Top 10 reasons why your bounce rate is high?

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Picture this, you’re on holiday it’s late in the evening and looking for a quiet local restaurant for some dinner. You trawl the busy streets filled with British holiday makers and bright neon lights. Eventually, you settle for a restaurant named ‘Best Steakhouse in Gran Canaria’, you sit down, take a look at the menu, immediately, you realise this isn’t the restaurant for you.

This incidentally, was me back in November 2015, hot and frustrated we were looking for somewhere to eat. There was a lot of choice, almost too much, but was lured in by the outlandish salesman on the street.

After realising that the ‘Best Steakhouse’ was probably more the ‘Worst Steakhouse’, largely due to the un-inticing images of burnt goat meat in the half chewed laminated menu, which left much to be desired. Needless to say, we abruptly left.

It could well have been a ‘great experience’, as the restaurant was relatively full of customers, but the initial impressions were less than desired….I guess we will never know and don’t have much appetite to try again.

The very same happens every day with your website, visitors arrive on site, take a brief look, and leave. This percentage of users exiting is what is known as your ‘bounce rate’.

Hopefully, I’m not teaching you to suck eggs with this post. Before you read on it’s worth making a note of your current bounce rate. If you log in to Google analytics and browse under Audience > Overview you will see a graph for ‘bounce rate’. If your bounce rate is 40-50% or above then this article is for you.

Now we’ve established what a bounce rate is, let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons that cause high bounce rates and how you can reduce it today.

1. Page load speeds

This is one the of the number one reasons we see customers bounce from your website. On average users spend approximately 10 seconds to form an opinion about your brand or proposition which will determine their next steps.

If your website doesn’t load within the first 4 seconds then conversion to any ongoing activity typically deteriorates by at least 25%. Google has a preference for sites that load in nearer 2 seconds and this can even impact how your website ranks in the SERPs.

So what causes slow page load speeds? Well, there’s typically a few common issues we see when it comes to slow page load speeds, these are:

  1. Poor hosting – your server is too slow to handle the requests, in fact as traffic increases (Say after an email broadcast) your website can become incredibly slow if the server doesn’t have enough juice or horsepower to keep it running efficiently.
  2. Image file sizes – this is the usual culprit where images are too large or not optimised enough to load efficiently on your site. Ideally they need to be compressed/cropped to the appropriate size before upload. Try to avoid uploading 1920×1080 images at 300dpi only to resize via your CMS to a thumbnail.
  3. Javascript compression – this is a bit more technical and may require a developer to compress javascript functions into a single file rather than lots of files to call upon. You can also use plugins (CMS dependant) to show or hide certain javascript functions dependant on the page requirements.
  4. 301 redirects – try to minimise 301 redirects on your site as much as possible. Which is why its important to really consider your page layout and information architecture before you build the site.

To help determine how fast your pages load in your website Pingdom have a great tool which can help quickly identify key issues in your site. Click here to run a ping test and start improving your page load speed today. Also, try http://www.webpagetest.org or https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

2. Your website isn’t mobile responsive

Over the past year or so we’ve seen a greater emergence of mobile use across websites in a variety of sectors. In fact compared to 5 years ago where tablet usage was increasing significantly, mobiles are fast taking over, largely due to the screen sizes now available, accessibility for mass-market and user adoption. Nearly all new mobiles now have access to the internet and touch screen, forget snake and actually making calls, the smartphone is part of our multi-media digital world and is here to stay.

Typically we see at least 25% or more traffic across our clients sites coming from mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile responsive or built from a mobile first perspective then it’s likely your users will bounce as the experience will likely be fragmented. There is nothing worse than trying to find a phone number or contact details when the detail is off screen or has rendered too small, or navigation is broken on a mobile. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, consider speaking with your developer soon about optimising it.

3. Poor landing page design

Design is an interesting element as we all have our perceptions and experiences when it comes to look and feel. However, there are some key factors/ rules to consider when it comes to key landing pages. If you don’t know what your landing pages are, check in Google Analytics under ‘User Behaviour’.

Typically for a landing we’d expect main navigation to be across the top, and obvious. Contact details to the right, with usually a search function and or call to action. A bold propositional message or title, good imagery and/ or video, key benefits or USP’s and a closing action following a body of text. Pretty simple stuff huh?

Well, we’ve seen some disastrous attempts at landing pages it’s any wonder some businesses survive.

If your landing page isn’t engaging, pleasing to the eye and evokes any emotion then it has failed to fulfil it’s most basic task and no matter how good your product or service is, it’s unlikely the user will want to pursue any further.

4. Asking too much from the user

Your website has an objective…to drive customers to a point of contact so they can engage with you (the business). Your website is a shop window that must draw in the crowds and help nurture prospects to sign up/ buy/ make an enquiry. In most cases you’ll have a form of some description to collect information about the prospect and act as the point of conversion from prospect to lead or sale. However, just like on a first date you shouldn’t ask every question under the sun, you’re not trying to investigate the prospect, merely collect enough data to contact them back or provide a quotation.

Long forms are one of the biggest turn offs for many users, especially if they’ve made numerous enquiries on different sites. Take the insurance comparison sites for example, most user will visit one, maybe two comparison sites and perhaps a handful of insurers to ensure they’re getting a competitive home insurance quotation. Long winded and arduous forms will not entice the user to pursue with the journey no matter how compelling an introductory offer is. Keep it simple, only ask for information you actually need.

5. Un-digestible content

Try to think about the user experience, rather than focus too much on the ‘what’ you do, focus more on the ‘why’ someone should choose you over the competition. What ‘added value’ does your proposition provide, very few markets rely solely on 100% price sensitivity, consumers are looking for a deal, true, but 9/10 times they’re looking for that little extra.

