The ever increasing use of Google Analytics is resulting in a new obsession amongst website developers: that of the bounce rate.
In this article I will explain what is meant by the term ‘bounce rate’ and why it is important to understand.
What is meant by bounce rate?
Put simply, the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who only view a single page of your website. When people talk about their bounce rate, they are often referring to the bounce rate of their home page.
If a visitor does a search for your site and arrives on a page that answers their query, they may then leave – this will be considered a bounce, even though there is nothing wrong with your website.
This blog is all about building online communities – therefore our aim is to get visitors involved: that means getting them to explore our sites and view more than just a single page!
The importance of your bounce rate
If you have a high bounce rate, it suggests that the content of your site may not be relevant to your visitor. It may also mean that your content is uninspiring or that your site navigation is not up to scratch.
Remember that visitors make a decision about whether to continue exploring your site in less than a second; you need to lure them in and make sure they check out more than just the page they arrived on!
Don’t panic – simply understand the meaning of your bounce rate
Your content will not be appropriate to all your visitors – therefore you should expect to see a certain number of visitors come and go without exploring your site further. If your blog consists of lengthy, targeted articles then a visitor may have obtained all they need just from the single page your article was published on.
In general though, we should always be aiming on reducing our bounce rate – particularly for community sites. A community site with a high bounce rate is not a community site that will succeed.
As a general rule, I would say that a community site should aim for a bounce rate of under a third. If your bounce rate is higher than 33%, but under 50% then you shouldn’t panic – rather you need to dig around and find the reason why people are leaving your site so soon.
If your bounce rate is over 50%, then something is wrong. You need to determine the issue with some degree of urgency if you want to attract and retain members – ask friends to take a look at your site and provide feedback. You should also visit webmaster forums and ask for a site review/evaluation.
Keep an eye on your bounce rate; you do not want your visitors bouncing away to a competitor – you want them to stick to your site like glue!