Content Marketing Strategies: 2 Simple Steps To Lower Your Home Page Bounce Rates
17 minutes on your Content Marketing Strategy should get you heading in the right direction.
Home Page performance! Does your Home Page rock? When your Home Page doesn’t perform to perfection, you’re at risk of losing your audience, subscribers, and potential customers.
Unless you’re measuring the performance of your Home Page it’s difficult to detect Home Page issues to fix.
The hidden signs – a drop in user registration, or perhaps higher bounce rates.
Sounds like you?
Don’t underestimate or undervalue your Home Page.
Your Home Page is your major, all purpose gateway, into your online business world, and it should function at peak performance to be effective.
Depending on your niche, your Home Page must:
- Clearly say how you can help your audience
- Establish solid credibility
- Give a definite direction for audience next steps
Pick An Approach
There are many options to make sure your Home Page is performing as it should. You can generally break the solutions into two categories:
Fee based, but thorough OR no charge, small personal time investment, and straight forward.
Both methods produce similar results – the causes of a non sticky audience, and why they don’t click what you want them to click.
Here’s the kicker though…
You only get 4-10 seconds with your audience on your Home Page. Some say 3-5 seconds only.
In those 4-10 seconds you need to:
- Show how you can help
- Prove why you can help and
Very difficult! Challenging!
To put that in perspective, imagine meeting someone, in real life, for the first time, and you have to tell them, in under 10 seconds:
- About your business and how it can help them
- Who you’ve serviced and that you’re not a fly-by-night business
- How they can get help from your you
For me, 10 seconds would definitely be pushing it…
…and a 4 second monologue, would probably come across as totally incomprehensible.
How about you?
In real life, are you able to get your message across in 4-10 seconds? Are you able to leave your audience with your why, what, and how?
If you’re like me, then I’m guessing it would be very difficult.
Online, on your Home Page, trying to capture the attention of your audience is unforgiving. Remember, 4-10 seconds only. It’s not a lot of time.
And to repeat (only because its important). in 4-10 seconds, you need to:
- Show your audience clearly how you can help them
- Establish yourself as credible and
- Give your audience a call to action.
It’s definitely not easy to accomplish, but the answer lies in a single word…
Simplicity actually has a beautiful ring to it. Easy. Straight forward. Clarity.
Give your audience too many options or fill the screen with clutter then you’ve probably lost them.
Enter Left Stage – Vinod Khosla
Vinod Khlosla is a man I respect for his long list of accomplishments.
He’s the man behind the 5 second rule. He used this rule to assess the effectiveness of slide presentations (not Home Pages) that his portfolio companies prepared:
- Put up a slide for 5 seconds
- Remove it
- Comment on the slides intended functionality
If you were unable to comment successfully on the intended functionality of the slide, the slide was not used. If you were, then the slide was kept.
A simple yet effective rule.
Why is it effective? How’s it going to help you?
- Firstly, his 5 second rule is simple and it works
- His 5 second rule seems to support the 8 second Adult Focused Attention span length.
- His rule can help towards fixing Home Page performance issues
That’s why I borrowed his rule – simplicity and effectiveness. The only thing I’ve done is modify his rule to accommodate the online world – more specifically your Home Page.
The 5 second rule is only one part of the fix equation. The other piece – Home Page Bounce Rates.
Enter Right Stage – The Relative Bounce Rate
Bounce rates is an important metric to determine the Home Page performance.
Bounce rates by themselves does not tell the complete story. They will, however, give you an indication, if your audience is following through on a Home Page Call To Action (or not).
If your audience follows through with your Home Page Call To Action, your bounce rates will be lowered. On the flip side, when your audience hits the back button, or X’s out, the bounce rates are increased.
Start With The Bounce Rate – Step 1
To be effective, you need to understand a couple different bounce rates:
- Your Home Page
- Home pages of your competitors, partners, or those in you niche
Google’s bounce rate is supposedly more accurate than Alexa, but Alexa publicly publishes bounce rates of websites (including yours). This, in a sense, levels the playing field, letting you use the bounce rate of others to your benefit. I’m sure others are using yours too.
With the word Simplicity in mind you should always be asking yourself “Is my Home Page performing at peak performance?”
With your intuition, Alexa’s public bounce rate information, and the 5 second rule (will cover this shortly) you have a great starting point to establish what your ‘normal’ bounce rate should be…
Quantify your Home Page bounce rate in relationship to your competitors and partners.
Use both – Google Analytics and Alexa. Google will give you the more accurate rate, while Alexa gives you a number to be used to measure against competitors in your niche.
- Compile a list of your competitor and partners
- List the Alexa based bounce rates for your competitors, partners, and others in your niche
Things to note about Alexa:
- As mentioned before, Alexa is not 100% accurate. Alexa statistics are based on viewers installing an optional Alexa tool bar onto their browsers. So only those with the Alexa Toolbar installed will have their visit statistics registered on Alexa for the site they visit.
- Some individuals game Alexa (i.e. try to get their statistics looking better on Alexa). Without going into detail, that means people can manipulate Alexa statistics, giving their site favorable Alexa rankings.
- Use Alexa statistics with caution. Actually, use any set of statistics with open eyes.
After you complete collecting the various bounce rates, you should have a clear picture how your competitor Home Pages compare to your Home Page.
How does your Home Page performance stack up against your competitor and partner Alexa-based scores?
Is your bounce rate similar, higher or lower than theirs?
Examine your Home Page. Does your Home Page:
- Clearly state how you can help your audience
- Clearly display social proof
- Clearly give your audience a direction to proceed.
Within 4-10 seconds.
