Bounce Rate: What It Is & How You Can Reduce Yours

/ user experience
Stephen Altrogge

The bounce rate of a landing page or a web form is a key indicator of its effectiveness and impact. It measures the percentage of people that land on your page and exit your site instead of navigating further and visiting any more pages.

Essentially, it allows you to measure how visitors consume your content and whether it matches their expectations of the page. If these expectations don't match, visitors are more likely to exit your website and less likely to engage with it again.

Why should you care? If you have a high bounce rate, you're most likely:

  1. Not choosing the right traffic sources, or
  2. Providing a bad user experience on your site

When a user bounces from your site, you're losing both leads and revenue. No matter how much energy or money you pump into your marketing efforts, if you’re creating pages or sites that don’t hold a users attention, that don’t provide a user with the best experience possible, or that do not appeal to them or adequately convey your message, they’re outta there.

Bottom line: when someone visits your site, doesn’t like what they see, and then quickly leaves, it really hurts your business.

But First: A Quick Word On Bounce Rate

Bounce rates mean different things to different people and what may be a good number for a blog is a bad number for a retail site.

Your bounce rate is a good thing to know once you have established pages. Then the bounce number is actually useful in helping tweak your sales pitch, update your content, and refine the user experience to gain those last few prospects.

But until you have those established pages, your focus should solely needs be on creating the best user experience with the best content that produces the highest possible engagement with your potential customers. Everything else is just noise.

5 Ways To Improve Your Bounce Rate

Everyone carries with them particular likes and dislikes when engaging with content online.

The key to your success, however, is fixing the things that are fixable. Sure, you might lose a prospect because they’re not yet ready to purchase what you're selling, but never lose someone over elements you directly control.

With that in mind, let’s review some quick fixes you can apply to reduce your bounce rate and improve the overall usability of your site.

#1 Optimise Page Speed

If there ever was a universal truth about the internet, it's that no one likes to wait on web pages to load. While patience levels vary, if any of your web pages, including landing pages, fail to load within two to five seconds, you run the risk of losing a potential client.

The Fix

Review who’s hosting your website and if slow speeds appear to be a common complaint against the provider, change hosts. Also, too large file sizes (such as those for images), too much media, or a lot of jazzy page effects can bog a site down.

Make sure your content is appropriate for your message and streamlined enough to still get your point across without draining your site’s performance. This is particularly true for landing pages, which are designed to be simple and straightforward.

To test your speed, head to Pingdom or Google PageSpeed insights and enter your URL.

If you’re ever genuinely curious as to how slow is too slow, head over to a competitor’s website - if their site is faster, then yours is too slow.

#2 Master the Design of Your Landing Page

Even with fast load times, if the look and feel of a web page lack visual appeal, you will lose eyeballs long before the first click happens.

When looking at the design and build of a web page, there are several things to consider:

  • Visual Appeal
  • Navigation
  • Unpolished Content or Copy

If your page is crowded with content (even if that content is good) or lacks a cohesive theme, it runs the risk of being an eyesore. Similarly, if your page makes it hard to click through from point A to point B to point C, or if you have too many broken links, most users will quickly become frustrated.

The Fix

Most visual issues should be solved well before a site even goes live. Create a clear and cohesive landing page or form design scheme, outline it, and hold yourself to it during the development stage.

If a picture, piece of copy, or other page element doesn’t support the overall message you want to convey - get rid of it. When it comes to your online presence, less is more.

Preview fonts, backgrounds, and colors. Verify that placement and color combinations fit well together and are legible enough for a potential client.

For links and navigation, check and recheck for broken connections. If someone clicks on a link, there better be a destination on the other end of it. Put your most essential elements front and center to make them easy to navigate to, and keep secondary materials out of the way, but simple to locate.

Optimize your site and be sure it's responsive for mobile devices. Avoid bounces while your landing page or website is in the palm of a prospect's hand. Seriously, everyone’s mobile these days, and any pages you have online better accommodate them.

There are lots of tools out there to help design novices create beautiful landing pages fast. We may be biased here, but with Paperform, creating an optimally designed landing page is as easy writing a word doc. You can even use a template to fasten the process.  

#3 Target the Right Audience

If you have the wrong audience on your website, they’re not going to stick around for long. Make sure you've done your market research thoroughly before distribution to ensure that you're using the right channels to promote your website.  

The Fix

Just as we pointed out that visual issues should be cleared up before going live, your target client base should be clarified before you start pushing people to your landing page.

For example, if you’re using Facebook Ads to drive traffic to a landing page, double check that the parameters you’ve set match those of your ideal client. You don’t want to direct your ads for Florida inspired swimwear to people who live in Montana or Montana inspired parkas to folks that call Florida home.

Sure, you might capture a few curiosity seekers, but the rest will easily take one look at the attire and be gone. More targeted advertising won't necessarily reduce the number of bounces your site experiences, but it will reduce the bounces from those who weren't going to engage with you in the first place.

#4 Make Your Intentions Crystal Clear

The point of your landing page should be crystal clear. A landing page should have one and only one purpose, whether that’s getting someone to download an eBook, sign up for a free trial, or schedule a phone call. If it’s not clear what you want them to do, they’ll leave your site and find one that is clear.

The Fix

Landing pages are simple in theory but do require plenty of planning to create one that works. Unlike a website, which may house information about numerous facets of your business, landing pages serve a single purpose - a call to action.

If you find that call unanswered, it could mean one or multiple of the following is happening:

a. Your Message Isn’t Clear

Landing pages should make a clear, concise pitch and direct the visitor to the next step. Don’t impede the process with extraneous copy or a failure to provide a clear call to action.

b. Bait and Switch

Don’t advertise one thing, and then present your prospects with a landing page consisting of something completely different. Not only will they bounce, but they won’t trust you, your company, or your product.

c. Burying the Lead

Landing pages are not treasure hunts, so don’t ask (or expect) your visitors to jump through hoops to understand what it is you offer if you are unable to articulate the purpose yourself.

d. Demanding Too Much

Just because a prospect clicked through to your landing page doesn’t mean you have their attention forever. Nor does it mean they are obliged to provide you every single piece of contact info you request. Respect their time and appreciate that they chose to visit. Keep the requests simple, which means an email will do.

Remember your targeted ad was designed to draw high-value prospects to your landing page so you could acquire their contact information or pull them into your marketing or sales funnel. Don’t muddy the waters with anything other than your primary goal.

#5 - Focus On Providing Value

Many bounces occur when a target is intrigued by your initial ad or pitch, then underwhelmed when they realize the advertisement was the best piece of content you produced. In other words, your landing page adds no real value to the user.

The Fix

When a potential customer visits your website or clicks through to your landing page, they are seeing you as the expert to a solution they seek. You'll lose their attention if you underwhelm them with a lack of relevant information.

Much in the same way your design and message must be consistent, any marketing materials should be a natural fit as well. If you offer freebies like an ebook or template, make sure they add value for the end user. If you create media such as videos or a podcast, make them informative and entertaining.

Once you establish yourself as the authority, you will gain hold of the prospect's attention, and ensure they come back for return engagements.

For more tips on improving your conversion rate, check out this comprehensive guide.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to reducing your bounce rates, the mission inherently comes down to crafting a higher level of engagement and providing real value to the user.

Carefully craft your message and the way you present it. With the right pitch, the right look, and the right content, the rewards will be far greater than increased revenue.

Ready to create landing forms that will keep visitors glued to your site? Sign up today for a free 14-day trial (and no CC required!).

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