It has been said many times before and in just about every sector of the business world that you need to have a firm grasp on your numbers. How many times has a presentation on Dragons’ Den or Shark Tank flopped because the business owner didn’t know how much revenue he earned last quarter or how much is his cost per unit?
Making money online is no different, regardless of whether you’re an affiliate marketer or a professional blogger. There are a lot of numbers to keep front of mind in this industry. For a lot of us, we pay the most attention to at least a couple of them. We keep an eye on how much money we are earning and we keep tabs on our total unique monthly visitors. You might also be keen to know your total monthly page views, your click-thru rate or your conversion rate. One other metric that is incredibly important but oftentimes overlooked is your bounce rate.
Let’s start with a couple of key definitions. The bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors to your website who leave after only viewing one page on your site. They don’t stick around. They don’t read some of the other content you have. They don’t inquire any further. They just come in and “bounce” away. This is related to but different from the exit rate. The bounce rate is more about your website as a whole, whereas the exit rate is for a specific page. A visitor might have already read a dozen of your blog posts, only to exit on post #13.
So, why should you care?
Consider this. You might be putting in a tremendous amount of effort into search engine optimization, working so hard to rank for your target keywords. You finally get your website to the top of the Google rankings and the visitors start pouring in. However, many of them “bounce” away, never to return. If you have a high bounce rate, you’ve lost a huge opportunity.
You’ve lost the chance to gain a loyal follower and reader. You’ve lost the chance to convert that passive visitor into an active buyer. You’ve left money on the table, because you couldn’t retain their interest. What’s the point of putting in all that effort into your SEO if you blow your one chance at attracting and retaining a customer? In business, as I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s far more cost-effective to keep a customer than it is to gain a new one.
But even if we don’t get that far, a high bounce rate can be indicative of a very pressing problem. It means that the content you providing is not engaging enough or it’s not sufficient enough to retain the visitor. You are not necessarily providing the value or solution that this person is seeking. What it means is that you may want to consider tweaking your content strategy or site layout as to encourage greater engagement and interest.
Of course, this isn’t going to be true in all cases and under all circumstances. Sometimes search traffic is just looking for a single answer that just one of your web pages can provide. Maybe they’re looking for that one product and your landing page suitably directed them to an external sales funnel. That’s possible. But if you want to maximize the return on your efforts and maximize your revenue potential, you’ll want to do everything possible to shrink that bounce rate down.
The further a visitor digs into your site, the more likely you’ll gain a fan and a follower for a long time to come.