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7 Golden rules for getting your bounce rate below 40%

Published 01 Oct 2014 by Ben Olive-Jones, CANDDi
Read this in about 6 minutes

If that sub-40% bounce rate was a great white whale, the rest of us would all be Captain Ahab, feverishly chasing it through hell & high water to get visitors to our sites and blogs to stay longer. That said, bounce rates are serious business.

website analytics

A high bounce rate, as defined by Google Analytics, is the percentage of single page visitors to a website. It then calculates bounce rate based on whether that person visited another page. Obviously the aim of the game here is to get your traffic to “engage and convert” or to go to another page and start buying something, or download something, or fill out a form etc.

bounce rate

Higher conversions usually equals more enquiries and sales so a low bounce rate is something that we all need to be aiming for.

So, what does having a high bounce rate really mean? Well, most of the time, it means one of two things:

  • 1) the visitor didn’t find what they were looking for or
  • 2) the visitor didn’t like what they found.

There are a number of factors that affect bounce rates and can really help to reduce it. To give you some idea of what they are and how to use them, we’ve listed 7 golden rules for you below on how to get that bounce rate down.

1) Optimise your analytics

This might seem pretty self-explanatory but you need to be sure that you’re measuring what’s called your ‘true’ bounce rate.

To do this, you need to be analysing the time spent on your landing page as opposed to just whether it was a single visit or not. There are many instances when single-page visits can result in conversions so you need to adjust your bounce rate so that it reflects this.If, for example, you have a single page website then having a bounce rate as high as 70-80% doesn’t really matter all that much. You visitors will convert on your single page, leaving when they’re done, and Google Analytics will still register that as a bounce. It’s pretty clear that adjusting your bounce rate in this instance will both lower it and make your analytics much clearer.You also need to similarly adjust the metrics of every page in your profit index, that is every page on your site that are most frequently viewed prior to enquiries, conversions or transactions. By reducing the bounce rate parameters you not only instantly reduce it, you’re giving yourself a much more accurate picture of the traffic to your website.

2) Attract the right traffic

Once again, this might seem obvious but you’d be shocked at the amount of web-based businesses that ignore this fundamental concept. Increasingly, it’s seen as the job of social media to attract traffic and, as social media becomes more entrenched in our lives, it’s becoming essential for companies to be visible and active on social networks. In doing this, you must also meet the expectations of your users and give them a reason to want to engage with your site.

3) Make sure they land softly

It’s been an old adage in the advertising industry that most buyers make a decision on whether to buy or not in the first five seconds and the same is also true of your website. You need to have a landing page that is attractive, informative and loads quickly so that the first thing your visitor sees is something that makes them want to stay longer.You could also consider making multiple landing pages that target visitors from different sources (email/direct/social/etc), which could also tie in with any campaigns that you’re running. We’re going to go into design and content in a bit more detail later but you need to make sure that every aspect of your landing page is geared towards making visitors want to stay.

4) Design is key

I can’t stress enough how important design is these days. In this era of oversaturation, poor design just isn’t tolerated any more and is a major turnoff for potential customers and clients.The best piece of advice here is to design for your target audience, which may not necessarily be the audience you already have, or at least not the majority of it. Design has become a legitimacy signal and the lack thereof can directly impact visitor’s (and prospect’s) perceptions of the quality of your business and services.

5) Content is king

This is something that’s been touted around by content marketers for a while now and is crucial to lowering that bounce rate. Creating engaging, intuitive content is an art unto itself but there are a few basic checks you should be carrying out on everything that you produce: Is your main message obvious? Are the headings and sub-headings clear? Is it tailored to intended visitors? Are there any errors? Is your copy readable? Is the call to action clear and are there obvious links to next steps?If you’re repeatedly ticking all of those boxes then congratulations(!) and you’re on your way to creating some great content! One final pro tip is to try to keep everything as concise as humanly possible; people have very low attention spans these days and brevity is the soul of wit, now more than ever.

6) Website mechanics

Part of achieiving those all-important conversions is making it easy for visitors to navigate your site, and also for your site to load nice and quickly so that visitors don’t get bored. Lazy-loading third party content is a prime way to lower those load times by not actually loading third party content until it’s needed. You also need to ensure that your site is responsive and resizes perfectly to tablets and mobile devices, which are making up increasing amounts of website traffic.Ad placement and pop-ups are also things to be very mindful of. Pop-up adds are an instant turn off and should be avoided at all cost whereas embedded ads are permissible, but only if you’re avoiding standard ad sizes as this is something that will negatively affect your page rank.Above all, your website needs to be easy and clear to navigate and should always include a search function.The website mechanics, whilst might seem like secondary concerns to your landing page and content, are just as important and, if you’ve got them sorted just right, are sure to lower your bounce rate.

7) SEO

Implementing good SEO is a very long process and is best carried out by a dedicated SEO agency. Given the changes in Google’s algorithm recently, SEO is now as much about social media and content as it is about keywords. SEO is the final tool needed to reduce your bounce rate and is an essential one as, with good SEO, you could be getting bounce rates as low as 5%!It’s worth mentioning here that the above seven ‘golden rules’ should not be considered as separate, rather they should be implemented as one so that the visitors to your website see a consolidated, whole product that compels them to stay and convert.

Thanks for reading! Hope you found it useful!

Ben Olive-Jones

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