3 Ways to Improve Your Bounce Rate

Are you noticing people are coming to your site but leaving after reading just a single page?

This is what is referred to a bounce.  Visitors to a site leave without visiting another page on your website.  The more people leaving your site after viewing just one page often alarms novice webmasters.

Webmasters typically use this bounce rate metric to measure how well they are meeting the needs of their audience.  It doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong but if this number is extremely high it should raise flags.

Some users will come to your site, find exactly what they want and then leave.  Others will leave when they see something wrong with your site or if they are unable to find what they are looking for.

Webmasters should be concerned when their bounce rate rises and traffic decreases.  This is a definite indicator something is wrong with the site or its content.

Before my latest redesign, my bounce rate had increased to over 80% and my traffic had dropped by over 50%.

It doesn’t mean your site is a total loss.  You just have to take action to improve the bounce rate on your site.

Here are 3 things you can use to improve your bounce rate.

  1. Refocus your efforts to better match your target audience
    Focusing on a single topic will tell your readers exactly what your site is about.  They will know what to expect when they visit your site.  They will be more likely to want to read other material provided and return at a later date if the topic interests them.
  2. Design and organize your site to allow easy navigation
    Having great content is useless if your readers can’t find it.  There is nothing as frustrating to users than having to navigate through page after page of “stuff” to find the information they want.  Use internal linking in your documents to direct readers to other resources on your site.  Make your site load faster so users can navigate quicker.  Increase the visibility of your most important articles by placing them in a sidebar.
  3. Promote your site to readers in your niche
    Once you’ve focused your efforts and created a site designed around user experience, promote your site to your target audience.  This may involve commenting on blogs in your niche, participating in forum discussions or simply concentrating your SEO efforts on your keywords.  The more relevant the content matches the traffic coming to your site, the more likely they will stick around.  It will also improve the chances of increasing your readers and subscribers.

Once you’ve implemented these strategies, examine how visitors find your site.  Pay attention to pages receiving the most attention and consider adjusting your overall strategy around your best performing pages.  You may have stumbled on a niche that can be exploited to your advantage.

What are your thoughts?  Drop a comment below and let me know any suggestions or tips to improve your bounce rate.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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7 Responses to 3 Ways to Improve Your Bounce Rate

  1. AstroGremlin says:

    My bounce rate dropped as I created more content and basically put links right in front of readers. It’s important to remember a “bounce” just means the reader didn’t click on anything. So an article with a link to a useful resource can show you, when it gets clicked, that your article got read (well, let’s be honest, scanned!). When you get a click, Google Analytics then tells you how long the reader spent on your site. It’s great feedback. Linking to your own articles can be just as good, as long as they are relevant.

  2. Hi Barry,

    What worked best for my site was making the navigation easier – and adding ‘click incentives’ at the bottom of each post. 🙂

    Great tips,
    Danielle

    • Hi Danielle,

      Those are great suggestions. Easier navigation not only improves user experience but as you said, makes people stick around longer. I never thought of the “incentives” before.

      What kind of incentives do you offer?

      Barry

      • There’s a couple – one simple one is the “related blog post” plug in. You see these a lot in ‘entertainment blogs’ which try to keep you on the site with interesting content simliar to what you just read. 🙂

        Another variation is if you write a post like this to take them to a different area in the site that shows them a full course on how to lower their bounce rates (but instead of a link, you can use clickable images.)

        But you modest guy you – you do use one common form of click incentives! (in the anchor links on your posts) 🙂

        Love your posts Barry, I’ll be sticking around 🙂

      • Hi Danielle,

        Yes, internal linking is a most subtle way of encouraging people to go elsewhere on your site. It also has an added bonus of passing your authority to other articles you’ve written as well.

        Thanks for you kind words.

        Barry

  3. Agree with all the points mentioned Especially the design part ! The more awesome and minimalistic it is , more will be the time the visitors would stay . Also less nos of ads should be kept which should be perfectly integrated and not look like ads 😉

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