One of the most critical principles of web design is also one of the easiest to understand: to drive business from your website, you have to create one people enjoy using. To determine if that's being accomplished, you need to understand bounce rate. And contrary to this blog image, I'm not talking about bouncy balls.
Some people say a website should satisfy the user's goal. Another school of thought argues that websites should function to guide users to take actions you predefine.
Wherever your website falls on the spectrum of design intentions, a key indicator of success is the amount of time users spend engaging with your site. Converselly, measuring the users who leave your site without engaging is an essential metric to track.
In the analytics world, these quick exits are referred to as "bounces", and are measured in Google Analytics as the percentage of total visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page. You can see this number smack dab in the middle of your site's Analytics overview.
To learn more about Google's process for measuring bounces, check out this article straight from the horse's mouth.
Why It Matters
Bounce rate is not only a major indicator of your site's usability, it greatly effects how you rank in SERPs. With that in mind, it's safe to say it's worth our time to get familiar with the measurement and consider ways to improve our bounce rate.
So, I did a little research and found this killer infographic from KISSMetrics. It's a bit of a throwback (circa 2010), but it's got all the information you need:
Depending on who you ask (and what industry your site is categorized in), "good" bounce rates can vary. In general, these are the categorizations for performance:
- 80%+ is really bad
- 70-80% is poor
- 60-70% is average
- 50% or less is great
My favorite part of this infographic is section three, which explores how to improve your rate. Although the concept of bounces is pretty easy to understand, those of us who don't come from a design or development background often struggle to create actionable steps to improve our rate.
One of the best tips listed above is the importance of building a clear, easy-to-follow nagivation path for users. Oftentimes, flashy design and the thrill of creating a major impact overshadow this essential practice, which is a real shame.
Although it's a great idea to build a site that fosters a unique experience, that experience will never be had if users don't understand how to use your site to satisfy their goals. Be purposeful and clear in site structure, and never skip the testing process to gain valuable insights from objective third parties.
If you need some help in the navigation planning department, Search Engine Land has a nice guide.
Ready, Set, Go
You don't have to wait to start improving your bounce rate; it's actually smart to begin work sooner than later. The lower you can get that percentage, the better your overall SEO will be and the greater chance you have of earning business through your site.
Where will you begin?
Or, is your bounce rate already healthy? If so, I'd love to hear how you're accomplishing it in the comments section below!