According to Wikipedia the definition of a Bounce Rate is in essence: “the percentage of initial visitors to a site who ‘bounce’ away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site…” Bounces happen when “…a web site visitor only views a single page on a website, that is, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs.” Wikipedia continues to say that bounce rates: “… help determine the effectiveness or performance of an entry page. An entry page with a low bounce rate means that the page effectively causes visitors to view more pages and continue on deeper into the web site.”
How do you find out what your
Web site’s bounce rate is?
Start by installing free Google Analytics if you do not already have it installed on your Web site. Go to google.com/analytics/ and sign up for an account if you do not already have one. Google provides you with a site specific HTML code. This code must be embedded into the ‘behind the scenes’ source code area of your website. The code must be installed on each page you want tracked for the statistics to be recorded and available.
Caution: If you use a Web site developer please ask them to insert the code. There are several WordPress plugins allowing you to enter the Google account number assigned to you for hosted WordPress Web sites.
After you install analytics you will be able to view your bounce rate and a great amount of additional information about your website. You will need about 30 days or so to accumulate data to notice any trends. I like about a year of statistics to see how changes you make affect you site results.
Just what constitutes a good bounce rate?
It is subject to interpretation. I have read where some experts say a 60% cutoff point or lower is a decent target. Some specialists consider above 50% as worrisome. Anything above your target constitutes panic time. If your bounce rate is too high your visitors are sending you a message. They are saying…”Mr. Webmaster, you lured me here under false pretenses and your site does not meet my needs or answer my question. So I am out of here!”
I personally love seeing sites with a 15% to 26% Google Analytics bounce rate. Then I know the site is attracting the right audience. Visitors land and spend more time on these sites. They explore more pages filled with good information or content and this leads to more sales!
I will have some suggestions on how to fix a high bounce rate on a follow up post.