A website's bounce rate measures the percentage of people that land on your website and leave without navigating to a second page.
A high bounce rate can sometimes be an indication of poor site structure, confusing design – essentially, a bad user-experience.
If you have a high bounce rate, it's important to investigate the issue on a page-by-page basis (some pages might have a significantly higher bounce rate than others) to find out exactly what is deterring people from navigating further into your site.
Below are some action items to help avoid or remedy a high bounce rate.
1. Redesign: The way a website looks is integral to keeping visitors around longer and returning for more.
In fact, a study by psychologist/researcher Dr. Elizabeth Sillence found that a website's design informs whether a visitor deems its as a trustworthy source or not. Participants of her study reviewed websites, all on the subject of hypertension, and were asked to rate the trustworthiness of each one. Sillence found that 94% of respondents that didn't trust a website claimed their wariness was a result of bad design.
2. Streamline navigation: Confusing and unclear navigation is the worst. If a user can't easily find what they're looking for, they'll stop looking and leave.
Approach your website the same way that a brand new visitor would. What would they want to find, and where would they look to find it? Create use cases for why someone would land on your site, where they're coming from and what devices they're using. If you can, rope in friends and colleagues to test out your site to point out weak spots in navigation.
3. Make content easy on the eyes: If content isn't easy to read, it won't be read. Font type, size, color and contrast from background should all be optimized for easy consumption. Opt for high-contrast colors and simple, large fonts.
4. Be selective with ads: For some websites, removing all ads across the site isn't an option. But ads should be placed and used carefully. Studies have shown that people don't have much trust for banner ads (way less than all traditional forms of advertising). So, ads shouldn't take up too much real estate or be the first thing that a visitor lasers in on.
5. Get rid of outdated plugins: Flash files are a no-no. They're slow, clunky and don't work on tablets and phones. These barriers are an instant jumping-off point for website users that don't have time for poor performance.