Balloons on a crowd

Are you tired of seeing people come to your ecommerce site and leave within a few minutes or even seconds without converting? This frustration is felt by many business owners online, but it’s not something that can’t be fixed. Reducing your ecommerce bounce rate is possible with just a few tweaks to your site.

Part of the reason why customers create Nelio A/B split tests is to help them analyze and improve the bounce rate on their website.

What Does Bounce Rate Mean?

Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) represents the percentage of visitors who enter your website and leave (“bounce”) without viewing any other pages on your website. Bounce rate measures the effectiveness of your website in encouraging visitors to continue with their visit. So if you have a 66% bounce rate, it means that 66% of the people who come to your website never end up visiting another page. That’s a problem since you want them to browse your site and ultimately convert.

There are many reasons people bounce from your site as described by Josh Ledgard in Bounce Rate: 14 ways you are driving people away from your landing pages. Some of them:

  1. The site is too slow for them.
  2. They don’t see what they were expecting or need.
  3. They can’t find what they need.
  4. The site is littered with grammar and spelling mistakes.
  5. The page isn’t attractive.
  6. They have to spend too much time finding what they need.

Knowing the reasons your visitors are bouncing will help you reduce the bounce rate. The best way to find out what is wrong with your site is to experiment with it. This is, make changes, create A/B tests, analyze the results, and see the preferences of your visitors.

To get started on the changes, here are 10 ways that many business owners have successfully reduced their bounce rate.

#1: Increase Site Speed

A slow site aggravates users. Nick Eubanks, in Reduce Bounce Rate: 20 Things to Consider mentions that it also can cause your follower reach to stall, negatively impact your search rankings and destroy your conversion rate. Anything over a second increases the chances that a person will bounce, as you can see in the image of How Fast Should a Website Load? by Shaun Anderson below.

From: How Fast Should a Website Load? by Shaun Anderson

You can test the speed of your site by using Google’s PageSpeed Tools, or one of the many other speed test tools available online. Once you know the speed and see that it may be way too slow for your visitors, you can start to implement ways to speed it up.

  • Reduce the number of HTTP requests. You can do that by decreasing the number of page elements, using CSS instead of images, take multiple style sheets and combine them into one and reduce scripts and placing them at the bottom of your page.
  • Turn on compression by using the Gzip For sites with a lot of high quality content, this tool will compress the data to make it load faster.
  • Enable caching. When people come to your site, their browser will cache page elements, so it doesn’t have to send HTTP requests the next time. This means repeat visitors’ will experience a much faster site.
  • Optimize images. You can do this by cropping images to the correct size, depending on the size of your website. Reducing color depth and eliminating image comments will help too. You should always use JPEG for image format, but PNG is another good option, especially if you believe a large percentage of your visitors are using older browsers. Limit GIFs and don’t use BMPs and TIFFs.
  • Boost CSS delivery. You have two style sheets with CSS: internal and external. External style sheets are better because they decrease the size of your code, which leads to a faster load. This image shows how inline CSS can lead to duplicate coding, which could slow down your site.
Example of inline CSS

#2: Improved Navigation

One of the reasons people leave a site is because they can’t find what they want or they need to look too hard to find it. Guide users to exactly what they need by improving your site’s navigation as described by Stoney de Geyter:

  • Keep navigation consistent across pages. If you have a navigation bar at the top of your homepage, have it on every other page.
  • Divide categories in your navigation bar, so it doesn’t run together making it difficult to find the section users need.
  • Make all navigation elements clickable.
  • The text should lead users to exactly what they are expecting.
  • All images should have a clickable ALT text.
  • Each page should have a functional search feature.

If you want to know what the best way to do this, then use Nelio to create wordpress heatmaps and clickmaps to analyze what elements need to be improved and what your user focuses in on when they are on your site.

#3: Make It Simply Attractive

Google researchers have found that Internet users will judge a website as beautiful or not within 1/50th to 1/20th of a second. They also found that users prefer simple, attractive sites over visually complex ones.

