A website’s bounce rate is an often misinterpreted statistic and it’s a metric I get a lot of questions about.
I’ve talked about bounce rate as part of an overall SEO strategy before, but today I wanted to focus in and talk about ways you can improve your site’s bounce rate.
The best part is, you don’t need a background in web design or any coding experience to implement the strategies I’m about to share with you immediately.
Now, depending on your industry and the page of your website in question, your “average bounce rate” can vary pretty wildly.
For example, when looking at specific pages of your website, a high bounce rate on a “contact us” page or a landing page featuring a single call to action isn’t a bad thing. After all, both of those examples are typically found at the end of a funnel (more on that in a minute), and once the user completes the desired action, they will likely leave – which is fine as long as they have completed the action you wanted them to take on that page.
I won’t go into detail in this article about what is considered a “good bounce rate” simply because it’s going to depend on a lot of factors, but I will show you some simple tips and strategies you can start using immediately to improve your website’s bounce rate.
Google’s Definition of Bounce Rate
Google defines Bounce Rate as:
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
This is a fairly straightforward definition but put in even more simplistic terms, the bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on a page of your website and then leave without going to any other pages of your website or interacting with your website.
With that definition in mind, here are 3 simple things you can implement immediately to improve your website’s bounce rate, in any industry and with no background in web design.
Use Internal Links In Your Content
Include links to other internal pages of your website that are relevant to the topic about which you’re writing.
For example, it would make sense for me to include links to my other posts about SEO within this post because they are on the same over-arching topic.
Bloggers are generally pretty good at this and the result is that visitors will end up viewing multiple posts on their website, thereby dramatically improving the website’s bounce rate.
For example, look at this screenshot of a post on problogger.com:
All of those links in the text take readers to other related posts on the same blog. There is a very high likelihood that if the reader found value in the original post they were reading, they are going to click on at least one of those links to continue reading.
They only need to visit one other page of your website to not contribute to your “bounce rate.”
This is a quick, easy way to start improving your bounce rate but don’t go overboard. 2-3 internal links per post are enough to achieve results – plus you don’t want to overwhelm your reader. People with too many decisions tend to make no decisions.
While you can insert these internal links anywhere in your content, it’s most commonly seen in the first paragraph or two of a post when the writer is introducing the topic. (see the second paragraph of this post for another example)
Make sure pages load quickly
This may seem like a no-brainer but it should come as no surprise that people are impatient.
According to a study performed by KISS Metrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Optimize Your Images (for free)
One of the biggest killers of page loading speed is due to the use of large images. Ideally, you’ll want to talk to your web developer to find the ideal image size for your website but you should always try and resize or crop images to the actual size they will be displayed on your website.
This means if you have a sidebar on your website and in that sidebar, there is an image that displays at 250 x 250 (pixels), you should resize the image BEFORE you upload it to as close to 250 x 250 as possible.
A little while ago, I wrote an article about a totally free, online tool called Pixlr.com, and explained in 3 simple steps how to resize and optimize images for use on your website.
Check it out if you haven’t read it already or if you don’t have access to Photoshop to resize your images.
Resizing and optimizing your images can reduce image file size by as much as 98% which can dramatically impact page load time.
This is the only suggestion in the article in which you might need your web person to help with, which is why I included it last in this section, but it can definitely improve your page load time.
If you’re using WordPress, one of the best free plugins for this is the W3 Total Cache Plugin.
Use Call to Actions (CTA)
CTA’s are a great way to improve your bounce rate because they typically work to get the reader to perform some sort of action or click a link to get them to the next step in your funnel.
Back in the beginning of the post, I mentioned websites having “funnels,” also known as “conversion funnels.”
A funnel is a specific, step-by-step journey a user takes through your website, ultimately leading to a specific action you want them to take.
If the funnel is the journey then your CTA’s are the guide, helping the user get to the next step in the journey. While funnels are most often found on e-commerce websites, they can be very effective to achieve just about any goal on any website when used properly.
The reason CTAs improve bounce rate is because generally speaking when users interact with a CTA the user will be taken to the next step in the funnel which usually resides on another page. This, of course, can vary depending on the action and how the website is built.
Here are a few great examples of CTAs in action.
NeilPatel.com does a great example of this. Immediately when the page loads it leads with some enticing text and then a large button that says “Yes, I want Neil to teach me how to grow my business.”
When you click that button you begin the funnel for that website and are presented with the next step.
You could ignore it and continue scrolling down the page to learn more if you’d like but further down the page you’re going to see another large button that says “Claim My Spot!” which does the same thing the first button does – it starts you on his site’s funnel.
Another great example is Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome.com website. Again, when the page loads you see some introductory text and a big green button that says “Get Started Here.”
This button starts you on Pat Flynn’s funnel which starts with a page describing who he is and what he does and presents you with a number of links to click on to move you forward down one of the many funnels he uses on his website.
While Pat Flynn and Neil Patel have the team in place to create these beautiful graphics for their website, your call to action doesn’t have to as extravagant to still be effective if you don’t have a web developer on staff.
It could be as simple having a headline followed by a link on its own line with some attention-grabbing that directs visitors to the next stage in your funnel. Something along the lines of:
Are you ready to grow your business online?
Click here to get started!
There are tons of different ways to improve your bounce rate, these are just a few quick ways you can easily start to implement changes on your website.
Knowing that your bounce rate improves as you are able to move your visitors deeper into your website, what other ways can think of to achieve this? Let me know about it in the comments section and I’ll be happy to share more of my ideas too!