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What is Bounce Rate and Why Does it Matter?

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

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

You hear the term bounce rate all the time as it relates to your website, but what exactly doe it mean?

Well, your bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that leave your webpage without taking an action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase.

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 party?

If they come in and leave before having a drink, they're probably not enjoy the party, or something has made them want to leave. When it comes to your website, this might be slow load speed, poor layout, incorrect or out of date content that make a person leave quickly.

But one thing is for sure: 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.

Measuring your Bounce Rate

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.

Now a high bounce rate is always all bad. Sometimes site visitors come to your webpage to get an address, or a price before they head in-store. But, if people are buying online, or your services are only on your webpage, you'll obviously hope your site visitors will stick around.

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. And these examples also show the importance of including links in your website to give people places to go when they are exploring your website.

How to improve your bounce rate?

1. Photos

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

a) Only use high-quality photos on your website. You really don’t want to skimp on the visuals of your website, because when you do, visitors get the impression your website and business are unprofessional and they might leave quickly out of lack of trust.

b) Always optimize your photos for web by running them through to make sure the file sizes aren't too large. Programs like this ensure the image quality remains intact, but the file size is shrunk considerably. When your site is bogged down with large files it can slow it down, making the user experience terrible as it can take ages for things to load. Keeping image files small can help prevent this.

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.

Looking for a new website builder? Check these.

2. Story-Telling

Another way to improve your bounce rate is to ensure your content is up to snuff. People no longer fall for flashy ads and neon signs. We want to feel like we know you and your business.

Using proper 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. If people feel like your site is so impersonal it was written by a bot, they might lack the trust needed to reach out, order online or engage with you.

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

3. Break up Text

And lastly, make sure you don't overwhelm site visitors with a novel of text upon arrival.

In this day and age people are lazy, or at least trained to watch video rather than read. While having plenty of writing on your website is essential, especially for SEO , it's also important to mix up your site design with lots of visuals and other elements that allow your site content to breathe.

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.

If you need help with your bounce rate, or would like to whip your website into shape, get in touch.

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