Are people bouncing off your site before you get to sell them?

What is a bounce?

A bounce is when a visitor lands on a page and leaves your site without visiting any other page. Your bounce rate is the number of people who bounce, compared to the number of people who explore at least one other page.

The lower your bounce rate, the better.

Remember, bounce rates don’t measure who isn’t buying. They just measure who’s leaving without engaging. There are a number of reasons people will bounce off your site, and a number of ways to adjust your site to entice them to stay.

Make it relevant

If a customer clicks on an ad and is redirected to your site, make sure the site mirrors the look and promise of the ad. (Well, make the ad mirror the look and promise of the site.) If the visitor thinks they’ve come to the wrong place, the chances of them bouncing can be as high as 85%. 

This is partly due to lack of trust – there are a lot of phishing sites on the net and if the site doesn’t look like the ad, there is a high fear of scam marketing. Hence the bounce.

Make it inviting.

The first page they see is your only chance to make a good first impression.

The more inviting the page looks, the more likely the visitor will stay – and more likely they’ll explore further.

As a general rule, keep the copy looking shortish, legible and readable – “it looks too hard to read” is a common reason given by users for not exploring a page beyond a first impression.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have longer copy, if you need it. It does mean you shouldn’t make the long swathes of copy the first thing your visitor sees.

For more information, look at our Landing Page Optimisationsection.

·     Create a seamless path from entry to exit.

·     Remember, the customer is always in control. You need to help them convince themselves they want to stay around.

·     Simplify the navigation. The less they feel like they’re being told what to do, and the more they feel like they’re discovering the next big thing in their lives, the more likely they are to stay around.

One page. One action.

It doesn’t work in every case, but a good rule of thumb to remember is to have one call to action per page.

This then means you are able to create the page around convincing the visitor, in the most effective way possible, to respond to that call to action – to click on a button, pursue a link, whatever.

While it’s tempting to include multiple calls to action, unless you have a clear strategy for a one-page site – and you only have one CTA per screen view – the most effective, most engaging option is to limit yourself to one call to action per page.

Make it readable.

Don’t just make it look shortish, chunk the copy down into logical pieces which makes sense, but which highlight the key points.

Highlight those key points with a summarizing subhead.

Summarise the subheads with a headline – a headline which gives the reader the benefit big and simple.

So the reader sees the headline, gets the benefit, skims the subheads, gets the secondary benefits, then reads the copy.

It’s a formula which has worked for the biggest selling ads of all time.

And it will work for you.

Bullet points can help.

·     They highlight key points

·     They should be short

·     You shouldn’t use too many.

Pictures can help.

Charts, pictures, videos.

Even a quote in a larger font size can act as a visual.

Tie it all in a neat bow at the end – summarise what they’ve read to remind them of what they’ve just read.

Kill your pop-ups.

Unless you have a specific reason to use a pop-up (like trying to stop someone leaving a sale by offering a 50% discount) don’t use them

Especially don’t use them as soon as someone lands on your page.

More people will respond better to a request to fill in a static form than a pop-up.

Pop-ups grab attention but, unless well considered and relevant (rather than an annoying interference to the purpose of the visit), we recommend not using them.

Make the next step easy to see.

When someone lands on your page for the first time, it’s like they’re entering a room for the first time. For most people, there is the uncertainty of unfamiliar places and their first instinct is to look for the way out. That’s either a clear next step or a bounce. Show them the next step.

Show them the button.

They’ll be more likely to read what you need them to read, and more likely to stay, if they see a stress-free exit point.

Creating an easy-to-see CTA also gives engaged readers a relevant and simple step to take.

Over 70% of all small business sites has no clear call to action.

If you add a simple, clear call to action – “come and visit’, “drop in for a chat” “call now” – you’re putting yourself into the top 30% without having to spend any more on optimization.

If you have a great offer, tell it.

If you want them to sign up for a newsletter, ask them.

If you need them to call, tell them to call.

Tell a story

The more time people spend on your site, the more chance you have on converting them.

People will spend more time on your site if they see there’s value in staying.

That value could be rational value – $10 off, Free Shipping – that sort of thing.

It could be emotional value – feeling like you understand their needs and their fears.

And, because you understand their frustrations, their fears and desires, they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Story telling helps them feel this way.

Story-telling is simply a way of making sure people see the key points in a way that makes them appreciate the value of those points. 

Use “You”. People love to be the hero in a story. By using the word “you” you’re personalising your product to their needs.

Be honest. People want to believe great stories. If your story is grounded in a truth – about the customer, their lives, their world – and you then show them how your product helps make their world better, they’re more likely to buy it.

Keep it fresh

Almost 50% of your sales are likely to come from return business.

By keeping your content fresh, you give return visitors a reason to come back again.

Fresh content makes fresh leads. (According to HubSpot, over 125% more leads.) The trick is to ensure the fresh content is relevant. Don’t just create content that makes people want to share it because it’s fun – that’s what cat videos are for. Create fresh content people want to share because it solves a business issue.

