What is a bounce rate? How to Get your Bounce Rate Down

Written by Sandra Argese
on 17 Aug 2020

Your website is beautiful, creative, inviting, engaging; but how do you determine if your website visitors agree? 

There really are some amazing websites out there, and then there’s the bleak, basic, and boring of the world wide web.

Unfortunately, the latter doesn’t quite perform well (no surprises here).

And when a website doesn’t perform well, it’ll likely secure itself a high bounce rate.

Let’s back-track a little; you might be wondering, what is a bounce rate?

A bounce rate reflects the percentage of visitors to your website or landing page who don’t engage with that website or landing page. 

bounce rate percentage

This means they don’t take any action – perhaps they don’t click on a link, click on any items in your menu, don’t send an enquiry, fill out a form, or buy something. It can mean your website or landing page isn’t converting.

If the visit to the page is only to the first-visited page of the website (or, in the case of a landing page, a single-page visit), that’s when a user bounces.

Essentially, they arrive on your page and leave.

(READ: Why Facebook Retargeting Works)

Let’s say someone reaches your page from a Google search. They then hit the back button only seconds later – this is a bounce.

Now, why are bounce rates important?

A bad bounce rate can tell you a lot about your website, or the landing page you are sending people to.

It could signal the website isn’t performing well, that one particular aspect (or multiple aspects) on the website are broken and need to be fixed, that the quality of the web page or website is lacking severely (people are very good at spotting out a poorly designed website from a good one) or that the calibre of your audience doesn’t quite align with your site.

How can you tell if a bounce rate is bad? Well, if the percentage is high, we have a bad bounce rate. We want the bounce rate to be as low as possible.

(READ: How To Create Awesome Content that’ll Win Customers)

light bulbs

Wondering how to calculate a bounce rate? You can do this in Google Analytics. Google states that it calculates bounce rates by dividing ‘single-page sessions by all sessions or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.’

That’s why optimizing every page of your website is super important.

Want to lower your bounce rate? Consider the following points:

1. How high is the quality of your page? Almost everyone is online these days, meaning we’re often exposed to websites. People, even if they know absolutely nothing about web design, can pick a dated, cheap or uninviting website, from a well-designed, well-considered and user-friendly website.
2. Is the usability of the page up-to-scratch?
3. You’re targeting the wrong audience. OR you’re not adapting your website to the needs, aspirations and abilities of your audience.
4. Do you have a strong call-to-action on the page?
5. Is the website easy to navigate?
6. Is the website’s design clear, concise, and aesthetically pleasing?

Side note: Believe it or not, a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing.

If the purpose of your website is solely to inform visitors (one single page of content that doesn’t require clicking), then a bad bounce rate isn’t bad.

Perhaps visitors are immediately discovering the information they are after, after visiting the first page of your website (without the need to click through and engage).

If you want people to engage with your website in some way, shape or form (this is very often the case), then yes, a high bounce rate is a bad thing.

(READ: What’s a Good Email Open Rate & One Simple Trick that could improve yours)

If you’ve recently made changes to your website and find the bounce rate has actually increased (or stayed the same) as a result of these changes, then something hasn’t quite worked.


If your website isn’t delivering, this could also mean that, perhaps, certain traffic sources aren’t getting what they want or need from visiting your site. You need to satisfy their expectations.

Perhaps you have an ad running on Facebook that leads people to your website or landing page, but your bounce rate is still high. There’s a possibility that the messaging within the ad isn’t accurately matching or reflecting what the page should include.

It goes without saying, but if you want people to get excited about your website, and thus, get engaged, get involved, and get CLICKING, then something needs to change.

You could revamp the website’s interface, invest in some sleek, modern design, or even perform a full rewrite of the website (copy is everything!); the options are endless.

Handy Caffeinate Tip #1: Don’t confuse Exit Rates with Bounce Rates.

Exit rates reflect the percentage of website visitors who depart a certain page (even if they didn’t initially visit that particular page).

Let’s say someone arrives on the home page of your website. They then click through to your ‘About Us’ page. After reading the ‘About Us’ page, they exit. This means the exit rate on ‘About Us’ is going to increase.

Essentially, any page on your website with a high exit rate needs addressing.

Handy Caffeinate Tip #2: Check which pages on your website perform best, and compare these to your worst-performing pages. What is working on those pages? What is different about your best-performing pages, as compared to your worst-performing pages?

Want to learn more about lowering your bounce rate? Get in touch with us today!

(READ: The Customer Value Journey: How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy)

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