Monday, August 23, 2010

How's your bounce rate?

Bounce rate is one of the broadest measurements that can be made on a website. It represents how long customers who find your site, stay and enjoy your site.

Each person who comes to your site is like a customer who opens the door at your physical business. A high bounce rate means that the customers who are opening your door barely look around, and then decide that you are not what they need. Your bounce rate gives you an excellent indication of how well your website is performing.  

There's a lot of reasons why your bounce rate would be high:

  • Your site is not performing well in search engines; as a result you are receiving customers looking for a tattoo artist while you are selling landscapes.
  • Your site is haphazard and busy; making information difficult for your customer to locate; think of it as a junk shop in the physical world.
  • Your site generates error messages or doesn't work in the customer's browser; compare to the physical world's ramshackle building where the customer opens the door and the knob falls off in his hand.
  • Your content is not generating confidence or is displayed in a boring, uninteresting way; you need to hire better reception and sales/marketing staff in the real world.
  • You don't give a customer a reason to stay; little or no displays showing services or goods. What does your business do? Why would I do business with you? 
  • Your site is old and outdated;  Are you still open for business?   
Your bounce rate warns you that your site may have problems. Once a problem is identified, reporting of the typical indicators should show where the problem lies.

For example if your site is optimized for Internet Explorer but statistics show that a good percentage of your customers access your site using Opera, it may be prudent to have your web team verify how Opera handles your site. Or maybe a recent browser upgrade is affecting how your site is viewed.

Research can be performed using different content, keywords, and layouts. Using the various reports of indicators the web site can be tweaked to go with the optimal results.

Bounce rate is the most general and basic of indicators measuring your site. Because of its very basic nature it is a good place to start when judging your virtual storefront on the web.   

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