In simple terms, people who close and exit your site after viewing a single page are actually ‘bouncing off’ it. This is usually a troubling issue, mostly indicating that your website is not engaging users or making them stay.
You can check your bounce rate using Google Analytics, and it is typically provided as a percentage (50% etc). The lower this percentage, the more users you are engaging. For instance, a bounce rate of 70% means that 7 out of 10 people are exiting your site after viewing just one page.
In order to fix the issue, you need to find out why people are exiting from your website. Two of the main reasons behind a high bounce rate are insufficient or irrelevant information or a very high loading time.
If you wish to lower your website’s bounce rate, here are a few things you should take care of.
Facilitate your visitors
Once of the most frustrating things is to land on a website only to learn that you can’t find what you’re looking for. Even if your site offers search functionality, your users want to know how they can get around, navigate, find specific information and browse through your offerings.
All of this is part of the user experience and your site’s navigation plays a big role in this. The rule of thumb is that the simpler the navigation the better. Your site should be cleanly laid out with self-explanatory sections.
The point here is to facilitate your visitors and not give them a reason to leave frustrated.
Optimize your loading speed
Your site’s loading speed is a factor that affects its search engine rankings and user experience. When a site is slow to load, visitors become impatient and are likely to close it down.
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
Usually a high bounce rate is a result of click-bait headlines and titles which promise too much but don’t deliver anything. Even if you’re getting people to click on your headlines, the traffic isn’t doing you any good if they exit your page as soon as they land.
Not only does this hurt your bounce rate but also your reputation. After a while people are going to tune out your website altogether and not visit it even if you have provided the information they want.
The important point here is to deliver what is expected and deliver it good.
Using Social Media to garner a following
This is more of a long-term approach but is very beneficial in a number of scenarios. Social Media allows you to build a targeted following and create brand awareness within your industry.
Once your presence grows, you can increasingly interact with and target people who stand to benefit directly from your content or website. When these people land on your site, they’re much more likely to stick around, reduce your bounce rate and even become returning visitors.
The goal here is to ensure that the right kind of people find out about your website and visit it. When people randomly land on your pages, they often end up exiting and increasing your bounce rate. But people who actually need the information you have are going to stay.
Show related posts
Even if the information and content on your page is relevant and high quality, users are likely to bounce off if you are not showcasing other related posts and pages.
The best way to do this is to include a related section either under your posts or on the sidebar so that users can click on other interesting content and stay on your site longer.
Work on your web design
Appearances matter. When a visitor lands on your website, the first impression he/she gets is from your design. A professional, neat and clean design can hold visitors longer as opposed to a sub-par one.
Your products, services and content will only hold people if they are presented properly, in a user-friendly layout and an appealing design.
Use pictures and graphics
Scanning simple text can get boring pretty quick. Visuals are much more effective in making your visitors stop and read. Use this to your advantage and try to include as much visual content as possible.
We have an excellent guide on visual content here, which includes tips and lists the essential tools for creating compelling visual content.
If your website checks all these boxes and your bounce rate is still high, you might want to analyse your content and the niche you are in.
Some websites, for instance those offering Q&As, are always going to have a high bounce rate because people only come for specific information and leave after they get it. In such cases, you shouldn’t worry too much about them bouncing off.