The Sexy Metric: Bounce Rate

The Sexy Metric: Bounce Rate (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who come to your web site (on any page) and leave without exploring a single other page.

I have known companies with huge bounce rates (not good) and low (excellent!).

You might have terrific content on your web site and still … your bounce rate is high.

You’re lying awake at night wondering … what’s going on? I’m doing everything possible to drive traffic to my web site! Where is everyone?

Honestly, there is a clear answer.

I know a company like this, Company A. Fabulous content. Plenty of blogging and tweeting and Facebook action. Also, mad marketing skills, including writing, newsletters, and social media marketing. Still? This company has a bounce rate of over 80%. Only one in five visitors choose to explore more than one page on Company A’s web site.

I often read search engine optimization (SEO) experts’ blogs, and they say, among other things, developing content is the most important thing. Develop the content, they say, and people will come. Well, yes and no.

For instance, what about my friend, Company A? Company A has fantastic content!

My answer is this. You have three goals to reach on any web site.

  • Your site has to be great looking. Not amateurish. Not on GoDaddy’s “Web Site Tonight.”
  • Your site has to be well SEO’d (search engine optimized) … meaning that you’re bringing in well-qualified visitors.
  • Your site has to help visitors reach what they’re really looking for. THIS IS THE DIFFICULT ONE.

Company A succeeds at #1 and #2.

What’s the problem?

In a word, usability.

Company A has made the mistake of not engaging its customers (#3).

Look, if people have gone to all the trouble of actually reaching your site, and you’re turning them away, something is wrong.

It’s as if you run a hardware store and people reach the parking lot and are disappointed before they even enter. They move on. They don’t like your look. Perhaps they go get an ice cream or a Cuban dinner, and then go to a hardware chain. Or not. Whatever. They’re not buying from you, even though they had every intention to when they first showed up.

The solution?

  • Make your web site about your customers. What are they looking for (not what you’re selling)?
  • Make sure your navigation (tabs) reflect what customers are looking for
  • Make sure every page offers a way to get in touch, buy, or sign up for something special (an ebook, for example)

In short, solve your customers’ problems, and they’ll solve yours. Answer their questions.

Now, your ideal bounce rate might be 1 or 2%. I have two clients with this bounce rate. In other words, 99 people out of a hundred, after reaching their businesses, are engaged enough to leave the parking lot and walk through the front door. In other words, visitors are so excited that they click where you want them to click. And, I hope, get to the information that matters to them most.

I think, for most businesses, a bounce rate of 10 to 20% is a great goal. It may take you a while to attain it, but that’s what help is for. I can help you get there.

I’m fond of saying that a web site is like an employee. If that employee isn’t bringing in money (e.g., earning his or her keep), you need to fire that worker and hire a new one.

Web sites aren’t designed to just sit around. They should work for you.

Again, solve your customers’ problems, and you’ll solve yours.

If you want better results from your web site (and you deserve them), contact Basecamp Productions at 410.404.5559.

What is bounce rate and why is it important?

by susan time to read: 3 min

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