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Bounce rate reduction: Split testing, better stories, and the 3-second rule

Oct 10, 2016 9:35:14 AM / posted by Andrew Lowen

Original: Bounce rate reduction: Split testing, better stories, and the 3-second rule

In the world of SEO, a lot can be faked. Unfortunately, things get a bit tricky when it comes to bounce rate. Lowering bounce rate by using various tricks can do the job, but can bring more harm than benefits in the long run. Even if you trick your analytics tool to obtain great percentages, the question remains: how many of the visitors to your website stick long enough to become buyers of your products? Also, will they want to browse other pages or come back after their first experience on your website?

Sometimes bounce rate doesn't matter

Bounce rate shows the percentage of visitors who leave your website once they have seen the content on the web page they used to gain access to the site. Whether to or not to worry about a high bounce rate depends on what your website is about. For instance, if you are selling services that require visitors to call a number, then it is possible the visitor found the digits on the first page and doesn’t need to stick longer. You will get a high bounce rate, yet your mission is accomplished.

On the other hand, there are websites that must attract and retain visitors for their businesses to thrive. These should strive to reduce the bounce rate. If your website falls under this category, what can you do to reduce bounce rate the healthy way?

Impatience: People only wait about three seconds

The average time an internet user wants to wait for a site to load is 2-3 seconds. Anything longer than this gets them uncomfortable and likely to quit. There are two important things your can do to avoid this.

For once, when choosing a web hosting service, always consider their server reliability and uptime score. If the web host can offer some uptime guarantee, that’s better. Your website should be hosted on a reliable server with good speed.

Secondly, make it easy for visitors to navigate through different pages by choosing a user-friendly design. If visitors experience difficulties navigating different pages, they are likely to leave sooner than they had planned. This increases your bounce rate. Many people are not patient enough to wait for websites that are always down or take a lot of time to load.

Maybe your content just isn't interesting

This plays well in a situation where people do not spend a lot of time on your site. This could be because your content is not as valuable to them as they expected. You can change this by creating more useful content. What is your niche? What answers are your target visitors looking for? Make sure your content offers value to readers. Also, make it easy and interesting to read.

A/B test your web content

Try split testing content to reduce bounce rates using Google Analytics

Some companies use split testing (A/B testing) to try out different content on the same page. To test this, write two versions of the content, then test each separately. Whichever one has the lower bounce rate keep, and toss the one with the high bounce rate. You can do this as often as you wish, tweaking the content until your bounce rate is as low as possible.

Presentation of content

People tend to judge things on sight. We're just wired that way. Even when presenting a valuable gift, you take the time to think about the wrapping. This is because the first impression matters. If you wrap it carelessly, the recipient may ignore it. Same goes with your content. The presentation is fundamental when rolling out your content to prospective readers. Always put your information on the website in an attractive, easy, and legible way.

You can make even the most technical subjects to feel interesting and easy to read. Here are some tips;

  • Use simple language. When writing, don't use jargon.
  • Write clear relevant titles. This helps visitors to grasp the theme of your content firsthand. Some say you should spend 70% of your time on the headline.
  • Use subtitles, bullets and numbers to highlight important points.
  • Format your content properly. Use bold fonts for the titles and subtitles. This way, you make the titles more visible.

Ensure you have fresh content

You can keep your visitors glued to your site by having new, relevant content now and then. They are happy to find something new anytime they visit your website. Fresh content is likely to hold a visitor on your website longer. Also, make sure you always end your posts with an ‘open loop’ - a short teaser about the interesting topic you will cover in your next post. In other words, make your readers want to come back for a closure.

Create captivating brand stories

Those businesses that have mastered the art of weaving their brand’s journey into stories that identify with their target market are likely to attract visitors to their website. People love to read interesting stories that they can identify with. This makes it useful for any brand to find an angle of their story that touches on their target customers. Of importance is to make it truthful, customer focused and outstanding.

Content made for the right persona bounces less

This depends on the kind of visitors you have on your platform. Fortunately, you can easily conduct buyer persona profiling to identify the kind of visitors your site attracts. Then, find out what their pain points are and tailor your content to offer the kind of solutions they could be looking for. This is a great way to keep them coming for more.

Cut out the nuisance

Not many want to be greeted by those annoying pop-ups that persist when you are trying to load a page. You hate it, so do your readers. Note how this page doesn't feature that type of annoyance - and here you are still reading. In most cases, people leave a page when they notice notorious banners or CTAs that won’t allow them to access a page in peace. It is worse when the pop ups are about a totally irrelevant topic.

Conclusion

Other than focusing on SEO tricks that will give you desired results on the Google analytics, you can always tailor your web pages and content to attract you valuable visitors. This is by crafting your content and website with the customer in mind. Make the visitors’ experience on your website delightful. That way, visitors stick long enough to give you a better bounce rate and for you to make them buyers of your products as well.

About the Author

Andrew is the CEO of Next Level Web, a trusted marketing agency based in San Diego, California. He has three lovely daughters and the most patient wife of all time. They specialize in Web Design, Search Engine Optimization, PPC Advertising, and Email Marketing (The Agency - not the daughters... yet). See case studies & results of happy clients at NextLevelWeb.com.

This article was originally published by Reputation X as Bounce rate reduction: Split testing, better stories, and the 3-second rule

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