Bounce rate is one of the most crucial parameters of a site's effectiveness. This metric shows the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing just one page. It indicates whether the site meets your audience's expectations when they open it for the first time. Why does it happen? And what are the ways to reduce the bounce rate? The following article will tell you about 8 main methods to prevent users from leaving your site too soon.
2 Main Reasons for High Bounce Rates
Many website owners spend a lot of resources to make it attractive, functional, easy to navigate, and engaging. But despite all this, in some cases, the bounce rate remains very high. There are two reasons for a high bounce rate:
- The first is that sometimes people get all the information they were looking for on the first opened page, and then they leave the website.
- The second (and the most common one) is that your site may need some improvements.
A high bounce rate is very undesirable for most websites and is a consequence of poor usability. However, it's the opposite in some cases when a high bounce rate is a sign of good UX. It refers to those situations when a person is looking for, for example, an article on choosing a kitchen table. Clicking on the search engine results link, they may find all the information they need and then leaves the site. In this case, it shows that your page meets the expectations of your target audience.
Nevertheless, such cases are exceptions to the rules. More often, a high bounce rate indicates that your site has some weaknesses you should correct.
What Do You Need to Do in Case of a High Bounce Rate?
Check the Loading Speed
The first thing to pay attention to if your site has a high bounce rate is the loading speed. After all, people may close a tab of your site simply because they have to wait too long for it to open.
The optimal loading speed is less than 2 seconds. Otherwise, there is a high probability that the reader will get tired of waiting and switch to your competitor's site. If there is a choice, people don't tend to wait long for the information they need or the opportunity to make a purchase.
In addition to a higher bounce rate, a low page speed can cause the following consequences:
- Reduced time spent on the site
- Decreased conversion rate
- Lower position in SERPs (search engine results pages)
2. Optimize the Mobile Version
Many people still don't think about how their site looks on mobile devices. However, this is essential because traffic and revenue on mobiles are growing every year. In 2020, these numbers were 70% and 55%, accordingly.
So if your site is poorly displayed on mobile devices, you risk missing out on the majority of conversions. To reduce your bounce rate, you should optimize your site for mobile devices in terms of UX\UI and speed.
3. Create Useful and Relevant Content
Content must meet the requirements and expectations of visitors. Otherwise, they will leave the site. Therefore, it is worth thinking about engaging users with attractive, interactive, and personalized content. It will provide the user with comfort and benefit, which means they will stay on the site.
Useful and engaging content that converts will attract new users, increase audience loyalty and brand trust.
It is also helpful to improve your user interface so the content can be consumed more easily. We have found that heatmaps help us better understand what users are looking for.
As an example of relevant and personalized content, let's look at the website of the cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty. It offers an algorithm that allows users to choose a suitable shade of foundation.
Screenshot taken on the official Fenty Beauty website
4. Format your Content
Unfortunately, site owners often do not pay proper attention to the display of text content. Poor text formatting is one of the reasons that make visitors leave the site.
No one wants to read a solid wall of text, especially considering that people rarely read the text from beginning to end. Instead, visitors mostly skim through the page to see if the content will be helpful to them.
It would be best if you placed text on the page wisely. Otherwise, people can't read it easily and will go to a competitor's site. In addition, the text should be readable on all display sizes without the need to enlarge or reduce it.
Here are the main signs of optimized content:
- Relevant headings
- Dividing into sections and paragraphs
- Bulleted lists
- Images, photos, graphics
- Interactive table of contents
- Illustration with examples
- Sufficient space between paragraphs and lines
- Simple text style
Consider an example of a convenient text layout in the screenshot below. The author used bullet points, subheadings and illustrated the text with graphics. The distance between paragraphs and lines is sufficient, and the page is easy to read.
Screenshot taken on the official Forbes Health website
5. Make a Convenient Search Bar
To make your site easy to use, it is essential to provide visitors with a user-friendly search bar. The fact is that many visitors leave the site because they can't find the products and pages they want.
The search bar should provide users with a convenient search with relevant hints and suggestions. If it's an online store, it's necessary to enhance Magento's on-site search (or that of other eCommerce platforms) so that results show complete product page previews with their price, product name, photos, and other information. Plus, many businesses implement enhanced solutions like image or voice search. If it's not an eCommerce site, the search should also give detailed results.
The screenshot below, taken from the Patagonia website, shows an example of a successful implementation of the search bar. As you type a search query, the clues are revealed. And in the search results, the product cards are shown.
Screenshot taken on the official Patagonia website
6. Improve Product Pages
First, you should understand that product cards will always have a slightly higher bounce rate than other types of pages. It's because when browsing product pages, people are selecting the most suitable option for themselves.
However, if the bounce rate in the product cards is too high, you should think about what is missing on the pages. Perhaps you should lower the price or offer a discount or expand the information about the product's features. Maybe the process of payment and delivery is not clearly described, or customer feedback is missing. All of these details can affect the bounce rate. Try making changes to the pages and see how they work with A/B testing.
The screenshot below shows the product card from Bed Bath & Beyond. Visitors are provided with a detailed description of the product and its photo. The payment and delivery processes are described in detail. There is an opportunity to ask a question about the product to the seller and read feedback from other buyers.
Screenshot taken on the official Bed Bath & Beyond website
7. Enhance the Call to Action (CTA)
Most visitors decide whether they will stay on a site in the first few seconds after glancing at the page. Without even scrolling through it. That's why it's important to work on the design of the home page, landing page, or any other page type that contains CTAs.
It should be clear to the visitor from the first glance what your site offers. Your CTA should stand out from the main content and be noticeable to the visitor in the first few seconds they spend on the page.
The page's design should direct the visitor to what to do next and guide them to take whatever action you want. It should also be clear what to expect when clicking on the CTA.
8. Fix Broken Links and Optimize the 404 Page
Check the site for broken links and, if there are any, fix them. You can do this using the Google Search Console or other tools such as the Online Broken Link Checker or Screaming Frog. Broken links can increase your bounce rate.
However, broken links are almost always present on a site, as it can be problematic to keep track of their appearance and eliminate them in time. Therefore, don't forget to make a proper 404 page for your site. It will reduce the number of users who will leave when facing a non-existent page.
Signs of a quality 404 page are the following:
- Stylish design
- Guide for the user on what to do next
- Simple and intuitive interface
- Search box
An excellent example of a 404 page could be from the Juniqe brand’s website. Faced with a non-existent page, the user will see the main categories of the site and a search bar with which he can find the desired content. The page also has a button that brings up the chatbot, where you can find answers to your questions and contact support specialists. All of these features help reduce the number of bouncing users.
Screenshot taken on the official Juniqe website
To Sum Up
In most cases, a high bounce rate means that the site does not meet users' expectations. As a result, it harms the search engine ranking and the profitability of the business in general.
To understand what you need to improve on your site, you should try to look at it through the eyes of your potential client. First, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is the loading speed of the site high enough?
- Does the page look okay on mobile devices?
- Is the content engaging and nicely displayed?
- Is the 404 page designed well?
- Is there enough information on the product pages?
- Does the search bar live up to the users’ needs?
- Are the CTA buttons visible and attractive?
Then fix detected traits.
In this article, we discussed the main methods of reducing the bounce rate. Improving your website will also help you get more traffic and conversions because all such actions aim to increase the quality of experience for your visitors. And they, in turn, will reward you for your efforts with their loyalty and more orders.