If your website has a high bounce rate, it means it’s not performing well.
But what is a bounce rate?
To understand this, let’s first look at what a bounce is.
A bounce is a web session in which a user visits only one page on your site. A bounce rate, therefore, is the percentage of sessions in which your visitors viewed only a single page on your website.
What Are the Consequences of a High Bounce Rate?
A high bounce rate means people aren’t browsing your website. They’re just landing on a page and leaving without exploring your site’s other pages.
The only time it’s OK to have a high bounce rate is when you have a single-page website. If you have a website with multiple pages, a high bounce rate is something you should worry about.
Let’s say you have a blog. You would want visitors to read more than just one article when they visit your site. Likewise, if you had a company website, you would want visitors to go beyond the homepage and check out all your products or services.
In short, it’s good when people want to explore your website, and a high bounce rate means that isn’t happening.
What to Do If Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate
First, you’ll need to figure out which pages on your site have the highest bounce rates. Those are the pages you’ll need to focus on.
To see your bounce rate, you should have your website connected to the Google Search Console. Then, sign in to Google Analytics and, one by one, review the bounce rate of each page on your website. If you don’t have Google Analytics on your website, you will need to install it first and give it a bit of time to gather data about the bounce rates.
If you don’t want to go through such a complex procedure, you can install the MonsterInsights plugin instead.
Note: The MonsterInsights plugin only works on WordPress websites.
This plugin simplifies connecting your website to the Google Search Console and displays your bounce rate, plus other helpful stats about your website right in your WordPress dashboard.
Once you’ve identified the web pages with the highest bounce rates, you can optimize them so they’ll stop driving people away.
In the rest of this article, we’ll look at five effective ways to do that.
5 Tips for Improving Your Website’s Bounce Rate
Before we explore ways to reduce your website’s bounce rate, let’s look at some of the more obvious things that could be scaring visitors off.
Commonly, users will abandon a website that has things like:
- Slow loading speed,
- Bugs that prevent it from loading properly,
- Distracting pop-ups,
- Annoying ads.
If your website has these kinds of problems, fix them first. It’s the best way to reduce the bounce rate.
If your site doesn’t have any of these problems, you’ll need to dig deeper to find and fix your bounce rate issues. The following tips will help you do that.
Tip # 1: Make Your Web Pages More Conversion-Focused
You want to convert your visitors into customers, but that’s hard to do if they leave your site after visiting just one page. The more cluttered, vague, and confusing your website is, the harder it will be for your visitors to browse it and take the action you want.
Therefore, your first priority should be to make your website easier to navigate and more conversion-focused.
The three best ways to do that are discussed below.
Improve Your Website Copy
Your website should speak to your visitors. The moment they land on your site, they should instantly know what you offer.
For example, Slack’s homepage copy makes it very clear what they are all about. The headline explains what Slack is and why you should use it, and if you scroll down, you’ll find high-quality screenshots of the tool’s best features.
Your website should be similar. It should welcome visitors and show them what your company, blog, or product is all about.
Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
Your website should have a clean menu for visitors to explore. This is especially true if you have a website with lots of content.
Take HostPapa’s website, for example. The selection of hosting-related services would be hard to fit in a single menu or webpage, and even harder for visitors to navigate.
That’s why HostPapa homepage has two separate menus, and the primary menu (in white) is further divided into subcategories.
The result is that visitors will find it easy to explore and find what they need. You should aim to make your website’s navigation as simple as possible to achieve a similar result.
Place Your CTA Front and Center
What’s the number one thing you want your website visitors to do?
Subscribe to your blog’s newsletter? Sign up for your software’s free trial? Explore your products and services?
Whatever it is, make sure there’s a CTA (call-to-action) button on your website that allows your visitors to take the action you want. Also, make sure that your CTA is bold and prominently placed.
But don’t go CTA-crazy. Each page on your website should have only one CTA and no more.
Airbnb’s website is a great example of how to use CTAs properly. As you can see, each page focuses only on one CTA.
To recap, you can make your site more conversion-focused by:
- Improving its copy,
- Making it easy to navigate,
- Placing your CTAs front and center.
With these three steps, you can improve the chances that people will take action on your website. Before they do that, they’re bound to look around your site, and that means you’ll end up with a lower bounce rate.
Tip # 2: Make Your Website’s Content More Readable
It doesn’t matter whether your website is a blog, an online store, or a company website. The text should be easy to read.
Readable text can dramatically improve the look and feel of a website and make it easy for visitors to understand the message. This is especially true if your website is loaded with text content.
Here are the three ways you can improve the readability of your website:
- Carefully choose your website’s typography. While cool fonts can make a website seem more attractive, they usually don’t make the content more readable. Your website should have a font that’s easy on the eyes.
- Make the font larger and use short sentences. Attention spans aren’t what they used to be. Today’s readers don’t have the patience to go through long blocks of text. You should use short sentences and make the font larger, so your visitors can scan your content faster.
- Increase the space between lines, adding whitespace and breaking content into sections. Your content’s structure matters. Make sure it is divided into sections and the paragraphs have a lot of space between them.
Medium.com is a prime example of a website that focuses on making their content very readable.
