Bounce rate is one of the most important metrics to determine the effectiveness and success of your WordPress website. Some sources list the average bounce rate as anywhere from 26% to 70%. But, this will vary depending on the type of website you run and what industry you are in.
Regardless, you’ll want the lowest bounce rate possible, and this article will share some optimization tips for reducing your bounce rate and improving how “sticky” your WordPress website is for users.
What Is Bounce Rate?
The bounce rate of a website is defined as the percentage of people who visit a website only to leave without interacting with any elements. It’s generally a good metric for determining how engaging your site and content are to new users, as well as how efficient your funnels are for converting those who return.
Good Bounce Rate
In general, WordPress developers and digital marketers define a “good bounce rate” as being somewhere between 30% and 59%. This means that around half of the visitors to your site left without interacting with anything.
While “around half” may feel like a lot, it’s actually a pretty solid number when all things are considered. Some of the factors that contribute to this are:
- Bots and spam traffic
- Visitors erroneously arriving at your website
- Visitors viewing the homepage or landing page without interacting with any elements
Acceptable Bounce Rate
A bounce rate of 60% to 80% is often considered acceptable, especially if you are running traffic-focused pay-per-click ads. However, a bounce rate in this range can also mean there is a solvable issue (or issues) currently existing on the site that you should pay attention to. These issues include:
- Everything mentioned in the section above
- Slow site load speeds
- A website that is not optimized for mobile traffic
- Poor placement of calls to action (CTAs) or navigation elements
Poor Bounce Rate
If you have over 80% of people bouncing straight from your website, it means you have a significant problem (or multiple problems) hindering the usability and effectiveness of your WordPress website. These issues include:
- Everything mentioned in the two sections above
- Poor website design
- Irrelevant site content
- Lack of an SSL certificate is triggering browser security warnings
If your bounce rate is this high, you need to thoroughly investigate why people are accessing and then quickly leave your website.
The following are a few – but not all – of the actions you can take to improve the bounce rate of your WordPress website. Each one could have a significant impact on its own, so it is best to address each individually and see what effect it has before moving on to the next.
Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Your website speed is one of the first things people notice when they access your site. This is because visitors must wait for your site to respond and deliver content before they can interact with anything. Speed is especially important because if your site takes more than three seconds to load, more than half of its visitors will bounce away.
There are many ways to increase the speed of your website’s load time. These can include:
Compression: Sure, you have great images and videos on your WordPress site, but are they in the right format and properly compressed? You should look into how to choose the right image file type for your websites. Uncompressed images can be several megabytes in size or more, and it takes valuable seconds to load all that data. Ideally, you should be using a compressed image format like .jpg for your site, but even .jpg images should still not be served in their original size. By compressing your images and media – either with a third-party service or a WordPress plugin like Jetpack – you can dramatically improve your site’s load speed.
Reduce the number of plugins: WordPress plugins are powerful tools for adding features and functionality to your site. However, each plugin needs to load for your website to function. If you have too many plugins running, it may be adding whole seconds to your load time. To keep your site running optimally, it’s best to limit the number of plugins.
Improve your host server: Are you taking advantage of free or bargain WordPress hosting? Free or low-cost WordPress hosting may be saving you money on paper, but there’s also a good chance that it’s a key contributor to your high bounce rate and costing you money in the form of lost site visitors and fewer online sales. It may be worthwhile to invest in a premium WordPress hosting provider.
Not only will a premium WordPress hosting provider – like Pressable – deliver superior performance and reliability, but they will also provide a CDN for faster global content delivery, free SSL certificates for improved online security, and caching for overall better loading of media assets.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
If people visit your website on their mobile and see a full browser experience, it may put them off, especially if WooCommerce mobile optimization hasn’t been implemented. If your mobile site is just a miniaturized version of your desktop user experience, CTAs and navigation can be very difficult to interact with due to only having small areas to click. Also, many browser features may not work on a mobile phone, preventing your visitors from using them.
