How To: Reduce Your Bounce Rate

It’s time to improve one of the most important metrics you can measure on your web pages – bounce rate.

Bounce rate is defined as:

the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.

It’s an important metric. You’ll want to keep that figure as low as possible. Doing so means that visitors stick around on your site to view more. This is especially important on, say, retail category pages. Consider a user making a search for “multi room log cabins” landing on this Log Cabin Kits page. If they leave the page immediately despite showing buying intent with their search then there’s something wrong. Similarly, if you have a high bounce rate on your home page then there’s some room for improvement. A high bounce rate on a home page is a big warning sign. This article should help you to improve your own bounce rates.

1. Improve Navigation

Bad, or unclear, navigation is probably the number one cause of high bounce rates. Confusing or non-standard navigation can cause frustration for a visitor. If they can’t find what to click next they’ll never hit that second page. Make sure your navigation fits the following points:

  • Group your main navigation links together
  • Label them clearly
  • Put them at the top of your page, where the user expects them to be
  • Avoid too many navigational options throughout the rest of your content

There have been many attempts at ‘clever’ navigation over the years, but no navigation outperforms a simple system which centres around user expectation. You don’t see books with the content section in the middle, do you?

2. Improve Content Structure

Each page on your site should do these things, in this order:

  1. Confirm the page is going to deliver what the visitor was expecting when they decided to visit this page
  2. Deliver on that expectation
  3. Show the visitor what to do next

On our multi room log cabins example from earlier, the page first confirms that it contains multi room cabins. It then lists the applicable products in the store. The next action is simple: “Learn More” about a product of your choice. Keep it simple, and keep your content structured.

3. Remove Barriers To Entry

Would you be reading this article if you’d been asked to register beforehand? I doubt it. It’s those sorts of barriers to content which can cause huge bounce rates. Other barriers between users and content can include

  • massive intro images
  • pop-ups (“SUBSCRIBE!”)
  • distractions like auto-playing videos

Get rid.

4. Improve Legibility

That doesn’t always just mean using larger text, but that’s definitely a main one. Use text at least 12pt/16px or larger, and check legibility across devices. Other factors that have an impact on legibility include:

  • Font: Sure, your fancy font might be ‘unique’ or ‘fun’, but if your visitor can’t read it they won’t.
  • Contrast: Light on dark, or dark on light. None of this.
  • Structure (again): Use headings and sub-headings to help the visitor know where in a piece of content they are. Structure also shows and how those sections of the content relate to one another.
  • Readability: Use something like HemingwayApp to help make your content easier to read.

…and that’s it.

Have a look through your site templates to see how you can improve the whole of your site in these areas. Then look at your most important pages to see whether you can make individual improvements there. As always, change one thing and then test. Let me know how you get on, or your own tips, in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe if you’d like to keep up to date with future articles.