Improving Your Website Bounce Rate and On-Page Time

4 Minute Read

Baby, please don’t go

Baby, please don’t go

Baby, please don’t go down to New Orleans,

You know I love you so, baby, please don’t go

Muddy Waters said it best. Heck, all dem blues cats know—sometimes you just gots to go.

But what are we really talking about here? Closing time love gone wrong? Or your website visitors? It turns out they have a lot in common. You’re in the door; you look around, you don’t see what you’re after, so you bounce. No need to stick around, right?

What’s Bounce Time Got to Do With It?

If you’re having a rough time getting traffic to your site, generating leads, or gaining new business, it might be because your bounce rate is too high. What that means is that your site or landing page visitors don’t stick around. No sooner are they in the door than they click away. You don’t even have a chance to convert them because they won’t stick around long enough to know that you are da bomb.

Bounce rate has little to do with your credibility, value, or market share. It does, however, have everything to do with your landing page content. If you’re getting page visits, it means your ads and other marketing strategies are working—and that’s good. However, if your landing page doesn’t deliver what they’re really looking for, no amount of good looks and charm will make them stay—and that’s bad.

The good news is, it’s totally fixable. If your analytics show high bounce rates, it’s a sign that your marketing strategy needs a makeover.

So, let’s talk about how you can improve your bounce rate, increase your on-page time, and spin those blues into website gold.

What is Bounce Rate?

Google Analytics delivers your bounce rate as a percentage of all page visits on your site. It looks at how many visitors came to your landing page and then didn’t poke around the rest of your site before they left. The number is calculated by dividing the number of single-page visits by the number of total sessions on your site.

Since Google doesn’t even start calculating duration until your visitor has viewed a second page, they can spend 10 minutes on your page, and it will still count as a bounce if they don’t click on another page or internal link. As you can probably surmise, a high bounce rate is an issue that affects your analytics in other ways as well.

Actionable Tips to Increase Page Time and Lower Bounce Rate

A bounced site visitor is a missed opportunity; here, you have a user who’s found you by whatever means necessary but left the party without saying hello—or goodbye. No matter how many unique visits you have, they don’t mean much if you can’t convert.

If you engage your visitors, if you can make an unforgettable first impression, they’ll be compelled to stick around, dive deeper, and learn more about your brand. Every new page they land on takes them one step closer to conversion. The better your content is, the more clearly your landing pages satisfy search queries, the more compelled they’ll be to take that step, so that’s where it starts. Helpful content, good design, and an excellent user experience are all within your power to deliver.

Let’s look at some of those tips more specifically:

1.     Responsive Website Design

Responsive design is an absolute must these days. Bounces often happen because site visitors can’t easily navigate your website or view specific content. Responsive design ensures your site looks and performs consistently on any device. If your website is not responsive, it probably means you haven’t done a website refresh in a while. So you’re due.

2.     Improve Your Content Strategy

Nothing builds authority and keeps them coming back like helpful content. Solve their problems, make life easier for them—prove that you “get” them in every way. Valuable, useful content will keep them on the site longer and hopefully encourage a more meaningful connection with your brand. For best results, plan your content strategy in advance. Publish regularly, use broad-spectrum pillar pages to tie many niche topics together, and optimize the heck out of them.

3.     High-Performing Landing Pages

Every page on your site should be optimized for engagement. That means links to other parts of your site, compelling CTAs, and layouts that are easy to navigate. Think of your landing pages as a point of entry and design them to encourage interactions, like clicking links, watching videos, downloading a piece of content, or browsing your resource library.

4.     Use Compelling Visuals

Pages with striking visuals typically get more traction than those that don’t. A captivating image will hold people’s attention longer than text, no matter how clever your tag lines are. Be sure it makes sense to your audience; even if it isn’t interactive, it should be something that compels them to take a closer look.

5.     A/B Testing

Marketing is never “one and done.” A/B testing is an excellent way to find out what’s working and what isn’t; it helps you tweak and refine your efforts until you find the right formula. Try out different images, tag lines, CTAs—you could even try putting CTAs on different parts of the page and see which perform better or play around with keyword/landing page combinations. Even when something doesn’t get any results, it gets you closer to finding out what will.

6.     Don’t Let Them Leave Without One Last Try

There are great little plug-ins and tools you can use that identify when a site visitor is about to leave by detecting mouse movements. Once this action is triggered, the plug-in displays a “before you go” message, which might be to sign up for your newsletter, add your email to get a coupon, or whatever makes sense. If you lose them now, they might not come back. There’s always a possibility that even though they’re bouncing now, they are still interested in what you have to offer. And you certainly don’t want to miss out on that.

Better Bounce Rates Are the Road to Conversions

A high bounce rate is concerning, but it’s no reason to sing the blues. You can do plenty of things to increase page time, encourage engagement, and turn those analytics around.

If you’re looking for strategy, we’re here to help. Schedule a call today.

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