Building a Website – What is a "Bounce"?
On a website, a 'bounce' occurs when people visit your website and only view one page. Google Analytics shows the ‘bounce rate’, which is the percentage of people who leave your website after visiting a single page. A high bounce rate is not a good thing. If your bounce rate is high, something is wrong, and you need to take appropriate measures to reduce it.
Most visitors will likely arrive on your home page, and several things need to happen in just a few seconds. Unless the visitor was searching specifically for your company, then they should be able to make these three connections in 5 to 7 seconds:
- Your products or services match what they are searching for.
- Your website looks professional with an appealing design.
- There is a next action that they can take.
Reducing Bounce Rates
Now that you know what the bounce rate is, here are some ways you can reduce your bounce rate:
- Manage Your 404 Pages
404 pages are those which appear when users click a broken link. Standard 404 pages are quite generic and ugly, and don't give users a next step to take. Create a 404 page that has an attractive layout and matches your site design. Many content management systems can give you the ability to offer suggested pages that might match the user's intent. Consider using a little humor with a catchy phrase like "We bet you didn't mean to end up here", and give clear instructions to redirect them to the correct page.
You should track hits to your 404 page, and take actions to correct any issues that exist on your website. You can setup redirects to automatically send users to a new URL if your site map has changed, either in your content management system or by using an .htaccess file.
- Ensure Relevant and Attractive Content
Many websites forget about displaying relevant content when people visit their sites. This is particularly important for ad landing pages, because sometimes when people click on ads, they do not land on the expected page. For example, if you have created an ad for a discount on your products, and people land on your home page by clicking the ad, then your bounce rate is going to increase. In this case you should point the ad to a page that shows the products with the discounted price.
- Convert Accidental Visitors In To Customers
Don’t let your accidental visitors leave! Do your best to convert them to customers by emphasizing your current discounts and deals, which could be irresistible for random visitors.
- Remove Irrelevant Moving Content
Moving content, such as pop-up ads, can be annoying for visitors and tends to increase your bounce rate. Keep only the relevant content like well planned slider images and videos which are there to boost your sales.
- Speed It Up a Notch
Many websites have high bounce rates because they load very slowly. Website visitors are not typically patient and will abandon a slow loading website. Use tools like https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/ and http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ to identify and fix issues relating to website page load speed.
- Use Strong Call To Action Elements
Without a clear next step to take, many users will go back to where they came from without visiting additional pages on your website. Your call to action should align with your business goals for the website, and also with natural next steps that a user might want to take. For example, if you are a painting contractor consider giving users the option to "Get a quote on painting".
- Be Mobile-Friendly
Today more than 50% of the searches done at Google are on a smart phone, and many industries average well over 50% mobile traffic to their websites. If you have not invested in a mobile-friendly or responsive website, chances are you are losing visitors. Implementing a mobile solution can decrease your bounce rate by making it easy for phone users to view your offer.
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