The 7 Simplest Ways To Lower Your Bounce Rate and Get More Conversions

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cc: Please open door slowly by splorp.

Every website or blog has a purpose, be it a sale, a subscription or simply conveying the message, whatever it is. Achieving this goal is called conversion. The worst enemy of the conversion is the bounce rate. Most people who visit your website, unless you have perfectly targeted and optimized it leave before even reading it or taking a closer look.

You can’t convert users to buyers or subscribers if they bounce right away. So you need to lower the bounce rate as much as you can.

How do you measure the bounce rate? Using an analytics tool like Google Analytics or Woopra allows you to check the bounce rate. Any bounce rate below 50% is OK but most bounce rates are far higher. 80% is really bad but very common. Social media like Digg and Reddit even have 90 – 95% bounce rates. In case you have 80% of visitors bouncing you lose 80 users of of 100! Imagine a shop where 80 out of 100 people just open the door and leave instantly.

cc: Door to nowhere by jamelah.

Ironically most webmasters nowadays still obsess about rankings or PageRank instead of focusing on lowering the bounce rate and delivering the product, service or message to the people who already arrived at their site. It’s far easier to please those people than frantically look out for other visitors.

That’s why I introduce to you the 7 simplest ways to lower your bounce rate and get more conversions:

Depending on what kind of visitors you have or expect,

  • casual social media visitors (CSMV) vaguely interested in your subject “I like blogging, let’s see what we have here”
  • search visitors (SV) keen on finding exactly what they need to know, download, buy etc.
  • returning visitors (RV) wanting to more of what you already offer, or deeper insights

you have to slightly adapt your bounce rate lowering tactics.

cc: Blue door – White wall by Klearchos Kapoutsis.

1. Place your offer above the fold
Offer what the people expect right on top even if you just link to it. For the casual social media visitors (CSMV) you need to emphasize the new aspect of your offering. The “simplest ways to” in the title might suffice. The search visitor (SV) needs to see the keyword right there “lower your bounce rate” in my case. The returning visitor (RV) has to see the additional value to what he already read on your blog. A gripping image as an eye catcher and a short teaser paragraph are also key for all visitors. For ecommerce sites the product and a call to action “buy here” button is key above the fold.

2. Do not distract
Do not distract your visitors from their purpose by offer several things at once (ads, products, plenty of links). Portal like sites have failed long ago but people still assume that you have to overload your pages. All three kinds of visitors expect the fulfillment of their wishes above the fold with no distraction. If they can’t see or find what they are after they’ll leave.

3. Be readable
Seeing just a huge junk of text without anything bold, italics or otherwise highlighted just makes me skim the text to find a clue whether I’m interested or not. In most cases, without those little clues i do not find anything and bounce. So add basic text decoration. For CSMV you can even ad an image with text in it.

4. Target specific topics
Don’t offer solely too broad low value information and be clear on what you offer. The most targeted search traffic comes from so called long tail queries that is very specific inquiries or when people enter 3, 4 or 5 keywords into the search box. So when writing for targeted blog posts or product pages focus not on the very broad term like “SEO tips” but also on the very specific ones.

5. Explain acronyms and industry terms
RTFM ASAP? Bounce rate? Conversions? Some people argue I should even explain “SEO” for my visitors, Acronyms and industry terms must be explained, even if my RV already know them. Some SV just look for an explanation. CSMV often do not know them but once you explain are drawn to the “new know how”.

6. Mind the eyes
The eyes of Internet users are strained most of the time. looking long hours at the screen is not healthy. Websites that offer no white space for eyes to rest are sometimes so annoying for the visitor’s eyes that s/he will leave just because of this.

7. Place search on top
Many people who don’t find what they seek in an instant resort to search. So those visitors, especially SV who do not find exactly what they want and who do not spot the search form will leave. If you’re after the conversion this also applies to the call to action.

This is more a primer than an advanced SEO post but I plan to write more about these issues. Also I’d recommend these fine blog posts elsewhere to read more about usability & findability, which are basically what I described above: