The Best Ways To Lower Your Bounce Rate [CRO]

Red and white door. It looks inviting. Yet it's closed with rusty lock.


Every website or blog has a purpose!

It can be it a sale, a subscription or simply conveying the message.

Achieving this goal is called conversion.

The process of doing it is the discipline of Conversion (Rate) Optimization or CRO.

The worst enemy of the conversion is the bounce rate.

You have to decrease it to get the results you want!

What is a Bounce Rate Exactly?

Most people who visit your website – unless you have perfectly optimized it – leave before even reading it or taking a closer look.

You can’t convert users to buyers or subscribers when they bounce right away.

When people leave your site almost instantly without taking any action they bounce.

You need to lower the bounce rate as much as you can in most cases.

When measuring the bounce rate we usually count the number of

  • people who left your website within a few seconds after arrival
  • people who have only visited one page without clicking a link

The bounce rate thus indicates the percentage of people who left quickly without being satisfied.

There are cases where the task at hand can be accomplished without clicking on one page.

Such a bounce would be OK then. Yet in most cases it’s not!

How to Find out How Many People Bounce?

How do you measure the bounce rate?

You need an advanced third party Web statistics software.

Simple tools often don’t show bounces. Using analytics tools like

allows you to check the bounce rate.

I used all of them for a while successfully in all cases on more than one website or project. All of them have free options.

Usually any bounce rate below 50% is OK but most bounce rates are far higher.

80% is really bad but very common for blogs. 20% or lower is stellar!

Traffic from low quality social media sites like Reddit even results in 90 – 99% bounce rates.

In case you have 80% of visitors bouncing you lose 80 users of of 100!

Imagine a store where 80 out of 100 people just open the door and leave instantly.

Pleasing People Who Arrive on Your Site

Ironically most website owners nowadays still obsess about traffic.

Why is it a problem? It’s a misguided vanity metric!

Instead they should be focusing on lowering the bounce rate. Delivering the

  • product
  • service
  • message

to the people who already arrived at your site is the highest priority.

It’s far easier to please the people who are on your site than frantically look out for other visitors.

That’s why I introduce to you the best ways to lower your bounce rate and get more conversions.

Who Arrives at Your Site?

Depending on what kind of visitors you have or expect the bounce rate will vary.

  • Casual social media visitors (casuals) vaguely interested in your subject “I like blogging, let’s see what we have here”
  • Search visitors (searchers) keen on finding exactly what they need to know, download, buy etc.
  • Returning visitors (returners) wanting to get more of what you already offer, or deeper insights

You have to adapt your bounce rate lowering tactics accordingly. It’s discovery vs solving problems vs learning more.

1. Place your offer on top
Offer what the people expect right on top even when you just link to it.

For the casual social media visitors you need to emphasize the new aspect of your offering.

The “simplest ways to” in the title might suffice.

The search visitor needs to see the keyword right there on top. It’s “lower your bounce rate” in my case.

The returning visitor has to see the additional value compared to what he already read on your blog.

A gripping image as an eye catcher and a short teaser paragraph are also key for all visitors.

For ecommerce sites the product and a call to action “buy here” button is key and ideally “above the fold”.

2. Do not distract
Do not distract your visitors from their purpose by offering several things at once (ads, products, plenty of links).

Portal-like sites have failed long ago but website owners still assume that you have to clutter your pages.

All three kinds of visitors expect the fulfillment of their wishes above the fold with no distraction.

When they can’t see or find what they are after they’ll leave.

3. Be readable
Seeing just a huge chunk of text without anything bold, italics or otherwise highlighted hurts my eyes!

It just makes me skim the text to find a clue whether I’m interested or not.

Without little clues people do not find anything and bounce in most cases.

Add basic text formatting and decoration. It’s a must for readability.

For casual social media visitors you can even add an image with text in it.

4. Target specific topics
Don’t offer solely too broad low value information and be clear on what you offer.

The most targeted search traffic comes from so called long tail queries.

Long tail searches are very specific inquiries when people enter 3, 4 or more keywords into the search box.

When writing for targeted blog posts or product pages focus on a niche and narrow term.

Do not just write down random “SEO tips” but also provide the very specific ones.

5. Explain acronyms and industry terms
RTFM ASAP? Bounce rate? Conversions? Some people argue I should even explain “SEO” to my visitors.

Acronyms and industry terms must be explained, even when your regular visitors already know them.

Some searchers just look for an explanation.

Casuals often do not know them but once you explain are drawn to the “new know how”.

6. Mind the eyes
The eyes of Internet users are strained most of the time. Looking long hours at the screen is not healthy.

This is also related to readability.

Websites that offer no white space for eyes to rest are annoying for the visitor’s eyes.

Lack of white space can make visitors leave instantly! It means pain literally.

7. Place search on top
Many people who don’t find what they seek in an instant resort to your website search.

Most visitors, especially searchers want to find exactly what they want instantly.

You need to place the search form on top or people will bounce.

When you’re after the conversion this also applies to the call to action.

It must be visible on top pf the page.

Beyond the Basics

This is more a primer on bounce rate!

Thus I’d recommend these fine blog posts elsewhere!

Make to read more about improving user experience (UX), usability & findability:

Conversion optimization is an ever evolving discipline.

New sophisticated techniques appear all the time.

Stay tuned for more insights. Subscribe to my feed!

* (CC BY 2.0)  Creative Commons image by Steve Arnold