Study Your Statistics for Better Website Performance
For many people, the word “statistics” generates instant skepticism. It evokes the idea of incomprehensible amounts of data, carefully massaged in order present someone’s case. If you have a company website, however, it pays to develop a friendly relationship with its traffic statistics.
In the following months, we will examine sample reports from Blizzard Tracker. This month’s topic is the Bounce Rate Report. “Bounce rate” is the percentage of website visitors who arrive at an entry page, then leave without getting any deeper into the site.
Take a look at this sample report from Blizzard Tracker Professional Edition. It represents one day of traffic for a fictional hotel website. 481 visitors landed on the home page as an entry page into the site, and 157 of them left without visiting any other pages. Thus, the bounce rate was 33%. This is not bad. Keep in mind, however, that if your bounce rate is significantly over 50%, you should research the cause.
You can see a similar report in the Blizzard Tracker Hosted Edition. First, choose your desired date range. Then, on the left menu, click "Paths through the site." Click on the plus sign beside the page you want to analyze. The percentage of visitors who "exited the site" is the bounce rate for that page.
One possible cause of a high bounce rate is an outdated design. A Blizzard Tracker subscriber recently told me, “The bounce rate on our old site was sixty to eighty percent. We saw that and said, ‘Something has got to be done. We are losing too many people.’” After a redesign of the site, the bounce rate for their home page in May 2004 was 33%.
Think about the additional business you can get by reducing your bounce rate. If your home page is viewed by 200 visitors per day, and you lower your bounce rate from 60% to 35%, you have increased your visitor retention on the site by 50 visitors per day.
Relevance is another factor that can influence bounce rate. If a visitor doesn’t think your site is relevant to her search, she will leave.
Your tracker reports will tell you what keyword phrases are being used to find your site, in overall numbers and also per visitor. You will likely find that the more specific, targeted phrases perform better than general terms in bringing the right visitors to your site. Those are the terms to prioritize when optimizing your website and planning your promotion campaigns. Then, make sure that your entry pages provide the content your visitor is seeking.
Some of the entry pages in the report may surprise you. Often, interior pages are not designed to provide the optimum landing experience for first-time visitors to your site. If the search engines have spidered your site and indexed most of your pages, that’s wonderful. However, you might discover that some visitors are landing on a page with sparse information or limited appeal – for example, your “contact us” page. If this is the case, think about enhancing the content and providing an appealing link to your home page.
I’ll close with an example of a visitor report. Here is a visitor from Indonesia who used the very general term “blizzard” to arrive at the www.blizzardtracker.com site, and bounced. Although we would like to think that we are world-famous, this person did not find what he was looking for on our site.
For more information about the new versions of Blizzard Tracker, visit www.blizzardtracker.com or call 888-840-5893.