Bounce rate is one of the commonly misunderstood metric with many negative connotations. When you understand what truly constitutes bounce rate, it is clear that a high bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing.
A bounce means a single webpage visit. If a user clicks on a link to a page on your site, spends five minutes reading that page, and then exits your site, they’re a bounce. Furthermore, a user could find exactly what they are looking for, have a great experience on your site, and still be counted as a bounce.
Less bounces means more page views, which may translate into more revenue, more engagement, or a stronger connection with readers. An unusually high bounce rate is also a signal of poor user experience, so it’s worth decreasing it to a point where you’re sure that your users are ‘good bounces’, not bad ones.
So, what are the best ways to lower bounce rate? Here are 7 tips that will help you get started:
1. Update your content on regular basis
Still have content from 2009 live telling people how to optimize their Myspace page? You will want to fix that. Even in less extreme cases, it’s important to keep old high-traffic posts up-to-date to keep your bounce rate down.
2. Say NO to pop-ups
Generally, popups are awful for the user experience and should be avoided at any costs. The only case where it is okay is when you are using a tool like Bounce Exchange, which uses mouse tracking technology to identify when a user is about to bounce, and then shows a popup to reduce the likelihood of this. However, I would suggest that this is a bad user experience.
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3. Write shorter paragraphs
Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, which is why it is important to write concisely and in short sentences.
4. Translate your site for international traffic
If you website is written in English but you also receive a lot of traffic from countries like Japan, Israel, and China; than you should think of translate your website for international traffic. You can install WPML to translate your site into a few different languages.
5. Make your website search more prominent
Many people are search-orientated and these users will look for a website search box as soon as they enter a site. Don’t make it difficult for your website visitor to search for what they are looking for.
6. Make your 404 page more useful
Google explicitly advises that your 404 error page should be useful in helping people find what they were looking for. They also advise using the enhanced 404 widget to include a search box on your 404 page.
7. Reduce your broken links
Lots of broken links will cause a poor user experience, driving your bounce rates up. Using the Webmaster Tools crawl error report, or a scraper like Screaming Frog, identify all of the broken links on your website and fix as many of them as possible.
8. Make all external links open in a new window
For blogs, it is likely that a large portion of your site bounces are coming from people clicking on external links in your posts. If you are using WordPress, there is a plugin that will automatically open all of your external links in a new tab.
57% of users will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Therefore, if you want to reduce the bounce rate, you should improve the loading speed of your site. There are various online tools like alexa.com that will calculate the exact loading speed of your site.
10. Put banners and hyperlink to existing content
Always put eye-catchy banners and inter-link your content to the older posts to retain your website visitors.