Analyzing your bounce rate? Mistakes are common

What do I mean by bounce rate mistakes? The bounce rate is typically what analysts note as the percent of people that come to your website and then almost immediately hit the back button.  When they “bounce” off they’re considered part of the bounce rate.

But most people look at the term incorrectly and start talking about bounce rate mistakes if your bounce rate is too high. Some even think Google cares about the bounce rate. 

The fact is some sites have a really, really high bounce rate and that’s totally fine. Dictionary.com is an example. Read the definition and go back to what you were doing. Same thing with parts of Weather.com

So your bounce rate isn’t necessarily a mistake. What I would rather you concentrate on however, is how you get the people who left your site to come back. That’s a bigger opportunity than reducing your bounce rate.

When the consumer leaves

When the consumer leaves your website, what options do you have to get them back? If they got there by accident then they’re not coming back and we probably don’t care  (Like that guy that pulls into your driveway just to turn around and go back the way he came).

But a good portion of your visitors are there on purpose. Since 100% of them leave, shouldn’t you have a plan to bring them back? Well there are several ways to go about doing that on purpose.

1. Banner Retargeting. If you use a banner retargeting campaign you can reach almost everyone for any period of time following their arrival at your site. Banner retargeting is a great strategy in bringing those on the fence back for a second look.

2. Email Opt-in. Another option to bringing people back is to have collected their email address while they’re on the site. Collecting email addresses is easy (once you figure it out that is). Most people are willing to trade their email address for something they want. Finding what they want takes some time and testing, that’s the hard part.

You’ve certainly got a lot of options when it comes to collecting email. There are light-boxes, exit pop-up boxes, sidebar optin forms, end of post opt-ins. . . just so many.

Just don’t try people away with the form, but feel free to experiment and see what works. You’ll really be making some bounce rate mistakes if you scare people away with your spaminess.

3. RSS Feed. Many people use an RSS feed reader like Google Reader to keep up on their favorite news and websites. Make sure the RSS symbol is easy for them to find. With your content going to their feed, you’ll have plenty of chances to get them back.

4. Social Media Connections. Invite your visitors to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest. When you’re connected they’ll have opportunity to cavort with you again.

The great part about these strategies is they rely little on “hope” that you’ll come back. In both you have an opportunity to engage and draw them back.

Comments, questions and musings

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