Bounce rate is one of the most important analytic tools you can use to measure your website’s engagement, and how well it delivers on the promise that brought traffic to it in the first place. This is especially important for affiliate websites, because every successful affiliate knows that bringing in large volumes of traffic is meaningless if that traffic doesn’t convert into commissions.
If you’re an affiliate and are wondering what sort of bounce rate is acceptable for your site, or if you need to know how to reduce your website’s bounce rate to improve engagement, this article will tell you everything you need to know.
We’ll explain in simple terms how to determine what is a good bounce rate on Google analytics, how to identify problems, and what to do to put them right to improve your visitor engagement and so, income.
What is a bounce?
The definition of a bounce or your affiliate website’s bounce rate is “the number of people who land on your website and navigate away from it again without clicking through to any other internal site page.” Bounce rate is expressed as a percentage of your total website traffic – so if 100 visitors land on your website and 50 of them click away (either back, or through to an external site or somewhere else) then your bounce rate is 50%. This simple bounce rate formula is all you need to know to find the bounce ratio of any site you manage.
How to calculate bounce rate
So first up, you need to know how to calculate your website’s bounce rate. If you use Google analytics as your tool for measuring website traffic and visitor engagement, your bounce rate is worked out automatically and shown to you within your dashboard, as a percentage figure of your total visitors within any given timeframe.
Most other analytic tools that work well with affiliate websites will also show you your site’s bounce rate too, but if this is not the case you’ll have to dig a little deeper. Calculate bounce rate with the simple formula we gave above, using the total number of visitors received versus those who didn’t go on to view other pages of your site.
What is a high bounce rate?
All websites – even those that are brilliant and provide exactly what their visitors are looking for – will have some level of bounce, and this is normal and perfectly fine. In fact, if your website analytics are showing visitors coming in but a bounce rate of zero, there’s probably something amiss in terms of how your site tracker is recording traffic, or how the results are being interpreted.
Different types of websites and industries will each work with different margins in terms of what is a normal bounce rate – but as a broad average, a bounce rate of between 25-40% is excellent, 40-55% average or acceptable, and above 55% high. If your bounce rate is above 70%, this indicates that there may be something seriously amiss with your content or traffic streams.
When is a high bounce rate ok?
Before you get to work finding out why your affiliate website’s bounce rate is on the high side, it is important to know that a high level of bounce on paper doesn’t always indicate a problem. In fact, depending on how your website is set up and what it is designed to achieve for you, a high bounce rate on your affiliate website might be ideal!
This is because bounce rate only tells you how many visitors visit only one page before navigating away – not how long they spend on that one page, what they do there, or what actions they perform on the page itself. If your affiliate website is designed to bring in traffic that lands on one specific page and then clicks through on an external affiliate link to make a purchase offsite, your bounce rate will by design be high – and doing exactly what it is supposed to do.
The same is true if you are only using a one-page website, and/or if the calls to action on your website direct your visitors to take a certain action that doesn’t involve navigating to another page – like filling in a form, making a purchase, or calling a phone number.
What causes a high bounce rate?
If your affiliate website bounce rate is high and there’s not a good reason for this as outlined above, you need to work out what is causing it so that you can put it right. There are a huge range of different factors that can contribute to affiliate bounce, some of which are specific to affiliate offers and others that apply across the board to all types of sites.
Here are some of the most common reasons for a high bounce rate on an affiliate website:
• Your website is slow to load or puts the visitor off with lots of distractions like popups, or audio or video content that automatically plays when they arrive on it.
• Your website’s navigation menu isn’t properly configured, or is hard to find.
• You don’t integrate relevant, meaningful internal website links to direct visitors to other pages of your site.
• Technical errors like “404 not found” and so on that affect the smooth running of your site will also cause problems.
• The type of content that visitors find on your website when they get there isn’t relevant to the search term or lead magnet that brought them there.
• Traffic visits your website in response to an offer or incentive that can’t be found when they arrive there – either because it isn’t prominent enough, or is absent entirely.
These are just a few of the numerous things that can cause your affiliate website’s bounce rate to be higher than it should be, and so, that will result in lost commissions.
Fixing a high bounce rate on your affiliate website
When you have worked out the reason (or reasons) why your affiliate website has a high bounce rate, you need to know how to improve it.
This will often be self-evident once you’ve checked and tested your site – for instance, if it loads too slowly, or is hard to use – but it is not always this simple!
• Check thoroughly for technical errors, poor design, or unattractive designs and layouts, but be prepared to spend more time sorting out your SEO and the content itself.
• Critically assess all of your site’s keywords and how they are used, and ensure that they are not only bringing in traffic, but the right type of traffic. You can gain a deeper insight into this by looking not only at the specific keywords you use, but also vitally, the search terms people use to find you.
• If you run ads or promotions externally, ensure that your site itself follows through on their promises, and that your promotions and incentives are easy to find and use. Keep careful records of things like ad campaigns and promotion dates, and make sure that you finish or amend any ads you run to update your offers and incentives as needed.
• Additionally, remember that when you’re targeting a niche affiliate demographic, the language, tone, and style of your website should all be designed to appeal to them, as well as offering something that they want. If you identify the mistakes, you might need to redesign or repopulate your site with more relevant content.
Your affiliate website’s bounce rate is something that you should keep a close eye on and review regularly – so that you can spot a gradual rise in bounce rate early on and nip any problems in the bud before they start to impact on your bottom line.