How to Reduce your Website’s Bounce Rate in 2020
March 25, 2020
If you’ve recently reviewed your Google Analytics report and noticed your bounce rate was unusually high, you’ve come to the right place. We can help you.
With nearly 2 billion websites currently on the Internet, and growing every minute, it’s more critical than ever to ensure your site is effectively optimized for the best user experience possible. Navigation should be approachable and easy to understand, key information is simple to discover, messaging is sharp and effective, and that visually, the entire content journey feels seamless, on-brand and compelling to the eye. Otherwise, it’s all too easy for users to click away in a matter of seconds.
Before we dive in, let’s define what a “bounce” is. According to Google, it is “the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.” Put more simply, it essentially means users who only visit your page briefly and leave without any meaningful interactions.
If you’re thinking, “At least they found my site, isn’t that good enough?”
Well, the answer is yes. And, no. It’s great that you’re getting the page impressions, however, discovering what triggered them to leave without further exploration could be the difference between just another casual user and potential conversion or valuable onsite action. Your goal should be to keep them engaged and guide them to other pages on your site, thus lowering your bounce rate percentage.
A low bounce rate is also important for search engines. According to SEMrush, bounce rate is the 4th most important ranking factor when it comes to the search engine results page. So, keeping an eye on your bounce rate is essential for several reasons.
Let’s take a look at how to reduce your own website’s bounce rate in 2020.
Create a better user experience
User experience, or “UX”, is best described as creating a frictionless, valuable, and satisfying experience for website visitors. When someone enters your site, they are looking to you for answers. It’s your opportunity to be the expert. It’s up to you to properly provide the information they need to make their next move.
User experience is extremely important if you want your reader to stay on your site. Imagine it from the perspective of a user who knows nothing about your services, products or brand, landing on your website for the first time. What types of things would you be looking for? What would make that experience even more meaningful? Easy questions we always pose:
Okay, here’s the home page, now where do I go to learn more?
Where can I check the services and prices?
Is there a phone number or contact page I can access right away?
Are there any testimonials or reviews I can read before I purchase?
Is there a button I can click to get a quote?
Is there a compelling photo or video gallery to visually articulate the brand or product?
Some improvements you could make if you’re unsure whether your site is creating a meaningful user experience is:
- Double-check that your website is easy to use on a mobile or tablet. Tap on the navigation menu and sort through your pages one by one. Remember that you want to create a frictionless experience for all of your website visitors, even those who aren’t using a desktop.
- Place your logo in the top left corner and your navigation menu in the center or at the top right. Everything should seem organized and visually structured.
- Break up heavy text pages with headers, shorter to-the-point paragraphs, bullet points, and high-quality images.
- Include call-to-action buttons throughout your site (specifically above the fold), but don’t overdo it.
- Improve your site speed (we’ll get more into this in the next section).
- Limit pop-ups. Nothing aggravates an internet user more than having to close out of five pop-ups just to read the first sentence on your homepage.
As you can see, there are many ways to improve your sites’ user experience. It just takes a closer look into what your visitors find valuable and being there to anticipate and satisfy their needs.
Improve your site speed
As we mentioned briefly before, improving your site speed can increase user experience and decrease your bounce rate. According to data collected from section.io, the longer the page took to load, the higher the bounce rate was, and vice versa.
You may be wondering how to actually increase your site speed. Here are a few tried and true ways that work according to our web developers here at Commit Agency:
- Image optimization. There are a few different compression techniques we use to optimize our client’s web images. Lossy and Lossless are some that we use religiously. In addition to these, we use Google’s next-gen image format called WebP. There are many benefits of using WebP, like much smaller file sizes and it’s (obviously) favored by the search engine itself.
- Clean code. Make sure your code isn’t sloppy or overly complex. When Google is crawling your site, you’ll want the fewest amount of roadblocks possible.
- Lazy loading for images. This means that images you see on the screen load immediately, whereas images that aren’t immediately shown don’t load all the way until you scroll down to it. It’s a great trick to use when you don’t want to get rid of content but you also don’t want to compromise site speed.
- Avoid large plugins when there are alternatives. Websites using WordPress are particularly guilty of using large plugins. Find alternatives to use instead.
- CDN and Caching. Caching is essentially a saved copy of your website that is temporarily stored on a user’s computer. This provides a quicker response time because your user’s computer already recognizes the site and doesn’t have to communicate as much.
- Only load what is needed on a page. We know it’s tempting to fill your website with cool widgets and plug-ins, but try to keep it simple. The more you load up your page with unnecessary clutter, the slower it will be.
Use high-quality images and video
The use of high-quality images and video is crucial in 2020. It helps to build trust and advocacy in your brand, catering to the consumer’s need for a clear and compelling visual representation of your products or services and creates a more appealing experience for users while exploring your website.
However, we’re not suggesting you throw a bunch of generic stock imagery up on your site just for the sake of it. Put in the effort. Hire a professional photographer, or videographer, to capture what you need within the best budget you have. Mark our words, you will get what you pay for. Your website visitors will appreciate the authenticity and ultimately feel better about their decision to choose your company, and your services, over another.
If you already utilize a professional camera to capture these photos (which is highly recommended), keep in mind that you’ll want to convert these images to a JPEG or PNG file and then compress them so that they are optimized for the type of web experience your customers need.
Publish engaging content
By having an established content strategy, meaning that you’re consistently publishing blogs, posting on social media and creating meaningful tools for your readers to gain knowledge from, you’re essentially becoming a valuable resource that proves beneficial to anyone who is not familiar with the field you specialize in.
Not only do you want to have a consistent strategy, but you also want to pique your reader’s attention so that they stay on your page. Try to avoid writing posts that are generic or supported with non-essential or distracting information. Inject humor into your content, high-quality visuals or discuss conversation-starting topics. Provide enough details to satisfy their curiosity while not “giving away the whole store”. Leave them coming back for more.
Your goal is to become a credible source that is easily accessible.
Unfortunately, like a lot of other things, it takes time to build trust and credibility. If you’re an expert in your field, this will present itself in your work. Continue to write copy that is engaging, concise and informational. If you can’t find the time to maintain a consistent content strategy, then perhaps hiring an agency might be the right solution for you.
Make your site easy to read
Have you ever come across a website that was hard to read, especially on mobile? You try to zoom in but get lost when looking for the next sentence, or link to select.
Unfortunately, this is yet another contributing factor to high bounce rates.
If your website is hard to read, then it’s not worth the reader’s time or effort finding what they need. Take a moment to look at your own site. Pick up your phone and start scrolling through your website’s pages and ask yourself these questions:
- Does everything fit on my screen?
- Is the font size legible?
- Is there ample space between headlines and the rest of the text?
- Is the font I chose easy to read?
If you answered no to any of the questions above, consider updating your site as soon as possible.
A Commit Agency case study
At Commit, we are consistently evaluating all of these indicators and questions when monitoring our clients’ website performance. This past June we launched a brand-new site for a popular destination resort client of ours, Skytop Lodge, after focusing on what opportunities exist to improve the site’s performance and experience. And, we couldn’t have been more satisfied with the results post-launch. Comparing the time period between its launch date in June of 2019 and March of this year, the bounce rate improved 21.33% from 39.54% to 31.10% by addressing many of the opportunities we’ve mentioned.
At Commit Agency, we’re always looking for ways to decrease not only our client’s bounce rates, but ours as well. Check out our brand new website where we implemented each of the suggestions above. Drop us a line if you have questions, we’re here to help.