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We've all learned the importance of "knowing our sites" through 3rd party analysis.  So, I'm sure that everyone is paying attention to their numbers, right?  Good.  Well, today we are going to talk about your website's bounce rate and how we can keep it to an appropriate percentage.  As always, it's important to get the grammar down first.

Bounce: a single page visit to a website; a visit to a site that ends without another internal page being view.  Note that time spent on the site is not a factor.

Not All Bounces Are Created Equally

It is important to realize that not all bounces are bad.  If your website provides information to your clients and your clients can find that information on the very first page they see, then that is not a bad bounce.  If your website provides a portal to a different site altogether and your clients make use that portal as an entry point, that's not a bad bounce. 

Some bounces are, of course, terrible.  If someone leaves your site because it's not what they want, they can't find their way around, it doesn't work right, takes too long or just isn't very interesting, that is obviously a very bad bounce that we will want to correct.

5 C's of a Good Bounce Rate

  • Browser Compatibility

Bad bounces can occur because your site doesn't work right or look right on a particular browser.  If your analytics show that a large portion of bounces are occurring on only one browser, take a look at the site in that browser.  You might find that it doesn't look the way it should and therefore seems broken or shotty.  And, yes, this includes mobile browsing.  This is why we are such big fans of responsive layouts.

  • Message Continuity

If content is King than continuity is Queen.  You have interesting and compelling content that is applicable to your industry and educational to your clients.  That's great!  Do your ad campaigns line up with that content?  Do you provide a location specific service while advertising outside of that area?  Are you paying for certain keywords that are bringing in clients that simply aren't interested in your content once they get there?  While we're at it, is your content really all that good? 

  • Navigational Clarity

Remember that bounces are essentially single-page visits.  So, when analyzing why bounces occur we should always consider the possibility that people are coming to the site, liking what they see but have no clue how to find their way around.  This is a problem you will often see with landing pages.  People become so consumed with funneling traffic to one call-to-action page that they limit the accessibility to the other necessary parts of the website.  Bounces ensue.

  • Load Celerity

The time it takes for your site to load can have a big impact on the number of people who continue looking at your site.  This becomes especially true with mobile browsing because phones/networks often process more slowly than traditional desktops/ISPs.  If you have a lot of 3rd party content or large pictures on your site, you will likely run into this issues.  My wife's blog (which is in desperate need of updating) is an excellent example.  It's not optimized for mobile, and she's got like 1000 pictures on the homepage.

  • Design Caliber

Lastly, an overall professional and appealing design can increase the users' goodwill and compel them to stay longer, drill deeper and return more often.  This encompasses everything from optimizing a site for search engines so that it is easy to find, to developing functionality that is easy to use, to designing a layout that is attractive and interesting, all the way to putting these pieces together to tell your company's story well.

Really, it all comes back to creating a good experience for your target audience.