You may have heard a person use the term ‘bounce’ to say that they were leaving. A website bounce is very similar. It is when a visitor views your website and immediately leaves without clicking on any pages. They usually get directed to your site through a search engine or a referral website. If you have Google Analytics added to your site, it makes it easy to see what your bounce rate is. While the average bounce rate depends on the industry and type of website, it normally ranges between 40-50%. Usually, anything over a 60% bounce rate is a bad thing. Keep in mind, this does not just mean people landing on your homepage, but on any page in your site.
Positive Reasons for Bounce Rates
While you can never have a 0% bounce rate, here are a few positive reasons people bounce:
1- Contact Information – some people are simply looking for a phone number, email address, hours of operation or a physical address on your website. If this information is listed on the first page they see, you have successfully given the viewer the information they were looking for. They would, most likely, otherwise already be familiar with your business and there is no reason for them to click on additional pages.
2- Product or Informational Pages – Some links are specifically directed toward a product or resource on your site. Search engines usually point directly to the page a person was using search terms for. Other websites may link to a certain page on your website to give their viewer more detailed information. This would mean many people would leave your site after viewing this content and return to the original website. This not only gives a link to your site, but also shows you are a credible source for that information.
3. Blogs – There are many websites that post articles on a very regular basis. If viewers can read the new material on the first page, they are likely to leave afterwards since it is probable that they have read other pages or posts previously.
Negative Reason for Bounce Rates
Having a bounce rate of over 60% should be concerning for you. This usually means that visitors are seeing something that elicits a bad reaction and causes them to leave.
1- Spelling & Grammar – Most of us are not English majors who always use proper grammar when writing; I know I am one of these people, but I can easily spot if someone uses ‘there’ instead of ‘their’, or ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’. Making these simple mistakes along with others can reduce your business reputation and credibility. Always take the time to proof, and if possible, have someone else proof your blog articles or pages for you before publishing (a big thanks to Randi for proofing mine).
2- Out of Date Material – We have talked many times about content before. One of my biggest issues with websites is very old copyright dates*. I looked at a website today that I would estimate cost in the five digit range originally and the copyright was from 2008. For me, that means the content is also most likely out of date. Having content that has not been updated for many years or other inaccurate information is also very damaging to your reputation as a credible source.
*There is a simple bit of code that can be added to most websites that updates your site automatically every year, so there’s really no reason dates on your website shouldn’t be accurate.
3- Poor Navigation or Layout – I am sure we have all clicked on a link before and have seen the “Page Not Found” error, or such a complex navigation of pages that you cannot find what you are looking for. A good rule of thumb is to make every page accessible by two clicks. This can be accomplished by drop down menus, listing subpages in a sidebar, or having a site index. It’s our “two click rule” and we stick to it whenever possible.
4- Multiple Ads or Music/Video – If there are so many paid ads on a website that it is hard to find the content, or if the ads are animated and distracting, a visitor is almost sure to leave. The same goes for music and videos that start automatically. Let the user decide if they want to listen or see the media, do not force them.
Consistently checking your bounce rate and viewing your most popular pages will help you to know if there is a problem. Want to get help with this? Check out our Monthly Maintenance Packages and let us monitor and make any necessary changes for you.