Why Are Visitors Bouncing from Your Site? 4 Things You Need to Fix

Retailers rely on websites to attract and convert customers – e-commerce businesses especially. Therefore, retailers must invest heavily in their onsite and offsite marketing strategies to bring more visitors to their website. While traffic is great, if you aren’t converting those visitors into customers, then you’re wasting your resources.

Converting visitors starts with keeping them on your website. When a user visits a page and leaves without taking another action, it’s called a bounce. Google Analytics provides web admins with a metric known as “bounce rate,” which is the total number of bounces divided by the total number of visitors for a specific page and timeframe.

Your bounce rate is a critical piece of information because it can reveal discrepancies in your visitors’ expectations, poorly targeted offsite strategies, or an inefficient website, among other things. To help you keep visitors more engaged, try fixing these four common causes of elevated bounce rates.

#1. You’re Attracting the Wrong Visitors

Most of the causes of high bounce rates stem from issues on your website. However, there’s always the chance that your offsite marketing strategies are attracting the wrong visitors – thus, setting your website up for failure. A very basic example would be a female clothing brand running generic PPC ads resulting in a high volume of male traffic.

If you are attracting visitors to your site who are not part of your target audience, they are more likely to bounce. Instead, take a measured approach with your offsite marketing strategies to ensure that you’re attracting the right visitors.

#2. Their Expectations Are Not Met

Crazy Egg uses the example of Nissan Motors to illustrate the correlation between misaligned expectations and bounce rates. If you visit Nissan.com, you would likely expect to find information about Nissan automobiles – but it’s actually the website for a family-owned computer business in North Carolina.

Nissan.com has an abnormally high bounce rate because people are expecting to find information about Nissan Motors, not computers.

When visitors’ expectations are not being met, there’s a high probability of them exiting without exploring other pages on your website. If your offsite messaging is ambiguous or confusing, it could be setting inaccurate expectations for your landing pages. To mitigate this confusion, focus on developing an omnichannel strategy that creates a cohesive message across all devices and channels.

#3. Your Site is Creating a Poor User Experience

Website visitors can be fickle – leaving at the first sign of disdain. While it’s impossible to please every visitor, there are some general causes of poor user experience (UX).

  • Your site is slow: A slow loading webpage can kill any hope you have of engaging a visitor. Most people won’t wait more than ten seconds for a website to load before closing the webpage. Test your load times, and consider optimizing your images, leveraging browser caching, and compressing your scripts to speed up slow pages.
  • Your site has broken links: The dreaded 404 page has caused many websites to lose out on interested visitors. There are several reasons someone might land on a 404 page, so you need to constantly test your sitemap for broken links and resolve them as quickly as possible. You should also consider getting creative with your 404 page to market your brand and keep visitors engaged when they do end up on a broken page.
  • You have confusing navigation: No matter how amazing your content or messaging is, users might still leave if your navigation is confusing. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with multiple menus or an excessive number of categories and sections. Try to keep your navigation simple and clean, to help your users navigate to the most important areas of your website.
  • Your site is not aesthetically pleasing: It may seem shallow, but the appearance of your website is incredibly important to visitors. If it looks old, has outdated information, or feels cluttered, there’s a good chance your visitors won’t stay long. Focus on creating a clean and simple website that communicates your brand messaging immediately. Often with web aesthetics, less is more.  
  • Your site is not responsive: Every retailer needs a responsive website that looks attractive and uniform regardless of the device or window size. Consumers might access your site from a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. If you’re not providing a great experience on every device, your visitors will abandon your site.

Creating an engaging user experience is one of the best ways to keep visitors on your website and exploring. Your website is an extension of your brand, and you should put just as much effort into making website visitors feel welcomed and engaged as you do on your other retail channels.

#4. You Need to Upgrade Your Content

While you need a reliable and user-friendly website, people are coming to your site for the substance, aka content. To decrease your bounce rate, you’ll want to publish high-quality content on a regular basis.

Stagnant and outdated content can turn visitors away immediately. For instance, if you have a blog that hasn’t been updated recently, a visitor might leave as soon as they see the publish date. Publishing new content and updating older pages is an excellent way to improve your SEO and keep visitors happy.

The content you publish should also be consumer-centric. This means you are not publishing a sales pitch; you should create content that provides actual value to your visitors. You should also publish content in various formats like text, image, video, and audio formats. Users consume and respond to content in several different ways, so hitting on as many formats as possible gives you a better chance of resonating with your audience.

Take time to develop a clear content strategy that looks at targeted keywords for SEO while also taking your buyer personas into consideration. A thoughtful approach to your content will do wonders at lowering your bounce rate and keeping your visitors satisfied.


The bounce rate for a retailer’s website is a critical metric to analyze. In fact, SEMrush says it’s the third most important factor in SERP rankings for organic search. It goes on to say that the top three results for a given search query have an average bounce rate of 49 percent.

While there are many more factors that could be causing your high bounce rate, the four issues above are great places to start if you want to increase your onsite engagement and decrease your bounces.   

Increase your online sales with a responsive, attractive website.

Derek Miller, MBA is a digital marketing expert working with small-to-medium-sized businesses and start-ups. His experience includes developing content marketing strategies for clients of CopyPress, working with local businesses in Tampa to grow their online presence, and planning the digital growth initiatives for Great.com, among others. He also writes frequently for publications like GoDaddy, TheBalance, and StartupCamp.