Bouncing is for Trampolines

Potential customers coming to your site and leaving after only visiting one page can be disheartening. It could mean all the hard work you’ve put into your website has been for naught. This is what we call a high bounce rate. And while it’s not always necessarily a bad thing, depending on the goal of your site, it’s often a symptom of an ineffective website.

Like most things, determining the reason behind high bounce rate is not so simple.  There are a myriad of factors that can contribute to it. Let’s look at some of the most common culprits.

Rambling, meaningless content

Have you ever gone to a website and were immediately turned off because you couldn’t find the information you were looking for? Make sure your content is concise and easy to understand. Anticipate what your customers will be looking for and make it easy for them to find it.

A sister problem to this is irrelevant content. Try not to mislead your customers with irrelevant clickbait when linking them from social media or digital ads. Give customers the web experience they are expecting!

No call to action

Related to the previous point, once a customer visits your homepage, they’re likely to click away unless there is something that grabs their attention. Creating a call to action, something enticing to click on like a promo, or interesting article, can keep a potential customer interested in your website longer.

Lacks visual appeal

A website with a visual design that doesn’t appeal to its target audience can cause higher bounce rates. In general, using modern UI design can contribute to the credibility of a website. A beautiful design and easy-to-navigate, modern UI can go a long way to establishing trust with your customers.

Slow load times

Have you ever been frustrated waiting for a website to load? In an age of instant gratification, this is the most common cause to click away. With nearly 80% of web traffic coming from mobile phones—often on spotty 3G connections, and with much slower than desktop class processors—optimizing for fast load times becomes critical.

The things that contribute the most to slow load times are typically the things that make our site look pretty (bummer). High-resolution images and heavy use of javascript can bloat a web page to titanic proportions.  

In the case of images, one size does not fit all devices. Optimize your images by creating multiple resolution choices and take advantage of srcset (so that supported browsers can choose the image that best fits the client’s screen size). You can take this one step further and convert your JPEG images to a next gen format like WEBP. Next gen formats like WEBP can preserve the quality of your source image while offering much lower file sizes.

Heavy use of javascript can make your site look amazing, but it comes at a cost. A big javascript library can add to your page load time. In addition to this, javascript is an interpreted language.  Interpreted programming languages are converted into bytecode during runtime. This means, on mobile devices, additional processing can add seconds to your page load time. 

Javascript placed in the beginning of an HTML document can block other parts of the page from loading. This is called render-blocking javascript. To prevent render-blocking javascript, defer your javascript to the bottom of the page if possible.

Another tip to avoid big network payloads is to minify (eliminate whitespace) and gzip (compress), javascript and CSS libraries.  Concatenating multiple javascript and CSS files together can help reduce the number of HTTP requests needed to load your page.

Another factor impacting load times is distance. If the person viewing your website is in California and your website is hosted in New York, it’s going to be slow. Keep your content close to your customer by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This way, your website loads from a server that’s geographically closest to the customer.  Some of the most popular and easy to use CDNs include Cloudflare and Stackpath.

No Silver Bullet

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Because there are so many variables that can affect bounce rate, it takes trial and error to find the best strategy for your website. Hopefully with these tips, you can get on the right track to building a website people won’t bounce away from. And, if you’re looking for help building your website, check out our web design services.