To clear up any confusion, I am going to start this article with a definition of “bounce rate.” Bounce rate is defined by a user exiting the website on the same page they entered, without moving from that page.
As you can imagine, this varies from site to site and is also dependent on your demographic. Generally speaking, anything up to a 40% bounce rate is nothing to worry about, and anything below 30% is good going. This is quite a large gap to move in, and it needs to be. Consider for one moment the various types of websites, and how bounce rate may differ between them:
1. An eCommerce website. A user visits the site looking to browse classic rock CD’s, or maybe 70’s punk. Or maybe, they’re looking for a new t-shirt. This will all result in a lot of clicking around, thus the bounce rate should be relatively low.
2. A blog. Typically a user will be visiting a niche blog because they have followed a link from elsewhere; possibly a search, possibly a related blog. Because of this, they may have found what they are looking for straight away and have no further need to stick around. This will result in a higher bounce rate.
3. A news website. This kind of website is probably a mixture of the previous two. While a user may search a specific story, they may also be “browsing” the news, looking at other stories. This would result in an average bounce rate.
Obviously there are many more types of websites than the three covered, but I’m sure if you tried you could apply your demographic and site model to one of the three.
So, you have an explanation of bounce rate and a rough idea of what sites produce what bounce rates. Now how do you reduce that bounce rate, getting your visitors to hang around longer and interact with your site more?
There are a multitude of things you can do, some of which are listed below. But get creative and test your own ideas – you know your site and your visitors better than anyone.
- Ensure your landing page is optimised so that the user is finding information that is as accurate to their search as possible.
- Ensure your landing page is well designed and titles are clear (use heading tags)
- Ensure a good internal linking structure so that users can find related links easily
- Offer related links for further reading (don’t let them get lost in the ether, put them at the bottom of your article/page).
- Offer a promotion that entices the user to dig a little deeper into your site – use graphics and callouts to achieve this effectively.
- Offer something fun – a poll or a game – this is sure to get them interested in your site and may even bring them back in the future.