DYDAS Professional Website Design

Reducing Bounce Rate and Increasing Website Usability

By on May 5, 2008

“Bounce Rate” is when a person visits a page on your website and then immediately clicks through to a different website. As webmasters we would love for people to browse several pages of our website and explore our content in depth. This then gives us more of a chance to impress the visitor so that they may subscribe and visit again, more page impressions and essentially more revenue.

Here are some tips for reducing bounce rate on your websites and improving the experience for your visitors.

Watch a Friend Browse Your Site

Ask a friend or family member to browse your website casually while you look over their shoulder. This can be extremely beneficial as it helps you see things you may have overlooked. Don’t give them any direction other than to explore the site as they want. You may be surprised how they choose to navigate and what areas they completely ignore.

Analyzing Visitor Statistics

I highly recommend using an advanced statistics logging software such as Google Analytics. This can provide you with an easy to read view of your most popular pages, where people are coming from and what they are clicking on. By getting into the mindset of your visitors you can optimize your navigation and content to be user friendly.

Study Common Exit Pages

Google Analytics provides data on “Top Exit Pages.” These are the pages where the majority of your visitors are leaving your website from. Sometimes this is normal, such as when you are referring a popular product or service elsewhere on the web. Other times you may want to question why that page is causing people to leave your website.

Optimize Your Home Link

A link to your home page should be prominently displayed in your navigation bar. Make it very easy to find, highly visible and keep it in the same location on every page. This link is essentially your visitors way of finding more of your content after landing on one of your sub-pages or individual articles.

Optimize Your About Page

This is probably the most important page you can have on your website. A reliable statistic that I have now lost but remember quite well informed me that an “About” link is the most visited page after a first-time visitor lands on your website. Tell a little bit about who you are and what content can be found on your website, highlight some of your best content areas and articles, and provide contact information. Here are some more tips from ProBlogger about creating an about page.

User Friendly Navigation

Provide your visitors with a clean and prominent navigation system. It has been found that a horizontal bar at the top of your page works best. If you have to use a list style format in you sidebar that is alright, but make it simple, short and sweet. If you have alot of content to navigate it is important to use category labels for your navigation, this prevents the user from having to scan an entire list of page names and improves usability.

Heat Mapping Software

Heat Mapping is essentially a way to visually view what links and areas your visitors are clicking on. CrazyEgg software provides a free heat mapping account which allows you to track up to 5000 visits per month. This is a simple way to observe what areas of your site need improvement.

Hope these tips and tricks helped you out with your websites!

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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.