Lower your bounce rate now and win over doubtful website visitors
When you drive visitors to your website, each visit is most likely costing you money. Ad campaigns to promote your website, employees dealing with traffic optimization or pay-per-click campaigns. But not every paid action leads to quality traffic. A way to determine if you have a lot of worthless traffic is the bounce rate.
For all readers who are not familiar with the term – the bounce rate is an Internet Marketing term used in context with web traffic analysis. It is an index number given as a percentage, representing the number of visitors who enter the website and leave – rather than viewing other pages within the same website. Don’t confuse the bounce rate with the exit rate – the exit rate is the percentage of visitors to a site who actively click away to a different site. If you want it put easy: The bounce rate gives you the percentage of visitors who have clicked a link to your website and left it without taking any further action. The exit rate is the percentage of visitors who left your website on any page they have been on at the moment. The visitor exited on that specific page after browsing other pages on your website.
Web analytics expert Avinash Kaushik describes a high bounce rate even simpler: “They came, they puked, they left.”
The purpose of the bounce rate is to determine the efficiency of your performance online and to give you an overview on your “lost” visitors. A high bounce rate could give you the hint that your website might have a poor performance in general or your front page is not persuasive or appealing enough to encourage your visitors to continue exploring the website. Therefore a low bounce rate means that the website successfully transforms the traffic into interested visitors who continue deeper into the website and might end up as your next customer or reader.
This is not a general rule, so be aware that it could also be other influential factors that are responsible for high or low bounce rates.
But now let us cut to the chase of the matter. This article will deal with the index number – the bounce rate, your worthless website traffic and how to successfully win over undecided visitors. If you haven’t come across analysing your bounce rate yet, try google analytics, for which you only need a google-account. You will enjoy it!
First lets go through 7 basic factors that affect your bounce rate:
If you use pop-ups on your website make sure that they are well-timed. It is all about timing. A pop-up covering the screen before letting the visitors know if they are on the correct page might be irritating. Even though it might be helpful to get more people signed up for your newsletter or else – many visitors find pop-ups rather annoying. So keep in mind that newly acquired visitors might be irritated by an instantly opening pop-up on your website. Be sure to find the right timing and placing it somewhere that it does not annoy your visitors.
Try to make sure, if you are using a pop-up, that you are somehow offering a value to the visitor. Some developers already work with mouse movement analysis by analysing the overall mouse velocity and movement. It can detect whether a visitor is about to leave your website and is often solved with a pop-up giving the visitor a special price offer or even free temporary usage of software. You can also test the impact of your pop-up by displaying it in different time and place. See according to your bounce rate what is more successful!
It´s all about design, too. A visually overcharging, unappealing or aesthetically challenged website doesn’t make it through the night and most definitely will not win over the visitor of your website. Try to look at your website through the eyes of an unbiased visitor. Is it really convincing?
A good website is not necessarily a very complex and expensive one – even simple black and white sites can be effective with the right design. For websites generally a good design is about its function followed by its form, not the other way around. This is why for example mobile sites require terrific design because the space on a mobile device is limited. Use the design capabilities to your full extent because it has a great influence on your bounce rate and can improve it significantly. Even simple changes as for example a change of colour could already lower the bounce rate.
3. Browser Performance
Check your browser performance! If not already familiar with google analytics – this tool can break down the bounce rate by browser type and version. Isn’t that great? You can find out which browser has the highest bounce rate and this is most likely an indicator that parts of your site might not load correctly in a specific browser type or version. At this point I am intentionally not only referring to the Internet Explorer because the joke is really getting old.
The more content you add to your website, the more you will slow down the loading process. If a website takes a really long time to upload the full page, this will boost your bounce rate – but in the wrong direction. Research shows that loading time has a major influence on the bounce rate because the average user does not have the patience for a page that takes too long to load.
5. Mobile versions
More and more users will be browsing the Internet with a smartphone rather than a desktop computer, according to Microsoft research. This should be self-evidently clear that your site needs a mobile interface that works. If you are reading this – and DON’T have a mobile interface: Stop reading and get to it because it is becoming fundamental!
6. Navigation and Usability
Keep all information accessible for your visitor and don’t hide it within unstructured or disorganized areas on your website. If the visitor has no reason to stay because the information is cluttered somewhere in the “nowhere to be found”-section, it is needless to say that the visitor will most likely leave the website. Wouldn’t you?
All this is part of web usability standards – such as the fact that website visitors got used to certain things being in certain places. For example the navigation bar underneath the header or even the header itself would be presumed in the same place on almost every website. It also doesn’t matter if you have blank areas on your website because not everything necessarily needs content or more information. Keep it clean because with only little effort the visitor should know what you want to offer within a short time.
Last but not least – keywords. For instance if you type in “shoes” and arrive on the “Macy´s”-website, you were shown the link because it was optimized for this keyword. Showing the visitor a home page with no reference to shoes but instead other products is not going to be as effective as showing them a page with shoe-offers. In google analytics you can find the top 10 keywords within a table and arrange them by their bounce rate for each keyword. With this procedure you can find out which ones are your worst performing keywords and it will give you an overview on where your worst performing visitors are coming from.
Detectable is also from what website or platform your visitor comes from and it is possible to show them topic-related contents, links and advertisements. But I will dispense this topic later on.
All in all – your site must answer What’s In It For Me? (acronym: WIIFM) from the visitors point of view. What does your website deliver? Does your intension come across? Is the content nicely displayed on mobile devices and desktop computers?
Improving your site on the basis of these 7 factors mentioned above should already lower your bounce rate – and you hopefully didn’t have to spend a penny. Generally said a 50% bounce rate is normal, 60% is alright, 70% is already questionable and 80% clearly states that you are reaching the wrong people or your website is unclear or confusing.
The new trends to convert worthless traffic into quality visitors: exit-intent, origin detection and individual content upload.
Most visitors exit a site without having bought anything, without subscribing to your newsletter or even without any further action. With exit-intent plugins you can detect the moment in which your visitor is hesitating to buy a product or to continue on your website. Exit-intent is a technology used to analyse mouse movement in order to predict the next step of the visitor. As soon as the user tries to leave the page, by dragging the cursor in the direction of the closing-button, a pop-up appears. How can you increase your sales through exit-intent? Quite simple: before the visitor leaves your website you have one last option to win them over with your pop-up. You have a video explaining or describing your product? – you can use it for your pop-up. You have a special offer for new customers or in general? – a nice way to trigger visitors into buying.
For example bounce exchange offers this technology– check their website for more information on exit-intent.
2. Origin-detection and individual content
Performance cookies can highlight articles or related website services that might be of interest for the visitor. The behaviourally targeted advertising cookie can display specific offers and services that might be relevant or interesting for the visitor and optimizes the website based on the users past browsing activity. There are many more! Tracemyip.org offers free software to track the visitors browsing activity.
This trend is all about knowing who your visitor is and from what page, keyword entry, advertisement or other link he was directed to your website. All of this information is valuable to you as a host in order to adjust your websites’ form and content to each individuals wants and needs. And this is not even the best part. Read more on this topic here.
International websites for example use this function to display their website in the native language of the visitor by tracing the IP-address and using the detected country information.