How I lowered my Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate on your website can leave you scratching your head about why your site doesn’t sell any products, generate any leads, or attract any inquiries.
Some time ago I wrote a post titled, Why your website has a high bounce rate and what to do about it ►. At the time of that writing, even though I knew the main problems I didn’t have any of those issues, and my bounce rate was still steady at around 70% .
For a website like this one where the goal is to attract people looking for services, engage them, and get them to take some sort of action (contact me) …knowing that many people weren’t impressed and were leaving quickly without taking any action is not a good thing.
So over the course of the next few weeks-months I set out to face what I knew were my shortcomings and to correct them.
Now mind you, there can be a lot of reason’s why a site has a high bounce rate, and reason’s can be different depending on what kind of website you have. Ecommerce sites have different issues than informative sites. Blogs have different issues than Company websites.
These are just the things that worked for me and my website:
How I reduced my high bounce rate from 70% to 15% and falling
1. Stopped targeting the wrong traffic
Yep. I was doing it. I was trying to target general web searches instead of laser focusing on the specific things that I had to offer to the people who were looking for it.
It’s hard to get out of the mind set that big numbers mean more opportunity to sell. That is wrong on so many levels online. Sure, maybe if you are cold calling from a phone room, but on the web the key for us smaller players who don’t have millions to spend on advertising, is to bring those looking for what you have directly to you, and close them.
Once I got out of the mind set that I needed big numbers and targeted my site to attract specific people, looking for specific things, I noticed a difference not only in the kind of traffic that I was getting, but the kind of calls too. Instead of window shoppers calling with questions (not that I mind questions), I started getting buyers who were ready to rock and roll. I stopped selling, and started closing.
2. Improved Content
The next thing I did was to take a look at my content. I mean really look at it. We all have a tendency once the website is up to consider it “done” and never make many attempts for improvement. I now look for ways to improve every week.
Upon looking at my content I realized that it was just one boring infomercial about how great I was, and the services that I provide.
I also made the same mistakes as others of listing my services on one page, instead of creating separate pages for each that offered a little detail about how it’s done or how I work…and how much it costs. Turns out that people actually appreciate the fact that you have at least some suggestion of pricing on your site. Who knew?
By changing this, not only did this improve traffic to the site by giving the search engines one thing to focus on per page, instead of cramming multiple keywords on each page, it also started attracting people looking for that specific information. Win/Win.
Mine was not good. I had built/redesigned my site in a rush and figured I’d get back to it and never did. So I buckled down and went through each page and my SEO plug in (I prefer Yoast, but have also used All In One SEO for years) and started rewriting pages to include relevant content , using H2 tags, narrowing my keywords or phrase down to one focus, titling my images, page descriptions and so on. And I stuck to it. No shortcuts. No BS. I didn’t guess which keywords are better for me, I did the research. No fluff or wasted space…until I had all of my pages done. I made sure that every word was there deliberately because it served a purpose.
So now I have the right targeting, working with the content on the pages, and the pages are optimized.
4. Cleaned up the Design
Bad design can be the leading cause of high bounce rate. There were things on my site that I knew weren’t 100%. Places where I had taken shortcuts, didn’t have engaging images that actually helped present the information well, but were more like place holders until I got back to it. Some of the things that I allowed visitors to see for so long are downright embarrassing for someone who does web design.
I cleaned all of that crap up and I still continue to make improvements all of the time. Now when I see something that I don’t like I take the time to fix it A.S.A.P.
So now I have the right targeting, working with the content on the pages which are now optimized, and cleaned up some design shortcomings.
I started seeing a change in my analytics gradually, and it got better and better. It wasn’t overnight mind you, but the differences were starting to add up over the weeks and months. It also helped that I continued to write and update blog articles and promote them where I could.
Pages that had never gotten much traffic started getting some attention. I started picking up a few links to blog posts, and blog posts were actually getting traffic. A few were getting more traffic than my home page. And judging by the stats people were staying on the page longer. They were actually reading the content and going on to other page. Also, contacts through the website became more frequent and steady.
If you write well about things that people are looking for, care about, or want to read, blogging can be a huge help to bringing down your bounce rate. Popular articles on your website can not only be a driving force of traffic, social media shares, and spark interest from potential clients or customers, but a good blog post will keep site visitors engaged for minutes at a time, thereby raising your time on site stats.
You should take the same care with your blog posts that you have already taken with your static pages. Use good imagery, multimedia and follow your SEO rules. Once you get everything else clicking on your site your blog is not the time to start slacking off.
How frequently you blog is not as important as the quality of your articles. I still have blog posts from last year that are still my #1, and #2 traffic producers.
[Bonus] Made a promotional video about my company and services
A well produced video will increase engagement on your website and social media profiles, help your website SEO, lower your bounce rate, lend credibility to your business, and provides you with a marketing asset that you can use for promotion all over the web If it’s done well. If it’s done poorly, it will have the opposite effect and you will look like the amateur. A bad video is worse than no video.
I’ve wanted a promo video on my website for a very long time. Not because I had rediculous dreams of “viral” popularity, but because I wanted something that would engage my audience on my website, tell my story, and hit the key points of how I can help them and solve their problems without making them do anything but watch and listen.
Putting together a decent video for your website can be expensive, intimidating, and if you are going to do it yourself, can go horribly wrong and make you look like a schmuck. I’ve seen some horrible videos out there. Old and outdated. Bad sound. Bad graphics. Bad music. Bad message, and the list goes on. I was determined not to be one of those people just for the sake of having a video.
After much investigation, I finally set aside my fears of failing at it, and produced my first video for my website. It’s only been a week (at the time of this post), but the engagement and reviews have been good. I’m seeing an even longer time on site, and just in the first week that it’s been up an increase in contacts. I highly recommend it. Even if you can’t swing something nice now, start preparing, saving, learning or whatever you have to do so that one day you will be able to produce something nice. If done well, it’s the best marketing money you can spend.
Here’s my example:
As I said before, these are the things that helped me lower my bounce rate on my website. There may be things specific to your site that need to be addressed. It’s not necessarily the same for everybody.
According to Google Analytics. Bounce rate is down to 22%. Average time on site is 3:07 on 76% new visits. I’ll take it.
— Harold Mansfield (@HaroldMansfield) July 21, 2013
Bounce rate down to 19.42%. Avg. time on site 3 minutes. 3.11 page views per visitor. 76% new visits. Seems like I’m doing it right.
— Harold Mansfield (@HaroldMansfield) July 25, 2013
— Harold Mansfield (@HaroldMansfield) August 2, 2013
As of today on 76% SE traffic, bounce rate is 5%. Time on site avg, 3:13. Page views per visitor is 3.42. pic.twitter.com/FPyEoYlkXo
— Harold Mansfield (@HaroldMansfield) August 3, 2013