The longer customers stay on your website, the more likely they are to engage with content, review product pages and ultimately take action. This action could be signing up for a newsletter, making a product inquiry or completing a purchase. Collectively, these actions are known as “conversions” and are measured as a percentage. If 10 out of every 100 visitors sign up for your newsletter, the conversion rate is 10%.

Working against conversions is bounce rate — the number of users who arrive at your website, take no action and leave. Here’s a look at bounce rate basics, what drives deviation from engagement and how companies can stick the landing.

What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of users who visit your site and take no action. They arrive at your home page but don’t stay long enough to read any content, click through to any pages or engage with any advertisements.

According to research firm Gartner, 48% of visitors leave landing pages without clicking through on any other content. While this means the remaining 52% are taking some action, this action could range from single clicks to multiple page views to possible purchases.

As a result, businesses need to measure their bounce rate over time to determine if engagement is increasing, decreasing or holding steady. It’s also worth tracking conversions to see what type of action visitors are taking and how it impacts overall sales.

The Rebound Effect: Why Visitors Leave

So what drives users away? Several factors are common culprits in boosted bounce rates.

First is burying the lede. A term borrowed from journalism, it happens when extraneous details come before important information. For example, if your website sells bicycles but your landing page is all about the potential problems that come with driving cars, visitors are more likely to bounce.

Next are poorly optimized websites. Poor optimization may include slow loading times, images and videos that aren’t properly formatted, or sites that don’t automatically adjust to the user’s device.

Ineffective audience targeting also plays a role. If your marketing campaigns are too broad, you may attract users looking for products or services adjacent to yours, meaning they won’t stick around to make a purchase.

Three Ways to Stick the Landing

Keeping users engaged is a two-pronged effort. First is capturing attention, and next is keeping it. If businesses can do both, they can steadily increase conversion rates.

Here are three ways to stick the landing:

Improve Website Loading Speed

The faster your page loads, the better. If users have to wait more than a few seconds for web content to populate, they’re more likely to leave. By optimizing content such as images and videos, limiting the number of external scripts and using third-party services for resource-heavy functions, companies can boost site speed.

In addition, Google search rankings now take into account site loading speed, meaning faster load times can help companies move up SERPs.

Create Compelling Content

Fast, good-looking websites get user attention. Getting them to stay, however, requires content that drives engagement. This means creating landing, product and information pages that contain relevant and accurate information presented in a way that’s easy to read and lays the groundwork for action.

Make Search Simple

Don’t skimp on search. The easier it is for users to find what they want, the more likely they are to stay. Start by making your search bar obvious. Then, ensure that content is properly tagged with relevant search terms so users get the right result the first time.

Breaking the Bounce

Lower bounce rates mean more conversions, which translates to more sales and revenue. To reduce bounce rate, site owners need to pinpoint why visitors are leaving and then make improvements that deliver compelling content that quickly engages users and encourages them to take action.

Author bio: Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Straight North, a digital marketing company. He helped startups, middle-market, and Fortune 500 companies improve organizational structure and grow through his expertise in process conception, task automation, technology, and internal project management.

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