I know, the title sounds like the set up for some kind of miracle weight loss supplement, right?
Can you REALLY reduce your bounce rate by 90% or more with only one simple fix?
I didn’t think so, and I’ve been in this business almost 7 years now.
I’ve studied a lot of different ways on how to reduce bounce rate and there are some good infographics at HubSpot, for example, that explain the fundamentals on bounce rate reduction.
But then last fall (October 2016) I logged onto Google Analytics and saw a bounce rate metric report like the one below:
I almost fell out of my chair. What happened?
How did that site’s bounce rate go from a roughly 50-60% average down to about 2-5% literally OVERNIGHT?
Once I matched the dates with our dev team, I found the answer.
It was so simple, and yet so effective, I had to laugh at the hours we had spent previously trying to inch down bounce rates 5 percentage points at a time.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s TONS of things you need to do first to make an engaging site to reduce bounce rate. See that HubSpot reference above…
But after all this is done and you’re still struggling along, then this next point is for you.
How To Reduce Bounce Rate BIG TIME Literally Overnight
It was all one thing: page speed optimizations.
We made the website faster, and bounce rate plummeted to almost NOTHING in a day.
Too simple, right?
Well, I’m not talking about just your standard cache and CDN page speed optimizations.
You see, that was the same day we had moved that client’s site off of shared cloud hosting and onto our own cloud server where we could have total control of server resources.
That meant we could super-charge these sites, all of them WordPress builds running 1-2MB a page load, and get them down to 1.5 second loads or less.
Maybe that one time was a fluke, right?
Well, we just moved two more sites to the same server this week from shared cloud hosting.
Both sites were already optimized, cached, running a CDN and on GOOD shared cloud hosting with Rackspace.
Average page load prior to the server move was roughly 3-4 seconds.
Not smoking fast, but not 8-10 seconds like some sites.
But look what a difference a truly speed-configured server set up made.
Here’s the before and after for one of the sites launched this week (March 2017):
Before Migration: Bounce Rate 45%
After Migration: Bounce Rate 1.5%
Speed Helps More Than Bounce Rate
It’s no secret that people want a fast site.
But did you realize that, assuming you already have good content on your site, this is THE most important thing holding back your site?
Within about a weeks time, this particular site not only dumped their bounce rate down to 1-2% on average, but had the following incredible improvements in user engagement metrics:
- Pageviews By Mobile Users: 132% increase, from 3,761 to 8,755 pageviews in comparative periods!
- Overall Pageviews: 100% increase, from 8,416 to 16,849 pageviews in comparative periods!
- Average Pages Viewed Per Session: 113% increase, from 4.17 to 8.91 pages viewed in comparative periods!
- Average Pages Viewed By Mobile Users Per Session: 145% increase, from 3.27 to 8.05 pages viewed in comparative periods!
We couldn’t believe it either, but Google Analytics doesn’t lie (and neither do the happy clients for these sites getting more leads and engagement!).
We also noticed that in the post-server-migration period there were even LESS actual site visitors than the previous week, but DOUBLE the engagement and pageviews!
Exciting stuff isn’t it? What do you think speeding up your website could do for your own online presence?
How To Reduce Bounce Rate Like This Yourself
It’s not impossible to get these same results yourself.
So far we’ve brought multiple sites over to our customized server config, and EVERY time we get the same result.
Huge drop in bounce rate and a dramatic increase in page views, mobile user engagement, and average pages viewed.
How do you do it yourself you ask?
You need two things. A dedicated hosting server you can control completely, and then the latest caching tools.
Here is our current server config, feel free to stand up something similar:
- LAMP Stack on Rackspace Cloud
- Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)
- 4 Virtual CPUs and 4GB RAM
- 800 MB/S Bandwidth
- 80GB SSD Storage
That alone gives you a lot of power out of the box compared to shared hosting. But here are the caching and optimization tools also being used:
- REDIS mem cache system (running internally on server)
- WP Super Cache plugin for standard page/browser caching
- Max CDN for all static file and image resources
- CloudFlare caching, SSL, and security firewall
- Intelligent lossy image compression with Kraken.io
There you have it. It’s not rocket science, but it is taking advantage of dedicated cloud server resources and other tools to make incredible things happen for your website!
Let us know if you have success in reducing your bounce rate through intelligent page speed optimizations too, and as always let us know if you have any questions!