Website Bounce Rate: What is it, and why is it Important?

By tmarsolais on

Before you write your Website content (hopefully while you were planning your Website), you should have listed a few goals for your Website visitors. One of them should be that your visitors engage with your content. You want them to read through a page or two before they press the back button in their browser, or before they go on to the next search result.

Why is your Website Bounce Rate High?

We have a specific name for it when a visitor comes to the Website, and then leaves without going to any other pages on the Website. That visitor is called a “Bounce.” There are typically only two scenarios when a visitor will Bounce from a page:

  1. The content answered their question perfectly, and that web visitor was done with their Internet search.
  2. The content simply did not reach them.

If the content answers their question perfectly, there is not much you can do. Think about a site with recipes, or a How-to Video on YouTube. Once I find the chicken and dumplings recipe I am going to cook for dinner, or the tutorial for changing my bike chain, my search is done. I will consume my content, and get back into the real world to use my new skills.

You may be able to present this visitor some related products and services in the sidebar—but, for the most part, this visitor will tell others about your website, but the chances of selling them your products or services are fairly low.

The other scenario is what we really want to avoid. If someone comes to the site and thinks to him or herself, “This is NOT what I was looking for,” it can be bad for your business—and is perfectly preventable. This type of bounce can be bad for your brand—and, can cause a visitor to actually avoid your website in the future.

How Can You Tell A Good Bounce From a Bad Bounce?

The simplest answer is time. A page that is satisfying a lot of search results perfectly will have a high bounce rate with a long time-per-page. (It will actually time-out the counter in your analytics program.) By contrast, a bad bounce will show that the visitor only stayed for seconds in the analytics.

How do you fix a page with a bad Bounce Rate?

The core problem of a page with a bad bounce rate is that you are really not answering the question of the visitors who are leaving.

Start with the demographics information in your analytics program. Who is coming to the page? Are your visitors coming from a specific country or city? Are they coming from a specific link, advertisement or search results? Be sure to add the bounce rate into all of your research and select the group with the the most amount of traffic to the site.

After you have a better idea of Who is visiting the page on your Website, you will need to determine what they expected to find. What were the search terms they used to find you? What was the text on the advertisement if they clicked on a Pay-per-click ad? Try to summarize the information that your target group may have expected to find.

The next step is to look at the content of the page. Summarize the information or products on that page, and compare it to what you believe your visitors were seeking. How do they compare?

Rewrite, Test and Compare

The last step in the process requires a little patience. In order to lower the bounce rate of a page, you will need to re-write or update the content on that page, wait for a few weeks, and compare. Perhaps a better image will attract more visitors to engage your content. Perhaps you need a better call-to-action in your text. There might be too much market-eze in the language, or not enough.

In short, you will need to re-write your content, allow some traffic to go through the page, and watch that bounce rate to see what happens. Keep adjusting until you get the bounce rate between 40-60%, and then it is time to move on to the next page on your website.

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