Amine is a tech entrepreneur and writer. He is currently the CMO at Regal Assets and CEO at IronMonk Solutions.
Building and ranking a website doesn’t always translate to immediate success. Even the first Google search engine result page (SERP) result can have terrible underlying web analytics. One of these is the bounce rate — a metric that, in my opinion, is the unsung hero of a successful website.
In over a decade at the wheel of two digital marketing agencies, I’ve helped a lot of business owners and webmasters take their websites to new heights. A key pillar of my strategy involves bounce rate improvement — in all cases, I never want a website, whether it’s my own or my client’s, to exceed 50%.
Your bounce rate is a critical, make-or-break benchmark. If you don’t get it under control, you may have to kiss any chance of real, lasting success for your website goodbye. To help you master your bounce rate and keep it as low as possible, I’ve created a short guide on the subject that outlines the strategy I’ve used with my digital marketing clients.
But First, What Is A Bounce Rate?
Marketers throw the term “bounce rate” around so frequently that many business owners feel too afraid to ask what it actually means.
Fortunately, it’s not a complicated concept. Your bounce rate is the percentage of your total unique website visitors who leave after viewing only a single page. A bounce rate is expressed as a percentage: Take the total one-page visits and divide it by the website’s total number of visitor entries.
What Triggers A Bounce?
There are countless potential triggers that could send your website visitors packing, but I’ve listed the most common culprits below.
• Following an external link (or a link that returns a 404 error)
• Leaving the page inactive after switching tabs
• Closing the browser
• Redirecting to a new URL via the address bar
• Navigating back to the search results
Five Solutions For Bounce Rate Improvement
1. Take Another Look At Mobile
Mobile bounce rates tend to be higher than desktop ones because the pages aren’t optimized for vertical, small-screen viewing. If your viewers render your site in a mobile browser and elements are off the screen, disorganized or out of place, then chances are good that they’re going to leave at first sight.
Additionally, website viewers don’t usually have a lot of patience when they’re browsing a poorly rendered or slow-loading site. To remedy the situation, I recommend:
• Making sure all elements load and scale properly in a mobile browser
• Limiting image files to 500 kilobytes or fewer
• Maintaining a maximum image width of 2,500 pixels
• Choosing a reliable web host
• Making sure your theme is responsive if you’re using WordPress
2. Visualize Your Data
We’re visual creatures. If your visitors are bouncing, it might be because there’s not enough visual content to hold their interest.
When I noticed that one of my websites was underperforming, I tried spicing up the content with infographics. Essentially, I’d scour the internet for facts, historical information, sales data and just about any sourced data I could find that was relevant to the site’s niche. Then, I plugged in the data to Canva’s pre-set infographic templates.
Before long, 90% of my articles featured an infographic placed strategically around the top of the article. Everybody loves a little eye candy, and displaying data and relevant info in a visually pleasing way is often enough to pull in your readers.
3. Use More Accessible Formatting
Think of your page as a canvas. Just as painters use white space strategically to let a painting breathe, you should use blank spaces to bring to life important content. Face it: Nobody wants to read unending walls of text. Personally, I’ll click out of any website that doesn’t format text in short paragraphs.
I always keep my website text to no more than four visual lines per paragraph. I also always try to add bulleted lists or images to make the content easier to read and digest. Making these simple formatting adjustments can go a long way toward reducing your bounce rate.
4. Tone Down The Widgets And Promo Elements
Widgets, promo elements and ads crammed into the sidebars and headers of your website can be a major turn-off. I would avoid overdoing it when it comes to sidebar material. Instead of cramming award emblems and badges on your sidebars, consider relegating that material to your website footer. This way, the presentation of the site looks much cleaner.
You never want to overwhelm your visitors with too many “fluff” elements. While awards and trust signals are great, it’s easy to overdo them. When in doubt, scale it down and make sure these elements never distract from the content on your page.
5. Let The Customers Tell The Story
Speaking of trust signals, including customer testimonials is one of the best ways to build faith in your brand or content. If you have an e-commerce website, consider adding in a sliding bar that features real customer testimonials.
Often, website visitors bounce if they feel like the content on a website is illegitimate or untrustworthy. Including real-name customer reviews may help instill enough trust to keep your visitors from bouncing.
Putting It All Together
Remember not to stress too much about your bounce rate. It doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, many say that Google doesn’t factor bounce rate into its ranking algorithms. But still, even a high-ranking website won’t lead to great conversions if customers are routinely bouncing. Ultimately, a bounce rate is only one measure of a website’s success.
By following the steps outlined above — optimizing for mobile, including infographics, shortening your content, cleaning up the page and adding testimonials — you can reduce your bounce rate and keep your visitors on your page.