8 Steps to Lower Your Bounce Rate and Keep Visitors Engaged
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According to Kissmetric research, 40% of website users will abandon your site if it takes over three seconds to load. With just 3 seconds delay, and you can lose almost half of your website visitors, increasing your bounce rate, lowering website conversions, and profit. Here are our tips on how to speed up your website to keep your bounce rates low, and user engagement high.
What is a bounce rate and why is it important
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your web page without taking any action – clicking a link on it, or making any purchase. What’s even worse is that this experience sticks, and they are unlikely to ever return to this web page. So keeping your bounce rates low is crucial for all of the following reasons:
- Increase conversion rates – when you lower your bounce rate, you’ll have more returning customers, which can increase your conversion rates.
- Improve brand awareness – if your bounce rates are lower, this means that your visitors are engaged with your content, which leads to better brand recognition.
- Achieve better SEO rankings – having lower bounce rates can improve your SEO rankings in Google and other search engines.
What factors influence your website bounce rate
A high bounce rate usually means that your website’s content and/or design is not relevant or appealing to your users, which will ultimately hurt your online business goals. Here are some of the main things that can lead to higher bounce rates on your website:
- Slow page loading times;
- Not a mobile-friendly page;
- Poor web page UX;
- Messy navigation structure;
- Low quality and/or irrelevant content;
- Bad internal linking and/or lack of clear CTAs.
What is a good bounce rate and how to figure out yours
The average bounce rate depends on the industry and type of website that you have. According to Custom Media Labs, here are the benchmarks for high-low bounce rates:
- 20-45% for ecommerce websites;
- 25-55% for B2B websites;
- 30-55% lead generation websites;
- 35-60% non-ecommerce content websites;
- 60-90% for landing pages;
- 65-90% for blogs, dictionaries, portals.
You can monitor and analyze your bounce rates and other important statistics by using tools like Google Analytics. You can even migrate to Google Analytics 4 in order to be in line with the latest version.
Bounce rate vs. Exit rate
There’s an important distinction between bounce rate and exit rate. Exit rate is the percentage of people who leave your website from a certain web page, after they have visited a number of pages on your website. For instance, a visitor may land on a blog post article on your site, in which case they click an internal link in that blog post that leads them to another blog post. Then, they exit that second blog post, which will increase this blog page’s exit rate. On the contrary, bounce rate will mean that a visitor closed that same page they’ve initially landed on.
A high exit rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are two main factors to consider when making conclusions about your exit rate – the type of web page and the average time on the web page. For instance, if you have an online store and your “Thank you” page (the one appearing to your visitors, after they’ve made a purchase) has a high exit rate – that’s good, because it means that many people have completed a purchase. If it’s another type of page, e.g. a landing page with your products and visitors still spend lots of time on it, but the exit rate is high – this could mean that you have some UX design issues on this particular page. If a blog post page exit rate is high, but average time on page is high too – this means visitors are engaged with your content and it’s still a good sign.
How to reduce your website bounce rate
A high bounce rate, however, is something you need to worry about, and take action to keep as low as possible. Let’s explore what you, as a website owner, can do to reduce your bounce rates:
1. Improve your web page load speed
If your website takes more than 3 seconds to start loading, chances are that your visitors won’t wait for it – they’ll leave and move on to another website. To avoid that, you should make sure your website loads as fast as possible. Here are some basic, plus advanced tips on how you can optimize your website performance:
Use a CDN
Enabling a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is an important factor that can speed up your website. A CDN keeps copies of your website on servers in different locations around the world. Then, when a user requests to view your website, the CDN makes sure that the content is served to your visitors from a server that’s close to them. This makes it possible for your website to load faster upon user’s request, especially for your international visitors.
SiteGround has its own, in-house developed SiteGround CDN which comes with free and premium plans, it’s easy-to-use and navigate, and ensures blazingly-fast page loading times.
Enable Website Caching
Caching is a powerful technology that can speed up your website. It stores copies of your data in the server memory which then serves this content to your users faster. In this way, your users can access your website and files much faster, as it won’t be necessary to fetch them anew, but rather take them from this cached memory.
SiteGround clients leverage our powerful caching technology, built in-house on three levels – NGINX Direct Delivery for caching static content, Dynamic Cache for caching dynamic content and Memcached for object caching (caching database queries). All three in power can speed up websites up to 5 times!
Optimize your website code and media
Use fast MySQL setup
If you have a growing database on your website, your website will need to handle a number of requests to fetch data from this database upon users’ requests. This could cause heavy MySQL queries which significantly slow down your TTFB (Time to First Byte) and affect your overall website performance.
All SiteGround clients benefit from our custom MySQL setup, enabled by default, which allows for the simultaneous processing of a large number of requests which in turn brings down the number of slow queries between 10 and 20 times.
Make sure your PHP is fast
It’s crucial that your website runs on the latest and fastest PHP version. Not only that, but you also need to make sure that your web server is handling that PHP version in the most efficient way in order to improve your overall website performance.
SiteGround clients have the advantage of our custom ultrafast PHP setup (available on GrowBig and GoGeek plans) that uses less server memory, which in turn allows the server to process a bigger number of queries faster. In this way, our ultrafast PHP setup cuts TTFB and makes web pages load 30% faster on average, compared to a standard PHP setup.
Keep tabs on your website speed
Last but not least, it’s important to keep an eye on your website speed on a regular basis. Run regular speed tests on your websites with online tools at least once a month. When you see some worrying results, take immediate action to improve the relevant areas. However, given the fact that this is yet another thing you need to take care of, keep in mind that it might take you much time, effort and money.
SiteGround clients have the unique opportunity to receive free monthly performance reports, straight into their inboxes. Our monthly performance reports provide our clients with useful information about their website speed status in different categories (e.g. cache ratio, CDN usage, WordPress optimization, etc.) in an easy-to-read format, including actionable tips for areas that might need improvement.
Speed up your WordPress website
In case your website is WordPress-based, there are some extra steps that you can take to ensure your WordPress application runs as fast as possible. We’ve summarized the best WordPress Website Speed Optimization Tips and Tricks, and added some more expert tips on optimizing your WordPress website on our blog.
2. Optimize your website for mobile
Another important step you need to take is making your website mobile-friendly. A lot of the traffic to your site will come from mobile devices, so you need to make sure that your site is responsive. Check whether fonts, large images and videos, and other important elements work well on mobile. Your website’s mobile version should be easy to navigate from your users, giving them the content or information they need quickly and concisely.
3. Design appealing landing pages
Landing pages are the first thing users see when they land on your website. Make them catchy, appealing and engaging. Keep your landing pages straight to the point, with focused content, and clear CTAs. They should be navigable and readable. Include appealing and appropriate visuals, such as images and short videos. Make your landing pages correspond with the needs of your audience. If your audience is diverse, make sure to create multiple landing pages for different groups of users.
4. Have a clear website navigation structure
When your audience visits your website, they need to have a pleasant user experience in order not to leave your website and even come back to it. To achieve this, make sure that you remove things that might annoy your visitors, but are not absolutely necessary for your website’s success, such as bots, too many popups and ads, and other distracting elements.
Another crucial step is to analyze your users’ intent in order to design the page in a way that will answer their needs. Keep in mind how your content and visual elements are organized on the website and whether it’s easy for users to navigate through the different parts of your site.
To do all that, you can use GA4 to analyze which of your pages have high bounce rates, then optimize their navigation structure and rearrange content order.
5. Improve your content
The quality of your website’s content might be another factor that makes your visitors bounce. Focus on improving your content by making it more relevant to your audience, in the first place. The three main things you should focus on are the following:
- Quality – provide valuable and quality content that brings something extra to your readers;
- Relevance – write content with relevant keywords that not only make users land on your site, but also help them find the content they’ve been looking for;
- Readability – keep your content clear, concise and in an easy-to-read format with subheadings, short paragraphs and proper fonts.
6. Have clear CTAs
To reduce your bounce rates, you can also include clear calls to action on your website. These will not only lower bounce rates, but help in converting your visitors. Encourage your audience to take the action you want them to take, such as clicking a link, making a purchase, downloading a resource, by including clear CTAs on the relevant places in your site. Here are some quick tips for your CTAs:
- Make your CTAs be visible on the web page – use appropriate colors and designs, e.g. buttons.
- Write short, concise and actionable texts on your CTAs that encourage your visitors to take action, e.g. READ NOW.
- Place your CTAs on key locations on the web page, such as towards the top of the page, or another highly-visible place.
7. Use internal linking
Another proven strategy for keeping your visitors engaged and thus reducing bounce rates is to place internal links on your web pages. These links should lead to other relevant content on your own website. For example, while your visitors are reading a blog post, you provide them with a link to another blog post they might find useful. You could also provide them with links to relevant blog posts, pages at the end of the article they’re reading. This way, you will keep your visitors longer on your website.
8. Implement exit surveys
Last but not least, you can implement exit surveys or exit-intent popups. They are windows that popup to your visitors when they move the cursor of their mouse on closing the window, i.e. when they are about to leave your website.
These “Before you go” popups could ask your visitors to either give feedback on what you could improve on your website (e.g. add shipping options, offer more products, etc.), or give them an incentive to stay on the website (e.g. discount, free shipping, newsletter subscriptions, eBooks, and others in exchange for their email address).
Now, before you “bounce” to another one of our blog posts, leave us a comment below to share some other strategies that have proven successful for you.