By investigating a responsive website, you can aim to support phones and many devices that people use in the future. This will allow the content to fill the screen in a consistent and useful way and prevent a loss of data or waste of screen space.
This does not only mean moving elements around the screen but also could include:
Navigation: Changing the site navigation method while the user is on a mobile from a header bar to a hamburger menu.
More buttons: Making use of larger, more accessible buttons that support more straightforward tap navigation.
Auto-filling form fields: Making use of the mobile’s data to work out what should be in forms without needing user input.
Improve Your Site Navigation
If you do not have clear navigation on your website, you will likely confuse any new users. If they do not know how to use your website, they will either find themselves lost or overwhelmed with choice. This can drive possible clients away.
Also, you should aim to have consistent navigation methods throughout your website. If you do not, then as your visitors visit each location, they will need to relearn what each section does. This will frustrate them and have a significant effect on the user’s experience.
Some examples of things that you can do to improve the experience include:
Consistent graphics: As someone moves around your site, they will look for specific highlighted areas to interact with. If they find that some of these are links and others are not, this will cause them confusion. It will prevent them from understanding what the elements of your site should do.
Accurate descriptions: When a user navigates your site, they will look for relevant words. If they click on a “Search” button and it takes them to a list of areas and not an automated piece of search functionality, the experience will confuse them. Instead, make sure every piece of your interface states its intended purpose.
Divide subsections clearly: If you have several sections to your site, make sure you list them as separate entities in any menus. If there are subsections to these areas, do not mix high-level website navigation with these other sections. Mark out subsections with smaller text or indented entries.
Ensure Your Content Is Relevant
The relevance of your content can make or break whether a user is interested in using your site or not. On top of that, several people may visit but could be from very different customer demographics. This could have a substantial effect on whether they consider your content to be beneficial to them.
Research your primary customer base. You should know who is visiting your site and what they are looking for from you. Using this insight, you can customize your content to be relevant to precisely the people who will go to your site.
One of the best ways you can do this is to target one specific need. If you know people come to you to answer one question or get more information on one topic more than anything, focus your content on this need. You can make sure that people associate your services with answering these demands.
On top of this, you should make sure your content matches the sophistication of your audience. Suppose you are expecting a large number of visitors who are not very knowledgeable about your industry, products, or services. In that case, it’s best not to have content that requires a high level of technical expertise or insider knowledge. You can use several websites online to ensure that what you write fits the audience comprehension level you aspire to target.
Finally, one of the best ways to ensure your content is relevant to visitors is to make it respectful of their time. TLDR (too long; didn’t read) is a very real thing when it comes to web visitors. And, while search engines may love long-form content, visitors will rarely read it. Try to keep your blog posts between 500 and 2,000 words (approximately 2 to 8 minutes of reading time) and use a proofreading app like Grammarly to remove filler words and streamline inefficient sentences.
Add a Search Feature
Being unable to find what they need can cause any visitor to want to leave your site. This is truer the longer they spend on your front page trying to find a relevant section.
The best way to allow someone to check whether your content is helpful to them is to build a search feature straight into your website. This is a positive user experience that lets them go directly to where they need to be. This will likely cause more conversions or sales on your site as people are not put off from the experience.
Finally, make sure to also put the search box in a location that users can see from the front page. This is like how poor navigation means users do not find what they are looking for. If they do not see the search bar or a search option from the front page, there is no reason they will think one exists.
Start Optimizing Your WordPress Site Today
You should now understand how to reduce the bounce rate on your website and what each of the solutions entails. If you determine that your current hosting provider is the source of your bounce rate woes, we’re ready to help.
Pressable delivers premium managed WordPress hosting that provides the speed, reliability, security, and support you need for online success. Get started today by browsing our WordPress hosting plans or scheduling a demo of Pressable.
Jessica serves as the Director of Operations for Pressable and spends her days focused on creating the best managed WordPress hosting experience possible. She's been using WordPress since 2008 and has been serving in WordPress-focused roles since 2010. When she's not working, you can find her spending time with her family, serving in her community, watching hilarious dog videos online, or brewing a pitcher of iced tea.