Are you bouncing your customers straight off your website almost as soon as they arrive? What a question! Few in business would want to knowingly send website visitors away, yet I suspect most websites are unwittingly doing exactly that! The key is: bounce rate.
Here's how you can tell what your bounce rate is, plus, if your bounce rate is too high, we'll suggest some ways that you can massively reduce your bounce rate and therefore interact more with your visitors. The desired result: doing more business on the web.
What is Bounce Rate Really?
There is a phrase that I find myself interacting with often that goes something like this.
You know how reality has at least two obvious "faces": one face is that which we think or assume is the nature of something; then there's another face that presents us with the true nature of the thing we're talking about. So many aspects of life have a "what we think it is ..." verses a "what it really is ..." scenario. Bounce rate fits into the idea perfectly. Let's delve deeper into bounce rate.
What Causes Higher Bounce Rates?
Lots of things can do that, including:
- Bad web design. Do remember, that today, online especially, how something works or performs, is also part of design. Research the best web designs. Those that do also respect the value of your visitors' time. Don't waste their minutes and seconds: just like you, your visitors can't get them back. Make their visit worthwhile.
- Deceptive ways to get visitors to a website. Naturally, we all hate being deceived. If we see an ad about something, click the ad, then end up on website discussing something completely different to what the ad was about, we feel deceived.
- Too many ads on pages. You've probably already come across those low grade websites that have a small area of content about the page, yet is surrounded by ads. Take note, Google and other search sources will almost certainly progressively destroy those kinds of website.
- Web pages that are just too "heavy" or take too long to load. Who wants to wait minutes for a web page to load?
- Content that is irrelevant to what visitors expect. Sometimes, mistakes happen: the wrong visitor comes to the wrong website. We can only apologise and seek to do better.
- Too much text for people expecting lots of pictures and videos. While we are writers here, we appreciate that lots of people find "too much text" intimidating and overwhelming. Know your audience, and respond to their needs. If you're not sure what those are, occasionally, just ask them through quick online surveys.
- Users may disagree with the web page content. Though that usually takes some time, and requires some interaction, so may not directly affect bounce rate.
Bounce Rate Can Feel Like Being Stripped Naked in a Crowded Room Full of Strangers
Enough of dramatic imagery: let's get precise. More specifically, your bounce rate:
- Is a percentage measure of visitors who came to a single page on your website and who then promptly left from the same (landing) page, without visiting any other pages on your site. Ouch!
- Is an incredibly powerful, simple and highly reliable website quality indicator.
- Is a key metric measure or predictor of the success of your website.
- Tells you with one simple number, whether the page or pages that your visitors use are relevant to them or come up to their expectations. If most of your visitors leave without checking out any further pages on your website, your bounce rate goes up. That probably means that your core message or strategy needs some work.
- Most importantly, your website bounce rate helps you ask better questions about everything to do with your website. If the bounce rate is "wrong", with a courageous attitude, we can start asking the right questions.
Where Can You Find Your Own Website Bounce Rate?
Some years ago, those wonderful people at Google made a seemingly insignificant software application available free for anyone to use: Google Analytics. You can apply for a free Google Analytics account. Google then provides you with some lines of web design code that you can insert into your website. From that point on, you can measure how your website is performing in a surprising number of ways. One of the key indicators is Bounce rate.
Of all the aspects that Google Analytics measures, without doubt, my favorite is the bounce rate. Here's why:
- Bounce rate tells it like it is.
- Bounce rate is simple.
- Bounce rate is unmistakable.
How to Interpret Web Page Bounce Rates
Typical website bounce rates are usually between 40% — 60%. If your site's bounce rate is over 60%, then converting visitors into sales (your conversion rate) is probably very low: perhaps 1% or less.
However, low bounce rates or high bounce rates do not tell the entire story of why your website may be successful, or apparently not successful. There is more at stake.
Better performing websites with low bounce rates can have conversion rates of 20%, 30% or more!
