I spend quite a long time each day in Facebook groups helping out where I can and offering my two cents where appropriate, and I hear A LOT of this:
“My bounce rate is SO HIGH! What can I do?! Am I doing something wrong?!”
And the answer is, STOP.
Because bounce rate doesn’t actually tell you as much as you think it does.
Yep, I know what you’re thinking: it tells you that someone comes to your site and then leaves from the same page without going anywhere else. Which is bad, right?
No, not always.
Let’s just say you Google something, or you click a link in Facebook to read a post on a website. How many times have you read it, found it interesting and then gone back to what you were doing before without looking at any more information?
Yeah, I think if we’re honest, we do it a lot.
Sometimes we love the content on the page, but we were also in the middle of a Facebook sesh and want to get back and see what else is in our notifications or newsfeed.
Sometimes we land somewhere and, actually, it wasn’t quite about what we thought it was about, so meh, best not waste any more time, back to the Google results page I go looking for the right answer.
We do this ALL THE TIME on other people’s sites, and it doesn’t mean that we’re doing anything “wrong” or that they’re doing anything wrong, it’s just a piece of data that tells us that someone left on the same page they came in. We’re attaching all sorts of assumptions to that figure – “I’m not interesting”, “I’m doing something wrong”, “nobody loves me”, “my mum should have loved me more” etc etc yada yada.
Added to that, bounce rate doesn’t tell us all that much by itself. Out of context bounce rate is a largely overrated metric.
So, if you think that your bounce rate is caused by something you’re doing wrong and you want to reduce it (because really, it won’t hurt!), you need to ALSO consider a couple of things:
- Where does your traffic come from?
Look, without knowing if the traffic you’re getting is actually right, you can’t assume anything about your bounce rate. If your bounce rate has joined the mile high club it can be for any number of reasons, and one of them is that you’re getting traffic from really wanky sources, like spam referral sites (often discernable in your Google Analytics because the averge time on site is, like, zero seconds.)
- Which pages are bouncing the most?
You need to know which are the pages or posts with the highest bounce figures. Why is this important? Well, if your homepage has a 20% bounce rate, but your sales page has a 70% bounce rate that’s actually to be expected. Sales pages by their nature can be quite bounceable (new word. I’m sticking with it!), mostly because a lot of them are designed without any other menus or navigation, so yeah, people will land on them and then bounce off if they don’t buy. Most sales pages are looking for a 1% conversion rate, so 70 people might just land there and think, “meh, not right now”, 29 will bookmark it for later reading and one person will buy.
So, figure out your top bounced pages, figure out where the traffic comes from and ONLY THEN will you have some sort of information that builds a real picture about what steps you can take to improve it.
Mostly, stop bitching about your bounce rate, focus on always delivering content that your readers want, and that is of MASSIVE VALUE to those people. People gon’ bounce anyway 🙂
PS. If you actually want to know the steps without guessing what works and what doesn’t, check out my Pimp Up Review to build strategy into your site that works WITH your personality and brand. Seriously, it’s some good shiznit.