What Is Bounce Rate and How to Improve It
We all just want a little attention. And that is essentially what bounce rate tells you - how much attention your site is getting from its visitors. It helps you understand if visitors are interacting with your site, or are leaving after just a few seconds.
The first, and most essential step in bringing attention to your business, is creating a website. Once you’ve done that, and are ready to assess how well your website is performing and whether visitors are impressed with it, you can turn to metrics like bounce rate.
What is bounce rate?
Google defines bounce rate as “the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page”. In other words, if a user came to your site, but didn’t click on any other button or view any pages other than the one they first landed on, that is considered a bounce. All of those users divided by the total number of visits to your site, gives you the bounce rate. Thus, a high bounce rate indicates that more visitors are coming to your site and then turning away before clicking on anything, and a low bounce rate means that visitors who reach your site tend to click on something else before leaving.
Given that the bounce rate indicates how many users have not interacted with your site, it is a good measurement to assess the quality of your site. Users might turn away for simple design reasons. If a site looks unprofessional and is difficult to use, visitors might prefer to find another resource.
Bounce rate can also tell you a lot about your targeting and advertising. Visitors might leave your site quickly if they thought that you were going to provide them with something different than your site actually provides. This could happen if you are misrepresenting your product, targeting an inaccurate audience or not understanding how to do keyword research.
How to check bounce rate
Many analytics tools can help you assess bounce rate. When you create your website with Wix, you can utilize Wix analytics tools to better understand visitor behavior. You can view in depth data in the analytics section, or can see a quick overview on your main dashboard. To add bounce rate to your analytics overview on the dashboard select 'Customize', and then choose 'Bounce Rate'. You'll then be able to see your site's bounce rate, as well as the changes over time, any time you glance at the backend of your site.
You can also use Google Analytics to understand bounce rate. On the left-hand side you can navigate to ‘Behavior’ and then to the subsection ‘Overview’ to get a glimpse of your bounce rate. If you want bounce rate data for more specific pages, you can find that in the ‘Site Content’ section, also under ‘Behavior’.
Why does bounce rate matter?
Bounce rate can be a crucial indicator of the general success of your website. If visitors bounce, then your site gets less attention, and your business website makes fewer sales. Since bounce rate conveys the rate of visitors that did not click on any other button after reaching your site, it also indicates the lack of visitors accessing your services and completing transactions. Say you sell t-shirts online. If a user arrives at your site, but doesn’t then click on a shirt or purchase button and instead turns back to his search, that is likely a sign that you did not make a sale.
The ramifications of fewer visitors and sales can be huge for small businesses. It is therefore important to take note of bounce rate in conjunction with conversion rates, to see whether your site is performing up to speed. If both are low, it is important to evaluate what might be causing this downturn and take action to make your site more navigable, user friendly and fast-loading.
Another important aspect of bounce rate is realizing its impact on website SEO. If you don't already know what is SEO, it's essentially the process of optimizing your website to increase its chances of showing up on a Google search. Check out the latest SEO trends to learn more.
A high bounce rate can indicate to Google that your site is not the right fit for searchers. In turn, the search engine might lower your site in the rankings, causing less traffic to reach your site. Less traffic can of course also have drastic repercussions on small businesses.
What is a good bounce rate?
You might be wondering how you can know whether your bounce rate is in the right range. Unfortunately, there is not one clear-cut answer. Depending on your industry and the type of site that you have, you should expect different bounce rates. For example, a page that sells products or services should not have the same bounce rate as a blog. Since the goals of the two sites are different, the expectations of how many people click to another point on your site should also differ.
Another important factor to consider is the device used to access your site. Depending on your service, it is possible that users reaching your site from a mobile phone might not click through. Instead, they might wait to browse your site from a desktop. You could therefore see a large difference in bounce rate between phones and computers.
According to data from Custom Media Labs, on average desktop users bounce 42% of the time across industries and website types. They also found that the average bounce rate for mobile devices across industries is about 16% higher. This data indicates that there are many users who bounce and that you can have a perfectly healthy website that sees almost half of its visitors bouncing. However, it is always important to strive to improve your bounce rate as this can help your business grow and thrive.
How to improve bounce rate
Another factor in truly understanding bounce rate, is pinpointing what causes it to change and thereby how you can improve it. As noted, bounces can be caused by a number of factors. The easiest thing to check is page loading speeds. You can use tools like Google’s Page Speed Insights to check your website’s loading time. A website that takes a while to load, may cause users to turn away without even seeing your site. You can reduce the loading time of your site by ensuring that you haven’t overloaded it with photos or videos, and that you’re limiting the number of fonts. Simple changes can have a huge impact on how many visitors actually reach your website.
You should also examine the navigability of your site and the user experience design. Good website navigation and UX help site visitors understand how to use your site and reach desired pages. A poor design can mean that a visitor can’t find a button that they are looking for, or alternatively, that clicking on a button will result in an unexpected and unwanted outcome. Such design blunders can be mended by changing the text or visibility of the buttons on your site. Paying attention to small details like the color of your site’s buttons can affect how users experience your site.
Another important factor in improving bounce rate is ensuring that you are conveying your product accurately on all advertising platforms. It is easy to imagine a scenario where you sell a product that provides a free trial. It might therefore feel appropriate to advertise your product as free, as it helps bring in more users and ultimately can lead to more conversions than you might have otherwise had. However, it’s possible that once users reach your product and understand the true costs that come along with it, they will turn away. This lack of congruence between ads and actuality can lead to a high bounce rate. In order to lower that bounce rate, it is important to be clear about what your product actually is and how much it might cost.
By Amanda Weiner
Content Optimization Specialist