Break your content into digestible chunks or sections. Use of a bold title and short paragraph backed up by a suitable image or even video works 10x better than a wall of emotionless copy. Typically, we’re seeing more and more web designs use a parallax or block style to help follow the natural flow of the scroll.

On that note: Forget the fold. Gone are the days when anything below the first scroll is irrelevant, again because of mobiles users have now re-adopted the scroll. In fact, it’s genetically proven that the younger generations have stronger thumb muscles than their predecessors because of the scroll-reflex (Unknown source).

Remember your content should be written like short stories, not novels.

Have a look at http://fivesecondtest.com and http://usertesting.com to get third party reviews on your content and to see if they can quickly determine the message your trying to convey.

6. Unclear call to actions

If you don’t provide clear call to actions, and keep it minimal here, then how can you expect the user to make a quick decision about what the next steps are. If you’re selling insurance ask your users to ‘get a quote’, if you’re in retail the classic ‘Buy now’ is a good place to start, if you’re collecting data to build an email list try ‘ Subscribe now’, or ‘Enquire today’.

Also, think about positioning, call to actions need to be featured in obvious and logical positions, don’t hide them at the bottom or very top, use contrasting colours and give them space so they stand out on your page.

Again, think about the user experience and what it is the objective of the content of that specific page. If you don’t ask, you won’t get, so be obvious but not over-powering and littering your page with too many CTA’s. Typically 2 will be more than enough.

7. Your user journey sucks

So we’ve reference the user journey a few times here but what does that actually mean. There’s lot’s of considerations here from understanding where the traffic has come from to what is the objective of that traffic. A lot of detail can be gleaned from your analytics by reviewing the content flow and understanding which pages, in order, your users are visiting.

Firstly we’re trying to understand why your users are bouncing off your main landing page, if the user journey isn’t obvious as to the process they must follow then it’s a pretty good guess that this will be a key factor in your website performance.

Ensure that your landing page signposts the user appropriately to take the next step, this links back to the call the actions. Whether it’s a contact form, a video, a phone number or a social share, if the user isn’t signposted appropriately then the journey becomes fragmented and sucks.Over-zealous on page advertising

Nothing gets up in my grill more than on page advertising. Just don’t do it, it’s nasty and doesn’t evoke a positive user experience. That said, some sites rely on it for income generation, cross selling and specific promotion. If you do have ad’s on your site, ensure they are relevant for the user or audience type, don’t just put any old adverts on and also make sure they fit with the look and feel of your brand as more often than not they take up real estate.

Don’t forget, intrusive adverts can also damage brand trust. If your site is constantly popping up with videos and adverts to watch it breaks the natural flow for the user. By reducing ad frequency you could see greater direct conversions and more direct revenue.

8. Over-zealous on page advertising

Nothing gets up in my grill more than on page advertising. Just don’t do it, it’s nasty and doesn’t evoke a positive user experience. That said, some sites rely on it for income generation, cross selling and specific promotion. If you do have ad’s on your site, ensure they are relevant for the user or audience type, don’t just put any old adverts on and also make sure they fit with the look and feel of your brand as more often than not they take up real estate.

Don’t forget, intrusive adverts can also damage brand trust. If your site is constantly popping up with videos and adverts to watch it breaks the natural flow for the user. By reducing ad frequency you could see greater direct conversions and more direct revenue.

9. Un-credible proposition

You may have the greatest product in the world, and it will sell itself (to a degree), but unless your proposition is credible you won’t be selling much. Credibility evokes trust, especially if you’re not running multi-channel brand building campaigns or have significant brand awareness in your sector.

Credibility can be in the form of awards, testimonials, independent reviews, industry accreditations as well as other signals such as your branding, page look & feel, propositional messaging and ease of use/ user journey.

10. Poor user targeting

Just like presenting users with something they didn’t expect, poor user targeting is the pushing of users to irrelevant content. This really applies to if you’re running paid media campaigns such as PPC, ensuring your audience is relevant and fit for your content is the golden rule in marketing.

If you’re targeting users looking for ‘Vegan Food’ but are actually a ‘Vegan Restaurant’ you’re close but no cigar. To get this right you need to:

  1. Clearly define your audience
  2. Create a relevant propositional message to attract the right clicks
  3. Back up that message on your landing pages with the heading, content and call to actions…not to mention and imagery.

Remember, right message, right targeting, right time is the recipe for a successful campaign.

However, the overarching message here is to think about your audience. Not all audiences may well be immediate, this is where user research really comes into it’s own. For example, did you know that 40% of baby products are actually purchased by households that don’t have children? To target these, you need to widen the net.

So, to summarise:

I appreciate there’s a lot of detail here but to briefly summarise the top 10 reasons your bounce rate is high are likely due to a combination of the following factors:

  1. Page load speed is more than 4 seconds
  2. Your website isn’t mobile responsive
  3. Your website landing pages don’t look pretty
  4. The content on your page is unrelated
  5. Content is hard to read or understand
  6. You have unclear call to actions or too many
  7. Your user journey isn’t optimised
  8. On page advertising is getting in the way
  9. Your proposition isn’t coming across well enough
  10. You’re targeting the wrong audiences

Don’t forget in all this the simpler and more meaningful your messaging and content the more likely you’ll convert that user to the prospect, customer or client. Stuffing lots of sliders, chat boxes, adverts, animations and fancy widgets is not going to aid conversion. Reduce the noise and focus on the good stuff, like getting your user through the journey and completing an action.

At the core of InsightfulUX is our web auditing and competitor reviews, if you’re looking for help in optimising your website to improve conversion and reduce bounce rates why not get in touch with us today to discuss your digital requirements. Or find out more about our process.

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