I was recently asked by a client to have a look at another one of their sites to see about reducing their 40% bounce rate. Whilst a 40% bounce rate is not huge it’s not optimal either. To understand bounce rate we have to understand how Google Analytics works out what a bounce is. A bounce is a visitor who just visits one page of the site and doesn’t perform any other engagement according to Google Analytics a google engagement includes things such as people who click to go to another page, click on something that triggers an event or another interaction that Google Analytics can pick up.
Therefore someone could land on the home page of the site and get the information they need from that one page and then exit. This would be classed as a bounce even if they stayed for a decent amount of time,
That’s the definition.
So how can we reduce the bounce rate of a sites home page?
Firstly many sites use a rotating banner and these are bad because users tend to ignore them as they move without being asked. This increases bounce rate as a key area of the users vision is taken up with this instead the banner should be static and invite users to click on something – i.e. a call to action if more users click on something this obviously brings the bounce rate down.
When you have a static banner you can split test for images and call to actions that drive the most engagement this can be done with a tool like Optimisely i.e. different images will have a big effect on what people do next and its worth investing some time understanding what people want to see. This info is valuable outside of web as it will help decide what images to use in brochures etc.
In fact if brochures are used then the home page image should tie in with that marketing material to show users are in the right place and thus make them more comfortable to make the next click.
In Google Analytics look at the navigation path from the home page and see where people end up going and then highlight this path more strongly on the home page to show people who would normally bounce where the logical next step is.
Add something that has live feedback on the site showing that others are using the site ie have a dynamic banner telling people that Anne from Yorkshire just downloaded the brochure this will break the spell of a flat static website showing people that is a dynamic site and social proof will help them engage.