Decrease Bounce Rate Right Now: 5 Proven Tips
Want to decrease bounce rate? Bounce rate is often regarded as the most frustrating marketing metric. Why? One reason is because it’s so definitive. But another is that reducing bounce rate is difficult because of the limited period of time there is to make a first impression. Bounce rate measures the number of visitors that never progress beyond the first page of your site. Essentially, it’s the visitors who didn’t give you much of a chance to begin with.
More than just a nuisance, bounce rate is an unfortunately accurate reflection of a visitor’s perception of quality. If your site doesn’t capture his or her attention immediately, and with the right content, you’ve lost a prospect, presumably for good. A startling 42% of bounced visitors will never return to your site, many opting instead to visit (and purchase from) a competitor’s site.
So what can you do in that short time between click and bounce to convince a visitor otherwise? This is where marketers struggle, because you can have great content, colors, and A/B testing, but even with those the question becomes how can you optimize further when, in fact, the bounce often happens before the visitor interacts with these elements? Luckily, the answer lies in performance optimization: making your site faster, eliminating errors and rendering according to context. By improving performance, you have a better chance of meeting (or exceeding) user expectations and creating an engaging, lasting experience. Here, we outline five new ways you can accomplish this.
5 Ways to Decrease Bounce Rates
1. Cut page load times to under three seconds
For a website that takes more than three seconds to load, 40% of visitors will abandon the site and 80% of those visitors won’t return. In addition to this, 74% of mobile visitors will abandon a mobile site that takes longer than five seconds to load. Page speed isn’t the only factor, but it is a significant one. Getting your website to load under three seconds means capitalizing on those visitors and drastically improving bounce rate. The two main ways to do this are to implement a CDN (such as Yottaa, Amazon CloudFront, Edgecast, etc.) and employ front-end optimizations, such as minification, concatenation, image compression, and other techniques. To get started with these optimizations, check out the second half of this blog post, where we walk you through some of the easier first steps to improve performance.
2. Eliminate errors and disruptions
The most jarring element a visitor can encounter upon reaching your site is an error: blank images, missing pages, poorly rendered assets, and other bottlenecks. Page and content errors decrease a user’s perceived value of your site, as well as their own perception that they are capable of completing a task on your site. It sends the message that you’re unprepared, which shakes credibility. A simple solution to decrease bounce rate is to start by eliminating any 404 errors. You can diagnose these fairly easily with Google Webmaster Tools by going to Diagnostics and then Crawl Errors. If you have any digital advertising or PPC campaigns running or have past campaigns still live, you’ll want to make sure any visitors you might gain from those don’t hit a dead end page with a 404 error. But for more than just errors, optimize your site for 100% uptime, negate shaky internet connects and ensure a distraction-free experience using an automated solution.
3. Display prioritized content first
Powerful content is the key to a successful inbound strategy. Marketers spend a lot of time and energy in creating, perfecting, and prioritizing that content. Performance optimization ensures that every visitor is presented with relevant content first, so that you can then enrich the experience with CTAs and related content that encourages engagement with your site.
This includes avoiding pop ups. Studies from Google prove that users hate interstitial offer pages, distracting pop ups, and auto-playing multimedia content because they result in inconsistent performance and get in the way of the content they visited your site for in the first place. So first, avoid installing elements up top that distract the visitor from staying, including pop up ads or newsletter sign ups, immediate CTAs and others. Next you can decrease bounce rate by using technology like application sequencing which automates the rendering of content based on users’ expectations.
4. Then delay load second-tier content
A soon-to-be standard best practice in performance is to delay load so that less-important and invisible below-the-fold content remains unloaded until the user scrolls down. Comment areas, social media widgets, and customer service callouts are most impactful (and really only relevant) once the user has had time to consume your key content. Delay loading less important content, especially items that are below the fold. This should help decrease bounce rate, increase initial engagement time for the visitor, and prompt him or her to stick around and consume that content later.
5. Render according to user context
Seeing an uptick in mobile traffic that’s also contributing to a higher bounce rate? With the sheer possible combinations of browser, device and location a visitor can access your site from, there are equally as many potential bottlenecks. And so the rise of mobile and browser fragmentation presents an ever-greater challenge to ensuring perceived reliability and utility. Similarly, it’s sometimes more difficult than marketers expect to meet mobile expectations. If you have a mobile site, that’s only half the battle, because it may not be displaying the right content. A whopping 35% of mobile visitors choose to view your full desktop site from their phone. Accounting for this context is difficult, and even minor mistakes can increase the potential of a bounce. Providing a consistently fast experience and rendering pages based on individual user context will help decrease bounce rate, especially from mobile traffic.
Technology that works for marketers
Site optimization is a foolproof way to boost marketing metrics, but most importantly, it’s a new avenue for marketers to easily make an impact with requiring experimentation, A/B testing and constant changes. Show more value in your eCommerce site and get more value from your site visitors by implementing these steps, and think broader about the automated eCommerce site optimization tools like Yottaa that can enhance your marketing efforts without adding a line of code.