In your quest to drive more individuals to your site and increase contacts in your system you’ve gone through all the usual checks and balances. Unfortunately, sometimes people come to your site and leave without taking another action. No button click, no link click, and no next page. And in turn, a high bounce rate. People may view one page, poke around, and leave without viewing another or fill a form. They “bounce” before you’ve had a chance to convert them. And while you want your metrics to trend high, you don’t want a high bounce rate. You want it as low as possible. But what is a good bounce rate? Generally speaking a bounce in the range of 25 – 40% is excellent. 41 – 55 is average. Anything above 55 is higher than average and should be looked into further. This post will detail the 17 updates to decrease bounce rate, improve user experience, and increase conversions.
By the end end of this post you will have the knowledge needed to decrease your bounce rate. And in turn, increase the number of conversions.
1. Speed Up Your Page Load Time
There’s a reason it’s first on this list. It’s that important. Users expect a webpage to load in less than 2 seconds. And after 3 seconds – they’re gone. Off to a competitor’s site.
The slower your page loads, the lower your conversion rate will be. And that’s due to people bouncing right off your page. A slow site discourages any action on your site. And in today’s technological age there’s no excuse for a slow site. There are plenty of tools online to help you speed up your site.
2. Make Your Navigation Logical and Intuitive
This may seem like a no-brainer, but people get it wrong. Placement of your navigation should either be across the top, down the left column, or in a hamburger menu. Anything else will cause your user to pause and question your choices. And typical categories win over confusing titles every time. Company, about us, product(s), service(s), resources are all forms of acceptable nav items. What’s not? Branded terms that aren’t descriptive, are too specific, and only known within your company. When in doubt keep it simple and logical. And run it through the grandma test. Would grandma be able to navigate your site with ease? Would she get hung up along the way? If grandma can navigate your site through to conversion, most prospective buyers will be able to as well.
3. Improve Your Readability
One of the top reasons a user may bounce is your site’s lack of readability. User experience begins and ends with content. If your content is unreadable you are doing yourself a disservice. Text should be short, easy to comprehend, and scannable allowing for different levels of reading. Compose your post into manageable chunks. And always write as you speak. Your job is to keep them on the page and on to other pages.
Here are some tips to do that:
• Write clear and concise headlines
• Use subheads to further break up information
• Use bullet points when you can
• Break up content with images, charts, or screenshots
• Close your page with a clear call to action
4. Create a Compelling Call-to-Action
Can visitors find an actionable button within 3 seconds of landing on your website? A good call-to-action (cta) will make or break your site. Without one your bounce rate will take a hit. Most small business sites lack any cta. They aren’t even giving themselves a chance.
Whatever you do, make your cta compelling. It should make users want to see what’s on the other side. And every element matters. From the color, shape, and location of the button, to the text itself asking for a click.
Remember great ctas don’t start out that way. Every adjustment for the better will increase conversion rates, lower bounce rates, and increase your user experience.
5. Keep Your Blog Fresh with the Right Content
Keeping your blog fresh will always help improve results. A fresh site with content updated on the regular will generate more leads than a blog without. However, that doesn’t mean you should write for the sake of producing new content. It’s also important to release the right content.
You want content that will invoke a reaction and allow for an action to be taken. Help them take the next step with the right content. Build trust with your users. They will reward you with repeat visits.
6. Use Target Keywords with High-Value Traffic
What’s worse than using keywords that aren’t being searched by people on Google and Bing? Not much! You’re wasting time, energy, and money going after low-quality keywords that people aren’t even searching. Keywords offer a unique perspective into your brand and offering. They sit at the intersection of traffic value, conversion value, persona value, and brand value. High-value keywords allow high-value customers to find you while giving you more visibility and authority on the web. Over 90% of Google’s revenue comes from search and keywords. Companies are built around keywords and search terms. It’s that important.
7. Make Your Site Search More Prominent
People come to your site to be entertained, learn something, or buy something from you. And if they struggle to find anything on your site, the first lifeline they will reach for is search. An individual’s ability to search your site will allow them to find what they want while keeping them on your site longer. And in turn lowering your bounce rate.
8. Key In On the Right Audience and Keywords
The right keywords are everything. It means attracting the correct audience. And connecting that audience to the correct content. All while spending a minimal amount of money. Not only do you save money by connecting the two, you ensure future earnings through brand awareness and advertising. Remember, the more time spent on your site, the less likely they are to bounce. And hopes they share your content as well. The right keywords and audience will do more than lower your bounce rate and increase revenues. They will also do wonders for your authority and online reputation.
