How bounce rates can hurt your online profits

OldStoryImageIs your website doing its job? Is it generating leads and sales and engaging potential customers?

If you are spending money marketing online, it is vital that you are able to answer questions like these and one of the best ways to do so is by measuring your site’s bounce rates.

First, let’s look at what constitutes a “bounce.” Customers bounce from your site any time they land on one of your pages then:

  • click the “back” button on their browser within five seconds of arriving;
  • close the window or tab that your site is in;
  • leave and visit another website (either through a link on your site or by typing in a new address); or
  • timeout, meaning they never visit more than one page within a 30-minute session.

Your bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who visit one page and then bounce out by the total number of people who entered your site through that same page.

Bounce rates are measured as a percentage and generally speaking, e-commerce sites average 20 to 40 percent bounce rates, while referral generation sites can average 30 percent to 50 bounce rates. Bounce rates for online advertisement pages tend to be highest and can run in the 70 to 90 percent range.

How to Use Bounce Rate Data

To determine the bounce rates for your site, you must have an analytics program running in the background. This is neither difficult nor costly; Google offers a free tool that works very well.

Once you determine your bounce rates, they can reveal some ways to improve your site.

First, bounce rates can indicate which search keywords are really engaging your site visitors. Potential customers are doing searches every day for your products or services and using a wide variety of different searches to find your website. Each keyword phrase that someone searches will have its own bounce rate. Lower rates indicate search terms that are better at engaging visitors. Keywords with high bounce rates should be evaluated carefully.

Secondly, bounce rates can tell you which traffic sources are doing the best job attracting visitors who are qualified for your products or services. This is especially important if you are paying to drive traffic to your site. If you find a few websites are sending visitors who who bounce from your website at a much higher rate than your other sources, consider reducing your advertising with them.

Bounce rates can also help you analyze each entrance page to your website (also called a landing page). High bounce rates can indicate that a particular landing page is underperforming.

Improving Your Bounce Rates

If you want to reduce your bounce rate, first and foremost, you have to provide relevant and engaging content. Beyond that, here are some other issues to address:

  • If you are buying advertising space (even on Google, Yahoo or Bing) make sure those ads are pointing to landing pages tailored to the ads themselves. Don’t send that traffic to your homepage and expect visitors to understand where they should go.
  • Make it easy for visitors to navigate your website by using a clean, easy-to-understand navigation menu. Include a search box as well.
  • Avoid running pop up ads and unless absolutely necessary, avoid having links to other websites on your primary landing pages—you’ll just encourage visitors to leave. If you do link to another website, have the site open in a new window on top of your page so it will be easier to entice back visitors.
  • Test the load speed of your website. Most site visitors are impatient and will not wait for a site that loads slowly. Improving your site load time will also improve your search engine rankings with Google.

Understanding your website’s bounce rate is an essential part of determining your website’s health. Armed with information, you can make smarter decisions with your online marketing budget, improve the content of your site and see a higher return on investment.

 

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