Build authority

This is one of those “what happens when you’re not looking” things.

Authority is a key attribute google looks for to measure trust in a site.

It is a result of the measure of value in your area of expertise.

By focusing on building your site’s authority, you’re focusing on building value to readers.

This ensures you’re creating content people will want to stay engaged with – because it has value to them.

Which reduces bounce rates.

A simple trick is to invest in great keywords.

People on a search mission will look for keywords in their search – and seeing them in a piece of content reassures them they’re in the right place.

They’re a handy signpost to get people to the next step.

Don’t litter your copy with them – Google has penalties for keyword stuffing and it can take a long time to get out from behind that prison. 

Google can help.

If you have a Gmail account, log-in and go to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Type in a keyword and a qualifier and use the “get ideas” function.

Target the un-bouncers

Getting a lot of visitors who aren’t really interested in what you’re offering results in a high bounce rate.

Getting the right visitors who are interested will reduce your bounce rate.

It’s not a landing page issue.

It’s a targeting challenge.

Whether you’re using paid, social marketing or content to drive visitation, targeting the right people will increase the length of time they stay on the site.

Customise your content to the people you really want.

Don’t just give away a free eBook.

Give away a taste, then offer a content upgrade which gives them a whole meal in return for the thing you really want – permission to engage with them.

Know your audience

This is a subset of the un-bouncers – above.

What is quality for some audiences is not for others.

A 3,000 word article is considered quality for digital marketers because they can prove authority by addressing multiple issue around a specific challenge.

A 3,000 word article for a hedge fund manager or a pub (people who don’t have time or the desire to read a 10 minute multi-dimensional tell-all) is a waste of time and very low-quality. 

Prime their interest with a meta-description

When they’re searching, a good meta-description can help them feel more confident about your page – as long as it’s honest and relevant and interesting.

Don’t be afraid to use a call to action in the meta-description. It gives people a prompt to click, and they hit your site ready to engage.

Make it load faster

As we’ve discussed here and here, load speed counts.

The faster your page loads, the lower your bounce rates will tend to be.

A click away is a bad thing

Every time you ask someone to click, you’re risking a bounce.

It’s especially difficult if you’re asking them to click away from your site and then have them click back.

If you must have an external link in your content, make it open in a new window.

Be mobile-minded

Sites display differently on different devices.

It sounds obvious, but we are continually stunned by the amount of business sites that aren’t geared for mobile, sites that simply show the laptop site on the mobile.

Over 90% of people search on their mobile.

To check your site, ask google.

They have a mobile test tool.

You simply type in your site’s URL and the tool analyses your site and spits out a report.

Benchmark yourself by industry

Different industries have different bounce rates.

Our research suggest the following:

Retail 30%

Simple landing page  80%

Service sites 20%

Content sites – 50%

Lead generation sites – 40%

Test your pages

A simple change in headlines and copy, or headline and image, or just image can result in a vastly different bounce rate.

Try A/B testing different landing pages to determine which is most effective for you. Use different content arrangements, different tactics, highlight different aspects of your offer – it won’t just give you valuable optimization clues, it will help you create a much stickier, less bouncier experience for any visitors. 

Video works.

Videos are more engaging than static content – up to 60% more engaging.

They’re easy to create – a quick scroll through a search result in your suburb or town will reveal plenty of options for you.

And they more easily engage people who may struggle with reading English.

Quality counts.

People engage more with beautiful images.

And, while beautiful images cost more than a smart phone pic, they add to your reputation (adding to your authority and credibility), and increase engagement scores, which lengthens the amount of time people are prepared to spend on your site.

You can quote me on that.

Have a satisfied customer tell your story for you. 

Testimonials work because they increase the confidence people have in your content.

Seeing people with similar challenges have success by using a particular product increases the chances of a conversion.

Product pages are the bounciest pages

Don’t be disheartened if you find more people bouncing from your product pages. This is normal.

They bounce for all sorts of reasons.

Because they’re just looking.

Because they get put off by the price.

Because they’re looking at work and the boss just turned up.

Because they got distracted and walked away.

Reducing bounce on a product page can be a delicate balancing act.

A few things you can try.

  • Hide the information behind the photo – but include more information.
  • Where it was made.
  • A simple star review system from other users or customers.
  • A review of your return policy and some testimonials from people who have used it and are satisfied.
  • Try A/B testing how much information you provide, and where you provide it – making little changes at a time – and, as a start, aim to have the product page bounce rates equal your regular bounce rates.  

Before you go…

Have a plan to engage users who look like they’re abandoning you.

There are tools available to help you recognise the behaviours of people who are about to leave your site. Using these tools, you can create a pop-up which offers them a “before you go” offer. By quickly grabbing their email address, you can re-target and re-engage them at a later date. 

Call Shout

A simple call to action gives the reader something concrete to do.

If you want to know more about how to make your site less bounce-y, call Shout today.

Or click here and email us for a quick replay.

Shout logo in grey

As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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