What is a bounce rate and how can I improve mine

Have you ever been hungry in a new city and decided to find a restaurant to dine at? If so, you will be familiar with the experience of walking down the main street and examining the street-front displays that each that each restaurant is trying to entice you with.  As you glance at this first impression, your mind is processing all the information to decide whether you should take the next step and choose this restaurant.

Does the service look slow? Is the menu font hard to read? Is it a confusing restaurant, that doesn't seem to know what type of food it specialises in? Is the design and style of the building attractive, or does it seem dated? Is it clear where the front door is and what to do when you enter? These questions and more will be whirring through your brain, until you find the restaurant that meets your standards. Till then, you will bounce from place to place, looking at the front of many restaurants but never going inside.

This dining metaphor is a great illustration of how your customers engage with your website and decide if they want to go further than just your homepage - or if they will bounce away to another site. The bounce rate is a useful analytical tool that reveals how well your site does in moving clients from viewers of your homepage, to users of your website.

Simply put, the bounce rate divides the amount of users who only visit one page of your website by the total amount of visitors who come to your website. If your bounce rate is 80%, for example, this would mean that 80% of the people who visit your website never go beyond their first page.

The Google Analytics Benchmarking Report from 2011 (back when Google still produced them) revealed that the average global bounce rate was 45%, with users spending an average time of 5 minutes on a webpage. Web analytic expert Avinash Kaushik states that "It is hard to get a bounce rate under 20%. Anything over  35% is a cause for concern and anything above 50% is worrying".   However, its important to understand that typical bounce rates can vary significantly by industry.  For example a KissMetrics infographic shows that the bounce rate of retails sites ranges between 20% and 40% while a site generating leads for a service is more in the 30c - 50% range.

Now that you know what a bounce rate is, you will want to know how to lower yours. Here's a few tips that will help lower your bounce rate and get people staying longer on your site.

Make it speedy

Surveys show that over 50% of web users expect a website to load within two seconds and tend to abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Even more important - 79% of shoppers who have trouble with a website say they won't return to that site again and 44% of these clients say they will tell their friends about the bad experience.

It is crucial to make sure your page loads fast and smooth, to help convert visitors to customers. Rocketspark websites are made with purpose built code and using the latest compression techniques, which means your website will be optimised for fast performance and loading times.

Make it attractive

Research from Stanford University and Carleton University has shown that Internet users judge a website's appearance within the first 50 milliseconds of visiting the site. From this first impression, 75% of these users admit that they judge a company based on the design standards of their website.

The use of smooth design, the right colour palette, attractive photos and engaging titles will go a long way to drawing web users in to explore more of your website. Rocketspark's website builder is developed with this in mind and will help you on your way to making a beautiful and engaging website.

Make it clear

A good website must clearly guide the user to other important parts of the website and minimise the chance of a client getting lost or frustrated with your layout. When designing your page layout, it is crucial to remember that your audience does not know your company as well as you do - so you cannot make assumptions about their understanding of your services, how to contact you and other important details.

Another great way to engage your audience is to have a "Call to Action" button, that will encourage each web-user to do something with your website. This could include making a booking, enquiring for a quote, sharing to Facebook - any activity that will help turn viewers into doers.

Rocketspark provides an excellent guide to improving your website and lowering your bounce rate, which is available at https://www.rocketspark.com/roadmap/. Employ some of these simple tips and watch your website become more effective in engaging with your future clients.