My response to being asked:
What’s an acceptable bounce rate for website? Ours is 28 -30%. I think that seems awfully high and that perhaps homepage not sticky!
There is absolutely no way of knowing whether the percentages quoted are good or bad for your website.
There is no industry standard and bounce rates are affected by too many factors to make an easy judgement.
Eg: Something happens in the news, and kicks a shed load of people to your site for a given period (like the duration of an event or promotional period either connected with, or not connected with your business), people land on your site, discover it is not for them and then leave instantly.
Is there something wrong with your site? Maybe… there’s no way of telling without knowing where those people have come from and what keywords they searched for and what they were expecting to find when they landed on your website. If you have a page that changes frequently, then a piece of text could have grabbed (search engine) attention for a limited period, but long enough to dupe a whole bunch of people into thinking you have the perfect content that they needed.
To me, I think anything under 30% is OK. If the bounces were consistently 40-60% I’d be looking at making some tweaks to pages, between 60-80% I’d be very concerned and at 80% I would say the website was completely ineffective.
Percentages don’t mean anything on their own.
- What is the site traffic like?
- How new is the website?
- How does the stats look over at least a period of a 1000 unique page views?
- And how does that compare over a set period of time?
- What content changed during that period?
- Could those content changes have influenced visits positively or negatively?
- What has been happening in the global calendar that could affect site visits?
- What time of year is it? As people go outside more during the summer and have less patience to stay in front of a computer searching for content.
- Is it holiday season? Whereby more people ebb and flow to and from certain websites based on seasonal searches.
Personally I would take a snapshot of your target audience. Develop an understanding of their overall needs in line with your business objectives. Work towards A/B testing (websiteoptimizer) some page changes and then monitor the results over a Quarter or 6 monthly period.
Even then you’ll still be guessing!
Here’s somethings you can do to improve your bounce rate, should you really want to tackle it:
- Shorten page load times, with greater optimised page code
- Audio – puts people off immediately
- Initial visual impact – use quality imagery
- Compatibility – does most of your audience view in IE6? Does your site look terrible?
- Relevant headings – Create articles which match keyword searches people are hoping to find on your webpages
- Enticing headings – Headings should want me to take action on your pages!
- Images – Can people see what they want? If not, make it happen.
- Stay above the fold – only your biggest fans, best friends, loved ones, the desperate and paid researchers scroll. ever.
- Simplicity – keep things clean and visible, and no duplication (particularly of navigation items) People think more links equals more ‘clicks’. Nope. It just equals more confusion of the correct pathway
- Language – it should match your audience, and I mean your ‘real audience’ not your copy-writers voice, your marketing departments voice or your PR agencies voice
- Provide people with bite sized chunks of content
- Content should be relevant without waffle
- Present alternatives to the main attraction – what ‘second best choice’ could you offer?
- Limit distractions – popups, flashing thingys and anything else that never stops moving.
- Clear navigation
- Have frequently updated content
- Technical restrictions – eg: kill Flash before it kills your visitors machines, eyeballs & lives etc
- Add a search box – if you’re lucky they might just take a second hit at finding what they need
- Testimonials – if real people are recommending, then human nature will have an effect
- Forms – are a barrier to content. Try not to use them ever and if you must, make them as short as possible and/or reward them for taking the time to complete further detail
Sorry I can’t be more specific for your needs, but SEO and stats really are a huuuge mine-field. Concentrate more of creating amazing (and I mean ‘amaaaazing’) content… and watch your hits, page views, visits rise, and sadly, quite possibly your bounce rate too!
As the old saying goes… you simply can’t please everyone. Hope this provides food for thought.
All the best – Mark 🙂