Also remember, you can have bounce rates for a variety of different pages, not just your home page. So do check the bounce rates in several areas, not just your main entry page.
Initially, aim to get your bounce rate to below 20% — ideally 10% or less. If you do that, almost certainly, your sales will go up — maybe even rocket! What's more, if your current bounce rate is high and you follow the guidelines and suggestions presented in this article, your bounce rate should fall.
Tip: when your bounce rate goes down, you can have the option to work less, enjoy more time relaxing, while still achieving the same returns. A low bounce rate is a near perfect demonstration of how "less really is more".
How to Reduce Your Website Bounce Rate
The page that a visitor uses to first find your website can be referred to as a landing page. Your landing pages can typically be:
- Your home page, or ...
- One or more other content pages, or ...
- A specific, special, often simplified page containing only an email sign-up form.
Other, arguably more aggressive landing pages are sometimes referred to as "squeeze pages".
Also, address any issues identified in: "What Causes High Bounce Rates?" above.
Tapping Into the Power of Relevance
One key point about your landing pages is: relevance. If a new visitor comes to your landing page and finds a page that contains content that is relevant to what she is seeking, or which is compelling, intriguing or attractive, then your visitor is more likely to stay longer to read, hear or explore further to find out what else you have to say that may be worth the effort. When that happens, you have achieved the first stage of: conversion — converting a visitor into someone who is more than just a visitor.
By changing your approach, you can also massively reduce your bounce rate — most likely the holy grail of website marketing. Buy why bother? Only when you reduce your bounce rate, can you at last start to build a trusting relationship with your visitor. With trust, most other benefits can follow.
Remember, that each web page ideally needs to focus on one keyword or key phrase. Why: that's what the page is about. So for example, if we're writing a web page about finding the best deals for touring Ireland, we might have the key phase: "Ireland travel deals" or "traveling to ireland". To reduce your bounce rate, make sure that each landing page — plus any on-page ads that you may also include — has a central keyword or key phrase that is tailored to the page content.
- That way, your visitor knows in advance what your page is most likely going to be about before she arrives at your landing page.
- When she does arrive at your landing page, your goal is to impress with substance rather than hype.
- If the content you supply matches or ideally exceeds her initial expectations in relation to the kind of information and services that were promised in the search engine results page where she first found you, or in the Google AdWord ad copy, you win. Your bounce rate goes down and you have positively set the scene on which to do some kind of business — perhaps a sale, perhaps an opt-in to your email list.
- No surprises also mean that your visitor is less likely to feel mislead.
- Be clear. Be transparent. Look for ways to add genuine, original value.
The Most Valuable Word for Businesses Everywhere Today
Through this process, we create something called: presence — the state of being present. By exploring ways to reduce our bounce rate, visitors to www.InternetTIPS.com are bestowing on us what is arguably the most precious quality today we could ever hope for: their attention.
When someone — every single visitor — is kind enough to give you their attention, even if only for a short while, I recommend: treat that choice as though it is the most precious jewel you'll ever come across! Here's why: in our hopelessly busy, frantic, cluttered, messy world, that's exactly what attention is: a precious gift.
Most of us are exposed to what I can best describe as "The noise of life". All around us, with have distractions that, if we don't take steps to tame the beast, demand our time and presence: work, family, friends, hobbies, television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and so on.
So breaking through "the clutter of a thousand voices", simply to be heard for a few seconds, can sometimes be a huge challenge.
Tip: the harder something may at first appear, the simpler the solution can often be when we commit to think differently. Step outside of the problem, float above and look down on what you're trying to solve. You may see a different perspective, catch a different clue, see a new possibility in your mind's eye.
The Truth Underneath
Your visitors also have any number of conflicting "pulls" on their time — and their attention. So when they choose your website over any number of other activities they could otherwise be engaging in, I recommend dear reader that you hold that thought close to your heart and respond in kind by giving more back, and then more still.
