What is a bounce rate and how does it affect landing pages?

Websites have been a favorite marketing tool for quite sometime now. Much of this has to do with the in-depth back-end metrics that analytics provide which allow us to track what happens when a visitor lands on a specific web page. One of the metrics analytics provides us is bounce rate. And it's calculated by how fast a user leaves a website after it's arrived. In this case, the quicker users leave websites, the higher the bounce rate is.

This leads us to ask the important question: what causes a user to leave a website?

Here are few reasons this happens.

The website's too complicated: Websites need to be created with the user in mind. The site's many aspects, such as it's navigation system and the headlines, need to be designed in the most natural format possible. All of the information needs to be laid out in suit as users want to be able to find and access the information they seek as fast as possible. If they don’t find what they want in a few seconds they'll often leave the website and find it elsewhere, which raises your website's bounce rate.

Side Note: Our article titled Why does user experience matter in website design offers more information about this.

There's a clear lack of information: This is unfortunately very common. You see, users are looking for information because information elicits confidence. Withholding or lacking information causes the user to wonder if the business is even qualified to help them. Now, there are times when it's proper to hold back certain information, such as pricing, but make sure you provide a very brief explanation regarding the variables of your product or service and allow them to directly request information -- maybe through a contact form or phone call. Whatever the avenue, make sure you answer their questions immediately and directly.

A slow page load speed: A website with over-sized images, bad server speeds and high amounts of flashy page effects are all contributors to slow page load, especially if the user happens to be on a mobile phone. Make sure the page content is optimized for the best possible speed.

Misleading title tags: Users may enter a website thinking the content is about a particular subject, only to find out its not at all what they came for. The user will leave the site and return to their search. It's best to have a page summery, title tag and accurate page description for your content. This will help lower a webpage's bounce rate.

Errors or blank pages: When a user is landing on a website for the first time looking for something particular they are not looking to be greeted with a 404 page error or a blank page. Odds are they wont even consider trying to surf the rest of the site. This point should be rather self-explanatory, but it does happen.

Poor backlinks: You could have the perfect website with all the information that a user could want. But if a referring website is sending you unqualified visitors, they wont be on your page for very long. Here's an example: let's say a user's looking for a recipe and they land on a website that provides them with the 10 best recipes for pancakes. But when they click and follow that link, they're taken to to a catering website that specializes in breakfast catering services offering 10 of the best pancakes recipes if you book today. This is a blatant bait and switch. The user is only seeking a recipe for pancakes. They're not looking to be sold on a catering service. The result? They'll leave the website and find the information elsewhere.

Poor copywriting: A website's content is king. However, if a website's full of grammatical errors, hard to follow content or just bad use of language, users wont stick around for too long.

Bad Targeting: Sometimes people create content, but the content's not relevant to the correct audience. An example is if a website's providing information geared towards high-school kids but the content is written and marketed for a user with a Ph.D. Do that and you've missed your target.

Now, these are only a few examples and we hope they set you off in the right direction. That being said, if you ever need some help with content, copywriting, image optimization or general web design, give us a call.