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Perhaps the first and most important goal of website designers is to get and keep the attention of visitors. Many webmasters measure how well they do this by looking at their bounce rates, or the percentage of people who come to the site and leave after viewing just one page. A high bounce rate is a huge red flag for your site, a signal that something might be very wrong. However, it’s also possible that just a few tweaks will reduce your bounce rate and get your site the attention it deserves. If you’re a website owner struggling with this problem, the key is to discern why exactly you’re losing your visitors.
One of the most common reasons for a high bounce rate, and incidentally one of the easiest to fix, is that a website simply isn’t what surfers expect to see when they decide to visit it. That is, the image your site is projecting via advertisements, backlinks, search engines, email campaigns, and other methods is slightly different than what the site offers in reality. To resolve this issue, you may want to reconsider the SEO strategies you’re using and reexamine the context of your backlinks. Getting visitors you don’t want to have is as good as no visitors at all, and you may be missing out on visitors who actually are looking for but can’t find you.
Websites can also experience high bounce rates because they just don’t look credible. Your site doesn’t need to feature top-notch graphic design or have an accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, but it does need to show visitors that it is trustworthy and legitimate. Think carefully before adding any audio that plays automatically on your site, as many visitors will instantly click away. Make sure any advertisements are professional, unoffensive, and not overly assertive. Run compatibility checks to make sure your website looks attractive in different browsers and in different screen resolutions. Even if your goal is to sell something through your website, don’t be belligerent in your sales approach, and just try to keep things simple.
If your site is of the type visitors are looking for and it looks credible, you’ll still likely find that it has a high bounce rate if it doesn’t have enough information people are looking for. The Internet has been around for long enough that people can spot a shallow site from a mile away. As an owner you can expand your site’s content base in lots of ways that don’t take much effort on your end. You might want to consider methods like having guest writers on your site or featuring content from other sites in exchange for back links. If any of your pages are missing key components, it will be worth your while to fix them so that visitors will be more likely to stick around. Even providing helpful links to other sites will help increase your site’s standing in the eyes of the viewer.
There is one reason for high bounce rates that owners tend to forget most often. Their site is exactly what visitors expect, it looks credible, and it has everything it needs, but it doesn’t display all this clearly. The two biggest culprits in this regard are cluttered pages and clunky navigation. Clean your pages up and remove anything that isn’t essential to your site’s purpose. Even before clicking to any other pages, the structure of your site should be crystal clear to the user. Do this by sorting your pages in an intuitive way and having clearly defined menus that are easy to find. You may even want to include a search bar or a graphic on each page that shows exactly where the user is in the site’s architecture.
High bounce rates don’t have to be a problem for your site if you’ve put in the work to make sure each page is clear and professional. Make your headlines concise and to the point, keep your pages unobtrusive, and when in doubt, take the simplest route. If you’re already having issues with high bounce rates, identify why exactly visitors are leaving your site so quickly. It may only take one small change to show people how much they’ll benefit if they stay.