For a commercial website, when you have someone's attention, you have the potential to create sales where there were none before. OK, I know, that sounds like I'm stating an obvious point, but you know, sometimes by "skimming over the obvious", we can miss underlying truths. And that's my point here: attention is gold.
Maybe The Path to Millions — But Millions of What?
Assume from the outset, that sooner or later you'll have the attention of thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of visitors from all around the world. Hold that thought. Now what about the strategy to get you there? No problem: here's what I suggest you do:
- Start to really appreciate the true value of those seemingly average events called: getting someone's attention voluntarily. Understand that "earned" focus on you — or gaining attention — is worth a lot more than most of us may initially think. Repeatedly remind yourself that the ability to manufacture the desire for attention is one of the true six great "Tools of Successful Living" — the other five are: Words, Time, Patience, Persistence and Reasonable Health.
- Cultivate a feeling of incredible gratitude. Yes, being thankful is just that. No matter how indispensable we think we are, people almost always have choices: they can go somewhere else or do something different in an instant on the web. On the Internet especially, we're all surrounded by a stunning range of choice.
- Appreciate that we can't force people to want to come to a website. On the web, your visitor is in total control. When you work with that realisation, you can win. What's more, we don't want everyone to come anyway: only those who may be interested in what we have to offer. If you're seeking a website that discusses the sport of tennis, you probably wouldn't appreciate a website on fly fishing.
- Look for ways to offer massive original value. The key word here is "original". Remember: great web pages work over and over again both for the same people and different people for as long as you make them available. Think writing, producing, publishing and expect millions to turn up — do that enough times and you might just get what you seek.
Tip: being original is nowhere near as difficult as I suspect most people think. Here's why: when you truly understand that there is no-one else quite like you in the world, you'll get it, you really will! When you start to relax in the knowledge that you're unique, you can find that original thoughts and ideas flow more easily out of your head via a computer keyboard — or voice-to-text software — straight onto a computer screen. Or if you prefer, just use pen and paper initially. Most important: do whatever works for you to ensure that you don't stop the flow.
- Make each visit that someone is kind enough to make to your website or blog, a beneficial, worthwhile experience for them. On this insignificant pale blue dot called Earth spinning in our little corner of space, we're all seeking something at some stage; products, services, answers, solutions, tips, techniques, guidelines, strategies, knowledge, insights, ideas, and so on. Give to your visitors something from your mind that they can't get from anywhere else — share something worthy of their time and attention. Give some of your thought value away free — then do it all again tomorrow if you can, or at least on a regular basis.
- What is crucial is that your visitor goes away from your website with the feeling that by their visit right now, they have clearly benefited in ways that are tangible, memorable and which make sense to them. The operative key word here that I want to stress is: feeling. Feelings are important to us. How we feel about something is sometimes more important than how it may really be!
- Don't aim for total perfection: you'll never get there. Certainly do your best and keep striving to improve. However, understand that whatever you do, you're going to make some mistakes — some may even be embarrassing to say the least. Don't worry: learn the lesson and move on. In fact, mistakes can actually be our best friend — so long as we understand that all mistakes are just "test points" while we perfect whatever we're trying to master.
The Fruits of Attention Mastery
Working on the business of attention mastery sounds like a lot of work. A surprising observation is that when you're having fun, you don't notice effort so much. Furthermore, just like learning to walk, ride a bike, or raise kids: you just work it out step by step, make mistakes but keep practicing. Sooner than you realise, you may not even notice what once might have taken real effort, you can now complete with ease.
Consider the benefits of what we suggest in this article:
- Trusting relationships: once trust has been established, I recommend, don't ever betray it. Why: two reasons, firstly (1) keeping someone's trust is a nice thing to do; it's also what gives you that warm fuzzy feeling deep inside; (2) trust is another word for sales: when you have trust, you can generate profitable living more easily. That means, as successful, profitable website providers, we need to master how to create trust and credibility quickly. One mouse click and your visitor may be gone — forever. Remedy: make a credible impact soon!
