Bounce rate is a percentage determined by how many visitors leave a site without clicking through to other pages.
Pretty straight forward, right? Not exactly. There’s a little more to interpreting bounce rates than meets the eye. Tracking your website’s bounce percentage is simple enough in Google Analytics, but to accurately identify if a high bounce rate is negative, there are other issues to consider.
Google uses various metrics plus bounce rates to establish an overall measurement of how ‘sticky’ a website is. The stickier the site, the lower the bounce rate. It boils down to visitor engagement—but that’s not the whole story. It really depends on whether a page is fulfilling its purpose.
With that in mind, it’s better to analyze bounce rates on a page-by-page basis. Every page should have a defined purpose and call-to-action you expect the viewer to follow.
Page Intent and Purpose
Simply put, you should only worry about high bounce rates when a page isn’t fulfilling its intended purpose or providing desired results. A perfect example is a signup landing page with the sole purpose of the call-to-action is for the visitor to enter an email address. These pages will naturally have bounce rates of 90 percent or higher. The good thing is, you made a way to add people to your mailing list.
If a page should provide information, then time spent scrolling per visitor has to be considered. If a visitor remained on the page for 10 minutes before bouncing, then you can conclude it served its purpose.
Variables like that can make analyzing bounce rates difficult. The trick is to know exactly how you want each page on your site to perform beforehand. It will eliminate a lot of future headaches.
Overall Design, Fonts and Formatting
It’s true, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. An opinion is formed within seconds upon landing, which is why design matters. If a site is too cluttered or jammed with content, visitors get overwhelmed and will look for others that are easier to read.
High-converting websites with the lowest bounce rates are sleek, organized, and easy on the eyes. Fonts are reader-friendly, colors are contrasting and consistent throughout, and relevant content is well-organized.
Research shows that fonts have a huge effect on a website’s performance—type and size matters. Avoid choosing a font just because it looks good. You need fonts to help your content, and cute or calligraphic fonts may not be effective.
Google recommends using no more than three fonts: one for headlines, one for body and another, possibly, as an accent font. Visit Google Fonts to know which fonts are great to use. Good type style and readability is best maximized as it helps with ranking better in search results.
Ranking aside, Google has put a lot of research into font and color choice in relation to visitor engagement and bounce rates. With that said, there is no one right answer; what works for you might not work for another. Testing is key to finding what fits your brand and appeals to your target audience.
Another factor that causes people to bounce is the length of content. No one wants to feel like reading a novella. Use short paragraphs consisting of no more five sentences for ease of reading. This gives readers time to breath, especially for longer articles containing a lot of information.
Landing Pages and Headlines
The main purpose for your site is to convert visitors into leads, then leads into customers. If every landing page is indexed in search, you gain an enormous SEO advantage for more conversion opportunities. This creates a direct pathway, eliminating the need for a potential customer to seek out your website. Multiple landing pages allow searchers to discover what you’re offering, relevant to their search.
Once landed, they should be enticed by your great headline and content. They clicked on your link in the results and you want them to get what they need.
Headlines are best placed to the left of the page because it’s a natural starting point for readers and calls-to-action should be clear. If they clicked on a banner add offering your free weekly newsletter, then that’s the page they better land on, else they’ll bounce away.
Easily Navigate with Tabs and Site Search Option
Navigation is a major issue that can greatly affect bounce rates. People have very little patience and will hit the road if the information they’re looking for is difficult to find.
Most successful marketers recommend a Site Search option. The ability to type in a search topic or keyword without clicking through page after page is easier and enables the user to find what he needs immediately.
This comes in handy especially for e-commerce sites. Products and information can be difficult to filter, which can easily be solved through offering search ability that results to better conversions.
Although bounce rate is a crucial factor in online marketing, don’t let it become a distraction. It’s only one of many other metrics that calculates the overall performance of your site.