Got a high bounce rate?
Have you tried everything you can think of to make it lower, but without success?
Don’t worry — there’s good news.
Here are seven little-known ways to reduce your bounce rate and encourage longer visits (with more interaction) on your site …
1. Freshen-Up Your Content
If your old posts from 2005 are still showing in the search engines, visitors may click, take one look at the date, and then bolt.
They may never even bother to check the newer content you’ve created. If your older posts are still getting traffic, why not freshen them up and make them more current?
Changes in technology and trends make nearly any post “refreshable,” so take a stroll down archive lane and see what you can do to modernize it.
A few ideas:
- Update statistics
- Find new examples
- Add a case study
- Incorporate new insights
2. Simplify that Wall of Text
No matter what the topic, seeing a huge, scrolling wall of text will scare any visitor off.
Their brain will kick into “its not worth the trouble to read all this” mode and they’ll move on to something that looks easier to read.
Consider “chunking” your text into meaningful, mentally digestible “bites” (one idea per paragraph is best).
Once you’ve done that, consider adding in graphics that make everything even easier to understand.
Charts, diagrams, graphs, illustrations are all great choices. They do the work of a thousand words, and could mean the difference between scaring off visitors and getting them to stick around.
3. Know Your Numbers
Do you know your industry’s average bounce rate?
Trying to reduce your bounce rate without a goal in mind, is like shooting at a target while blindfolded.
You’ll get there a lot quicker by knowing what you’re aiming for.
Also, knowing your industry’s average bounce rate can help keep you sane. That’s because you won’t be trying to lower a number that’s perfectly normal for your industry, a number that will stay there no matter what you try to do.
These industry standards are from an infographic on KISSmetrics:
One more thing to note: Sometimes a high bounce rate is a good thing. But you’ll only know this if you know your industry’s numbers.
For example, affiliate sites and sites that make money through advertisers want to have a high bounce rate. That’s because a visitor leaving your site to an advertiser’s page means more money for you.
Either way, don’t look at bounce rate as an indicator of your success or failure.
As you get more traffic from various sources, some of those are going to be high quality, and some are going to be low quality. Some of your posts are going to be the perfect match for your audience, and others will find the information too technical, or too basic for their needs.
So if you’re already at your average bounce rate, focus on the conversions you’re getting from different channels.
Improved conversions is what matters at the end of the day, anyways. Plus, it’ll help counteract the effects of a stubborn bounce rate that refuses to go down.
4. Tweak Your Pay-Per-Click Ads
If your ads aren’t relevant to your landing page, you may have a big bounce rate problem on your hands.
This is especially true if your ads have exact match targeting, where the user searches for “blue widgets” and your PPC ad matches the term accordingly.
The fix? On your landing page, make sure you acknowledge the search term the visitor used to find your site. Like this one does:
It’s easy to do: If they searched for “blue widgets” and clicked your ppc ad with “blue widgets” in the title. you could say something like:
“Welcome Google User! We noticed you searched for ‘blue widgets’ – here’s what we have in stock:”
By doing this, you’ll have a better chance of presenting your site as relevant to their search.
Even if you don’t have “blue widgets” in stock, you can present other choices that may be of interest to your reader. This will keep them on your page longer, and may lead to better conversions.
(It can also help to “declutter” your website by getting your ad-to-content ratio right.)
5. Shake Up Your Keyword Strategy
Times change, people change and keywords change.
Every six months, do an audit on your site’s keywords to determine which ones are losing popularity, and which keywords are currently leading people to your site.
You’ll also want to study your analytics, check your keywords in Google Trends, and measure changes over time.
Keeping your keywords current will help keep your ads and landing pages relevant. As a result, your bounce rate is likely to decrease.
6. Help Your Homepage
If your homepage bounce rate is unusually high, it could be because you’re featuring your latest blog posts there.
What typically happens is visitors will land on your home page, read your newest content, and then leave.
So what can you do to make them stick around?
This may be the perfect time to use the aforementioned “freshening up” strategy to point them to “old-made-new-again” content at the bottom of each post.
This will get them exploring other content that may be a little “hidden” on your site.
(Here are some strategies for effective home pages.)
7. Turn Off the Autoplay
Even if that’s the case, let the user decide when to play it instead of springing it on them the moment they hit your home page.
Nothing’s worse than being blasted with background music or a voice when you’re not expecting it – especially if you’re at work or you have multiple tabs open and can’t figure out which one the sound is coming from!
Above all, possibly the most important thing you can do to lower bounce rates is to focus on consistently creating good, relevant content that appeals to your readers’ needs and questions.
Survey them from time to time by asking “What would you like to see more of?” and “What could you stand to see less of?” to determine which types of posts make the best impression.
Have you successfully lowered your bounce rate below the industry average? How’d you do it? Share your ideas and comments below!