If you track your website analytics, you may wonder what “bounce rate” means and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. “Bounce rate” means a visitor clicked through to your website, and only visited one page. They didn’t browse around any. They viewed one page and left.
Whether a high bounce rate is reason to panic or not depends on the purpose of the particular web page and what’s causing the bounce rate.
If you have a blog, you want a low bounce rate, because you want visitors to stick around and read more than one of your posts/pages.
If you have a squeeze page (one of those pages where the only choice is to buy an item or join a mailing list), then you’d expect a high bounce rate since there’s only one page to view and if the visitor takes action it may direct them to another domain (your newsletter service or shopping cart).
Generally one of three things creates bounces:
1) (GOOD) Your main page shows what the visitor was looking for so there’s no need for them to click any further into your site. They may have taken an action like subscribing to your newsletter or adding an item to their cart that took them to another domain and caused the bounce.
Another factor to consider is that often a “session” is around 30 minutes. This means that if a visitor comes to your site and spends 31 minutes on your main page, then that’s going to count as a bounce even if they click to another page later. During the first 30 minutes they didn’t. After that they’re considered a new session. If you have very long pages packed with information that take a while to read, this could be a factor in your bounce rates.
2) (NOT NECESSARILY GOOD OR BAD) The page isn’t what the person expected or was looking for so they aren’t interested in sticking around. This means you want to re-evaluate where your traffic is coming from and what keywords are drawing them to get a better match of the right people visiting.
3) (BAD) Visitor was confused and left to find what they wanted somewhere else. This can happen if your website layout is confusing or overwhelming and hard to understand, if the design is hard on the eyes, or other similar problems. People like easy and if it’s not easy they’ll go elsewhere.
Work at home mom extraordinaire Michelle Shaeffer publishes The Muses Brainstorm, a weekly ezine with tips to help you balance, manage, and market your home based business. If you’re ready for inspirational guidance and bright ideas sign up free at http://www.thesmallbusinessmuse.com