Why You Have a High Bounce Rate (and How to Fix It!)

Ever land on a website and then immediately hit the “back” button? In digital marketing, that’s what we call a “bounce.”

It’s when a visitor exits the page where they initially landed instead of navigating to the other pages of the website. Your website traffic is considered to have bounced when a visitor clicks to a different website, closes the page, enters a new web address, returns to the previous page, or when their session times out.

The bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors leave after a single engagement. An engagement should be determined by what your goals are for the page that is being visited. For example, the goal of an eCommerce site will probably be different than the goal of a blog article. 

To get the bounce rate, divide the number of visitors who only left after one engagement by the total number of entries to the page:

Bounce\:Rate = \frac{(Visitors\:who\:left\:after\:one\:engagement)}{(Total\:number\:of\:entries\:to\:the\:page)}

Why knowing your bounce rate is important

Magnifying glass looking at a line graph

You need goals you can measure to find out whether or not your asset or campaign is working well. In the case of your website or landing page, the bounce rate is a great way you can measure this success.

When your bounce rate is high, it means that many of your visitors leave after only one engagement. And when they leave your website, they’re unlikely to come back to buy your product or use your service.

A low bounce rate, meanwhile, means that visitors are spending more time navigating through your website. Chances are that they’re trying to get more information about what you do, which increases the likelihood of converting them into customers. Or in the case of an e-commerce website, low bounce rates suggest that visitors are interested in what you’re offering there, which would hopefully translate to a sale.

There can be a variety of reasons why you’re getting high bounce rates like irrelevant content to websites that are difficult to view on mobile devices. Let’s find out what these are and how to fix them.

Reasons why you’re getting high bounce rates

1. Poor navigation

What happens after a visitor has landed on your page? If your website is difficult to navigate, they won’t know where to go next or find additional information that will help them take the next step. When these things happen, they’ll exit your website as quickly as they got there.

But don’t fear, there are many ways to improve your website’s navigation. 

Create a sitemap

A typical website has at least four pages: the home, about, products/services, and contact pages. The products/services pages might have sub-pages depending on the number of products or services you have. By arranging these pages and sub-pages logically, it will be easier for your visitor to find their way through your website. If you’re selling vehicles, for example, the customer who wants to buy a Sedan will instantly know that they’re going to find what they’re looking for in the Sedan section and not under Trucks. It’s obvious, we know, but it’s important to make website navigation as clear and as straightforward as possible.

Be consistent with navigation

Also provide navigation tools that are consistent throughout all the pages of your website. If you have a navigation bar linking to all the main pages of the site, make sure that it’s present in all pages. This will help visitors find their bearings wherever they are on your website.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs also make it easier for visitors to find exactly where they are and know where the page stands based on the website’s page hierarchy. This will allow them to go up the hierarchy or drill down further depending on whether they need a more general or specific piece of information.

Search bar

Then there’s the search box. This can be essential in websites with tons of content. Browsing through hundreds of pages can be frustrating, and could make your visitors leave the page. Letting them type in the keyword of what they’re looking for instead, saves them time and keeps them on your website.

2. Irrelevant content

Visitors will also leave a page quickly when they find information that isn’t relevant to them. This typically happens when the title is misleading or doesn’t accurately describe the content of the page. Search engines and social media pages may also tag this type of content as ‘click-bait’. This can result in a lower ranking in search engine results or removal from the results or news feeds altogether.

To avoid this, be as clear as you can when writing headlines. Avoid trying to sensationalize your content in the hopes of getting more clicks. It may be good if you only want to boost your inbound traffic, but that’s short-sighted and won’t get you loyal customers over the long term.

Organization also plays a large factor in this. Your content might not be irrelevant, visitors may be having a hard time finding what they are looking for. One way to fix this is to break up your content into subsections and write a subheadline for each of them. If the article is too long to be published as a single post, you might want to consider turning it into a series instead.

3. Unclear call to action

When it comes to navigating your website and decreasing your bounce rates, you must be able to tell your visitors what they should do or where they should go next. This is where calls to action come in.

As the name would suggest, a call to action instructs visitors on their next action after performing the previous action (e.g. adding an item to the cart, reading an article, etc.). By providing a call to action that’s clear and simple, you’ll lessen the confusion on the part of the visitor, lead them in the right direction, and reduce your bounce rate in the process. Want them to call? Ask them to call you now. Want them to check out the items they added to the cart? Tell them.

Ideally, one call to action per page is the way to go. Otherwise, you’ll end up confusing your visitor, causing them to click away from it.

4. Too many pop-ups or ads

Another typical reason why visitors leave your page is if it’s loaded with ads. Ads are essential if you want to generate income from your site, but your content and the traffic that you get shouldn’t suffer because of that. Instead, try to strategically place your ads without ruining your visitors’ experience. That means limiting the use of, if not doing away completely with pop-up ads, especially if they cover the entire content of the page. Remember, visitors come for the content, not the ads, so make their visit to your page worth it. Decreasing ad scripts also a good way to help the next topic.

5. Slow page loading time

Most of the time, visitors leave your page without actually seeing your content. The culprit: slow page loads. This can happen because of a variety of reasons, such as having too many scripts in the page, using large files, and other technical reasons. 

To find out what’s causing your pages to load slowly, you can use tools such as Google’s free PageSpeed Insights. They offer a lot of recommendations that will help you improve your loading speeds. For example, you may need to use a different file format for your images such as PNG. This means you’ll have smaller files put won’t sacrifice quality and pages will load faster as a result.

6. Your content is difficult to read

This one is particularly important to landing pages. Ideally, you want the page to be as uncluttered as possible so that the visitor will only focus on the content that you want them to consume. Also, provide only one call to action so it’s clear what step they need to take after reading or viewing your content.

If you’re dealing with an expansive topic, try dividing it into smaller segments so each one focuses on a more specific subject. This will also keep readers from getting bored when diving into your content. Plus, it’s less daunting to look at versus a huge block of text. If you’re selling a large number of products, give your visitors the option to filter these products and limit only the number of products your page displays at a time. 

All these will help create a more enjoyable browsing experience, lessening the chances that they’ll navigate away from your website.

7. Your website is difficult to use on a phone

People today often access websites using their mobile devices. If your site has no mobile version, chances are your visitors aren’t getting the best browsing experience on their phone or tablet.

A website that’s not mobile-friendly is also difficult to navigate. Visitors will have to zoom in or out just to find the content they’re looking for. And when it comes to tapping on links and buttons, the experience can be very frustrating. While there are scripts that let you display a mobile version of your website without a lot of coding, a custom mobile page may be necessary if you want to keep your layout consistent across all devices.

Let’s Recap:

The bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors leave after viewing just one page. Here are a few reasons why your bounce rate could be high:

  1. Poor navigation
  2. Irrelevant content
  3. Unclear CTA
  4. Too many pop-ups or ads
  5. Slow loading time
  6. Content is difficult to read
  7. Not mobile friendly