Before you begin updating your landing page, remember two key rules. Firstly, your aim is to appeal to your target audience only, and understand that your bounce rate is not your enemy. Appealing to your target audience means you will have to scare a few people away. You cannot be all things to all people, which is why you shouldn’t worry too much if you have a slightly higher bounce rate.
What is a bounce rate?
If a person visits your landing page and leaves within a few seconds it is called a bounce. Take the number of people that visit your landing page against the number of people the leave within ten seconds and that is your bounce rate (which is a number you can see in Google analytics).
1) Answer the original query within top third of the page
It is important that you understand why people land on your page in the first place. If you have affiliate adverts, Google search engine links or backlinks that promise easy money, only for people to land on a page about fluffy bunnies, you are going to have a high bounce rate.
People click on links to land on your web page for a reason. Think of it as a question. For example, if people see an advert with a low price, their question could be, “Is that price for real?” If they click on a backlink that says, “Family Guy Episode Guide” their question may be, “Which is the episode where Peter loses his memory?”
Consider their question and answer it within the top third of your landing page, as that is the part most people are going to see. They may have to scroll down to see the other two thirds if they are using mobile devices or a browser with enhanced zoom on it.
Answer their hypothetical question right away because most people do not have the patience to search around your website upon first arriving. You have to give them an immediate reason to stay or they simply won’t.
2) Reduce your page load times where possible
One reason for both registered (via analytic software) and unregistered bouncing is if your page takes too long to render or load. Rendering is the time it takes for the web browser to go from blank to loading something, and the loading time is the time it takes from the render to the completed load of all elements on the page.
You can improve load time by reducing the number of images, by reducing the size of the images on the page and by using strategies like the ones here: page speed tips.
3) Additional considerations for landing pages on blogs
Start with a large title, as your viewer will want confirmation he or she has reached the right place. Your logo or blog name should also be at the top (left or right) for the same reason. If you have a search bar, put it near the top left or right below the blog name, as people will simply assume you do not have one if you put it on a sidebar or elsewhere on the page.
Put your blog picture near the top or to the left of your introduction. You want people to see the picture before they start reading because it is a free selling tool that will help people decide if they are going to read or not.
4) Additional considerations for landing pages on eCommerce websites
Put your search bar in a prominent position near the top of your page (check the Amazon website for the perfect position), and do not overfill your page with heavy media because you want a relatively fast loading time.
Keep any descriptions concise but as detailed as possible, and consider user engagement over search engine friendliness. Put your category and subcategory menus near the top of the page so people can navigate your website without having to search for further links. If the landing page is a product page, then remember that it is the image that sells. Put only your highest quality images on the landing page, being careful not to make them too heavy (large image files) because it will slow your loading times.
In closing. Reduce bounce (but don’t expect dramatic changes)
Remember, there are three elements to understanding why people stay on your web page and why they bounce. First, the original link sets up an expectation that provoked the viewer to click in the first place. Second, your landing page will either answer the expectation or not. Third, there are numerous reasons why a person may leave despite being interested in your website, some of which may include a loss of connection, improper loading, or being pulled away from the Internet for whatever reason.
Do not be too hard on yourself if you have a higher bounce rate, so long as your website is getting conversions and/or repeat viewers.
Tom Treanor is the founder of the Right Mix Marketing blog. He’s the author of the Search Engine Boot Camp, the co-author of Online Business Productivity, and regularly speaks at industry and corporate events. His writing has been featured on the Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger and other leading industry blogs.