Why You Need to Stop Worrying About Your Bounce Rate
When I first started hearing about bounce rates and reading more about what they are, I was a little skeptical. I knew before I started my website that tracking website traffic can be tricky and it’s not an absolute science. I also knew that that wasn’t something that I wanted to put too much focus on especially when first starting out.
I put my focus on conversions rather than page views. If a bunch of people are coming to your page but aren’t completing the actions that you need them for them, then what’s the point?
Now if high page views are a part of your deal with advertising, then that’s another beast. But for the rest of use that provide a service, I wouldn’t worry about that number. In case you’re still skeptical, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t worry too much about your bounce rate:
What is a Bounce Rate?
Before we get started, here’s the definition of bounce rate from my good sis Google:
“Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)”.
The uber SEO bad asses at Moz expands that a bit more: “In simple terms, a bounce is recorded when someone lands on your website and then leaves the site without visiting another page or carrying out a tracked action (event) on the page.”
Hmm. Both of these definitions leave me with raised eyebrows. I take this as: if a user enters my website and doesn’t interact with any other pages, then it’s a “bounce”. Or if they enter and don’t complete a “tracked action” on the page then it’s a bounce.
But does this really tell you about your visitors real behavior? What if they landed on your blog post and found exactly what they needed and left? Is that a …. bad thing? What if that user simply wanted to know your business hours, or your phone number and left?
This may be one of the reasons why content drive websites have a high bounce rate. Some place that rate at about 91%! While for clothing websites and similar sites that sell a large amount of products have a much smaller rate because people are browsing and interacting. Most people don’t get on Amazon and just look at one thing!
But what about my email list?!
The thing about that is: not everyone is going to sign up for your email list after the first page visit. Some people are fired up and ready to go from the jump. They read your content, fall in love, see that you’re offering something for free in exchange for your email, and they dive in.
Some people need to see more from you before they do that.
Honestly, how many times have you been on Pinterest, clicked on an article, read it and liked it, but didn’t sign up for their newsletter or freebie?
I do it all the time. That doesn’t mean that content was terrible. There’s can be a million reasons why someone signs up or not.
Plus, check this scenario out:
I have freebies sprinkled throughout my posts using Convertkit. When designing a convertkit form, you have the option to have a success message show up or new subscribers be sent to a thank you page that you created in your website.
If you choose to simply show the message, they aren’t redirected to another page, the message is displayed on the form.
So they read your content, loved it, signed up for your freebie (completing the action YOU want them too) then they leave.
To Google Analytics, that’s considered a bounce.
Not to me! Do I wished they would have looked around my site more, of course. But they came looking for answers, found them, was incited by my freebie, and they signed up.
We’re all winning. #bouncethat
But it’s so damn high! There has to be another reason!
Honestly, there could be. There could be some other factors involved (that’s EXACTLY why bounce rates shouldn’t be an end all be all as to whether your website is fabulous or garbage. Too many factors!)
If your bounce rate is high, this could mean your content is relevant and bad ass: Congrats! People come to your website, get all the information they need, then go on about their lives. Wins all around.
On the flip side, a high bounce rate could mean that your content isn’t relevant: People came to your website promised one thing, and were met with either something complete different or a website that’s so hard to navigate that they just left (see next point)
Your website is crazy confusing to go through: You don’t make it easy for people to go from one page to another, the design of the entire website itself is busy and distracting, and/or ADs or pop-ups are making everything hard.
If you think that your website is victim to number 2 and 3, here are some tips to improve it:
Link to other blog posts in your content. If one post is related to another, place a link for that post in the text. You can either work it into the actual post or put a “Related Posts” or “For Further Reading:” section inside of the post.
Put related posts at the bottom. For squarespace users, you can use a summary block with the carousel layout to do this.
Add calls to action: Make sure that every post ends with you asking your users to take action on something. Whether that be to sign up for your webinar, sign up for your newsletter, or join your facebook group.
Make use of your headings (H1, H2, H3, H4): and use the so people can scan your site effectively and quickly. This also helps breaks up the text and adds to readability. #Winning.
Clean up your navigation: don’t use any industry jargon or really cutsey words here. Keep it simple and clean and place links that are related to each other next to each other.
If your mobile bounce rate is significantly higher than your desktop rate, this could be that your website is that responsive for mobile. Squarespace users can check this out from inside their website, or you can use simply resize your browser down to the smallest it can go (width wise) and see how it reacts.