How Can I Lower My Bounce Rate?

How can I increase engagement and have fewer people bounce without clicking?

I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. This week, the question comes from Phil in Boston, it’s “what can I do to reduce my bounce rate?”

For those that don’t know, bounce rate is the measure of how many people land on your homepage and don’t click anything – they just close the browser or they leave. So, number one, first make sure it’s not a technical problem. It could be something as simple as you’ve been doing a lot of edits, you’ve recently overhauled the homepage, you could be refreshing it a lot if you’re showing it off to somebody etc, or if it’s on to some kind of auto refresh loop, because you’re monitoring a change. Any of those things, every time you refresh it, causes a bounce.

But if you’re measuring bounce rate in your Google analytics and nothing like that’s happening, then it’s probably something you want to address. So, the first thing you can do, and probably the most powerful, is hire a professional copywriter to completely write the homepage. Not a rewrite, write it from scratch. Create a new conversation with the visitor. So many homepages are really, you know, about me, “we started a company in this year, these are our services…”, it’s not really an authentic conversation. It’s not about them; it doesn’t put them on the scene of the crime or show the value that you offer after they have already done business with you. So you need to have that written.

Secondly, maybe apply a fixed menu. Modern menus don’t scroll off the page anymore; they stay at the top while you scroll, so that you’re more likely to click something. Once something scrolls away, and you scroll and you scroll, it’s hard to find that menu again or, even if it’s not, you really don’t want to scroll back up there and go searching through it; it’s not what people do. So, your homepage has to sell a lot. Modern websites do a whole lot more conversation on the homepage anyway. In fact, the idea is that bounce rate isn’t really a killer these days, just like content above the fold is not really a big deal anymore. But, if you want to get those clicks, try a fixed menu.

Another idea is have an instant value offer. Nothing fluffy – you don’t want to say, “hey, download my free brochure” Like we can’t get one of those just about anywhere. But something that you click to access that’s not fluffy, it’s not generic, it’s not something everybody else has. Put some serious brainstorming in it. If you can offer something of value, and I need to click to get to it, or fill out a form, give you my email address and name, that’s a really good idea.

Lastly, have something that they can search for. Now, nothing generic, you don’t want to put a search widget, you know, to find something that they can just get elsewhere – such as listings off Trulia or Zillow, they’re not going to use your site as that portal. But if you can provide something to search for that’s unique, a way to organize information that they can’t just get elsewhere, now that fills a core need. That’s a good idea, and you’ll likely get a lower bounce rate from that.

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About once / month, corporate storyteller and digital ecologist® Daniel DiGriz weaves together interesting business stories, analytics, & examples for organizations committed to achieving their goals.

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