What’s cool about internet marketing is that there are several things that level the playing field for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a well-funded startup or starting your web empire on a shoestring budget – everyone who markets online has to pay attention to the same things if they’re going to make money. SEO or Search Engine Optimization, content rich landing pages, conversion optimization, keyword densities, web analytics and more, all commonly discussed by everyone who knows anything about the field. The one thing that stymies almost everyone at first is figuring out “bounce rate” and why it’s important.
Sit back, relax, read on. Bounce rates aren’t difficult to understand, but they are crucial to your site’s success.
What is Bounce Rate, anyway?
Simply put, a bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on your site and exit it without clicking through to other site content. This percentage reflects the number of potential clients your site attracted initially, but who weren’t interested enough to stick around for long. It doesn’t matter if they closed the tab or window, or if they manually typed a URL in at the location bar, clicked on a link which led them to a different site, or simply let the session “time out” through inactivity. They came, they saw, they left, all without engaging with any of the content on your site.
How can I find my site’s Bounce Rate?
If you’re using a web analysis tool to track these kinds of things, now is the time to get serious about it. There are many sites that offer this kind of tracking and most of them offer their basic services free of charge. Once you’ve set up your account and the software is tracking every click to and on your site, start paying attention to Total Page Views and Number of Visitors. Your site’s bounce rate is the same as the number of visitors who only viewed one page.
Can I improve this somehow?
Yes you can and yes you should! According to Avinash Kaushik, who is a Google Analytics’ specialists in the field, a bounce rate over 35% is not good. If it’s over 50%, you should be worried. He also says it’s hard to get a site’s bounce rate under 20%, which gives you something to strive for.
Fortunately, it’s also relatively easy. Here are some simple, effective steps you can take right away:
- Keep your site’s navigation clear and easy to understand. Use “breadcrumb trails” or sidebars with relevant links in easy reach.
- Your site should load FAST. Don’t lose visitors due to slow loading pages.
- Make the title of every article or section engaging to keep the visitor’s interest.
- Customize your 404 Error page so that the link the visitor clicks takes them right back to your site.
- Blog posts should be as interactive as you can make them. Reference other relevant articles on the site, refer to earlier posts or comments on the same topic, give your visitors lots of reasons to keep clicking.
- Use few tags and keep them relevant to the content.
It’s Like Monitoring the Pulse of Your Website
The longer a visitor stays on your site, the better chance you’ll have of keeping their business. Tracking your site’s bounce rate gives you a way to know what content keeps your visitors engaged and puts you in position to provide more of that. They’re encouraged to become clients with every click that takes them deeper into your site – not so mystifying at all, is it?