Know your numbers: bounce rate

This post is all about seeing your bounce rate on your Google Analytics dashboard. If you don’t have GA installed already, get your free account set up + running. Then after 24 hours, you’ll have some data to look at to learn what device type folks are viewing your site on.

WTF is bounce rate

Before we dive into how to review Google Analytics for your specific data, let’s start by going over what bounce rate is exactly — and what it isn’t.

Have you ever clicked on a link from Facebook or Google + then closed the browser tab or left the site completely without clicking around?

That visit increased their bounce rate.

Have you ever clicked a link from Pinterest or Facebook + then checked out another article, the about page + maybe the services page?

That visit decreased their bounce rate.

If someone “bounces” from your site, it means that they landed on a specific page or post + never interacted with other page content. They didn’t view more posts, check out other pages or submit form information (if you use a thank you page.)

Reviewing your numbers

Log into your Google Analytics account. My favorite place to review bounce rate is within Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Once there, click on the “comparison” icon, which is the second to last graph icon in the row. In the second column dropdown that says “Pageviews” change that to “Bounce rate” + you’ll see something like this.

Know your numbers: bounce rate in Google Analytics // tiny blue orange

This comparison chart lets me see which pages are performing the best in terms of having a low bounce rate (where I want one) + which pages need the most help.

The reason I leave the first column as “Pageviews” is to not lose sight of which pages are important. Comparing a page with 400 views to a page with 40 views isn’t comparing oranges to oranges.

Starting with my lowest bounce rate is “/” — what does that even mean? Anywhere you see the “/” Page in Google Analytics, that’s your homepage. Your goal is for that specific page to have a low bounce rate because you want to entice visitors to look around your site.

My highest bounce rate is on the blog post about WordPress usernames. I’m a little bummed about this, but it also might mean that folks are leaving my site to change their username to something more secure. Which is my goal with that blog post.

Sometimes a high bounce rate is good

While you might want folks to live on your website, the reality is that they will eventually close the browser tab on your site. If they do so on a page that has zero links elsewhere in your site, that’s a good thing.

“More info” style pages for new products or services often don’t have header or footers. Without other links on the page, you aren’t giving site visitors anywhere to go but off your site. Which means they will bounce. This is a good thing if your sales page routes to an external site, like PayPal, for payment.

Making your site better

If you want to improve the success of your website, start with the pages that are in your menu. Look at the bounce rate of each one over the last month + target the “worst” 3 pages.

View those pages in a private browser to see what the visitors of your site see. Then consider the following questions:

  1. Is there a clear call to action on this page? (Am I telling visitors what to do with a button or link? If there’s a form, does it route to a thank you page on my site or elsewhere?)
  2. Do I answer the question / serve the purpose expected from this page? (Is there contact information on the contact page? Does the blog title address the content in the post?)
  3. Is the content easy to look at + follow? Or is it overwhelming, busy + cluttered? (Use headings, bulleted lists + images to break up big blocks of text.)
  4. Could I route visitors to another page/post on my site that relates to this content? (This is a great chance to create a blog post series.)

Once you have your game plan, make those improvements. Then set a calendar event to review your bounce rate in 30 days. Compare the two previous months to see if your changes decreased your bounce rate. If so, hell yeah!

Now pick the next 2-3 pages to work on.

More Google Analytics numbers to know

Interested in what else Google Analytics can do for you + your business? Check out the device type article in the know your numbers series.

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