5 Defense Strategies Against High Bounce Rates
- Ayrald Hubert
- February 5, 2016
It’s one thing to bring people to your website but let’s be honest — the true test is how long they actually stick around. Whether the purpose of your site is to generate leads, make sales or even to inform your audience, it’s not doing its job if people leave too soon.
Knowing this, most people keep a close eye on their website’s bounce rate, or the “percentage of single pageview visits to a website,” according to Google. You can think of it as a way to measure how many people arrived at your website and then left without viewing any other content. Supplement this with the average time spent on your website and you can get a pretty good look to see if people are jumping ship too quickly. But why? Actually, it could be one of many things. Let’s take a look at some of the most common offenders, and how you can guard against them.
001: Speed it Up.
It has long been thought that Google started to take page load time into account when it ranks a site on the results page, and with good reason. Research shows that people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. They simply don’t want to wait around so you have to optimize your website for performance otherwise you could wind up turning off visitors before they even have a chance to see anything.
Before your site goes live, your web design team should run something like a Google PageSpeed Insights report. This free tool gives your site a score and grade along with suggestions to help you improve the speed and performance of your website.
Anyone can pick up a book and learn enough HTML to create a website, but it takes a professional designer to know how to best present content on your pages. One common mistake that amateurs often make is trying to cram too much content and information on one page. They may have heard that white space is a bad thing or that everything needs to be above the fold or any other misconception about web design.
Some tips for removing clutter on your pages are:
- Reduce visual load – embrace white space, it can be a good thing.
- Be careful with fonts – the wrong fonts will easily give your web site a cluttered look; so will too many different fonts.
- Take away anything that isn’t the most important thing – this is pretty self-explanatory.
003: Provide Better Navigation
Its wise to provide access to all of the pages on your website, after all that is how the search engine spiders can completely crawl a website and visitors can find everything. But save that for the sitemap, not your navigational elements.
The navigation of your site should be reduced to a single, clearly defined navigation menu that is responsive so people on mobile devices can navigate your site just as easily as a desktop visitor would. This is why design is such an important part of your website and why working with a professional web design firm can help you properly navigate your audience throughout your pages.
004: Provide Mobile Support
Statista shows that 33.4 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. Unfortunately, not everyone has embraced a mobile strategy for their website. People still serve their visitors a website that was designed for a larger screen and then wonder why so many people leave after they have trouble viewing the content on their smaller devices.
A mobile strategy means you will have to redesign your site to abide by modern standards. While there are options, consider making your website responsive. You will only have to create one site that adjusts how content is displayed based on the device/screen size of the visitor.
005: Whip the Design Into Shape
It’s hard to look at your website and come to the realization that it is just outright terrible. But if people are leaving and everything mentioned above is in order, then it might just be your site isn’t designed well.
Some things are easy to spot, such as poor color choices or illegible fonts. Sometimes, it takes a bit more analysis before you come to the realization that it is time for a fresh coat of paint. If you think that poor design may be the case but just aren’t quite sure, give a service like UserTesting.com a try. Their testers will give you plenty of feedback in this regard.
Fixing a site that turns visitors away is no small task. It takes a great deal of research and even more work to get things right. But putting it off is even more disastrous because odds are once you make a bad impression you have turned off that visitor for good. Once you have assessed what is wrong with your site, make sure you put the right people on the job to turn things around. The last thing you want is to dig yourself deeper into a hole by using the wrong people because they are cheaper or faster.
About the Author
Ayrald Hubert is a Senior Analyst at Clutch responsible for research and analysis of web design and digital marketing agencies. Ayrald is originally from France and regularly returns to his native country during the year. In his free time, he enjoys studying up on marine life, specifically sharks, and playing soccer with his friends. Ayrald’s academic background includes a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University in Washington DC.
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