The bounce rate that you see in Google Analytics shows you the percentage of visitors to your website who bounce straight out of your site after viewing only one page. What constitutes a good or bad bounce rate, though, will depend on the type of website that you have. Even so, if you have a high bounce rate of 70% or more, you can be reasonably sure that something is wrong.
A high bounce rate could simply mean that visitors to your site are finding what they need on the first page they visit. If that were the case, then you would see reasonable session durations alongside your high bounce rates. If you are seeing a high percentage of your visitors leave your site after only a very brief visit, though, you might want to read on. Here are ten of the most common reasons that websites experience high bounce rates.
1. Your Website is Too Slow
The most common reason for high bounce rates is that pages are taking too long to load. If your web pages take more than four seconds to load, your visitors will get impatient and leave your site. Factors that can cause slow page loading include unoptimized images, too many sliders and special effects, and excessive use of plugins.
Your choice of web hosting provider will also impact the speed of your site. If you have gone with a cheap hosting company you will likely get less bandwidth, slower servers, and no content delivery network (CDN). We recommend BigScoots (affiliate link) because the price is right and their support is unprecedented. All of my sites have been with them for years.
2. Visitors Not Finding What They Expected
Your headlines and the meta description of your pages must match your content. If you mislead people, unintentionally or otherwise, visitors to your site will back out again faster than they arrived. It is possible to create misleading headlines and search terms by accident. You might, for example, have a website that discusses how to combat stress at work. However, overuse of the words “combat stress” might attract veterans looking for help with post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are experiencing high bounce rates, find out what search terms people are using to find your web pages. Consider if any of those search terms might have alternative meanings that are attracting the wrong audience.
To find out what keywords your visitors are USING to land on your site view your Google Analytics Acquisition report > Campaign > Organic Keywords. Google Search Console is another place you can find this information. If you have Search Console connected to your analytics (which you should!), go to Acquisition report > Search Console > Queries.
3. Visitors Cannot Find What They Came Looking For
People do not read web pages in the same way that they read books. When someone visits a website, they will usually skim down the content looking for what they need. If a visitor cannot quickly see what they are looking for, they will quit the site and look elsewhere. Make sure that your content is easy to scan by reducing the amount of text in blocks and breaking up the content with subheadings. You should also confirm the topic of each page in the first paragraph so that visitors know straight away that they are on the right page.
4. Technical Issues
Your high bounce rates could be a result of the page not loading at all. If visitors are being redirected with a 404 – page not found error, it is unlikely that they will go any further than the redirect page. It is best not to delete any pages on your website at all, because there may be external links pointing at those pages. Instead, you should set up an internal redirect from the redundant page to an alternative source of the same or similar information.
5. Your Site is Not Mobile Friendly
The importance of making a website mobile-friendly cannot be overstressed. More than 50% of all visits to websites are made via mobile devices. Yet, many website owners never test their site on a phone or a tablet. Using a responsive theme is not enough. The layout of pages, the use of menus, and the placing of hyperlinks are only a few of the factors that can affect the mobile-friendliness of a site. If you do not test your site on a mobile device, more than half of your visitors could be struggling with the layout of your pages and exiting early.
Pro tip- Check out your Google Analytics Audience Reports to see what device and browser your visitors use to interact with your content.
6. Low-Quality Content
When you are building any type of website, you must pay attention to the quality of your content. Simple things like spelling mistakes and bad grammar will put people off the idea of staying on your site or buying anything from you. You must also make your content easy to read. So, use concise and straightforward language rather than long sentences and big words. It is possible to get visitors to a website by publishing lots of poor quality, spun content that makes little sense. Even so, visitors will not want to hang around for long on such a site, and it is unlikely that they will trust that website enough to buy anything while on it.
7. Poor Visual Design
First impressions count on a website. If your website looks ugly, you will get high bounce rates. Making a web page visually appealing can take time, but it will be worth the effort. Use complementary colors, a font that is easy to read, and use good-quality images. Visitors will make a connection between the quality of your website and the quality of your products or services. I highly recommend split testing, while it may take time it’s well with the effort. A site that looks like it has been thrown together will affect both bounce rates and conversions.
Pro tip – Achieving lower bounce rates will also get your website ranked higher in search engines because bounce rates are one of the ranking factors.
8. Failing to Prompt Visitors for the Next Action
You cannot count on visitors to your website to go exploring your site; you must lead them to where you want them to go next. If you want users to read more content, then you must provide hyperlinks to similar articles, or use a related content plugin to direct them. If you want users to buy something on your site, you must have easy to find call-to-action buttons. Always remember that website visitors are impatient. They do not want to go hunting for the next step, they want to be told where to go next, or they will go to another website instead.
A great way to optimize these actions is by setting up goals. Goals allow you to see how exactly your users are moving through your customer journey or where they may be dropping off in your funnel. Learn what numbers are actually important to measure, how to measure and understand them, and then how to pull it all together in a way that tells a story with Measure & Maximize.
9. Too Many Ads and Popups
If your website has too many ads and popups that appear every few seconds, that will drive away visitors. Too many ads will make your pages slow to load and will make your website look cluttered. Too many popups distract visitors from what they are reading and can be very annoying. The least obtrusive type of popup to use would be an exit-intent popup, which appears as the reader is about to leave the site.
10. Visitors Do Not Trust Your Site
Internet users are only too aware of the existence of scam and phishing websites. So, people are cautious whenever they enter any website for the first time. Make sure that there is nothing that could create any doubts about the legitimacy of your website. Even if you do not collect any data from visitors, you should secure your site with a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. If you do collect data from visitors, you should avoid asking for unnecessary confidential information. The type of language that you use will also affect the trust that people have in your site. So, avoid the overuse of aggressive sales techniques, like time-limited offers and “once-in-a-lifetime-opportunities”, which are often used by scam websites.
Recap: Why Your Website Bounce Rates Are High
As you can see there are several factors that could be causing high bounce rates on your website. Slow page load times, too many popups and ads, and the lack of an SLL certificate will affect the entire site. Some issues, though, such as misleading headlines and poor-quality content, might be restricted to individual pages. But a few poorly performing pages can increase the average bounce rates for the entire site. So, as well as fixing the site-wide issues, you will need to look at specific pages that are performing poorly, and using your data to optimize is perfect for this. Fixing the problems that are causing high bounce rates should increase conversions, making it a win-win!