Online Community Stats: How to Improve the Bounce Rate - dummies

Online Community Stats: How to Improve the Bounce Rate

By Deborah Ng

The stats about your online community reveal a few other secrets that may seem to be insignificant but are important nonetheless. One example is the bounce rate, which tells you how long people stay on your website before bouncing out again.

If you have a lower bounce rate, your visitors are sticking around for a while. A high bounce rate indicates that people are turning tail and leaving as soon as possible.

Most websites average a bounce rate of about 60 percent. The lower the bounce rate, the better. A low bounce rate means that folks are not only sticking around, but also exploring and taking part in what you have to offer.

A bounce rate of 37% is relatively low.


If your bounce rate is extremely high, you need to do some heavy analysis to determine why folks aren’t sticking around.

Take a look at some of these common problem areas:

  • Content: Analyze your content. Are your members using Share buttons to recommend the content, or are they commenting on it? If your community is reacting well to your content, then it most likely isn’t the reason why people aren’t sticking around. But if every time you write something, all you hear are some virtual crickets, you need to retool your content strategy.

    You also want to make sure that you’re not misrepresenting what you’re offering. If your content about choosing hair color is great, but readers are going to the site because they think they’re going to see some popular short hairstyles, then you’re not meeting the expectations you set out.

  • Design: Believe it or not, design for a website, blog, or online community counts a lot. Suppose that your community is primarily an online forum. If the forum site is a dark color and the font is hard to read, very few people are going to stick around because the content is too hard to read.

    If you have a cluttered design with lots of flashing ads and widgets that distract community members from their conversation, your members are going to pack their bags and head to a less cluttered community. A clean, uncluttered design is pleasing to the eye, and your members won’t feel that their senses are being assaulted every time they visit.

  • Comments: Sometimes, the caliber of the comments keeps potential members from sticking around. If existing members are nasty and the overall tone is negative, few people are going to want to stick around for more abuse.

  • Engagement: Maybe folks don’t stay long because they have no reason to stay. They may stop in and have a look around, but nothing is telling them to stop and interact. The content isn’t open-ended, and no one is commenting. Keeping your community engaged and intrigued means that potential members are going to be intrigued as well.

Play around with your design and content and see whether the changes lower your bounce rate.