Optimization

A Quick Guide to Increasing Conversions and Improving Bounce Rates

As a movie buff, I follow a lot of movie blogs. There used to be this one in particular that I loved — it provided great content and was my go-to source for news and opinions on all things film-related.

The problem was, over time, the people behind the site let it become a mess: It took forever to load; they were constantly employing pop-ups; they added a bunch of intrusive ad placements; their mobile experience was horrendous; their social media was click-baity and disingenuous. For a while I powered through for articles I was interested in, but eventually I threw in the towel and stopped visiting the site altogether. 

Related: Want an outside perspective on your company’s digital presence? Check out our content audit. 

It’s a shame, but it happens all the time. Keeping people on your site and getting them invested in your content are key to your business’ success. However, increasing conversions and improving bounce rates isn’t as cut-and-dried as many people think; you can ballpark a number to shoot for, but ultimately, the answer lies in a few questions. 

What are the main things to keep in mind when aiming to decrease bounce rates and increase conversions?

Be honest.

Clear value proposition is key. If you don’t offer what you’re baiting — i.e., click-bait — people are going to see right through it and bounce immediately.

Click-bait isn’t always bad; sometimes it lights a fire under your reader by not giving them the whole story and forcing them to click to read it. That can work, as long as it’s quality content that offers answers to the question you posed. But the bait-and-switch click-bait articles that direct you to a bad website with crappy content that doesn’t answer your question? Bad.

Deliver quality content.

Quality content is No. 1 when it comes to increasing conversions. Make sure you’re producing something that is worthy of your audience.

Reach the right audience.

Reaching 100,000 people is wonderful, but if only 50 of those people engage with you, what’s the point? A strong, targeted, relevant audience is better than a huge, random, uninterested one. Nobody’s audience is everyone; don’t waste time bringing in people who don’t ultimately matter to your bottom line. Instead, know your audience and give them what they want.

Use multiple channels.

Putting content up on a website and then hoping that people come to you isn’t going to cut it.

Instead, draw people in from multiple channels. Do so through:

  • Great SEO
  • Organic search placement
  • AdWords campaigns
  • Sharing on social media platforms
  • Email campaigns
  • A database of the people you know are interested in what you have to say

Do this, and your bounce rates and conversions should start to improve.  

Offer a strong web experience.

A good user experience is huge — if your website is hard to navigate, you’re upping the chance that someone is going to jump in, think, “eh,” and jump right back out. (Case in point: movie blog.)

Create plenty of touch points.  

Make it easy for readers to stay on your site by incorporating:

  • A variety of choices of content once they’ve reached your site
  • CTAs
  • Related content that might interest them
  • Enewsletter sign-up

Approaching these touch points is the tricky part — too much, and you’ll scare people off.

So how do you know which approach to keeping your audience’s interest is right for you?

A few questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is your sales cycle?
  2. To whom are you marketing?
  3. What is the price of your product or service?
  4. How much does your audience need to learn about you before they’d be interested in engaging with you further?

Consider online shopping. Let’s say you are served an ad from Facebook and follow it to an online store where they immediately serve you an interstitial webpage that says, “Hey! Want 15 percent off your first purchase? Give us your email.”

This incentivizes you as a consumer. And now, even if you visit the site, bounce around, and decide you don’t want anything, they’ve already collected your email. They didn’t wait until after you decided you didn’t want to buy a pair of jeans. They got you immediately with an offer — and that works.

That wouldn’t work, however, if you hopped on to D Custom’s site and we immediately served you a pop-up that said, “Want to hear more about us?” when you may have never heard a thing about us. You’re going to be a lot less likely to give up your email than, say, after you’ve read through a blog (like this one) or explored our content.

Maybe you don’t have a pop-up and instead, you follow readers around on Facebook and offer them an ad there. Or maybe you’re doing a giveaway on your site — a great way to capture emails — and you give people an opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter when they enter, or via email when you follow up with a thank-you email.

There are tons of options for getting people’s attention and engaging with them in a way that resonates, and, for the most part, it all comes back to answering those four questions.

Ultimately, how should you measure success in terms of bounce rates and conversions?

It boils down to a simple question: What is your goal?

Do you need people to look at 15 different things on your website, or do you just need them to call the 800 number at the top of the home page? Do you want them to invest their time in long-form content, or would you prefer they bounce around your site and take 12 short quizzes? The answers to these questions should determine how you set reasonable goals.

You’re never going to completely eliminate bounce rates; people can’t live on your site. But there are ways to get them there, hold their interest, and keep them coming back for more.

Have a topic you’d like to get my take on? Let me know, and stay tuned for more from me and the rest of our team on our blog.

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