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Reduce bounce rate: 8 things to consider

For B2B marketers, reducing website bounce rates may be the equivalent of a new year’s resolution to lose weight.

“People are always talking about how XYZ will reduce your bounce rate. I don’t subscribe to this school of thought. Bounce rates need to be looked at subjectively,” says Nick Eubanks, a co-founder and managing partner at Factor Media, a social media company helping people make better decisions. “While there are some general best practices, for the most part, certain activities prescribed as absolute can both hurt and help websites.”

First, a proper definition of the term: “Bounce rate” is the percentage of visitors that hit a page and don’t visit any others within the same site. It is often confused with “exit rate,” which is a measure of the percentage of visitors who leave your site from a certain page. Web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik says a bounce rate of less than 30 percent is good, but with 60 percent or higher, you have a problem. If you don’t know your website bounce rates and which pages are the worst offenders, Google Analytics can help you access that data easily and for free.

In an article posted on SearchEngineWatch.com, Eubanks states that a high bounce rate often falls into one of two categories:

• You’re acquiring the wrong kind of traffic to your pages
• You’re acquiring exactly the right kind of traffic to your pages

“Most people forget about the second scenario, since most websites tend to fall victim to the first. But think about this for a second: if a user comes into your site and finds exactly what they were looking for — an answer to their question or solution to their problem — why should they stay a moment longer or look around on other pages?”

For B2B marketers, who want visitors to spend time consuming content that will build toward a conversion, high bounce rates are conversion killers. Anything you can do to increase the amount of time spent on a site and the number of page views is likely to correlate to a site’s success. Eubanks offers these suggestions for reducing bounce rates:

  • Avoid pop-ups
    Pop-up ads disrupt the user experience.
  • Use intuitive navigation for important items
    Don’t make your visitors feel dumb (or think you’re dumb) for not providing them with clear and obvious paths to get the content they may be looking for.
  • Use intuitive navigation for important items
    Don’t make your visitors feel dumb (or think you’re dumb) for not providing them with clear and obvious paths to get the content they may be looking for.
  • Poor design is increasingly less tolerable
    Your content needs to be attractive, both in terms of graphical treatments and readability. Design has become a legitimacy signal; the lack thereof can directly impact visitors’ (and prospects’) perceptions of the quality of your business and services.
    Make sure your website is “mobile usable”
    Mobile usability does not strictly mean from a design compatibility and accessibility standpoint; in many cases it means the language on your site is clear enough that people on the go (on mobile devices) can make sense of what they need to do to find information and at the very least contact you if necessary. (See sidebar on creating a “mobile first” strategy.)
    Messaging must be blatantly obvious
    You only have a few seconds to translate value to a new visitor, so don’t make them guess. Taglines are a great way to quickly translate purpose, but if you don’t have one, another simple way is to place your site’s purpose in plain text in an obvious place (like the header or the top of the sidebar). If you sell something, say so.
    • Offer related content based on personas
    If you don’t offer related content on your pages, or intuitive navigation (hopefully with some sort of hook or teaser) then you’re missing out on a substantial number of page views and the opportunity to be more of a sticky resource. Related content gets really powerful when you’re able to target it within the same categories or tags.
    • Leverage internal search
    If you don’t currently offer search functionality on your website or if you don’t regularly review internal search analytics, then you’re missing the boat. Web users have become so used to search that it is an easy behavioral pattern to accommodate and leverage for improved experience. To take this a step further, you can use newer tools for crowd- sourced FAQs (see Supportify.io) to literally create a content roadmap for what matters most to your audience.
    • Segment information
    This is another perspective on creating content that is designed to be digested and consumed. Readability is important, but so is the idea of grouping content into segments or categories. This is often seen in blog posts where header tags are used to break apart large walls of text.