Using Bounce Rate To Improve Your Website’s Performance

We’ve all heard the term ‘Bounce Rate’, but figuring out what this means and using it to analyse your site’s performance are two different things. Here, we’ll be taking a look at what your bounce rate is, and how to use this to your advantage.

What is Bounce Rate?

A bounce is a single page session on your website. As Google Analytics explains, it is a session in which the user doesn’t send any requests to the server. The user then navigates away from the site.

Another way to look at it, is that it is the percentage of visitors to a site who leave after only viewing one page. These visitors do not engage with the site, for example, by clicking on a link or watching a video.

A high bounce rate indicates that a lot of people leave your site after only visiting one page. This is often a bad thing. A low rate shows that people are engaging with your content, which is good.

The Right Number

But it’s difficult to put an exact figure on what is a good bounce rate and what is bad. This is because there are a number of variables that impact on your bounce rate, including your industry, where your traffic comes from, or the purpose of your page.

For example, mobile users tend to ‘bounce’ more frequently so if your traffic comes predominantly from mobile devices, your percentage is probably higher. If you have a single page site, or if people visit your site to get a single piece of information (like the weather), you’ll also have a much higher bounce rate.

Because of these variables, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact range for good or bad bounce rates. RocketFuel however, does give these percentages as a broad indication of what you should be looking for:

  • 26% – 40% is excellent
  • 41% – 55% is a rough average
  • 56% – 70% is higher than average, but may not be cause for alarm
  • 70% and up is disappointing 

Of course, you need to look at your bounce rate in conjunction with your particular circumstances. A single page blog with an above 70% rate isn’t a concern. An Ecommerce site, on the other hand, should aim for a much lower bounce rate.

Using Your Bounce Rate To Analyse Performance

Using bounces as an indicator of performance can be an effective metric. But you need to know what you’re looking for.

Neil Patel explains that the overview bounce rate you see in Google Analytics is site wide. Because of this it’s more of a vanity metric. Instead it’s better to look at the bounce rate of individual pages,  or segment into categories, to better understand if your marketing is working effectively.

Looking at the percentage of bounces on individual pages can provide you with some valuable insights. For instance, a page with a high bounce rate could suggest that people are not finding what they’re looking for on that page. Or, if they’ve arrived at this page from an advert or another source, they may have been expecting something different. It could also indicate that you’re not reaching the right audience.

Fixing Your Bounce Rate

Yoast explains that a high rate suggests that there could be a problem. You may have a low-quality page (or site). You may not be providing visitors with the opportunity to engage, as in links to click or videos to watch. Your visitor may have found everything they needed to on their single page visit, or your audience may not be the right fit.

But if there is a problem, don’t despair. You can fix it.

Solutions For A High Bounce Rate

  • Match your adverts to your content: the content of your adverts needs to align with the content of the page you’re advertising. If you’re selling makeup but advertising a makeover, people who click on that link may be disappointed by what they find. 
  • Check your page or site design: an aesthetically pleasing page is less likely to scare visitors away. But even if your website is beautiful, it still needs to be easy to use, with good navigation. 
  • Ensure you have a mobile-friendly site: a site that doesn’t accommodate mobile users will leave a large portion of your audience feeling frustrated. Don’t give them a reason to click away.
  • Work on your page load times: slow page loads (anything over 4 seconds) could be increasing your bounce rate. Optimise your images, use lazy loading, review your hosting provider, and do what it takes to keep page load speeds to a minimum.
  • Use images and infographics: appealing graphics can go a long way to enticing your readers to stay, and to click on links. Just make sure your images and videos are optimised for the web.
  • Avoid distracting your visitors with pop-ups and adverts: too many images can be distracting, as can pop-up forms and special offers. If your users feel overwhelmed by flashing adverts and too much visual information, they could navigate away.
  • Add links, a Call To Action or find other ways to engage your users: use links, buttons, or CTA’s to entice visitors to sign up for more info or to click through to another page. 
  • Make your content easy to read: online users won’t take the time to read long drawn-out text, with no breaks or graphics. Use headings and short paragraphs to make your content easy to read. Add relevant images or infographics to break up the text and add visual appeal. 
  • Make your site secure: an insecure site, especially one where you are asking for personal details, is bound to make people nervous. Add an SSL certificate to your site, and any other necessary security, to alleviate users’ concerns. 
Tips to reduce your bounce rate

Final Thoughts

Using a bounce rate as an indicator of your site’s performance can be effective. It can tell you if your marketing is working, if you content or site design is effective, or if you’re reaching the right audience. 

But you need to look at your particular rate from the right perspective. If you’re attempting to understand your audience behaviour better, then this is what you need to focus on. If your exit rate is too high on a certain page, then you need to look at this page to see where you may be going wrong.

Simply looking at your overall bounce rate won’t really help. But if you target certain areas, you can use this tool to help you improve your site. 

Featured Image by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash