Let’s start by defining exactly what ‘a bounce’ is.
Google defines ‘a bounce’ as: a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, ‘a bounce’ is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session. So, what’s ‘bounce rate’? Google defines Bounce rate as: single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server. These single-page sessions have a session duration of 0 seconds since there are no subsequent hits after the first one that would let Analytics calculate the length of the session.
Is a high bounce rate a good thing or bad thing?
Well, that actually depends on what you want to achieve. If you just want someone to read your blog post or get your contact details, then a high bounce rate probably won’t concern you, as you’d expect someone to leave your page as soon as they’ve obtained the information that they came for. However, if you want to attract visits to multiple pages in your site, for example you want them to scroll through your product pages, sign up to your newsletter, read more of your posts etc, then a high bounce rate is definitely not what you’re looking for!
Thinking about ways you could lower your bounce rate
If you’re attracting visits to your site and then noticing a high bounce rate once they arrive, then you’ve got to ask yourself why and think about what you could do about it. If you have a multiple page website then you’ll firstly need to establish whether you have a problem across all pages or whether there are just 1 or 2 pages that have a problem. If it’s just a couple of pages that your visitors don’t seem to be engaging with, then take some time to evaluate these, step back and question whether they’re providing useful, engaging, content, that’s relevant to the marketing channels that your driving your traffic from. If your bounce rate is high across multiple pages of your site then you may need to look more closely at the site as a whole, re-assessing the site design, the quality of the images and the quality of the content – is it well-written, useful, engaging? Apart from re-examining your content, also make sure you’re making it clear what action you want your visitors to take once they arrive on your site, for example, if your page is trying to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter, or read more of your blog posts, then make sure you’re making it clear – do you have the appropriate ‘call-to-action’ in place, such as, ‘sign up’, ‘read more’ etc. It’s also worth taking a look at any pages on your site that have a low-bounce rate and see what it is about those pages that’s making them work well for you, think about whether there’s ways you could transfer these measures to your poorly performing pages.
Make changes and make sure you measure them
If you do make adjustments to badly performing pages make sure you keep an eye on the bounce rate to see the effect that your changes are making. If they’re not quite as you’d like them from an initial change, tweak and tweak again until you see an improvement. For example, if you have a Google ad running that’s offering visitors something, but the bounce rate on the page those visitors are landing on is very high, then think about whether your page is truly what someone would expect to see when clicking on your ad – be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to make changes and then monitor what effect the changes make to the bounce rate going forward.
Bounce rate can give you some really useful insights into what is and isn’t working. It can be used as a way of measuring the success of individual pages and your site as a whole. Don’t be afraid to change things and then measure how these changes effect the way your visitors interact with your site. In the end you’ll end up with an even better website for it and an even better website will mean more enquiries, more sales and a happier you!
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