Their website exists solely for people to read the content. If they don’t make it easily readable, they’ll find it hard to keep visitors engaged.
In addition to being easily readable, your content should provide value to your readers. It must be useful and should leave people with something they can apply in their life. Otherwise, visitors will simply leave your website, no matter how beautiful it looks.
Tip # 3: Target the Right Audience
You can make all the optimizations you want, but if you’re not getting the right people to come to your website, your bounce rate won’t improve.
For example, if you owned a law firm specializing in corporate law, you’d want your website to attract high-level executives only. Similarly, if you have a website that deals in performance car parts, you would want only car enthusiasts to come to your website.
If you attract the wrong audience, it’s natural that visitors won’t want to explore your site. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re targeting the right people:
- Develop your ideal customer profile. It’s important to research who your ideal customer is. What’s their age, income, and field of business? What are their problems and needs? The more accurate a customer profile you create, the more precise your targeting will be.
- Choose the effective marketing channels. You should focus on the marketing channels that your audience is regularly exposed to. If you don’t market on the platform where your ideal target audience is, you won’t be able to get highly engaged visitors to your website.
- Create better targeted messages. Turn your attention to creating highly targeted messages that capture the attention of your audience.
If you want inspiration on how to craft high-quality, targeted messages, look at SaaS (software as a service) websites. They tend to write incredible copy that targets the right people, pinpoints their problems, and offers corresponding solutions.
As an example, check out Headspace.com. The company provides meditation training to its customers, a fact that’s made abundantly clear by their website.
Attracting just the right audience will drastically improve your bounce rate. You can do it by knowing what the people in that audience are like, which marketing channels they are exposed to, and what kind of message they should see on your website that would resonate with them.
Tip # 4: Optimize Your Website for Speed
Your website’s awesome content and beautiful design can only take you so far if it isn’t loading quickly.
Today, people have powerful computers and phones, and blazing fast internet access. They expect every website to load quickly and work smoothly. If your website isn’t providing that kind of experience, don’t be surprised if visitors leave after visiting just one page.
So, how can you optimize your website to load faster? There are two main areas you should focus on: animations and media elements.
When it comes to animations, have as few as possible. The more scripts your website has to load, the slower it will be. Only use animations and elements that are in HTML5. Don’t use those that work in Java or Flash.
After limiting your site’s animations, you should optimize your media elements as well. This mainly includes images and videos.
Compress images to reduce their size while maintaining quality. There are many tools online that let you do that; here are a few popular ones:
As for videos, it’s best if you don’t host them on your server at all. Instead, upload your videos to YouTube or Vimeo and embed them on your website.
Alternatively, you can upload your videos to a 3rd-party platform like Wistia. All the content you upload there will be under your control, whereas on YouTube and Vimeo, your videos can get removed if you break their rules.
Tip # 5: Increase Your Credibility with Branding and Social Proof
You don’t want your website to look cheap and thrown-together like so many small business sites out there. Instead, you should strive for a professional-looking website with custom-made graphics, consistent branding, and high-quality images.
Having a site like that makes your visitors take it and your business or blog seriously. They’ll pay attention to what you have to say and want to see more.
In addition to branding your website to the highest standards using professional web design, you should seek to improve its credibility by adding social proof, such as:
- Testimonials from existing customers,
- Positive reviews by an acclaimed media site,
- Recommendation of your products or services on Twitter or Facebook.
Here are a few examples of social proof found on Ahrefs website:
Having such big-name clients proves that Ahrefs is a brand that people can trust.
You should aim to achieve a similar effect. You may not have major companies using your products or services, but something as simple as a favorable tweet from a satisfied customer can improve your website’s credibility.
Notion adds tweets from its users to showcase their social proof.
When adding social proof, your goal is to create FOMO (fear of missing out) in your visitors’ minds. They’ll see that many people love what your website offers and feel like they should check it out for themselves.
Creating this feeling in your visitors will get them to stay on your site longer, reducing its bounce rate.
Before You Go…
Let’s review the 5 tips we offered for reducing your website’s bounce rate:
- Make every page more focused on conversions.
- Make your website’s content more readable.
- Target the right audience.
- Optimize your website’s performance to minimize page load time.
- Increase your site’s credibility with consistent branding and social proof.
Taking steps in those areas will definitely help lower your site’s bounce rate, but there are a few more things you can do:
- Use internal links. You can add links to other relevant content on your site. For example, a lawn care company’s article about weed control could link to another of their articles, perhaps one about the best time to reseed a lawn.
Providing links to other parts of your website that visitors may find useful will increase the chances that they will keep exploring your site.
- Eliminate annoying ads. As mentioned before, if you’re using too many popup ads, or a lot of banner or sidebar ads on your website, get rid of them. Ads are the single most annoying thing to users, and they’ll make people want to leave your site.
- Optimize for mobile. The tips in this article aren’t just for the desktop version of your site, they’re equally applicable to the mobile version as well. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll risk having people look at your homepage on their phones and immediately leave.
Following all these tips will help you make your website more engaging to visitors, so they’ll want to stay. When that happens, you’ll see your bounce rate drop dramatically, and your number of engaged visitors will skyrocket.
Which of these tips will you try first on your website?