9. Write Attractive Meta Descriptions for Search Users
Let’s first make sure we’re on the same page and describe what a meta description tag is. The meta description tag is a max 160 character snippet used to describe a web page. Search uses these in results to let potential visitors see what a page is about before viewing. And there are best practices in writing them.
• Capture the attention of the end user
• Tease with just enough information
• Include a call-to-action
• Write your keyword into the copy naturally
• Use a program like Screaming Frog to preview your descriptions
• Don’t provide too much information
10. Set External Links to Open in New Windows
This seems pretty straightforward. You want to keep the user on your site as long as possible. And opening a new window for any external link helps. It allows your site to be present in the background. Forcing the user to manually close your window upon exit. And although this doesn’t directly lower your bounce rate, it does help.
11. Eliminate Broken Links
Broken links are a nightmare for web developers and designers. They creep into websites like a trail of ants who have found a crumb on the kitchen floor. You have no clue where and when they started showing up, but know if you don’t eliminate them immediately you will have a larger problem on your hands. Broken links diminish user trust and interrupt the experience. Worse yet, they increase bounce rates by not allowing the user to find what they are looking for.
12. Add More Internal Links
Question: How does a user navigate from one page to another within your site? Answer: Via links. Text and graphics. It seems simple. The more the better. Adding more links from one page to another on a site is one of the easiest ways to reduce bounce rate. Think about it, you have a new blog post promoting a new service or product, but you don’t link to the web page that describes it in more detail. You’ve missed out on a golden opportunity to link that page. WordPress even has plugins that will help with linking similar posts. It will gather and highlight other posts or pages that have content that is in the same vain. Adding more internal links is a no-brainer. If reducing your bounce rate is an important goal for you, every page on your site should have multiple links to other pages.
13. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
This may not seem evident upon initial thinking, but making your site mobile-friendly will only help your bottom line. People go online from devices of all shapes and sizes. And when you’re not designing for some of them you’re alienating a group of people. It’s annoying and frustrating to not have access to information. Worse yet, people bounce when they can’t get it. And they end up at your competitor’s site.
14. Make Your 404 Page More Useful
My guess is that you haven’t created a custom 404. And right now your site probably has the default 404 screen. Do yourself a favor and create one. Make it insightful and informative. By making your 404 page more informative you are telling the user you are here to help them find what they are looking for. Try placing a search box front and center. Or links and descriptions to your most visited pages. This lets the lost user know that you are trying your best to help them find their way. People will stick with you if they know you are trying to help. If you just give them the default experience you should expect the default response – a bounce.
15. Avoid Popups – Don’t Disrupt the UX
Most people hate popups. I know I do. Imagine this, you go to a site and start reading the page. And after a few seconds a popup interrupts your reading. And you click off it – it won’t close. You try to click the top right corner where the x is placed in most situations. Nope. Still there. Now you have to work to figure out how to close it. I shouldn’t have to work while on your site. And if you’re annoying me by making it difficult to close the popup window, well then, I’m gone. I’ll seek out the information somewhere else. Bottom line – don’t use popups. If you must, make them easy to close with no thinking involved. Let your user get back to what they came to do, understanding your service or product better. Otherwise you risk increasing your bounce rate.
16. Reduce Distracting Ads
The same rule applies here as in the previous step – Don’t disrupt the user’s experience. Distracting ads are in some ways worse than popups. That’s because there’s no getting away from them. No clicking off it. No x to close it. You just have to try to ignore the incessant blinking in your peripheral while reading. Have you seen ads these days. That’s no easy task. Advertisers are always looking for new and interesting ways to get and keep your attention. Ads on your site should never distract your user. They should be there as a supplement. If I can’t read your post or page without getting distracted, I’m out.
17. Make Sure Your Website is Cross-Browsers Compatible
Just like you improving your site for the mobile experience (see #14), your website should be designed to work across the 5 major browsers. Chrome, Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari should be on your laptop. And if you have a Mac, you should consider investing in a laptop that can run Explorer. And code for older versions of all of them. At minimum older browsers should degrade with grace.
If your intent is to lower your bounce rate, following these 17 Updates to Decrease Bounce Rate will help you do just that. It will improve your user’s experience while on your site as well. While you’re here, take a look at my post on the 7 Elements of a User Friendly Website. It discusses what makes a good website from your users’ perspective. You’ll notice some overlap with regards to the content. Combined with the information above, you’ll be well ahead of your competition and on your way to cornering your market in no time.