Design to convert: 4 tactics to lower your bounce rate

For small businesses, the company website serves as an interactive marketing tool. It is used to welcome visitors, share information about the company and its products or services, and most important, move visitors along the buying journey.  That is, IF the website has been designed to do so.

Is your website serving visitors and helping acquire new customers?

 

Photo from Flickr and Jetheriot.

Photo from Flickr Commercial Creative Commons and Jetheriot.

Google Analytics shows us the full customer experience across our website. One of the most important measurements Google Analytics can help with is the website’s bounce rate. OStraining recently posted an article about the importance of the bounce rate to the user experience. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who view only one page before exiting a site and remain on that page for less than 30 seconds.  A high bounce rate could be an indication that the site needs a design modification.  Below are a few tips to help lower your visitor bounce rate and improve the customer experience.

1.  Design every page (and blog post) to be a landing page

KISSmetrics posted a good article sharing how to make a landing page that converts. Visitors can enter your website through any given page, depending upon what they were searching for when they came to your site, and whether they came to your site from an external link.  Each page on a business website should provide information about your company, and include the action you want the audience to take. The same goes for your blog posts.  Develop your blog content to better engage visitors (Read 5 tips to make your business blog stand out.)

2.  Design content to deeply engage visitors

When developing content for your website, look from the perspective that it’s the only page the visitor will see.  Use this strategy to determine what important downloads and internal and external links to include on each page. If they land on this page, show them where they should go next.  Don’t just take your word for it or a web designer’s word for it, reach out to your target audience for their input.

3.  Offer downloads on a separate page

One of our most visited pages is a page that offers a free editorial calendar download. Visitors come to the page through several external links. They download the document and head on their way.  This was having a significant impact on our bounce rate. It’s OK for visitors to find what they need on just one page.  The page design is doing it’s job, especially if it leads to a purchase or opt-in. But with Google Analytics and its measurement of the bounce rate, we want to push visitors to relevant information and further engage them. For our issue, we moved the download to a separate page.  We added value to this new page by including step-by-step instructions for how to use the download, and shared relevant blog posts to further assist the visitor.

4. Take the advice from Google

The Google Analytics website shares a few tactics to help improve the bounce rate. The site suggests redesigning the entrance (or landing) pages, optimizing those pages so they correlate better with the search terms that bring users to your site, with ads you’re running, or with keywords you’ve purchased, and changing the ads or keywords to better reflect page content.

Here are a few more steps you can take as explained in this article written by business blogger Taylor Clark on Social Media Today.  And, if you aren’t familiar with Google Analytics, a quick and easy way to find your bounce rate is through Alexa.com.

If you have a tried and true tactic we didn’t highlight, please share it in the comments below.

  • kameel jolynndeal Great Kameel. I will share these tips with our audience.

  • jolynndeal kameel Thanks Jo, the download wall is a wordpress plugin called Download Monitor (http://mikejolley.com/projects/download-monitor/) there is another that has sharing features etc. called Download Manager (http://www.wpdownloadmanager.com/), but I’ve not had much success installing the premium vesion of the later. I achieved the following effect for my downloads: http://kameelvohra.com/marketing-resources/ – it’s not as polished as I’d like (yet) but provides excellent functionality.

  • kameel What fantastic advice! Thank you for sharing your strategy.  Our library is so small, but you bring up an excellent point in that it drives secondary downloads. If you can, please share the download wall you recommend. Thanks again!

  • Wholly agree with #1 every page needs to be working for you to convert readers. Not sure that #3 is the only way to work, there at some great download walls that fire sharing or at least measure downloads – they’re very Google Anaheim’s friendly too. I’ve used one and it was surprisingly effective at registering download s and simultaneously promoting my content. I moved all my downloads into one page, which also really helped drive secondary downloads.

  • jolynndeal  Marissa Buckley I will definitely have to check out the article for sure, THANKS! I LOVE the suggestion for trying one at a time so as to better evaluate the outcome….I also love it so that it’s not so overwhelming! #1 here I come. WaHoooo!

  • Word Ninja jolynndeal So funny. An editorial calendar helps me stay frequent. I can build my stories over time as I come across supportive information. I also just learned about Evernote and want to look into that. It’s an App I believe, but a few of my friends swear by it for story-building.

  • jolynndeal But now I’m in trouble for asking you to fix that link… That whole “consistency” rule about blogging, always a tough one!

  • Word Ninja Thank you! I fixed the link. I love having a Ninja in my network, with your ability to identify ‘evil’ links lurking about the cafe. Thanks for stopping by!!!

  • Can you check the “5 tips” link?

  • Looks like I have some more work to do. Thanks for the how-to, Jo Lynn!

  • lprevost You are very welcome, Laura. I also highly recommend reading the article by Taylor Clark. The link to it is near the bottom of my post. He had some other great tips dealing with bounce rate. I think if we follow them all, we’ll be in good shape.  I also received another great suggestion from Marissa Buckley. She suggested trying just a few changes at a time, so as to better evaluate what tactic is working.

  • Love these tips! I’m going to work on my website to really make #1 come to life. I don’t even think about the fact that people don’t always end up on my home page (although I know they don’t) so I don’t make everything a consistent landing page.
    Thanks again for GREAT tips to add to my business marketing!! 🙂