When I am evaluating websites for the first time, the first metric I look at isn’t users or sessions. It’s bounce rate. Let me tell you why.
The bounce rate can immediately tell me if we have a big, big problem on your site, and a bounce rate problem could be blinding you from the true story of your website’s traffic. If you’ve been focusing just on site visits and ignoring the bounce rate metric, you could be heading in the wrong direction.
Bounce rate indicates the percentage of people who come to your website, view one page and leave without interaction. If you couple that with the data from your most popular pages, you get a better picture of what is really happening on site. You can tell where traffic is landing AND if they like what they see enough to move on. You should be aiming for a low bounce rate. You can’t eliminate it altogether, though wouldn’t that be lovely. It’s normal for some people to say your site is not what they were looking for. What’s not normal is if most of your visitors are doing the same.
Let’s say your bounce rate is 70%. First off, we have a problem. That’s way too high. If most of your traffic is bouncing from your homepage, we have an even bigger one. That tells us most people coming to your site show up for the first date, take a look at your company sitting alone at the table and say, “Nope, not for me.” Then they peace out the same way they came in.
If your bounce rate is high and your most popular pages are blog posts, you probably have a funnel problem. If this is the case, you are doing a good job of getting the traffic to come in through content-rich, thought-leading positioning pages. That’s great! But we’re not moving them past that. And ultimately, what’s the use of inviting them in if they don’t take the time to peek around at your offerings and value. Some other metrics coupled with your end goals as a business can tell us if this kind of traffic is still valuable to you, but that’s another metric for another time.
The web sites we strategize and redesign at Nova experience immediate drops in bounce rate, and personally, that’s the biggest payoff for me.
This tells me we’ve accomplished one of our main goals. Now, people who land on the site are finding the information they were after in the first place, and they are following the breadcrumbs we’ve laid for them. They like us enough to sit down at the table and are sticking around to follow the path to conversion. Woohoo! Now, we are making REAL progress.
My main goal as content strategist is to clear out whatever is turning off your customers and start turning them on again. Ideally, we do this in a way that leads them further down the path to conversion. With the information derived from the bounce rate, we can get a clear picture of what’s getting in their way.
Ready for Nova to take a look at your analytics and see what’s holding your customer back?