admire your work too.)

    October 26, 2013 Reply

    Sherice Jacob

    Chris – I agree 100%! But following these tips should also help conversions in addition to lowering the bounce rate — the best of both worlds :)

    October 26, 2013 Reply

Marketingu

I also have a little problem with bounce rate ratio. It exceeds 70% but I heard that it is ok, especially when almost all traffic is from organic search.

October 31, 2013 Reply

Zidan Dangdut

my blog in alexa have bounce rate 38%, but in google analityc 49%, who is most valid?

November 9, 2013 Reply

fantasy artist

I have totally different % depending on my presta shop numbers or google analitics….weird…

November 11, 2013 Reply

Balazs Hende

Hi Sherice, thanks for the great post! My problem is StumbleUpon because it increases my bounce rate. I have less than 50 unique visitors per day so StumbleUpon has high bounce impact.

December 29, 2013 Reply

Ishaan Bhati

I have an E-Commerce website. Can these ways also reduce my e-commerce site’s bounce rate?

January 3, 2014 Reply

Jagan

8. Use tools like visitorengage to auto popup custom notifications based on visitor’s behavior on the website. Similar to hellobar used at the top of this site but with behavioral targeting to increase conversions. :)

January 10, 2014 Reply

Anupam

Sherice,

good points. adding to your point#1 – freshness of content – i would stress on using customer testimonials (stories, case-studies, photos, logos, etc). It makes it very interesting to see real people and their stories. see this for some of the best usage of customers on their home page. customertestimonials.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/1-best-examples-of-customer-testimonials-on-the-home-page/

January 12, 2014 Reply

plugin guy

Thnx a lot man..!!

January 15, 2014 Reply

Enstine Muki

Great post on bounce rate Sherice. I linked to it from my latest post here http://enstinemuki.com/bounce-rate/

March 19, 2014 Reply

Raj Kumar

Great post Sherice Jacob thanks for sharing

March 21, 2014 Reply

Alvian Rahardjo

It’s a useful post Sherice, thanks!
i also have problem with high bounce rate (over 70%)
and i’ll your suggestions to my blog :)

March 24, 2014 Reply

John Breadson

its useful post to know website bounce rate. thyanks alot.

July 8, 2014 Reply


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