Speed up your websites loading time
People aren’t patient when it comes to the speed of your website. Industry leaders, such as Google, evangelise that we should aim for page load times under 2 seconds.
And for a good reason:
Research indicates that a page that loads within two seconds has an average bounce rate of 9%. Once the load time hits 5 seconds, it jumps right up to 38%.
To improve your website speed, you need to benchmark your existing performance. There are plenty of free tools on the market to help:
I recommend running your website through all them and making a note of your current page speed. These tools will also give you a couple of recommendations of what you can do to improve your load speed.
It’s out of the scope of this article to deep dive into page speed optimisation. But, I will share with you some great resources follow.
Mobile-first web design
More people access the internet on mobile than desktop, and this isn’t anything new. The smartphone is dominating the world.
- Does your website provide an excellent user experience?
- Is using responsive or mobile-first web design?
- Is the content optimised for mobile consumption?
If the answer is no, then you can do some work here to lower your bounce rate by improving your mobile experience.
In Google Analytics, you can discover the percentage of users who access your site on mobile. And better still compare the bounce rate to desktop users.
You can do this by visiting the audience > mobile > overview.
Support for web language features differs between browsers. And this can have an impact on your bounce rate.
If your website doesn’t load correctly on a major browser, then it can cause a lot of people to bounce. You can check this in Google Analytics by visiting the audience > technology > Browser /OS report.
If you see a high bounce rate for a particular browser, get a developer to run some tests to see if they can improve it.
Your bounce rate can look high, but the number could be skewed by one browser that is performing terribly.
Whitespace & page layout
Often web design aim is to be visually stunning and doesn’t consider bounce rate. This approach is a mistake, the goal of a website is to retain visitors and get them to take the desired action.
Two things that can help reduce your bounce rate are white space and page layout.
White space on your website can reduce your bounce rate because it gives visitors eyes a chance to rest. It also directs visitors to look at your important content and call to actions.
Google is a perfect example of white space influencing people to take action and search:
Secondly, the page layout is crucial. It’s best practices to make sure that your most important content is above the fold. Above the fold means in the view of the visitor as soon as they land on the page.
The content is the reason why they are visiting your website, so make sure the first thing they see is what they want. Many websites will have a large image that takes up the entire screen when the visitors lands on the site. They then will need to scroll down to see the content.
Make the image smaller or push the heading into the image and you should see a decline in bounce rate.
Match user intent
User intent is often discussed in the context of search engine optimisation (SEO). But it also plays a role in bounce rate.
If your web pages don’t match the intent of the keywords that people found your website via, they will leave. Look at the keywords you’re targeting and make sure that the content meets the need for that keyword. By matching the search intent, it will keep people engaged on your page.
The best way to understand the intent of keywords is to analyse the top 10 results in Google. Google algorithm is always testing which results serve searches the best.
If you can understand the theme of content on the first page and then create content that is better more often than not you will meet the user intent.
Ask, Is the content on the first page:
- Blog posts
- Product pages
Make sure your content includes the format that is most popular in the top 10.