- Jul 07, 2016
- by Brad Litwin
Attracting website traffic is a tough gig – possibly one of the hardest for both new and experienced site owners alike. However, there’s nothing more dejecting and frustrating than watching all of those hard won visitors click away from your site after a few seconds of cursory browsing.
It’s at this point you get your ‘eureka moment’ – attracting visitors is only part of the battle. It’s actually convincing new traffic to stick around that’s the real slog, and from here on out you’re going to be putting in a lot of work to minimize your so-called ‘bounce rate’.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do to help curb the number of visitors who click (or bounce) away from your website. In this post, we will outline five simple steps to keep visitors on your website after they arrive – but firstly, let’s take a look at what exactly bounce rate is, and why you should care about it.
What Is Bounce Rate?
Google defines bounce rate as follows: “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”
More specifically, Wikipedia reveals that bounce rate is representative of a web visitor only viewing a single page on a website – “that is, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs.” The ‘session-timeout’ can vary depending on the analytics software referenced. It can get more complicated than the above, but those are the basics.
A high bounce rate indicates that a large proportion of people are not interested in the content you’ve presented to them. It’s hardly flattering for you, and certainly isn’t going to generate much in the way of leads or sales.
A low bounce rate, on the other hand, indicates that your website’s visitors are interacting with at least one page on your site before navigating away. Naturally, this can only be a positive sign, and means you have a greater chance of converting those visitors into paying customers.
Now that we have established what bounce rate is and why a high percentage is best avoided, let’s delve into how to make that number much smaller.
5 Simple Steps Towards Minimizing Your Website’s Bounce Rate
1. Grab the Reader With Your Introductory Content
Introductory content is like the first page of a book: if it’s powerful it’ll grab you, but if it’s weak you may just stop reading and put that book back on the shelf. Thus, a compelling and captivating introduction – one that engages the reader and convinces them to keep going – is vital.
There are numerous resources out there for writing great introductions, but we like CoSchedule’s comprehensive guide, which is tailored specifically to blog posts.
Furthermore, when a visitor enters your website, they want to know that they’re in the right place. By including your focus keyword in the first paragraph of your content, you’ll reassure visitors that they’re about to find the information they’ve been searching for.
For optimum impact, the guys over at Backlinko recommend including keywords in the first 100 words or so of content. It’s also worth noting that this practice bolsters your on-site SEO score by helping search engines identify the subject of your content.
2. Set External Links to Open in New Tabs
Studies have shown that linking to external websites positively impacts your SEO. Therefore, it’s a practise you should definitely look to implement throughout your website.
However, when you do link externally, it’s important to consider making the page open in a new tab. By doing this, the visitor’s focus stays with the page they’re reading, further increasing their chances of sticking around.
If you’re using WordPress, here’s a simple video guide on how to ensure external links open in new tabs. Of course, with WordPress being as it is, there’s also a plugin available that helps with all the heavy lifting.
3. Boost Your Website’s Load Speed
According to Kissmetrics, 40% of internet surfers abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Talk about a tough crowd.
With that statistic in mind, it’s clear to see that if your website isn’t quick off the mark, your visitors will be clicking the Back button before your logo gets a chance to render – thus skyrocketing your bounce rate.
Site speed is one of the hottest topics out there among website developers and owners, and as device browsing becomes more prominent, a fast website is imperative to user experience. There are a number of steps you can take to increase loading speeds, some of which we’ve outlined in our previous post, Speed Matters: 7 Ways To Turbocharge Your Site.
4. Add Links to Other Relevant Pages on Your Site
We’ve already discussed the benefits of external linking, but how about internal links?
Internal links are similar to their external cousins, but link to other pages on your site. Linking internally on a regular basis throughout your content is an excellent strategy for minimizing your bounce rate, as visitors are more likely to use your website to find any further information they need. Furthermore, internal linking is really great for SEO.
However, be sure that you only link to closely related pages (i.e. those that are similar in subject matter). Otherwise, you risk leading your visitors to content they aren’t interested in – which prompts them to click away from your site altogether.
5. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
The importance of having a mobile friendly website cannot be overstated.
80% of the world’s internet users own a smartphone, and just as they demand fast websites, those same internet surfers also expect a great experience when accessing content through their mobile devices.
In fact, the demand for a mobile friendly experience is so high that Google has implemented new criteria to penalize websites that fall short the requirements.
The best way to avoid those penalties is to have a responsive website. If you’re a WordPress user, there are a plethora of themes that offer responsive design out of the box – a resource we like is Colorlib’s collection of over 50 free and responsive WordPress themes.
Finally, for those with a website design already in place that you’d like to make responsive, Hootsuite have put together a nine step guide on how to make your site more mobile friendly.
Bounce rate is important, and having a low percentage means your visitors are moving from page to page, engaging with your content, and drinking in your brand – which is definitely conducive to turning visitors into paying customers.
To recap, be sure to follow these five simple steps to keep your visitors wedded to your website:
- Grab the reader with your introductory content.
- Set external links to open in new tabs.
- Boost your website’s load speed.
- Add links to other relevant pages within your website.
- Make your website mobile friendly.
Image credit: StockSnap.