Your site should be pleasing to the eyes and provide information or direction visually. Here’s an example of the Karen Millen site that does this well:


#4: Make It Mobile Friendly

People are using their mobile devices much more than their PCs to access the Internet. In fact, Nielsen, as published in What’s Empowering The New Digital Consumer, found that US adults spend on average 34 hours a month on their mobile device and only 27 hours on their PC when browsing the Internet.

Google has recently changed their algorithm to favor websites that are mobile friendly. What this means is if you haven’t jumped on the mobile train, you need to do it now. You can test to see if your site is mobile friendly with Google’s tool.

If you find your site is not mobile friendly, you’ll have to make some changes. If your site hasn’t been updated in a few years, you may want to opt for a completely new, responsive website. If it’s newer and you just want to make it mobile friendly, look into doing the following:

  • Change form input attributes. For lead generation sites, it’s best to change autocorrect to autocapitalize.
  • Set mobile friendly width with the code <meta name=viewport content=’width=700’>.
  • Change image widths to 100%.
  • Word-wrap long strings.
  • Limit the number of spaces you use in your coding.
  • Use media queries more.
  • Don’t use fixed positioning.
  • Stick with standard fonts.

#5: Boost High Quality Content

Spelling and grammar mistakes on sites destroy online credibility. Moreover, Sean Coughlan reported that Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales. This is why it is crucial that your content is perfect.

Not only does it have to be error-free, but it has to provide users with the information they seek when they visit your site. This includes images. They should be clear, relevant and positioned on the page to make it attractive.

A great way to do this is by creating different split tests on different parts of the content. For example, create Nelio A/B tests of the headline to see which ones have the highest click through rates. That way you know exactly what type of high quality content to create for them ahead of time. You may also read more examples in How to Maximize Conversion of Your WordPress Landing Page.

This image shows how the perfect blog post should be written:

Like this? Learn how to use psychology to get more traffic and sales with Social Triggers

This image from Formstack shows how a landing page should be designed to be effective:

Screenshot of perfect landing page
Source: 10 Key Landing Page Features That Draw in Users by Formstark

#6: Reduce the Number of Ads

Ads are distracting and can take away from what users want from your site. Actually, ads can increase your bounce rate because if they are attracted to whatever the ad is displaying, you may lose the person. If possible, remove all ads from your pages.

If you’re making money from those ads, come up with a better plan for them, so they don’t take away from your sales. It may be better to have the ads appear after visitors have purchased from you.

Again, this is a great time to use the A/B tests. If you have to use ads, then make sure you test what combination works best for your users. You could change the placement, or make the ads more native to the topic. Then analyze the best option.

#7: Implement Popovers

Popover experiments have shown time and time again they are effective at reducing bounce rates and increasing subscriptions. Marketing guru Martin Weigel said it best:

“The difference isn’t between stuff that interrupts and stuff that doesn’t. The real difference is between stuff that’s a relevant (i.e. useful and/or entertaining) and timely interruption, and stuff that isn’t.”

When using popovers, be sure that it comes up right before someone is about to leave your site. It should show the person exactly what he/she was seeking or at least show something that entices the person enough to return to the site.

#8: All External Links Should Be New Windows

The worst thing you can do is place external links on your site that take your visitors to other sites while abandoning yours. You can solve this problem by just having all external links open in new windows. This option is available whenever you are hyperlinking text and images. It’s usually a check mark to indicate that the link should be opened in a new window. The benefit of this is that visitors can easily switch back to your site and it keeps them on your site for longer, which could end up benefiting your search engine ranking.

#9: Give Them What They Want

People bounce because they don’t get what they want. Find out what your visitors want and then create a page based on that.

The chart below from Sam Kusinitz, shows the average bounce rate for each type of page. You can get your bounce rate to this level and lower by knowing the goal of each page. For example, content websites and blogs should provide information. Find out what people want to know, and then tell them with the content. Lead generation should guide people to give you their information, so you can return the favor with whatever it is that they are looking for when they searched on Google or another search engine. Retail and service sites need to present the products/services people are looking for and make the purchase process easy and quick.

