November 21, 2017
Your website is the hub of your business, one that should be optimized in such a way that it drives both traffic and conversions. After all, your website is your virtual storefront.
But conversions aren’t possible with a high bounce rate.
To catch those unfamiliar with bounce rate up to speed, bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who land on any page of your website and then leave without visiting any other pages.
If potential customers kept walking up to your storefront and then left immediately, you’d likely be pretty concerned.
A high bounce rate signals that there’s a problem with your website. As a general rule, the most important pages of your website should not have a bounce rate above 50 percent (you can find out your bounce rate on Google Analytics, which is a free tool).
Reasons For a High Bounce Rate
So, what’s causing your website’s high bounce rate?
That’s part of the problem. There’s not an easy way to tell. It could be a number of different things, such as:
● People are not finding the information that they want (poor content — especially on your landing pages);
● Poorly targeted keywords;
● The page is too slow to load.
Keep in mind that there are exceptions when some pages would naturally have a higher bounce rate, like a contact page.
Now, on to what you can do about the problem.
1. The Basics Part I: Make Your Content Better
Improving your content is always at the top of the list when it comes to decreasing bounce rates.
This may seem like a tall order to accomplish in a week, but if you approach it strategically, as we will outline below, you could potentially see improvements in that amount of time.
It starts with Google Analytics. Looking at all of your published posts, start by searching from high to low bounce rate. Take notice of the pages that have a high bounce rate in combination with a low average time on site. If you notice this, it’s a clear indication that your content is the problem.
Next, target the pages with a lot of page views (and that also have a high bounce rate) first since these pages are driving a lot of traffic to your website.
To encourage people to stay longer on the page, here are some tips:
● Ensure the content is recent and fresh (this will establish trust over time);
● Aim for high-quality content (i.e. the basics are well-written, tailored copy — more on this to come — images like screenshots and infographics, actionable tips, a clear call-to-action and usability — more on this in part two);
● Consider adding a video to encourage users to stay on the page longer.
2. The Basics Part II: Improve Usability
Improving the usability of your content is part of improving your content, but it is such an important part that it warrants its own discussion. When it comes to Web content, there is nothing that will make a person click away faster than seeing a long block of text.
Visitors ultimately won’t be able to find what they’re looking for easily, so usability is key. Here are some tips:
● Clear subheadings (i.e. make your content easy to skim);
● Lots of whitespace (Hubspot’s < https://blog.hubspot.com/ > blogs are a great example of this);
● Bullet points to highlight key points or benefits;
● Bolded keywords where necessary (but in moderation);
● End your content with a subheading for your conclusion.
3. Draw In the Right Visitors
This is all about attracting people who are going to be most interested in your content. Your content might be considered high-quality (i.e. it’s written-well, you’ve included images, etc.), but if you’re not targeting the right people, the content is not going to be all that valuable.
There are many aspects of drawing in the right visitors, but here are some key takeaways:
● Target high-value keywords. In essence, the key is to target keywords that would cause people to stay and read that content. High value keywords are not only important for low bounce rates but also engagement and conversions.
● Write useful meta descriptions for every page. Ensure that they are roughly 155 characters long. Include the target keyword and include a call-to-action.
● Create several landing pages (these improve click-through-rate) and include the same types of high-value keywords on your landing pages as mentioned above.
4. Increase Your Page Load Time
This one is a relatively simple fix. Again, when it comes to the Internet, people do not have the patience to wait for a page to load. In fact, a general rule is that you’ve got about two seconds.
Begin by testing your website speed with the Pingdom Website Speed Test.
There are a lot of things you can do to increase your page load time, but some of the easier fixes are to remove any non-essential plugins, avoid pop-ups and change any external links so that they open in a new tab.
5. Little Known Ways to Decrease Bounce Rates: Credibility
The last and final tip we have won’t decrease a high bounce rate in a week, but over time it can have a positive effect. That tip is to put some thought into creating credibility. Credibility creates trust in your content.
When readers trust your content, they are more likely to spend more time reading it.
Having a beautifully designed website, having your address and phone number visible on your website, including testimonials as well as links to websites that have linked to you (or even links to previous guest posts) are all ways to establish credibility and trust with your reader.
Remember, if all of these things have come together well — the right visitor, a high-quality article and trust — all it takes is one great article to work its magic.
The Bottom Line
A high bounce rate may signal that there is a problem with your website, but at the same time, it’s a problem that can be fixed by applying the above foundational principles: good content, usability, drawing in the right visitors and increasing your page speed.
If you’ve had problems with a high bounce rate in the past, what did you do to fix the problem?
Here are a few other metrics that you should keep tabs on if you want to improve your website.
Arash Asli is at the forefront of business growth helping SMBs grow their businesses, as CEO of Yocale.com, an online scheduling and marketing platform. His thought leadership has been featured in major publications including Forbes, Huffington Post, and Inc. He is honored to have been named the Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty under 40 business executives. www.business.yocale.com