You know you need to figure out how to decrease bounce rate when you face one of the most frustrating experiences a publisher has to deal with – investing a lot of work and resources into your content, only to have visitors click the “back” button after they take a quick glance.
You want to tell yourself it doesn’t matter, but you know there’s a direct link to profitability, you know you’ve got to fix it, but you don’t know how.
We’ve got you covered.
How a high bounce rate reduces your revenue
Before we dive into some best practices, let’s talk about how fixing your bounce rate improves site profitability.
Less eyeballs = less customers
A high bounce rate reduces search ranking for a simple reason: Google thinks that a website whose visitors never stick around is a website that’s not providing value.
In an effort to stay the top search engine, Google cares about quality: What are site visitors sharing on social media? Which pages grab their attention for a longer amount of time? Which websites are so engaging, that visitors keep clicking and clicking down their funnels?
The less your website meets these terms, the lower your rank will be, and the less visitors you’ll get. For publishers, that means a big hit to your profitability.
As Stephen Woessner, founder of Predictive ROI, writes, reducing your bounce rate from 60% to 30% could mean almost doubling your revenue, assuming conversion rates remain the same, because you’ll have almost double the people moving through website pages and down your funnel.
If customers bounce, they’re not giving you a chance to build profitable trust
Here’s why people bounce: They haven’t found what’s in it for them if they stay.
If visitors agree with Google that your site isn’t providing enough value, they won’t stick around to get to know everything you have to offer, your brand personality or your expertise. They won’t come back to read or watch more on your website, which means lower click through rates on ads, and they won’t grow to like your brand enough to send other people your way.
That means you won’t be able to build the kind of relationship and trust it takes for customers to consistently return, purchase subscriptions, and ultimately, trust your monetization practices.
How to decrease bounce rate
Now that you know why decreasing your bounce rate really matters, here’s how to do it.
Understand what your target audience really needs before developing content
In order to now how to fix bounce rate, you need to understand what visitors are looking for.
It starts with the words they search for on Google – the language they use to describe their pain points. Use this language in your text. It won’t only get you higher in search rankings, but it will make visitors feel that you get them.
Want to go deeper?
Find out what’s below the surface of common pain points, and develop relevant content.
Wells Fargo offers financial services, so its website provides financial tips, like how to get a mortgage and save for retirement. That’s a smart move.
But you know what’s smarter? This:
This Wells Fargo commercial doesn’t talk about mortgages or loans. It talks about two parents planning the arrival of their child. It touches its customers in an emotional place, and lets them know Wells Fargo is there to help them fulfill their dreams. It’s all about the customer.
This commercial specifically goes even deeper than that. By featuring (spoiler alert) a lesbian couple who’s adopting an older child, Wells Fargo also touches many people’s need for greater equality. As it advocates for a growing, under-served audience, it gives itself an “unfair advantage” with that audience and anyone who cares about it.
Use the kind of visuals site visitors can relate to
When site visitors reach a new site, they give publishers maybe 7 seconds to prove there’s a reason for them to stay. They won’t immediately read long copy. Want to fix your bounce rate? Give them images.
Social media expert Jeff Bullas reports that articles with images get 94% more views, and ecommerce shoppers are more convinced to purchase by high quality photos than by great descriptions or reviews. That’s why in-image advertising converts so well, and it means that site visitors are more likely to click around your website and move down your funnel if you combine your CTAs with great images.
But to reduce your bounce rate, you can’t just choose any image. Publishers need to find out what kind of images visitors relate to.
A great indication could be the social media platforms they’re most active on. If they’re on Snapchat, they want raw, real-feeling images. If they’re on Instagram, they want high quality lifestyle photos. If they prefer LinkedIn, they’ll probably respond best to images centered around professional settings.
But it’s more than that.
Publishers need to figure out the brand personality their visitors relate to, and produce images accordingly. Some audiences will relate better to funny animal and baby photos, while others will relate to photos of hugs, head on shoulder, and hand on hand.
Give them a reason to click
Lastly, to fix your bounce rate, you have to give site visitors a reason to click.
One page or article shouldn’t cover everything there is to cover on a subject in most cases, or visitors won’t have a reason to click around.
To fix your bounce rate, create additional pages that solve challenges that come up from previous content, and direct them to these additional pages with great images.
For example, if you write a tutorial about creating a video, write another tutorial about getting eyeballs on this video, and another about monetizing the video through ads. Then, write an email opt in “bribe” covering the easiest and cheapest tools to create videos without any tech or editing knowledge.
Finally, add links in each content piece to the rest of the relevant content pieces.
And don’t forget – as a publisher, you must ask for the click.
Add a CTA to every piece of content you create. Be careful not to get visitors into decision paralysis by giving them too many CTAs. Prioritize one CTA on each page in your content and design, and make sure it’s a benefit-driven CTA, so visitors will know what’s in it for them not to bounce.