Inspect your competitor and partner Home Pages. Do their pages:
- Have a clear message
- Show clear social proof
- Have a call to action
Those that do, and have a low bounce rate, should serve as a guide to make your Home Page perform better.
Examine and understand the Home Page elements that your competitors and partners are using. It may be specific colors, screen placement, font type, forms, video content, and a multitude of other components.
Look for ease of use items. And simplicity.
Once you understand this information, you should be able to spot the obvious.
In my case the obvious:
- Simplicity of page layout
- Clear message of service offering
- Social Proof and
- An unambiguous Call To Action
A Picture Paints A Thousand Words
I’ve assembled a few Home Page examples. These examples are both, in and out of my niche, have respectable bounce rates, and generate a significant amount of traffic.
Vocus: Has a 43% bounce rate. Take note of the simplicity of the Home Page. The contrasting colors (grey and green) work very well. The Call To Action is clear, above the fold, and easy to locate – left side. The navigation is out-of-the-way and does not distract. The message is crystal clear – “Marketing can be hard. Vocus makes it easy”. Even though their social proof is below the fold, it still works.
Marketo: Has a bounce rate of 38%. Their business message is exceptionally clear – “Marketing Software. Easy. Powerful. Complete”. Even though my preference is a single Call To Action, the three Call To Action buttons do the job well. Each Call To Action button takes you to a consistent looking signup form. Their social proof, just like Vocus is below the fold.
Unbounce: Unbounce is hovering around a 49% bounce rate. They too have a strong message of help “Build, publish & A/B test landing pages without I.T.” . Their Call To Action is well placed – smack, right in the middle of the screen, in a contrasting color. In fact I feel as though the Call To Action button is screaming to be clicked. Their social proof is above the fold. Take note of the extreme simplicity of the page. One of my favorites, by the way.
Suitcase Entrpepreneur: The Suitcase Entrepreneur also has a respectable bounce rate - 55%. Their Home Page is void of clutter, and their message of help is clear and concise “Make money doing what you love from anywhere”. Powerful social proof is located above the fold. Even though the Call To Action is a little confusing (signup or video), it seems to work. Take note of the contrasting colored Call To Action button.
Traffic Generation Cafe: I do not believe a Home Page can get any simpler than this. Anna’s business message and call to action is exceptionally clear – she helps companies generate traffic, without the big costs. Interestingly, there is no navigation above the fold, which, in a sense tells the viewer to enter their email address or leave. The social proof, although minuscule, is also above the fold. An acceptable bounce rate of 58%.
Mint: Mint has a bounce rate that rings conversion – 20%. Their business message is clear “It’s easy to understand what’s going on with your money”. The call to action – left side – clear and unambiguous – contact information to get started. Mint’s social proof is powerful – below the fold though.
Box: Although a little less simple in structure, Box boasts a bounce rate of 48%. Their business message is clear “Simple, Secure, Sharing from Anywhere”. Social proof is above the fold. The confusing part is that there is more than one Call To Action. Two of the CTA’s take you to the same “Sign Up”.
Desk: Simple. Clear. Effective. Salesforce seems to understand their audience really well. Their message is clear “Delight your customers with awesome Customer support”. The call to action top left and bottom right – both take you to the same signup form. Social proof above and below the fold. A respectable 40% bounce rate. Salesforce seems to constrct all their home pages with elegance.
Poo Pourri: Poo Pourri is a recent addition to my list. They are not in my niche, but their viral video campaign caught my attention. Poo’s bounce rate is around 38%. take note of the absolute simplicity of their Home Page. There is no clutter, with the intent to sell their product. Their social proof is excellent – real time counters – units sold, number of followers, pins, likes, tweets. How they can help you is very clear “Spritz The Bowl Before-You-Go & No One Else Will Ever Know”. Their Call To Action is unambiguous – Order Now.
Can you spot the common denominator?
Even though each of these Home Pages have a unique approach, simplicity is the common thread.
Simplicity! No side bar widgets. No messy navigation. No extraneous information.
- A clear message for you
- A strong call to action (in most cases)
- Strong and visible social proof (in most cases)
The 5 Second Validation – Step 2
It’s time to find out if your newly design Home Page does what its supposed to do.
Remember the Vinod Khosla 5 second rule? You’re going to use his rule, except the 5 seconds will be used to assess your new Home Page performance.
You can approach this from two perspectives – manual or automated.
The Manual DIY Method: Create an image of your Home Page, assemble a test group of people, display your Home Page to them for 5 seconds only, and have each member in your test group answer the following 3 questions:
- What does the business behind the Home Page do?
- What is it on the Home Page that shows credibility?
- What’s expected as a next course of action on the Home Page?
Automated Method: The Five Second Test is a service, which allows you to test the performance of your Home Page. Once your page is uploaded, your audience will decide the performance of your Home Page.
Either method works equally as well. The bottom line, just make sure YOUR audience resonates well with the changes you’ve made to your page.
When implemented, remember to keep testing. Rotate variations into the mix. A/B testing.
Your Take Away
Without a doubt, understanding your home page performance is well worth time and effort spent.
Very easy to use tools and methods are available to understand your Home Page performance.
Bounce rates and the 5 second rule are your quick testing methods to identify Home Page performance issues.
Make sure you have simplicity and clarity:
- Your message
- Your credibility
- What to do next
Understanding your existing Home Page bounce rates as it relates to your competitors and partners will give you a rough idea how your Home Page performs within your niche. If it is an under performing page, then please consider adjusting its contents.
The 5 second usability test – manual or automated, should give you a clear indication of how a real audience relates to your Home Page.
Have you given your Content Marketing Strategy 17 minutes yet?