This is a Big Problem on Many Websites. Here Are 6 Simple Ways to Fix It

Big Issue

A few days ago I started reading Dr. Robert Anthony’s “Magic Power of Super Persuasion” and surprisingly, I found out something really useful that can be applied online.

Let me explain.

People who listen to others and show an interest in their stories tend to attract more friends. These kind of people are also perceived as trustworthy. On the other hand, people who talk only about themselves, are perceived as weak, shifty or untrusty.

The same thing happens with websites.

Remember that the “www” is only a protocol, a communication bridge between the information provider and the consumers. If the website’s owner is shouting out loud how great his products or services are, he is often confronted with rejection. On websites and blogs this is called “bounce rate“. They come to your site read one page and bounce out without reading anything else or clicking on other pages.

This is one of the key performance indicators of a website or blog and it is a major issue. This is a big problem on many websites but their owners don’t know it.

Why measure the performance of your site?

Let me take a guess. It’s because you want more from your online business.

Your most precious tool is the website that helps you to achieve the business objectives. In order to get to the desired goals, you need to define metrics and set up a target value to see how are you doing against your objectives. I know that this may sound like a first year college marketing class, but it is essential to understand the importance of measuring the right metrics.

Why measure bounce rate?

A 70% Bounce Rate is telling you that more than half of the website’s visitors are going away without visiting more than one page. Ouch! This is terribly bad, especially if you don’t manage to do micro-conversions such as Facebook Likes, Newsletter subscriptions, etc. The fact is that you probably constantly lose prospects for your business without having a hook or idea about how to make them return to your website ever again.

This will cost you.

How to find your bounce rate?

Log in your web analytics software – I’ll use Google Analytics as an example. You can access the following reports by going to Behavior>>Site content>>All Pages.

How to fix your Bounce rate

Moving forward, you need to find out why are these things happening on your website. You have two simple and cheap ways to get this kind of information:

1. Web analytics

Figure out bounce rates for each important page of the website.

If it’s an ecommerce, include in the analysis the homepage, category page, product page. Don’t try to look at the cart page, because it has to deal with another metric – the cart abandonment rate.

On the other had, if you run a blog check the homepage and the pages with the highest traffic volume.

Pro tip: Only analyze the most popular pages. These pages need to be optimized either to increase the time on site or to optimize conversion rates. This is a matter of prioritization based on potential, importance and ease.

2. Customer’s feedback

Use surveys to find out directly from visitors what’s making them to run away from your website. A few examples of questions to discover abandoning reasons and get insights:

Question 1: What determined you not to subscribe to one of our plans?

  • It’s to expensive
  • I don’t need it now
  • I’m comparing prices
  • I don’t know

Question 2: Can you tell us what would you like to see on this page?

Open answer: […]”

The most common causes for high bounce rates

There are a few key causes for high bounce rates.

1. Poor website design

You have only a few seconds to convince people that your site is credible. If its design isn’t appealing, you need to consider some fixes. I don’t recommend you to do a entire website redesign, because it may lead to a drop in conversion rates. The main reason for this drop is the sudden change that would confuse people who visit the website regularly and who is are already consuming your content or products. My advice is to use conversion optimization tactics to improve the design step by step without wondering how a change would affect the website’s key performance indicators.

2. There is no “Call to Action”

People arrive on the website and they don’t know what to do. If they’re not encouraged to do anything, they’ll consume the information they need and then go away.

Create a conversion funnel and make sure to track each goal. For example, in the first phase, your goal would be to transform visitors into subscribers. Here, you can apply some email collecting tactics that I’ve talked about in a previous post about growing an email list. But collecting emails is not enough. You need to move subscribers to the next funnel stage and transform them into leads. In case you have a complex product, you may want people to sign up for a free trial and try your product.

3. The website’s traffic is irrelevant

This may take you back to defining your business objectives. What’s the website’s role in the business? How does it support your business and how do you make money with it? If these questions don’t have clear answers, you wouldn’t know where to work on improvement. Another reason would be that your Adwords Campaigns are poorly managed.

4. The website is difficult to use

Have you tested the website at its launch? Are you sure that people don’t get stuck when they navigate on its pages? Consider a usability testing or a flow analysis in Analytics to spot the blockages on your website.

6 Simple Fixes to Reduce Bounce Rate

1. Focus on conversion rate optimization

Create a plan for conversion rate optimization and then start to improve the website step by step. I encourgae you to bookmark this link; it’a a complete guide to creating an effective A/B testing plan and it includes tips on how to integrate A/B testing in the conversion rate optimization strategy.

2. Optimize load time

Third party plugins have a negative effect on load time. Check out this infographic to learn more about what’s causing pages to load in time and how to fix speed page issues

3. Check for technical errors

Analyze bounce rates by device, resolution and other similar segmentation criteria. Go deeper with the analysis to figure out the anomalies and fix them.

4. Make links intuitive

Figure out how easy is to follow the links to the conversion page/thank you page and ensure that visitors can intuitively click through without thinking too hard.

5. Consider optimizing the Adwords campaigns

Remain committed to what you promised to the visitors in the ads. Also, keep the same tone of voice, fonts and colors on the landing page. Don’t drive visitors that clicked on one of your ads on irrelevant pages because it increases the chances to bounce.

6. Eliminate confusion

Have clear call to actions on each important page of your site.

Notice that these guidelines can help you in your attempt to reduce bounce rate, but remember that your website is unique and there is no “one size fits all” solution. You just have to start analyzing your website and see why are things happening like this and not in the way you want them to happen.

Author: Elena Dobre is learning about digital marketing, business and life at Marketizator.com, the complete conversion rate optimization tool. She plays the role of the content strategist, but she’s also experiencing with CRO and lead generation.  She enjoys discovering new online tools, hacks, brilliant minds and beautiful souls. Follow her on Twitter @HDobre.

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Comments

  • Call to action

    This article is informative and all i can do is add a little bit on the call to action. You need to position the calls to action at the right point within the content. Actually it should be positioned not necessarily at the end but at the point where the reader is convinced that the product or service or trust is real.

    At the beginning it will be a bit salesy and at the end it can be slightly risky just in case they leave before finishing the article or whatever information it is. Remember so many things can happen between the beginning and the end of the article such as power outs, disruptions and other things that will take the reader off the article.

    I believe what should happen is that the call to action should not be done like a call to getting born again which is done at the end of the service but rather it should be at some point after the begging of the article but before the end.

    Landing page

    Of landing pages are very crucial but i also feel that apart from the voice and the font and the colors, there should be a clear magnet at this point. The message should be stronger than in the ad. Remember this could be the first and the last page the visitor steps on. Always try to make the best out of the first impression. It should be the micro-representative of the entire site. From here, the visitor should be able to go to the contact us page, shopping cart, about us and all that.

    Let me stop at this 🙂
    This is such a superb article

  • All of this is incredibly important, and I won’t echo everything Thomas has mentioned, but he also has great advice.

    Another thing that you mentioned (and that we’re currently looking into) is the micro-conversions approach. As annoying as it seems to have one of those pop-ups to subscribe to a newsletter, get a free ebook, etc, THEY WORK. It’s so worth it to find a way to implement this on your site. Sure, a lot of people will simply close out of them, but there are a number who figure “why not?” And if they get high-quality content from you, they will definitely be back.

  • Daniel Louis

    Great post EL!