If you’ve been studying the analytics on your property website you might’ve come across a statistic called ‘Bounce Rate’. In this post we’ll be looking at what this bounce rate means, and how it can be improved through making a few simple changes.
Before we begin, let’s take a look at what exactly bounce rate is, and why you should care about it.
What is Bounce Rate?
A ‘Bounce’ is a term used to describe someone that enters a website, visits a single page, and then leaves without navigating elsewhere within the site. The ‘Bounce Rate’ is the statistic that shows how many users visiting your website are ‘bouncing’ off a single page versus staying and visiting multiple pages.
Unlike most statistics a higher bounce rate is actually bad news so you want to try and get it as low as possible. There is no definitive answer to what a good bounce rate should be as it depends on many factors; the industry, the size of the site, or the service/product/information on offer.
Our bounce rate on the Property Hive website averages around 35-40% each month, and has dropped month-on-month since we launched. If your bounce rate is much higher than this though don’t worry too much. Experiment with some of our suggestions below and see if it comes down.
Use Intuitive Navigation
Don’t leave the user searching for links to pages they want to visit, or have them have needing to click too many times to reach their destination. Use a clear navigation structure prioritising the most important pages on your website. For estate agency sites this is likely to be links to available properties, contact details or a valuation request form.
TIP: A quick tip here is to use a fixed navigation. You can see this in action right here on the Property Hive site. Notice that when you scroll down the navigation sticks to the top of the website? This enables users to get to other areas of the site quickly, without having to scroll all the way back up to the top.
TIP: Another great tip which I love is to give your website to someone that’s never been on it before and ask them to perform common tasks. Maybe get them to run a particular property search, or find your office opening hours. Each time watch them closely and see how long it takes them as well as how easy the task seems to be for them. If they struggle, click elsewhere, or have to scroll up and down a page, that might be a sign to rethink things.
Increase Page Speed
Believe it or not, a split second in page loading times can make the difference between users staying on a website site, or leaving and going elsewhere. It might not sound a lot but people get frustrated with having to wait.
Not only is page speed important for bounce rate, it’s also one of the many determining factors in how Google ranks your website so making improvements comes with multiple benefits.
TIP: A great way to test the speed of a site is with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Enter your URL and you’ll be presented with a score, as well as suggestions for improvement.
Make sure it works on all devices, orientations and resolutions
If users visit your website on a mobile and are presented with the desktop version of your website, where everything is tiny and they have to zoom in and out, they’re likely to get frustrated and leave. Offering your users a version of the website which is tailored to different resolutions and devices will help to ensure they remain on your website for a longer time.
Don’t Leave Users At a Dead End
What I mean by this is always present the user with somewhere else to go on the site, preferably that’s relevant to the content they’re viewing.
On a full property details page why not provide them with a way to get back to their search, or show them similar properties to the one they’re on. On a blog post page you could show links to similar posts, other posts in the same category, or even the most popular posts on your blog.
TIP: One thing a lot of estate agents overlook is to take advantage of the ‘No Results Found’ page, shown when someone runs a search but no properties are found matching their criteria. We wrote an excellent article about how to optimise your ‘No Results Found’ page which is definitely worth checking out.
Open external links in new windows
When linking to third party websites, be sure to open them in a new tab or window. If you redirect the user away in the same window it’s very unlikely they’ll return. At least if your website remains open they can continue to browse from where they left off.
Break up large blocks of text
Walls of text are so boring. If a user lands on your property website via a search engine and is presented with just a mass of text they’re likely to not even bother and will leave straight away.
To combat this you can make some simple amends to make text more interesting. Try breaking the content up with imagery, headers and formatting. This article is nearly 1,000 words long but, because we’ve broken it up, it probably doesn’t feel that long. It’s also easy to scan over for those limited for time.
Another solution here is to break content up into multiple pages. If it’s a content page try creating two or more pages or if it’s a blog post you could have ‘Part One’ and ‘Part Two’.
If you haven’t checked what your bounce rate is we recommend you go and take a look now. Then try some of the tips mentioned above to see if it comes down. Be aware that it might take time for positive results to be gained so try one thing, wait a few weeks and see if it’s made a difference, then try another thing, and repeat.