Google Analytics defines bounce rate as “the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.” Wikipedia defines it as “the percentage of initial visitors to a site who bounce away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.”
Both of these above definitions basically say the same thing. What a marketer needs to know is that the lower the bounce rate, the better. So what is considered a good bounce rate? There are actually many different opinions on this. Some experts say that 50% is average and anything lower is considered above average. Others say that a number below 30% is what you should be striving for.
Monitoring your bounce rate can be a very valuable tool, but also a bit misleading and therefore should definitely not be the only way you are measuring your performance. A high bounce rate typically translates into a visitor that was not sufficiently engaged and left your site without so much as visiting a second page. A high bounce rate is also an indication that your visitor was not as qualified as you had hoped for.
That being said, this may not always hold true for lead generation sites. Think about it this way…lets say that you’re running a Pay per Click (PPC) Campaign, you have a lead generation site and you are sending visitors directly to your form page. If a visitor fills out the form and your website is not configured correctly (in other words, the URL does not change when the form is filled out), this could result in a “bounce” when in actuality, your searcher completed the desired action item. This often occurs with blogs, as well. Visitors will reach your blog, read all of the way through and then exit when done. For this reason, blogs tend to have a high bounce rate, as well.
While I encourage you to pay attention to your bounce rate, as it can be a useful way to gauge progress, other factors should also considered, such as time on site, landing page quality, percentage of new visitors, etc.
With the Online Marketing Arena growing every single day, it had become increasingly important to not only market your website efficiently and effectively, but also to keep your visitors as engaged as possible once they have reached your site. Amidst a tough economic climate, every dollar counts and competition is fierce. This is true for all types of sites: Lead Generation, E-Commerce, etc. Whether you are doing SEM in the main search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN, and/or SEO, where you have spent the time, money and energy to garner a coveted organic piece of real estate, you ought to do everything in your power to keep your visitor long enough to see what you’re about. Even better, to complete an action item (i.e. request a brochure, fill out a form, make a purchase, etc).
You might be asking yourself the question, “Well, how do I get them to stay on my site???” Here are a few helpful tips:
Offer clear action items at no cost or commitment: Newsletter Signups, Whitepaper Downloads, Brochure Requests, Online Forms to receive coupons, discounts, special offers, etc.
Have fresh and unique content. Visitors will be more likely to remain on your site if they are reading verbiage they have never read before. A blog is a great tool to deliver updated, relevant content on your website. Press Releases are extremely beneficial, as well.
SEO, SEO and yes, more SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a critical piece of the puzzle for any website. If you optimize your site correctly for the keywords and phrases you are seeking positions on, you have a much better chance of generating organic traction in the engines. It will not happen overnight, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you will reap the benefits.
KISS. Keep it simple stupid. 🙂 Make it seamless for your visitors to navigate and enjoy their experience. I cannot tell you how many sites take forever to load, have broken images, it’s virtually impossible to request a brochure; the phone number might as well be invisible, etc.
Get Social! By this, I am referring to Social Media. If you are not utilizing Social Media, you should be. Organically, the internet is a social platform, which is just one of the many reasons why online marketing is so effective. Encouraging participation on your site will allow your visitors to stay longer and also help boost your organic results.
Having Site Analytics is not an option; it is a must. Implementing analytics will afford you the ability to see what your visitors are doing once they reach your site. Are they staying long enough to download a whitepaper or request more information? Or, are they bouncing off the site without even seeing more than one page?
Being seen is not enough. Your website must “speak” to your audience; give them a reason to stay AND more importantly, COME BACK.
So you have a beautiful website. It’s aesthetically appealing; the color scheme is bright and attractive, the images stimulating and the navigation easy to use. It seems to have all the right ingredients, however, is your (beautiful) website getting the right message across to your visitors?
As part of my role as a Client Strategist at MoreVisibility, I work with a variety of clients from large corporations to small businesses, from Ecommerce to Lead Generation. I often look at their sites from a user’s perspective to provide tips to help them achieve better results. There are many sites I see on a daily basis that are quite amazing to look at, but lack the necessary components to get the visitor to the desired end result. Whether that end result is a completed transaction, online form, or request for more information, it is critical that your site speak correctly to your audience. What does that mean exactly? Here are a few examples:
If your site has Ecommerce functionality, more than likely your goal is for your visitors to make a purchase. You will want to ensure that it is almost effortless to find exactly what your customers are looking for and efficiently go through your shopping cart process; the less clicks to get there, the better. If someone is searching for a specific pair of shoes, send them to that page, rather than having to search around. Don’t make it mandatory to create an account; make it an option.
If your site is designed to generate leads, you should be looking to capture as much information from your searchers in an effort you are obtaining valuable leads. Having a clear call to action form on your site is the first step. The form page should be clean and concise with only the necessary information required. The form should be followed with a confirmation or Thank You page to signify that the form was filled out, information is on the way and/or a representative from your company will be in touch (it is helpful to notate the timeframe here. i.e. within 24 hours, etc)
Keep in mind that your website is a representation of you and your company! While it should obviously look beautiful, it is imperative that you get your correct message across simultaneously!