Understanding Traffic Bounce Rate

Every webmaster should love analytics. They are the best tool available for knowing whether or not our websites design and performance is improving. In this blog post I am going to focus on one of the most forgotten (yet important) metrics: bounce rate. Despite being less know than some of the other vanity metrics such as unique visitors, pageviews and referrals, bounce rate is an extremely important metric you should always take into account. If you want to know what bounce rate is and why it’s important, continue reading below.

Bounce Rate in Detail

According to Google, the bounce rate of your website is calculated by the amount of sessions that only visit a single page of your website divided by the total number of sessions. In other words, a bounce occurs when you receive a visit to your website and the visitor leaves without visiting any other page. If someone visits a page on your website and then leaves without interacting or visiting any other page, Google will say that visit has bounced. For example, if half of your visitors stop by a page on your website and then leave, your bounce rate would be 50%. So, to improve the engagement of a website you should be aiming to reduce it’s bounce rate.

How Can I Track The Bounce Rate?

To know what the bounce rate is on a website or specific page, you’ll need to use a website analytics tool, such as Google Analytics. Login to your Google Analytics account and go to the Behavior menu, then to Site content and finally All Pages. Here you will find difference metrics about your pages, including bounce rate.

What is an Optimal Bounce Rate?

That’s the million-dollar question. The thing is, different types of websites in different niches can have completely different bounce rates that are seen as normal. For example, if you have a blog where you purely write content, it is usual to have a high bounce rate since most readers will instantly read the content (usually coming from social networks or Google) and then leave. On the other hand, if you’re analyzing a landing page on your site, it is more usual that its bounce rate is lower since the main task for this type of pages is to direct you to another one by doing some action (buttons, forms, links..etc). If you’re looking for specific numbers then consider there are many websites out there who claim bounce rates between 26% and 40% are excellent, 41% to 55% is average, and 56% to 70% are above the average. They also indicate that with a bounce rate above 70% you likely have a problem unless you’re running a blog or news site which is pure content like explained above.

How to Lower Bounce Rate

Reducing bounce rate is all about getting people to visit other pages on your website. There are several things you can do to entice a visitor to visit another page, such as improving content and it’s link structure. You can also do some A/B testing with different designs or WordPress themes to see if one layout is better than another. Just remember to think about the visitor and put yourself in their shoes. Are you providing value to them? Do you solve their problem? Make sure categories and recent posts are shown in your sidebar, put Before/Next click-to-action buttons below your posts so it’s easy for visitors to see more content. All of this can help lower your bounce rate with virtually any kind of traffic.