Bounce Rate: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Updated: Oct 27

Is your bounce rate lower than this little human's? Hopefully.

Think of your bounce rate in terms of a group of teens at a party. How long does it take them to 'bounce', or leave the party? And what does this mean for your website?

Your goal is to get people onto your website, and ideally, to get them to stay there for as long as possible. When people stay on your site they read more of your content, learn more about your business or organization and potentially buy your products.

A low bounce rate means that visitors are staying on your site, checking out other pages, which is what you want. A high bounce rate means they’re checking one or two pages and then leaving.

This isn’t all bad, because they may have just needed an address, or a price before they head in-store. But, if people are buying online, you hope they will look at more than one thing before checking out or heading elsewhere.

To help you understand bounce rate better, let’s think about one of the kings of low bounce rate: online tabloids.

Picture this:

You’ve been working long hours, you don’t have a lot of brain power left. You need to sleep, but you can’t. You’re lying awake wondering what the latest news is on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (low brain power, remember? The mind plays cruel tricks sometimes.).

So you search their names and find an Us Weekly article that talks about how “Kim Continues to Support Kanye through Mental Health Struggles” and you skim it (#iykyk), and when you get to the bottom of the article, you see a headline, “‘North Caught Kanye cheating on Kim,’ source says.’”

You click on that article and skim through it to the bottom where you see another headline, “Did Kourtney Kardashian and Megan Fox Really Do THAT?!”

And now you’re hooked.

Three articles deep down the rabbit hole and Us Weekly just keeps drawing you in, probably until you see one headline that is just so stupid, you finally wake up from your dream and close the tab, wondering who that person was that just took over your body, and now you really can’t sleep.

But that’s it. This is why they are kings of bounce rate. You don’t just look at one page. One page leads to the next and then the next.

A more intellectual example of this would be Wikipedia. You’re searching for Queen Victoria and you read that she had a health condition called Haemophilia. Then you click on the condition to read what it is. Then you see the name of the person it originated from and you want to learn more about them.

And before you know it you’re reading about why there are no rats in Alberta (true story).

Now, we’re not suggesting you employ clickbait for your website to grab people’s attention, but there are a few simple ways you can improve your bounce rate.

1. Photos

There are a few things you can do with your photos to help with the bounce rate.

a) Make sure they are good, high-quality photos. You really don’t want to skimp on the visuals of your website, because when you do, visitors see that it’s unprofessional and they leave with a lack of trust.

b) Run them through to make sure the file size isn’t too large. The quality will remain intact, and you won’t run the risk of visitors leaving because the photo file size is so large, that the page is taking forever to load.

Learn more about re-sizing your images here.

c) Write captions and meta-descriptions for your photos. There should be an option for this right inside your website builder.

Need a new website builder? Check these.

2. Story-Telling

Story-telling is marketing, plain and simple. People no longer fall for flashy ads and neon signs. We want to feel like we know you and your business.

Story-telling can of course be done through a blog, but don’t forget about your About Page, and even each product and service can tell a story.

Think about yourself in relation to your business. Your business is likely related to you, your beliefs and your interests. Use your own voice when writing. Your voice makes your business unique.

Try picking one of your favourite products. Write about it as though you’re telling your best friend about it. Use passion, humour, anecdotes. Tell the story, sell the story (and hopefully the product/service).

Draw people in with your story-telling so they stay longer.

3. Break up Text

Here’s a nice and simple one to end on.

Make sure you don’t have long blocks of text.

People generally skim through what they’re reading, looking for information they need or something that catches their attention.

Make it easier for them by breaking it up into smaller, easy to digest, chunks.

(See what we did there?)

There you have it.

Now you can go see if what we said about the Kardashians or no rats in Alberta are real. Have fun down the rabbit hole, but don't forget to implement these steps on your website.

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