Don’t Scare Away Your Prospects
Unless you’re a competitive trampoline jumper, a high bounce rate is absolutely nothing to be proud of. As defined by Google Analytics, it’s the percentage of visitors who leave your site after only visiting one page. There are outliers who read what they need and are able to continue their journey, but most of the time, you are responsible for others’ lack of interest. Something about your website was offensive, sketchy, or creepy enough that visitors clicked on the link to Cookie Monster’s cover of “Call Me Maybe” in their Favorites bar just to get away. Some professional SEOs even speculate that a high bounce rate is so correlated to negative SEO, that so-called bounce rate attacks can occur.
What is a good target? Avinash Kausik, Google’s digital marketing evangelist, says a healthy bounce rate looks like something between 40 and 60% , and if your website lists blog posts on the homepage, a higher rate might not even be unhealthy. The ultimate goal is conversion and it never hurts to aim for a rock-bottom low rate. We’ll cover some of the sharpest ways you can keep people on your website for more than a few seconds:
1. Remove Immediate Pop-Ups
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: not all pop-ups are awful. If someone has spent several minutes reading your blog, a simple pop-up inviting them to become an email subscriber might be an effective maneuver. Immediate, tricky, and self-promotional pop-ups are likely to scare people away.
2. Crank Up Your Contrast
Just because you’ve got the sharpest vision on the block doesn’t mean your website visitors are as fortunate. VisFire marketing reports that increasing contrast between text and background is the single easiest and most effective way to reduce your bounce rate. Mashable reports that over 53 million Americans aged 45 or older have some sort of visual impairment. With the rise of mobile technology, sharper contrast also makes your content more accessible for a wide array of screen resolutions.
3. Avoid Confusing Visitors
Your prospects have too much on their to-do lists to figure out confusing navigation. While the average length of a website visit is typically less than one minute, the first 10 seconds are critical to their decision to stay or go. If the site hasn’t loaded or they haven’t figured out your navigation bar, there’s a good chance they’re about to bounce. No one should have to hunt for insight on your product, services, or mission. Make your purpose evident and navigation as easy as possible.
4. Kill Distractions
When it comes to loading your website, every second counts. Kissmetrics research has found that as a general rule of thumb, 4 seconds is the maximum length of time your prospects are willing to wait around; after 4 seconds your abandonment rate will exceed 25%. Load time affects your bottom line and your ability to connect with the ever-increasing segment of the population who are accessing the web via mobile device. Not only will pop-ups, invitations to speak with a representative, and complex flash designs distract from your content, they can send your load time through the roof.
Remember, your prospects have options. If your website’s load time drags on, they can just check out your competitors’ offerings. Besides, it looks so unprofessional that page speed is a variable that Google is now using in its ranking algorithm.
5. Make Your Purpose Clear
Sorry, but most of your visitors don’t initially give a darn about your über-fun company culture or canine mascot. They care about what you can do for them, and that needs to be clear to them. Your homepage design needs to begin and end by communicating value and purpose to your visitors, and your navigation needs to be simple enough they’re able to absorb all your invaluable information in seconds.What factors do you feel contribute to a website's bounce rate? image credit: graur razvan ionut/freedigitalphotos.net