Bounce Rate, Try Before You Buy

For over a year I have been plagued with this bounce rate issue.  One of our site’s bounce rates has continued to increase.  The rate has been as low as 39% and as staggering high as 85%.  At first we thought it was the servers, then the webheads, connections, RAM, databases, hard drives, processors, GEO locations, faulty reporting, site down time and freezing, you name it.  We tested just about everything on the planet and asked just about everyone and every level of tech.

 

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I found that most people really don’t know what bounce rate is and/or can’t explain why a site’s bounce rate is so high.

High Bounce Rates Aren’t One Size Fits All

After doing research and actually analyzing the stats in great depth, I have come to a rather convoluted conclusion.  I hope this will at least shed some light on any issues you may experience too with Bounce Rates.

I have noticed the following influence bounce rate and when added all up it all makes sense as to why the rate is so high.  Simply put, you can’t please all of the people all of the time :-)

For roughly two years a client’s website bounce rate has grown from 39% to a staggering 85% at times.  It is not always steady and generally fluctuates between 45%-65%.  This growth has taken it from one hundred thousand pageviews per month to two million pageviews per month. 

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Some Factors That Influence Bounce Rate.

1.  Time On Site Has Decreased.
2.  Site Set to Homepage Increased.
3.  Visitors Have Increased.
4.  Pageviews Have Increased.
5.  More people just not exactly what they were looking for.
6. The Servers
7. The webheads
8. The Connections
9. RAM
10.  Database Issues
11.  Hard Drive Speed and Storage
12.  Server Processors
13. GEO Locations
14. Faulty Reporting
15. Site Down Time
16. Browsers Freezing and Server Freezing
17. And More….

You Can’t Please Everyone

www.google.com 2013-8-14 8 59 28The content and site are growing monthly and getting better each month.  However with 43% of the traffic coming from search engines it appears that as the traffic grows more people are finding the site and they aren’t all finding what they are looking for or at least not the kind of site they were looking for.

Allow me to elaborate on this a little further.  I don’t care what site you are building or own.  Not everyone, every time is going to like your site and this can be for any number of various reasons.  They could simply be dissatisfied with the look or perhaps the content is just not what they were looking for.  You will have to do extensive research to understand the reason better.  But there are surely a plethora of reasons.

Digging into this deeper, the various reasons above make a lot of sense and all add up.

Time On Site Has Decreased

Time on site has decreased?  Well then people aren’t going to my site as much.  No, not necessarily, rather more people could be coming to your site from search engines.  When someone comes to your site from a search engine, they quite often enter from a page with an article they were searching for that may not reflect the true essence of your site, however is exactly what they were searching for or wasn’t actually what they were searching for at all.

What does this mean?  Well it simply means that they found what they wanted and left!  Or they realized it wasn’t what they wanted and left.  They have no more use for you :-)  This is life!  There might simply be nothing you can do about that.  But you should still explore this more.

Site Set to Homepage Increased.

A very common practice for driving more visitors to your site on a daily basis is to get people to set their homepage to your website.  This is can be done any number of ways, but if for whatever reason you find more people are setting their homepage’s to your site, you will see the bounce rate increase.  Why?  Because think about it this way.  Every time some one presses the home button or every time a person opens a new browser your site will come up.  But surely every time a person opens a new browser they aren’t looking to go to your site.  This is even true with Google, AOL, TMZ, Yahoo, Etc…  Just because you have a website as your homepage, doesn’t mean you want to go to that site every time you open a browser.  So after you open the browser, then you quickly leave the homepage and go to your desired destination.  This will increase your bounce rate.  So if you have you homepage set to your site and you don’t have a lot of traffic, expect the bounce rate to be quite high.

Visitors Have Increased

This is a high-class problem and one every website marketer wishes to have :-)  But remember just because your visitors have increased doesn’t mean they are all going to stay or come back.  So for example if you suddenly get a new high profile #1 placement for a search term in Google or if Yahoo places you on their front page, your traffic stands to increase greatly.  But this doesn’t mean people are going to stay on your site or come back.  This will increase bounce rate.  Many time when traffic grows “over night” you may also see bounce rate grow too.  Notice in the graph below, the peak traffic days, were also the peak Bounce rate days.

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Servers and Hardware Influence Bounce Rate

Well think about it this way.  How many simultaneous requests is the server you are using capable of handling at one time?  Do you know?  You might want to look into this further.  The connections, data transfer speed, RAM, webheads, server processor, space allotment, monthly transfer allotment, server maintenance, and many various other server related and hardware issues could be effecting your bounce rate.  Any one of these issues could effect your bounce.  Think about this, if you go to the site and it is freezing up or not loading, you will leave, there is a bounce. If you go to the site and get disconnected, you bounced.  If you have a shared server and don’t have enough data transfer, you may bounce.  If something is broken down or faulty – bounce.

The best way I think of trouble shooting this issue is when all things are generally the same on a regular basis and then the bounce rate changes for no reason.  This could be an indication of server or hardware issues, so consider looking into this.

GEO Locations Bouncing

GEO locating isn’t only helpful in marketing, it is also helpful in bounce rate.  You might want to check with your server and check your web analytic tools to see if there is an isolated issue somewhere increasing your bounce rate.

Faulty Reporting

Here is something that very few people ever consider or even think of and quite frankly it sucks!  The analytical software you are using is incorrectly setup, has frozen, or is going through a long term or temporary glitch.  I know, I know, I know….  What Google Have An Error? No Way!!!  Well and But Yes, even the all mighty Google has errors and problems from time-to-time.  At least last I checked they are still being run by humans :-)  So rare as it is, you might just find that your analytical software is having some sort of issue.

And last but not least…..

 

Browsers Freezing

I spoke of this above but simply wanted to stress how real this is especially in this “I Want Satisfaction and I Want It Now” World.  People have come to expect that everything will happen smooth and seamlessly.  They don’t want to wait for anything and much more don’t feel they should wait for anything.  After all, they pay for high speed Internet they are entitled to everything else for free :-)  But never-the-less, if a browser crashes, server freezes or reboots, data blockage in a pipeline, time out, connection loss, any number of contributing factors to the browser slowing down or freezing….

BOUNCE!

Hope you enjoyed the article and it was helpful.  Thank you for your time and attention.

Cap