A high bounce rate is a serious problem that webmasters must address. Unless your website serves as a “gateway” to another website, you should work to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. Today we’re going to reveal some of the most common reasons of a high bounce rate and how to fix them.
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is a metric used to express the percentage of visitors to a website or webpage who leave without clicking through or otherwise accessing a second internal page on the site. If 1 out of every 3 visitors to your website click the back button without accessing a second page, for instance, your site’s bounce rate would be 33.3%
Long Load Times
One of the most common reasons why websites suffer from a high bounce rate is because they have take forever to load. Visitors who are forced to wait longer than four seconds for the site to load may exit out, resulting in a bounce. Use a free speed-testing tool like the one at http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ to determine how fast your site loads compared to the rest of the Internet. You can reduce your site’s load times by consolidating CSS files, enabling GZIP compression, enabling browser caching, using a content delivery network (CDN), and optimizing your images before uploading.
Too Many External Links
Adding external links within your site’s content is a great way to improve the experience for the end user. If a visitor is reading an article on your website, he or she may want to access other relevant articles. Therefore, you should include links to other authoritative sites and sources, as long as they aren’t a direct competitor of yours. But you should also use caution to ensure that you aren’t including too many external links in your site’s content, as this may contribute to a high bounce rate. I recommend including no more than two or three external links per article (internal links are OK).
Far too many websites today use pop-up (and pop-under) advertisements. I fall into the 70% of users who still find them annoying, but most websites who are using pop-ups do so for a good reason: ads such as these have been proven to increase conversion rates for newsletter signups and other goals. The downside, however, is that pop-ups may increase your site’s bounce rate.
This creates a real dilemma, should you continue using pop-ups or ditch them in favor of a less-intrusive advertising method?
Rather than guessing which option is right for your site, perform an A-B split test in which your site alternates between pop-ups and no pop-ups. After a couple weeks have passed, measure your bounce rates to see if the lack of pop-ups is beneficial.
Lack of Trust
Bounce rate is something we talk about often on our blog, and while there are literally dozens of items that can contribute to a high bounce rate, one of the most frequently overlooked is trust. It’s very clear; websites that instill customer confidence have much lower bounce rates.
Just like bounce rate, there are hundreds of different trust signals like security seals, and of those signals many of the sites I review to help improve bounce rate and conversion lack some very simple and fundamental signals:
- Branded Domain – So many people still try to build sales around a crazy seo exact match domain name; when the message that truly delivers is, “I just want to make a quick buck, but don’t really care about my brand or my customer.”
- Social Activity – Tell the truth, how many of you completely neglect your facebook page? Maintaining social pages is not easy, but it is a necessity when it comes to online trust. Consumers gain insight to the way you run your business, interact with customers and how engaged you with your customers. Whether you like it or not, social media is an indicator of how well you handle criticism, your level of customer service as well as your ability to deliver quality.
Remember, when you’re looking to improve your bounce rate, think of your customer first to look for areas that can improve their experience on your website.