10 ways to reduce the website bounce rate and increase user engagement

Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who view only one page on your website. While this statistics can be misleading due to quite a few reasons, it can also point to a deeper problem with in your website. In any case, it is prudent to work towards reducing the high bounce rate as it can act as a good indicator to the quality of the traffic and the website.

You should have a good idea about the target bounce rate that you want to achieve before you start. This allows you to have a goal for this process. Also, make some efforts to find out why your website have a high bounce rate. This will allow you to focus your attention on the problems that are specific to your website.

In general, there are several different areas that you can work on in order to reduce the website bounce rate, sometimes depending on the type of the website.

Site Hosting

Make sure that you have a reliable and fast site hosting provider. If your website is serving your pages much slower than the norm, it is quite possible that the visitors are leaving even before they are viewing the page.

Ease of Reading

There are several ways to improve the ease of reading the content on your website. If you have a hard to read website, the visitors would leave faster rather than clicking on to another webpage. Improving the ease of reading includes any or all of the following

  • Standard and easy to read fonts.  Avoid cursive fonts for text.
  • Easy to read font size. Even though it is easy enough for the user to increase the font size, it might not happen…so provide a big enough font size.
  • A good content to non-content ratio. You should have a higher percentage of content than non-content. The non-content includes images, menus, ads etc. Make sure that content is still the major focus on the webpage.
  • Easy to find and a well defined area for the content.

Site Design

This is highly subjective. Some thing that you may find acceptable may not be pleasing for others. Generally, avoid popups and too much advertising on the pages. Also make sure that the layout used is easy to navigate and to read the content of the page.

Relevant Photos

It is a good idea to include photos to your webpages and blog posts. But make sure that the photos are relevant to your content on the page.
The following are usually more useful in blogs rather than websites…

Internal Links

Create internal links to another pages in the website. If it is blog, make sure you have links to other relevant blog posts. These internal links can be in the latter part of the page, which gives the users something to click on after reading your article.

Post Widgets

If this is a blog, then include  a couple of post widgets like the related post widget or the popular post widget. This allows the users a quick look at other posts in the website.

Excerpts in Category Pages

Usually for blogs, there are home pages, category pages and archive page which just lists the blog posts. Even though you might have a great heading which aptly describes the blog posts, you can also provide a small excerpt of the post which will act as a preview to the post.

Multiple Pages

If you have a long article or a blog post, consider splitting the page into multiple pages allowing users to click through to the next page. Many news sites including New York Times uses this method.

Keyword Optimization

If you use Google Adwords or other similar PPC web advertising to drive traffic to your webpages, then make sure that the keywords are well optimized to your landing pages. This will not only reduce the landing page bounce rate, also improve the quality of your keywords and ads.

Browser Optimization

Make sure that your webpages perform equally well in all major web browsers. Sometimes, the website may load slowly or have a broken layout in one or more of the web browsers. Users of these web browsers will then be bouncing more often than others.