Do you know how many visitors come to your site page and leave without viewing other pages? In the world of web analytics this measurement is called the bounce rate. In practice a likely scenario is people enter a search term in their browser, open the page, realize it isn’t what they want, hit the “back” button and continue with their search.
How to Measure Bounce Rates
There is no single tool or source to answer all your web analytics questions. But quantitative data on bounce rate is easy to find. You can learn how visitors arrive at your site, what they do while there, and a history of your bounce rate per page using Google Analytics or Yahoo Analytics, both free. In Google Analytics under Traffic Sources> All Traffic Sources on the left sidebar, each source page is measured with a percentage bounce rate. The average of these sources is the site bounce rate. If your bounce rate is 70% that means 70 out of 100 visitors are not engaging with your site. Watch for trends.
How to Reduce Bounce Rate
The average bounce rate on a site is 50%. Reduce your current bounce rate by implementing these ideas.
- Learn what people are looking for on your site. Include a search box. Google Site Search is an affordable subscription service based on the number of queries received each year.
- Use relevant keywords in headlines. They should describe the content well and be easily found by search engines. Try offering viewers two versions of the headline and see which one gets the most clicks. Add names, places and other relevant information that your audience wants to read in the text. See my previous post Collecting, Creating and Distributing Content that Matters.
- Include contextual links. Look on the Mashable website. The article How Agencies are Spending Online Media Budgets includes links at the bottom under More Business Resources. These links lead to articles on ad agencies and social media. Linking to relevant topics and previous blog posts requires human intervention. Context cannot be automated.
- Check to see how your pages appear in various browsers. Test the speed of each.
- Offer a personalized experience. Encourage users to share ideas. Add surveys and polls. Include tools that allow them to talk about your products and share across social networks. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the potential of “products built around people.” Alltop.com is an example of customization that allows visitors to create their own “online magazine rack.”
- In most cases, do not link to your Home page. It is a sure way to aggravate people.
- Design elements can influence bounce rate. Minimalist, purposeful “call to action” pages are effective in getting viewers to engage. Get rid of distractions including heavy images and pop ups.
Experiment and be patient. You won’t see results over night. Give it two weeks and measure your rate after implementing these ideas. Take notes on what you tried and what was effective. Let me know what results you get.