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:
- The site is too slow for them.
- They don’t see what they were expecting or need.
- They can’t find what they need.
- The site is littered with grammar and spelling mistakes.
- The page isn’t attractive.
- 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.
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.
#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:
#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.
#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.