Bounce rate on a website is the equivalent of kryptonite to Superman. While not deadly, bounces are a frustrating reality for most website owners.
Web analytics company, KissMetrics, ran a study that found that the average bounce rate for a website is 40.5%. But depending on your industry, you might see something different: retail sites get 20-40%, content sites gets 40-60%, service sites see 10-30%, etc. Many of these bounces come from first time visitors.
While bounce rates are disappointing, they are also an indicator that something can (and should) be fixed on your site. Whether it’s simple navigation changes, design layout, or targeting efforts, there are a few things you can do immediately to reduce your bounce rate.
1. Focus on Attracting the Right Audience
Keyword optimization is a crucial part of directing users to your site. But make sure you’re not attracting the WRONG kinds of users. Be cognisant of who your visitors should be and deliver content that speaks to their needs and interests.
For example, if you sell shoes, optimize for shoe-related keywords. The goal is that visitors who have searched for shoes will be happy with your results if you are delivering on the SEO promise that you do, in fact, sell shoes. Don’t optimize around socks and shoelaces unless you also sell those. It’s a waste of your SEO juice and your visitors’ time – plus it increases bounce rate.
If you notice that your bounce rate is high, specifically on your homepage or subsequent landing pages, take a look at your keywords and make some specific alterations.
2. Reconsider Your Site Navigation
Bounces happen when a visitor comes to your site and leaves before clicking through to another page. This can happen because they consumed the content they came for, and decided to leave, or because they didn’t find what they were looking for on your page. So, how do you engage visitors beyond their first page view?
Start by laying out your homepage and navigation with visitors in mind. Make the best use of your space – balance white space with educational, but simple, copy. Use images to help convey your point or product and use large call-to-actions.
Navigation should be direct and simple (don’t have a deep navigation – go broad and wide if your site is diverse enough). The goal is to create an environment that is clearly navigable to lead your visitors in the right direction. Check out the example below of the Minneapolis Running website, which utilizes drop-down menus of different categories based on user interests.
3. Show Targeted Content to First Time Visitors
Just like you would with a brick and mortar store, you can, and should, greet new visitors. You can engage first-time site visitors using Audience Targeting tools that allow you to show a different message to different types of different users.
A best practice is to show targeted messages to visitors as they demonstrate exit intent, which encourages them to take an action without interrupting their content experience.
4. Use Content Recommendations to Increase Engagement
Encourage deeper site engagement through the use of Content Recommendation tools, which use a visitor’s online activity and popular content to highlight relevant content and encourage that next click.
We’ve actually seen personalized content recommendations (versus non-personalized recommendations), drive 50% higher click-through rates.
5. Be Mobile-Friendly
More than half of all Internet users now consume content on their mobile devices.
If your website still isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re begging for high bounce rates. When building out or updating a website, all owners now need to keep mobile in mind.
There are over a billion websites available on the web and if yours is hard to navigate on an iPhone or Android, your visitors (especially new ones) will leave.
As you plan how to reduce your bounce rate, tell us in a comment below: What has worked best in the past, and which of these strategies are you excited to try in the future?