- Repeat visits: each repeat visit is another offer of presence — or attention. Sometimes, only one more repeat visit can result in thousands, or tens of thousands in sales! Make no mistake: repeat visits are crucial. Repeat visits are earned by real giving value first.
- Opt-ins and e-newsletter sign-ups: when someone opts in to your contact list, on one level, they're saying: "Tell me more". Someone else may be saying something like: "If you can provide me with what I want, I'll buy from you today". How cool is that? Nevertheless, opt-ins also tie in closely to trust, consideration and respect for your customer. The remedy: be nice; be considerate; be accomplished and most everything else can be made possible. Being nice is much easier than promoting deviousness, deception and other less desirable tactics. Being nice is also more profitable long term.
- Sales: the lifeblood for commercial websites. Enough said.
- Repeat sales with little or any further marketing required: the holy grail of doing business on the Internet. Make your first sale to a new customer a success and the effort to create subsequent sales can seem easy by comparison.
A Surprising Admission
At one time, here at www.InternetTIPS.com, our bounce rate was over 20%. A few years ago, on an earlier version of InternetTIPS.com, we got our bounce rate down to 0.66% — less than 1%. That means, the vast majority of our visitors were doing precisely what we initially hoped they would do: staying for longer and exploring the website further.
Since those days, the web has changed, many folks feel even busier, impatience is growing, and perhaps we read less online. Search engines want unique content made up of words, graphics, and videos. Yet many people prefer to the faster medium of video online. In addition, we became so busy working on multiple projects that we neglected working on our website content. As a result, naturally, the bounce rate went up much higher.
Now we have a new version of the website, plus more time to commit to this long-term website project, so we'll soon start work on adding lots of useful content, interacting with visitors, and hopefully, getting our bounce rate down again. Bounce rate tends to remind website providers that we get back what we put in, and about changing web landscapes.
Tip: people only stay around if what they find is relevant to them and has real value.
So just how did we originally get our bounce rate down to such a low level? The answer may surprise you: we didn't actually try to get our bounce rate down at all! Instead, we simply concentrated on creating what we visualise as "quality content". To do that, we asked ourselves two key questions:
- What would we like to see if we visited InternetTIPS.com?
- What can we do, that has value, that hasn't been done before in quite the same way?
The answers that emerged from our two revealing questions above essentially suggested doing more of two key activities:
- Focus on creating original, high value, quality content.
- Encourage visitors to explore the website pages.
A strategy that doesn't sound hugely exciting, yet one that can be incredibly successful!
Tip: often, a simple short statement based on proven methodologies can contain a remarkable level of truth.
Suggested Action Plan: Blueprint Steps for You to Consider
So dear reader, I recommend: check your bounce rate. If yours is above 10%, I suggest follow the steps below:
- Think CMS: a web Content Management System or CMS allows you to take full control of your website content to write and publish web pages whenever you want: it's that simple.
- Therefore, if you haven't done so already, consider converting your website to one that is managed by a web Content Management System (CMS) such as Joomla. The next best choice in your editor's opinion is WordPress — though compared to what Joomla offers, WordPress has some clear limitations.
Tip: WordPress was originally set up as a blogging platform — and that core driver is, I believe, what limits it's power. Joomla however, is a full web Content Management System that includes blogging as one of its many options. This author, at least, is not surprised to find that Joomla is one of the most popular web Content Management System in the world (research on Google Trends).
- Think simpler. Consider using a superb static website development tool like Publii. Why? While Joomla, WordPress, and other web content management systems offer remarkable power, choice, flexibility, sometimes, you may not need most of what's on offer. So why not simplify?
