What is a Bounce Rate and Why Should I Care?

Your website is the primary storefront for your business. It is your window to the world of markets and potential new customers. It is crucial that you know what is working on your website and what isn’t. Are your landing pages converting leads? Is the website’s front-page drawing people in? Does your site look modern? Are the pages easy to navigate?

It's difficult for you to critique and analyze your website objectively. You built the website; it’s hard to change it and admit that something isn’t working. That is where page analytics come in. Page analytics provides you a set of data in easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Analytics can track responses to your web pages in real-time, empowering you to make adjustments as needed to remain competitive.

In short, page analytics gives you the tools to adapt your company to the modern marketplace. The more you know about your business, its web page, and how your customers react to it, the better you can improve the customer experience and your bottom line.

What is the Bounce Rate?

A “bounce” is a single page session on your website. That means a user visits your site and sticks to one page and leaves after viewing that page. The bounce rate is the total number of single or one-page sessions divided by the total number of sessions on your website, i.e. the percentage of sessions on your website that only viewed a single-page.

Is a high bounce rate bad?

A high bounce rate means that a large number of people who visit your website are engaging with only one page. Whether that is bad depends on your site. For instance, if you have a “home” page that is the gateway to your other pages, i.e. sales and landing pages, then a high bounce rate is bad because that indicates that people aren’t venturing past the home page and exploring your content or products.

However, if your website is a single page, like a constant-running blog, then a high bounce rate is fine. Essentially, it depends on how your website functions.

What is the average bounce rate?

The average bounce rate is between 41 to 55 percent. If you can keep your bounce rate around 26 to 40 percent, then your company is in excellent shape. A bounce rate of 56 to 70 percent is above average, however, depending on the structure of your website, may not be cause for alarm. Any bounce rate that is above 70 percent is a source of alarm (except for blogs, news articles, events, and similar web pages).

How do you lower your bounce rate?

Examine the bounce rate from different perspectives:

Each perspective will tell you where and how your bounce rate jumps and drops. For example:

  • Compared your desktop site to your mobile site.
  • Do your email pages drop or increase the bounce rate?
  • How about Google organic?
  • How do your blog pages do?

You can begin understanding where and how your marketing fits into the bounce rate. What can you do to reduce it? Which campaigns are effective and to what extent?

Linking to other pages

Another technique to reduce the bounce rate is to link to other pages throughout your website. Page links are an easy way to pull customers away from a page and to a landing or product page. Most people are proficient at navigating websites however you want to maximize the ability of your customers to navigate and utilize your site.

Page links allow you to create “shortcuts” to product pages which increase the number of eyeballs viewing your content.

Website Organization

Another problem frequently encountered by smaller companies is the structure of their site. Does your organization make logical sense? Do you proceed from a home page to a product page, to a landing page, and to a purchase page? Where can you make improvements?

Do you use a blog? Does it link back to relevant products or landing pages? Think about the structure of your website and how a person might navigate through it. A lot of web designers plot out the structure on a piece of paper to trace the number of steps and what each step does for the customer.

The bounce rate is your first and most crucial step is understanding traffic flow to and through your website. Just like if you owned a brick-and-mortar store, you would want to know if people never walked through your front door, you would want to know why. Your website is no different, if people aren’t exploring your site, you need to know why and how to correct the issue.

About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Sam is a co-founder and inbound strategist at 41 Orange.

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