All You Need To Know About Bounce Rates

When talking about quality metrics, you’ll almost always hear about bounce rates.

Most people out there will tell you that you need to reduce the number of people who bounce off your page, because a high bounce rate is the “kiss of death” on the Internet.

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Most of the time, this is true. But at the same time, bounce rates need to be looked at subjectively.

First things first – are you really sure you know what a bounce rate is?

People commonly mix up bounce rates and exit rates.

The difference is:

Bounce rates only measure the number of people who enter a page and leave that same page without visiting other pages on the site.

Exit rates, on the other hand, measures how many people left from a certain page, even though the visitor may have entered the website from a different page and visited other pages before they left.

A high bounce rate can be indicative of a number of things – like the quality of your content, accuracy of your messaging, a measure of user engagement – but usually, you can put it under one of these two categories:

1. You’re attracting the wrong kind of traffic to your pages, or

2. You’re attracting exactly the right kind of traffic to your pages.

If number 2 doesn’t make to sense to you… think about it. If a user comes to your site and finds exactly what they were looking for – an answer to their question or a solution to their problem – why would they stay longer or visit other pages?

Websites that are good at solving information problems quickly will often have high bounce rates. Users come in, get their answers, and leave – but they’ll come back often.

Most people tend to forget about the second scenario, because most websites tend to fall victim to the first.

But on the other hand, most of the time you’ll have websites where getting your visitors to stick around is critical. You want them to spend time clicking around the site, looking at your content, and build towards a conversion.

And high bounce rates are a conversion killer.

So here’s a list of things you should consider that will help you reduce your bounce rate.

1. Avoid pop-ups.

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Pop-up ads annoy people.

Period.

And they disrupt the user experience.

It’s not often you find pop-up ads that actually offer you something worth your while.

Usually when people visit a page and find a pop-up blocking their access to the information they need, they’ll just leave.

2. Avoid poor design.

By design, I’m talking about the entire user experience.

Your content needs to be attractive, both in terms of graphical treatments and readability.

Design for your target audience – which may not necessarily be the audience you currently have.

Your website design can directly impact your visitors’ perceptions of the quality of your business, products and services.

Also, you need to make sure your website design remains effective even when your site is accessed from a mobile device or tablet.

3. Page speed.

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Nothing really affects bounce rate quite like having a webpage that is slow to load.

And by slow, I mean it takes 10 seconds or more.

Google did a speed test run – they asked users if they’d like 10 or 30 results per page.

Hands down, everyone said they wanted 30 results per page.

But when Google tested for speed, they found traffic had dropped by 20% on those pages – even though the download speed difference between the 10-result and 30-result pages was half a second.

Page speed relates directly to user experience, can cause your site visitors to stall, negatively impact your search rankings and destroy your conversion rate.

4. Refresh your content.

If your old posts from eight years back are still showing in the search engines, visitors may click, take a look at the date, then bolt.

They may never even bother to check the newer content you have.

If your older posts are still getting traffic, make sure to freshen them up and make them more current.

There will have been changes in technology and trends since you wrote it, so take a stroll down archive lane and see what you can do to modernize things.

You could update statistics, find new examples, add a case study, or incorporate new insights.

5. Turn off the autoplay.

So, you have a page and have created the most amazing video ever, and you’re sure conversions will go through the roof.

Even so – it’s a better idea not to play it automatically when the page has loaded, but to let people decide when to click play.

Nobody likes being blasted with sudden background music of a voice when they’re not expecting it – especially at work or if there are multiple tabs open and they don’t know which one it’s coming from.

It might also slow down page load times, which you don’t want.

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But above all, the most important thing you should do to lower bounce rates is to focus on consistently creating good, relevant content that appeals to your readers’ needs.

Know your industry’s average bounce rate so you know what the normal number is. That way you won’t make yourself crazy trying to lower a number that’s actually perfectly normal.

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