7 Ways to Lower Your Home Page Bounce Rate
Ian Lurie Jul 16 2008
If you take the time to build a web site, you’d like most folks to stay on it for a while. Visitors who show up and leave 3 seconds later aren’t generally helpful.
You want to lower your bounce rate. Here are a few tips for doing just that.
What’s Bounce Rate, Anyway?
Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who visit a page on your site and then leave without looking at any other pages. It’s a good way to tell if that page is keeping visitors’ attention or not.
The bounce rate on your home page is particularly telling. Your home page should be pretty compelling for the folks who go there. Many of them just typed in your web address; others came from branded keyword searches; and still others may have found your address in an article or other literature. They’re the most-interested or at least potentially most-interested visitors.
The bounce rate on Conversation Marketing home page is a fairly ghastly 64%:
Reducing Home Page Bounce Rate
But enough about me! Here are 7 tips I’ve found can reduce bounce rate. They really do work, unless you’re an overworked blogger who’s running an agency, writing a book and has 2 kids under the age of 10:
- Answer questions. When someone comes to your site, they’re probably not thinking “Gee, I wonder what their office looks like.” Instead, they’re asking, “Do you have the mountain bike I really want”? Which question do you answer? Answer the latter and you’ll keep more visitors. (Inspired by Specialized.com)
- Simplify. Believe it or not, every person in your company does not get to contribute one link to your home page. The average person is most comfortable processing 5-7 choices at a time. Don’t overwhelm them. Simplify by removing options or at least grouping and prioritizing them. How many links does Google have on their home page? How about Apple? Look at your traffic reports, find out what visitors really want, and then link to that and only that. If anyone in your office whines, blame me.
- Remove autoplay videos. My first reflex if a video starts playing and music that sounds like a bad 70′s porn flick comes streaming out of my speakers is to hit the back button. I’m willing to bet most people feel the same way. Remove the video altogether, or at least have it paused.
- Improve pageload time. If your home page takes more than 8 seconds to look intelligible, you’re probably shedding visitors. Note I said ‘look intelligible’, not ‘load completely’. If there’s a huge image or a video that takes longer, that’s OK, as long as it doesn’t prevent the rest of the page from loading. Trim 2-3 seconds off your pageload time and watch the bounce rate drop. Proof? When I first relaunched my blog, a bug in the code led to 10-15 second load times. Once we fixed it, the bounce rate dropped by 30%.
- Write a better headline. A punchy, take-action headline will keep visitors. Instead of “Enterprise Security Solutions for A Web 2.0 Workplace”, try “Protect Your Network” (I made this example up).
- Move the important stuff up. If you have a store, show products near the top of the page. If you’re promoting a candidate, put that message at the top. Always put your call to action up high, front-and-center. If you’re uncomfortable doing that, you may have the wrong call to action.
- Dump the popup. I shouldn’t even have to say this any more, but if you have a popup or other annoyance on your home page, get rid of it. You’re losing a lot more than you’re gaining, plus you’re making me hate you.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More
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