8 Easy Steps You Can Take Today to Reduce Bounce Rate on Your Website

8 Easy Steps You Can Take Today to Reduce Bounce Rate on Your Website
Brenda Barron Brenda Barron Sep 8, 2023 —  9 min read

No matter what kind of website you have, getting more traffic and visitors is probably one of your major goals.

But once those visitors arrive, your goal should be to get them to take action – whether it’s subscribing to your newsletter, purchasing your product, downloading your app, or filling out the contact form.

If website visitors leave without taking any action, your bounce rate will reflect that and increase. And most times, a high bounce rate is a bad signal that affects both your website’s SEO and conversions.

So, if you’re wondering how to reduce bounce rate on your website, we’ve put together eight easy steps to help you with that pain point.

First, we’ll talk about what a bounce rate is, how it varies for different business niches, and what causes a high bounce rate. Then, we’ll walk you through actionable tips to help reduce bounce rate on your website.

Ready? Let’s begin.

What is a bounce rate?

The most common understanding of a bounce rate is the percentage of visits when people landing on your website leave without interacting with the page in any way.

For example, if a thousand visitors land on your website and 470 of them leave without further browsing it, your bounce rate is 47%.

Bounce rate

Keep in mind that a single-page session is not a definition of a bounce.

For instance, if your goal is to get visitors to view a video, click on a button, or fill out a form, these events can be viewed as important engagement signals and tracked by your web analytics.

In this case, a bounce will be a single-page session when a visitor does not interact with the website in any way.

To sum up, a bounce typically happens when a visitor:

  • Closes the browser
  • Clicks the back button in their browser
  • Types a new URL in the address bar while on your site
  • Experiences session timeouts due to a hosting error

Having a percentage of bouncing visitors on your website is completely normal and can’t be avoided, but there is a good bounce rate and a bad bounce rate.

Let’s talk more about average bounce rates for different industries👇

What is the average bounce rate across industries?

Bounce rates vary for different business industries – that’s why it can be difficult to give a precise answer on what is a good and a bad bounce rate.

According to the research by Similarweb, these are the benchmark averages for websites in different industries:

  • Ecommerce websites: 35.14%
  • Travel websites: 37.52%
  • News & media websites: 43.57%
  • Real estate websites: 41.50%
  • Gambling websites: 40.12%
  • Business & consumer services: 41.86%

But the industry data is not all. Bounce rate also varies significantly by the traffic channel and device. For example, people coming via referral links are less likely to bounce off your website than people coming from display ads. Average bounce rates for these channels are 40.50% and 53.70% respectively.

So, at which point should you start worrying about your bounce rate?

As a rule of thumb, if your bounce rate is higher than 60%, you should conduct a thorough website and content audit and implement changes to reduce your bounce rate.

Bounce rate displayed in Google Analytics

If your bounce rate – throughout all channels – is lower than 50%, you’re good; and if it’s lower than 10%, it’s time to celebrate and keep up the good work.

What is a good bounce rate for Google Ads?

When it comes to Google Ads, the study from CXL Institute lists the average bounce rate at 44.10% for paid search, and 56.50% for display ads. With that in mind, if you’re running Google Ads, you should aim for a bounce rate that’s between 40-60%.

What causes a high bounce rate?

So now you know what the average bounce rate is across industries. But what causes the high bounce rate in the first place?

A high bounce rate usually means that a visitor didn’t find what they were looking for.

This could be because you have moved the content they were expecting to find without implementing a redirect. Maybe this content was never there to begin with, or maybe the ad or referral article created wrong expectations.

Also, a high bounce rate often shows that your website is too slow or difficult to use, or there is no clear call to action telling the visitor what they should do next.

Why you should improve your bounce rate

Bounce rate is inversely proportional to the user experience that your website provides. A high bounce rate means poor user experience and lower conversion rates. For you, that’s fewer subscribers, fewer leads, and less money in your bank account.

On top of that, if the search engines notice that your visitors are leaving your website quickly, they will likely push your website lower in the search results – and that means less organic traffic for you.

8 ways to reduce bounce rate on your website

So now that you know what a bounce rate is, what’s causing it, and what the good and bad bounce rates are, let’s talk about eight easy steps you can take to reduce bounce rate on your website.

1. Ask your visitors why they’re leaving

While Google Analytics can tell you what your bounce rate is and which pages have a high bounce rate, it doesn’t exactly tell you why your visitors are leaving. This means you’ll be doing a lot of guessing and shooting in the dark, trying to lower your bounce rate.

Instead of guessing, consider using website exit surveys to ask people directly why they are abandoning your website.

Add a survey to your most crucial landing pages and display it once a visitor is about to exit.

Getsitecontrol, a code-free popup builder, provides exit survey templates like the one below: timely, minimalistic, and easy to customize.

Before adding an exit-intent survey to your website, adjust the response options based on your niche and the page you’re trying to optimize. Also, it is a good practice to add a comment field and let visitors type their own responses.

2. Ensure your landing page is visually appealing

Whether you like it or not, design matters when it comes to user experience. This is especially important if you’re using paid advertising. Imagine the confusion your visitors must feel when they click over from a beautifully designed ad and land on a visually confusing or unappealing page.

Similarly, if you’re driving traffic to your website using SEO tactics, it's important to make sure the page content meets the expectations of a visitor who reads the meta title or the description that shows up on the search engine result page.

