Bit of a back to basics (and often overlooked) topic for todays post – lowering bounce rate written by Claire Broadley of Wish.co.uk experiences. Bounce rate can be a bit of a hit and miss metric but it can be very useful when looking at trends and spotting the pages on your website which stand out as not keeping visitors as long as they should. In general, I wouldn’t worry loads about bounce rate, but if you are seeing very high percentages across your entire site or key pages are higher than the site average, then you should dive in and take a closer look to see why.
Also in light of the Google Panda, you should be looking at the issues which could be making visitors unhappy with your website. Its a bit of a no-brainer to make sure you are doing all you can to create a good user experience and keep visitors as long as possible.
Over to Claire who is going to give specific tips on how to reduce your bounce rate.
So users are getting to your website – good. Your content is attracting them as it should be.But when they land on that initial page, something is going wrong. You’re losing them, and they’re bouncing back out.There can be a number of reasons for this, and it’s a tricky thing to diagnose. Assuming your blog is relevant and well-written, it’s attracting people – but now you have to retain them. That’s a whole other technique.Here are five ways you can tackle the problem of a high bounce rate.1. Look at your website objectively
It’s very difficult to be critical of your own website. You have a strong mental image of where everything is. If you wanted to retrieve some information, you’d know where it’s located without a second thought. Remember, though, that 100 per cent of the people visiting your site for the first time have nothing to go on.
Most of us scan a web page in an F shape. As soon as it appears on the screen, we scan horizontally across the top, then vertically down the left-hand side. We then scan briefly across the middle of the page. All of your important content needs to be located within that invisible ‘F’ if it’s going to quickly stand out to a casual visitor.
2. Improve the content
Be honest: how often do you read and review your web content? It’s important to regularly check the text on your site to make sure it still represents your business. When you read the page with fresh eyes, you might see all kinds of spacing errors, typos or punctuation mistakes which you simply haven’t noticed before. All of these things can be really off-putting for a visitor.
A good technique to proof-read properly is to read the content aloud slowly to someone else. You’ll probably notice all kinds of mistakes, and you’ll probably think of ways to break down and re-structure the text so it flows well.
3. Break it up
Once your text is in place, think about placing some headings on the page. Headings are great for lazy readers because they aid the ‘F’ shape eye-scanning habits we all have. Search engines like them too, so use them for SEO as well. Add some primary keywords into your H1 and H2 tags where it’s natural and makes sense to do so.
4. Use colour
Now your text is taking shape, you’ll want to make some improvements to the font and layout to accommodate it. Use colours sparingly, and only for things you want people to do. Use bullets to give your page shape and structure. Only bold things that really are important.
Consider adding one prominent button to your shop, contact page or price list. The button should be the opposite colour to the primary colour on your site. For example, if your site is blue, the button should be orange to properly catch the eye.
5. Measure and tweak
Follow the analytics for your tweaked content. If possible, compare the results against a non-optimised page. See if it holds users’ attention more effectively. If it does, you can apply some of those techniques to other important landing pages to effectively retain and funnel users through the most important areas on your website.