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Shhhh… You hear that? Listen closely…. Yeah, that’s the sound of people bouncing from your site at an alarming rate. And a high bounce rate is exactly what you don’t want to happen.
Just to clarify — Google Analytics defines bounce rate as the measurement of visit quality. A high bounce rate can mean your site entrance to your website isn’t relevant to your visitors and is based only on visits that start and end with that page. This is not to be confused with exit rate, which is the percentage of page views, with a particular page being the last of their session.
Everybody likes to think their website pages are the best. But the truth is – bounces happen far more often than you think. And if you are a business owner or manager, it’s your job to uncover the problems that cause people to leave your website so quickly. It could simply be that you don’t carry the product they were looking for, the content they clicked on wasn’t what they expected or maybe your site didn’t render correctly in their browser.
Each of those aspects are equally important in keeping visitors on your site. To become more proactive in reducing your bounce rate percentages, follow these simple tips:
1. Make sure your site can be viewed across multiple browsers
OK, I’ve always been a bit old school, using the standby Internet Explorer most of the time. More recently I’ve crossed over the Chrome, but don’t forget Safari and Firefox! My point is you never know who is using what browser when they visit your website. So, make sure it is compatible with all of them! There are tools (and some are free!) to help — like Browser Sandbox and Netrenderer. Do some research to find the best one for your company
2. Build your site to be responsive
I can’t stress the importance of a responsive site – one that will also render correctly on a mobile device. Here are some stats to back up my statement:
- 56 percent of American adults have a smartphone and 34 percent of American adults own a tablet (and these numbers are growing rapidly)
- 28 percent of Internet usage comes from mobile phones, and 46% of consumers are unlikely to return to your site if it didn’t work properly
- According to Google, 63 percent of US smartphone owners made purchases on their smartphones at least monthly, with 20 percent saying they made daily purchases.
Get the drift?
3. Freshen up your content
Was the last blog or news item on your site from July… of 2005? You might LOL at that, but this happens more than you think. Obviously your content is very outdated and not in a format that is pleasing to today’s web viewer’s eye. In this age of content marketing, you must make sure you add features like blogs to your site that are actionable, valuable and relevant to your core readers. Take some time to discover the pages on your site that already get the most traffic — and update those pages first and perhaps even create other valuable content based around those topics.
4. Identify and compare the high and low bounce pages
This is pretty straightforward. First, you might want to find what the standard bounce rate is for your specific industry and assess the performance of your web pages against those numbers. From there, you can approach your own site more strategically.
You could find calls to action on a page gives people the wrong impression or maybe the actual content wasn’t what they expected, either. These things can easily prompt your user to hit the back button.
5. Please don’t use pop-ups or links that distract
Can I be frank for a moment – nothing is worse than an ad popping up just as I start reading a really good article. Oh wait – I don’t know if it’s good because the pop-up is covering it!
Along those same lines, nothing invites your visitors to bid adios to your site like an external link. Sure, some are unavoidable, especially if you are giving attribution to an author. But use them wisely – and sparingly.
6. Evaluate your keyword strategy
We all know Google likes to keep us on our toes, constantly changing search algorithms on us. But it goes to show how crucial it is to audit your own site’s keywords to see which are popular and which are not. As time passes, people change their search habits, therefore keywords should evolve, as well. It’s recommended to do this every six months to keep keywords current and bounce rates down.
Your website is your 24/7 business card to the world. Don’t miss opportunities by just letting it complacently sit in cyberspace. Actively following these steps will ensure your site gets the attention it deserves – with much less bounce!