Lower Your Bounce Rate With These Tips for an Effective Home Page

lowering_bounc_rateAlthough “bounce rate” sounds lighthearted, it can be a marketer’s worst nightmare. A website’s bounce rate is defined as the percentage of people who arrive at your home page (or any other page on your site) and immediately leave without interacting with your site. For example, a bounce rate of more than 90% means that 9 out of every 10 people that visit your home page are exiting your page within seconds of arriving. Not good. If your analytics data is showing a stubbornly high bounce rate, the majority of your visitors are leaving as fast as they came, leaving little chance for lead generation. Below are some tips to help you build an effective home page and lower your bounce rate.

1. Know your audience.

This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of building an effective website. You have to be keenly aware of what type of audience you’re trying to attract, taking factors such as language, interests, geographic location, etc., into consideration. If you build your home page to specifically cater to your ideal visitor and give them exactly what they want, it’s almost impossible to maintain a high bounce rate.

2. Make user experience your top priority.

Once you’ve nailed down your target audience, usability and user experience must be your primary focus. Without going into too much detail regarding page design, here are some key elements to consider when creating (or revising) your home page:

  • Put the most important content above the fold. Countless studies have shown that the average website visitor will skim a page before they actually settle in to read every detail. Make sure that your visitors don’t have to scroll down to get to the most important content on your page. If they can’t find what they’re looking for above the fold, it’s highly likely that they will bounce out.
  • Give your site a professional look and feel. Hard-to-read fonts, tacky color combinations, cluttered design and distracting animations can give your site an amateurish look. The average web user can almost intuitively detect whether a site was built by a professional or not within seconds of arriving on the page, so do your best to keep your home page looking clean, uncluttered and professional.
  • Offer intuitive navigation to your visitors. Menu options should be easy to find and easy to read. When a visitor arrives at your site, there should be no question as to what they would need to do to navigate to whatever page they choose.

3. Give your visitors something to do.

Interaction is the cornerstone of “website stickiness.” In other words, you’ll keep your visitors around longer if you give them something to click as soon as they land on your page. This can be a brief blog post snipped followed by a “Read More” link, or it could be an invitation to watch a video that explains more about your product or service. There’s an old adage that says “Involvement creates commitment,” and this definitely applies when it comes to how your visitors interact with your site. Getting your visitors involved immediately upon their arrival will help them commit to hanging around and exploring more of your web pages.

4. Don’t ignore the technical details.

Many websites suffer from high bounce rates due to technical errors. Slow page load times will absolutely kill your chances of having a lower bounce rate. The way to ensure that your site loads quickly is to avoid heavy scripts, elaborate flash animations or high-resolution images on your home page. Large, heavy image files should be replaced with lower-resolution images that will download quicker. Try to make your site as accessible as possible with minimal user effort; this includes factors such as making sure that the entire width of your web page is visible without having to scroll left or right. In addition, it does no good to construct a beautiful site that only looks good or functions correctly on desktop computers. Smartphone Internet usage is continuing to rise rapidly, and a website that is not optimized for mobile access can alienate a large portion of your visitors.

Lowering your bounce rate produces a myriad of benefits including higher conversion rates, better search engine rankings and–most importantly–increased user satisfaction. By putting the above tips into practice, you will have a more productive website, and one that will encourage your visitors to stick around.

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