- Commit to learning how to perfect better ways to communicate: communication skills are invaluable in today's fickle world. If you can communicate well, engage with others both those you meet and people whom you may never meet in person, make no mistake, you, dear reader, have real options and a special kind of power: use it responsibly and in ways that enhance the lives and others, then watch as if by magic, how your life can improve too.
- Study the art of persuasion — a special form of communications. Use the search box on this website: you can find lots of free content, tips, techniques, ideas and approaches that we have found work well. Also, use, Google to search for interesting websites and articles about how to become a better persuader.
- Make a swipe file of websites that you like, plus create another swipe file of those sites that you don't like: get to understand the reasons why some website messages don't work for you. Here's why:
Tip: if you don't like the approach a particular website uses, others tool also certainly feel the same way. By taking a curious interest into human nature, you'll get to know better what to avoid. Study what works best, then use that as a basis to create your own versions. By creating content that you like, you'll also more likely attract people to your website that are responsive to your way of "connecting" and doing business.
- Look for ways to remove hype from your website content and articles. Why: hype says one message loud and clear: "I'm an amateur". Instead, I suggest, see yourself as a professional the moment you make the choice to do just that. Continuously think, act and behave like the ideal professional person you would like to work with. Sooner than you might think, you can become that person, your positive alter ego. If you're still not convinced by anything else I suggest in this article, understand this: professionals get paid more!
- Write original articles. If you can "speak" thoughts in your mind (most people can do that), then you can write. The rest is just practice, practice, practice. Articles are only thoughts arranged in a structured, entertaining or beguiling manner. Books are collections of articles. Websites can seem like special assemblies of articles that come alive containing pictures, sounds, animation and the kind of movement that only video can provide.
Tip: to create text content, consider the 4-word plan: write fast, edit slowly. How: first, capture your thoughts quickly in any way you can. Then edit or restructure your "notes" more slowly to create a logical, engaging flow, presentation or argument. Keep writing: with regular practice, we can all get better at any activity.
- Don't forget, you can "write" with sound and vision too! That means, if you tire of writing, why not record your voice? Create mp3 audio files and upload those to your website. Even better, if you feel comfortable in front of a video camera, make some videos and use those to engage, persuade, entertain and share what you know. If you really want to ramp up your content quality, create what I refer to as "original VAT content pages": remarkable web pages that contain Video, Audio and Text content that all work together to discuss or explore a topic.
- Be patient; persevere: sometimes, reducing your website bounce rate takes time. Don't give up. Keep checking those all-important Google Analytics metrics: the numbers don't lie — use the absolute truth that Google Analytics can provide to your advantage while it is still free.
- Publish your articles and web page content regularly. Ideally, aim for one new article or content web page every 2 days — especially if your website or domain name is new.
- Urge other websites to link to your website. Consider ways to gain back links from other websites. How: submit articles to article directories; share content; write press releases and submit to paid press release websites like: PRleap.com, PRweb.com, the Free Press Release Center, and so on.
Tip: provide web pages that have real substance. Quality websites often prefer not to link to a website that is presented poorly, or which contains content that is low quality, or full of adverts with little true content. Most won't tell you why they reject your content or your possible request to exchange links.
- Seek to become a trusted "website authority" especially on at least one key aspect of your website theme. How: think about your website topics, the challenges, problems, solutions, then use the questions you generate in your mind as the raw material for articles. Use those well established journalistic prompts: who, what, where, why, how and when to tackle the real issues that matter to your website visitors.
- Don't be afraid of controversy. If you try to please everyone, you risk pleasing no-one. Therefore, be individual. If showing your passion makes sense to you, say it with gusto! Just make sure that what you're saying has a point, is worth listening to and doesn't seek to offend in areas of race, creed, religion, age or gender.
- Share your articles with other websites — on the condition that they agree to include your author and website information and link at the end of each article they choose to use.
- Have fun with all this. Why: life really can be a game; play it well, have a blast and — if you'll indulge me for a moment: never, ever forget InternetTIPS.com most treasured mantra: YYC — Yes You Can!