Decrease Bounce Rate
Source: How to Decrease Your Website Bounce Rate by Sam Kusinitz

#10: Use a Heatmap and Adjust the Site Accordingly

A heatmap shows you what users’ point to when they land on your site. You will be able to see if people are having a hard time finding what they need if you see their mouse hover around one part of the page and then another part and another one. If you see someone come to your site, wait a couple of seconds and then mouse over to something and click, you know that your website just satisfied the person. As we mentioned earlier, we have a great heatmap tool you can use for your site. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn about your visitors and be able to make changes that will make a great impact on your bounce rate.

Reducing bounce rate isn’t difficult if you take the time to learn what your visitors want from your site. Don’t try to trick them into buying something more or doing something they don’t want to do. They are too smart for that. Instead, show them that you want to serve them by giving them what they need quickly and easily. Implement the ways to reduce bounce rate mentioned here, test your site with the heatmap tool, and use Google Analytics to see if your bounce rate decreases. With research, site changes, and testing, you will be able to lower your bounce rate and increase your conversion rate in no time.

3 responses to “10 Ways to Reduce eCommerce Bounce Rate”

  1. Chetan Gupta Avatar
    Chetan Gupta

    Hi Andy

    It’s really a fact, Nowadays many bloggers are getting high bounce rates on their blog which is really a head ache for them.
    Due to high bounce rate, they aren’t able to generate sales. I am also one of them.

    Since last 4 months, I have been noticing that my blog is getting high bounce rate and my visitors are leaving my site so frequently.
    They aren’t engaged with my content.

    So to solve this issue, I was doing research on it and searching for some best ways which I can implement to reduce bounce of my blog.
    While doing research, I have learn’t below points which can help to reduce bounce rate of the blog.

    1. Fresh & Helpful Content

    During the research, I was noticing few blog content and I found a big difference in them.
    I have seen two blogs and one of them writing content just to sell their product and to drive traffic. The writer of that blog just writing articles based on keywords and their articles aren’t enough informative.

    On that blog, I only seen content which aren’t helpful to me.
    On the other side, the second blog is filled with awesome content.

    Articles on the second blog is completely eye catchy and even after reading their titles, I wasn’t able to resist myself from reading those articles. I read almost 4-5 articles there and they all are hub of helpful information.

    Difference which I noticed in between these two blogs is, 1st blog is only writing for sales and traffic But 2nd blog is writing just to help their readers.

    2nd blog was focusing on creating high quality content which can solve issue, which can create results.

    The writer of 2nd blog was giving brilliant solutions and writing in-depth articles.
    He was focusing on readership and building relationship with their readers.

    This was the big difference in these 2 blogs. & I learnt that content should be of such kind which can create results and solve issues. 😀

    2. Updating Old Articles

    2nd thing which I learnt is, Updating old articles.
    I have learnt If we will not update old articles with fresh information then there would be high chances, the reader will surely leave our blog because they might not be getting what they really want.

    So updating articles with fresh information would be a technique to hold them and engage them on our blog. Right? 😀

    3. Content Readability

    I myself never read those articles which have so long and thick paragraphs. I have seen some websites which writes so long and thick paragraphs which scare readers to read them.
    I also scare when I see such long paragraphs and I don’t read them.
    I always love to read short and clean paragraphs.

    So we should must improve our content readability so that readers can find it interesting and helpful. 😀

    There are also some other points like improving blog design etc etc But I can’t mention all of them in a single comment. 😀

    Your article is really helpful to me and I learned so many points from you.
    Thanks Andy for sharing such a great piece of content with us.
    Happy Blogging 😉

  2. Wade B Weston Avatar

    The definition of bounce rate is how Google Analytics defines it but it is not necessarily accurate. In addition, this definition can cause a very misleading bounce rate in GA.

    The definition should be expanded to include “who do not interact with your page.”

    For example, if a person comes to your page and…
    1) downloads a PDF or
    2) opts in to your CTA or
    3) stays on your page for over however many seconds it takes to read or
    4) scrolls all the way to the bottom

    And then leaves “without viewing any other pages on your website” then it isn’t a bounce.

    So the definition, in my opinion, should be:

    Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) represents the percentage of visitors who enter your website and leave (“bounce”) without viewing any other pages on your website or interacting with your page, via any relevant event.

    1. Antonio Villegas Avatar

      Thanks for the clarification, Wade. It totally makes sense.

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