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What in the world is a bounce rate and how do you improve yours?

As you’re researching ways to create a more user-friendly experience for your website’s visitors, you might have heard web design geeks like me mention a term called “bounce rate.” What exactly is bounce rate? Your website’s bounce rate references how many visitors leave your site after checking out only one page. Essentially, they didn’t find a compelling enough reason to stick around, which means your site could use some improvement.

Though it may surprise you, bounce rates between 26 to 40 percent are generally considered excellent. If your site’s bounce rate creeps up into the 56 to 70 percent range, it’s high, but may not indicate a huge issue. Any higher than 70 percent and you’ll definitely want to check out what’s contributing to your site’s bounce rate.

If your bounce rate is higher than you’d like it to be, here are a few easy ways to tackle the problem:

Make sure it’s easy to skim your content: Many users will come to your site for one or two specific pieces of information. If they’re greeted by pages and pages of text that they have to sort through to find the details they’re looking for, they’ll probably end up getting frustrated and heading off in search of a site that makes it easier to find crucial information. To prevent this, keep your content as short and sweet as possible.

Kill the pop-ups: Think about your own experiences with websites. Inevitably, we’ve all visited one where you’re greeted with two pop-up ads, music blasting, and an explosion of pictures and graphics. If you fought your way through these visual challenges to find the text you were looking for, good for you. Many website visitors wouldn’t be as committed. Because of this, you’ll want to skip the extra effects, unnecessary ads, and auto-play music for a more pleasant user experience.

Give them a reason to want to stick around: While short and sweet is the name of the game if you’re looking to lower your bounce rate, don’t be fooled. There’s certainly such a thing as too minimalistic. You want to give your site’s visitors a reason to stick around. This could mean a FAQ section, a blog, or a photo gallery of your next product launch. As long as it’s useful and well-designed, it has a relevant place on your site.

Keep your site updated: If someone heads to your site and sees that it hasn’t been touched in three years, they’re probably not going to stick around to check out the information you’ve provided. After all, if it hasn’t been updated in several years, it’s probably no longer accurate. You don’t need to revamp your site every day, but be mindful of making necessary monthly or weekly updates to keep everything looking fresh.

Got questions about why your bounce rate is higher than you’d like? I’m here to help. Contact me and let’s chat!

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