Meta title and meta description text displayed in Google search results

This is also true when they click over from an ad on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

3. Optimize page load time

Nobody likes slow websites. According to HubSpot’s studies, nearly 70% of consumers admit they may lose their willingness to buy from a brand if its website isn’t fast enough.

In other words, if your website loads slowly, chances are visitors might not even wait until it loads completely – they’ll just close the page to never return.

Start by examining how fast your website loads using tools like Pingdom or Google Page Speed Insights. All you have to do is enter your website URL and let the tool analyze your page.

Pingdom page load speed analysis helps reduce bounce rate

Once you get the report, it will tell you how long it takes your site to load and what you should do to boost the performance. If slow speed is indeed the reason why people leave your website too soon, here is what you can do to improve it and make your bounce rate lower:

  • Optimize images on your site
  • Use a caching plugin (such as WPRocket if you’re on WordPress)
  • Use a well-optimized theme if you’re on Shopify
  • Switch to a better hosting plan or company
  • Minimize the number of plugins you use
  • Minimize script and style files
  • Use a content delivery network to serve your images and static files like MaxCDN or KeyCDN

4. Display clear calls to action

Lack of clarity might be another reason why your bounce rate is high. If you don’t have a clear call to action, your visitors won’t know what you want them to do, and they certainly won’t stick around trying to guess.

Every page on your website should have a clear call to action.

The call to action will depend on your customer journey and what you consider a conversion at each stage.

For example, if you have an online store, your call to action could be to take advantage of a special deal, to pre-order a product, or even pick a product category.

One way to feature your call to action is by using welcome popups, like the one featured above.

If you provide services, your call to action could be to book a free consultation call or to fill out a contact form. If you’re building an email list, your call to action should reflect the value of subscribing.

5. Improve user experience on mobile

According to Statista, mobile traffic accounts for nearly 60% of all web traffic worldwide, as of 2023. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you could be losing a significant chunk of potential customers.

If you’re not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly, use a tool like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. Within a few seconds, you’ll get a report like this one:

Google mobile-friendly test tool report

If your results are not as good as anticipated, you can optimize your site for mobile devices by:

  • Using a responsive theme or making sure your website is responsive

  • Making sure form fields are easy to fill out on smaller screens

  • Using larger buttons that can easily be clicked on smartphones and tablets

  • Ensuring input fields on your forms are configured to trigger the correct keyboard. For example, the number keyboard should be triggered for phone numbers, the text keyboard for input fields such as name, address, and coupon codes.

6. Implement internal linking

Another easy way to reduce bounce rate is to link to relevant pages and blog posts on your website. You can use regular text links in the body of your post, display related articles under each blog post, or use your sidebar to display your categories or recently published content.

If you want to promote a must-read article, for instance, you can use a slide-in popup that will serve as a call to action. It will look something like this:

7. Use exit-intent popups to reduce bounce rate

Exit-intent popups have been long recommended for growing your email list. Coincidently, they can also reduce bounce rate on your website.

Larry Kim, the founder of Mobile Monkey and WordStream, was able to reduce bounce rate by up to 60% using exit-intent popups, according to his interview.

But what exactly should you offer to a visitor who is heading to exit?

One of the most common practices is to offer a lead magnet in exchange for an email.

Not only does it help you lower bounce rate because it ignites user interaction, but you also get to grow your email list.

What is a good lead magnet example? The answer will depend on your business niche. For instance, ecommerce brands usually offer a discount code or a chance to participate in a giveaway or a contest:

Exit-intent popup designed to reduce bounce rate and grow an email list

If you’re in a different, non-ecommerce niche, consider offering a checklist, a video guide, or access to your webinar.

8. Add social proof and credibility to your landing page

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. In other words, when people trust you, they will be more inclined to buy from you.

Here are a few ways to build trust when a visitor lands on your website for the first time:

  • Displaying testimonials you’ve collected from customers

  • Showcasing product reviews from your store or third-party websites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and others

  • Displaying logos from media outlets you’ve been featured in

  • Featuring logos or accreditation badges from professional associations

Most websites have a dedicated section for featuring social proof, but you can also get creative. For example, this is how Thinx displays social proof to hesitant visitors using a well-timed popup:

An underwear brand, Thinx, displays social proof using a well-timed website popup

When your business has both testimonials and media coverage to showcase, your visitors may be more inclined to take a closer look at what you offer. The longer they stay on your site, the higher your chances of converting them into subscribers or customers.

Start working on reducing your website’s bounce rate today

A high bounce rate is often a clear signal that your website’s landing pages don’t meet the expectations of your visitors.

Start by checking your web analytics tool to see which traffic channel has the highest bounce rate. Then, take a closer look at the messaging you use on that channel. Is your metadata accurate and up to date? Do your ads on Google and Facebook lead to the right page? Do your social media posts communicate the right message?

Next, proceed to analyze your website’s loading speed, mobile friendliness, content and call-to-action clarity.

Once you’re able to look at your website from a visitor’s standpoint, you’ll get a clear idea of what steps you need to take to reduce bounce rate.

Brenda Barron is a writer from southern California. You can find out more about her at The Digital Inkwell

You're reading Getsitecontrol blog where marketing experts share proven tactics to grow your online business. This article is a part of Customer engagement section.

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