When it comes to determining the goals of a company website, many people think the main one is simply getting people on it. While this is important, it’s actually way more crucial to ensure they don’t leave it right away. The ratio of how many people back out after viewing only one page is the bounce rate, and it can be very detrimental to your overall SEO rankings.
Fortunately, this stat is very easy to track. What’s more difficult is figuring out why it’s so high, especially when there’s been a sudden change. There’s no surefire way to know exactly what’s going wrong. However, being aware of the most common problems that cause higher bounce rates will make it much easier to determine the source of your trouble.
Poor Website Design
If you’ve recently crafted your company’s website, the most likely reason for a higher-than-average bounce rate right off that bat would be poor website design. Since this is your first attempt, you can expect this, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
If you need a second opinion, ask some friends or other business colleagues for their thoughts on how your site looks. Maybe the UI is obnoxious to deal with, or specific tabs and links are nearly impossible to find. You might have forgotten to ensure that your site is mobile friendly. The problem could even be as simple as your site being ugly to the average user. Regardless of the source of the problem, though, this one is a pretty easy fix.
Once you’ve taken care of the looks and design, the next big issue is that the content isn’t up to par. People come to your site for information, whether it’s for a detailed blog post or to learn more specifics about your product. If you don’t make an effort to grab their attention and show them something new, you can’t be surprised if they don’t stick around for long.
This issue can be a little harder to fix if you don’t have any writing skills. Fortunately, other people do, so you should be able to hire someone who can type out some engaging content for your site.
The problem here, though, is it could be accidental as well. As humans, we can’t be right all the time, so having some misleading content on a page is inevitable. As long as you confess your mistakes and remedy them, this should never be an issue for too long.
Unfortunately, there will be times when this might be out of your control. If you notice that your bounce rate is higher when the traffic comes from referral links, it could be that some other website is misinforming its viewers. If you keep a close eye on where this traffic is coming from, you shouldn’t have an issue snuffing it out and dealing with the source directly.
Slow Loading Pages
High bounce rates also commonly occur from pages that load too slowly. We live in a society that thrives on being able to receive information with the simple click of a button. That means if slow loading times take away that ease of access, some people will give up before they even fully make it to your first page.
Obviously, most people don’t expect perfection, but if your first page takes longer than about 10 seconds to load, you’ll start losing people rather quickly. You should be able to fix this issue through some site optimization. But if it remains persistent, you could have a total rework on your hands.
The only thing worse than a page that takes too long to load is one that doesn’t load at all. Technology is notoriously finicky, so if you ever see a massive spike in your bounce rate after a site update, this is likely the reason. Of course, minor issues like a few broken links and nonresponsive product pages won’t show up either. So you’ll need to run routine inspections to ensure everything is up to code.