Bounce rate - how bouncy is your website

Bounce rate - how bouncy is your website

Time is money so the saying goes.  It’s an old phrase but it’s still relevant when we talk about an online presence.

Do you know how long do users stay on your website? Recent stats tell us it’s less than 15 seconds on average. 15 seconds to capture, and hold, someone’s attention. There’s pressure for you! We used to care about ‘hits’ and ‘page views’. Now, as online has become a way of life, it’s about quality not quantity. Keeping an audience engaged in an increasingly busy online market is challenging to say the least. With so many competitors in every industry, you need to take the time to understand why visitors are or aren’t, staying on your website.

When did you last look at your bounce rate? Looking at the analytics of your site will very quickly reveal how well it’s performing. You need to focus on dwell time.

We recently talked about quality over quantity. Google loves quality content. It engages customers and means they will stay on your site longer and are more likely to explore other pages.  Poor content means customers will bounce straight off your site – losing you a sale. The longer they spend on your site, the more likely they are to spend money.

By looking at the analytics of your site, you can start to build a picture of customer behaviour when they are on your website and which pages they are attracted to. BUT (there’s always a but) how do you interpret this?  According to SEO firm YOAST, your high bounce rate has three different interpretations:

1. The quality of the page is low. There’s nothing inviting to engage with
2. Your audience doesn’t match the purpose of the page and won’t engage with your page
3. Visitors have found the information that they were looking for – in which case, nice work!

Though a high bounce rate isn’t always bad, it’s important to reduce it where possible, but keep dwell time high.  That means taking the time to understand why visitors leave your website.

Looks matter

A well-designed site is instantly engaging. A great image, an entertaining headline, or a great offer. It matters. As soon as a visitor has that taken that bait, they’re far more likely to look at other pages. However, any good designer will tell you that the key is not to give visitors too many options. Too many options are off-putting and confusing, leading to fewer sales and a higher bounce rate.

  • Keep the design simple but engaging.
  • Get your key message and/or offers on your homepage. You have a short window to convince visitors that your business is the one they want to buy from
  • Consistency – brand consistency is key here. It’s reassuring for visitors
  • If you’re familiar with our work, you’ve probably read our articles on colour psychology and the importance of typography – don’t underestimate the power of either. Both should reflect the personality of your brand as well as being engaging for the visitor.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from visitors. They’ll help shape your site thereby enhancing user experience.

You’ll experience a high bounce rate if your site isn’t responsive or as a minimum, mobile friendly. A recent stat indicated that 30% of mobile shoppers have bounced off a site because it wasn’t optimised for mobile. A responsive website will shrink with your browser. Content, images, spacing will adjust but it is usable. This layout will make it far easier for the website visitor to view your site on a mobile device, as well as looking good. Transitioning to a responsive design will help build trust, increase usability, and lower bounce rates.

Yes, content is still king

It used to be that you had to have as much content as possible on your site. Now, as we mentioned earlier, it’s quality over quantity. What do we mean by quality?

Expertise – your customer wants reassurance that you are an expert industry. They want to trust you so make sure any content reflects your breadth of knowledge.

Revitalise old content – a site full of old content isn’t appealing. Breath life into old content by updating stats or adding insights – it shows that you’re aware of what’s going on in the wider industry.

Blah blah blah – don’t bang on about a particular topic. A wall of text is just irritating. Use images to portray stats or a particular point. It means your audience is far less likely to become bored trying to find the information they’re looking for.

Trust is key

Like all relationships, trust is vital. Creating trust in an online environment is even harder. So, where to start?

Brand consistency – from your headers to your content, to your terms and conditions, it should all look like ‘you’. It’s reassuring to any visitor to see that you’ve taken time to invest in a site that is consistent and relevant.

Credibility – People buy from people. In this case, they’re more likely to buy if they see credible customer reviews on your site. Don’t bury them away – they should be on the homepage or easily found within the main navigation. Additionally, use the ‘About Us’ to let your audience know all about you and your industry experience.

As we mentioned earlier, content is integral to building trust. The content you share plays a part in how much people trust you, and for good reason. The more facts, figures, and successes you can share, the more customers will view your website as a reliable source of information.

Link checking – don’t forget to make sure all your pages and links are working and are updated! It’s simple but often easily missed. It negatively affects the user experience and is likely to lead to lost sales.

First impressions count

Website visitors have come to your site with a purpose. You’ve got those 15 seconds to make a good first impression, otherwise they’re off. A bad first impression can have a lasting impact and leave your bounce rate higher than you would like.

Knowing me, knowing you

ABBA rather pre-dated the internet, but their song title rings true. You need to get to know your customers. What do they want? How can you ensure they’ll buy from you? Taking the time to understand your audience will result in (hopefully) better sales and lower bounce rates.

Basic demographics should include:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Education
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Marital status
  • Number of children
  • Ethnicity
  • Occupation

Once you have gathered the facts, you can start to build a picture of your audience and work on your messaging. Over time, once you have established a connection with your audience you can start to understand why customers buy from you. You can then personalise offers or appeal to a particular hobby. Try to gather information on each visitor including;

  • Interests/hobbies
  • Personality
  • Lifestyle
  • Attitudes
  • Values

This should create loyalty to you and your brand thereby helping to lower bounce rates.

So, there you have it. Our advice isn’t exhaustive as there are many factors that can help to lower your bounce rate but these, we feel, are some of the most important. Ultimately you need to build trust. You’ll see longer site visits, lower bounce rates and happier customers.

If you would like help with your website, bounce on over to us, we’re bursting with ideas.