If you have been monitoring your church website’s traffic using Google Analytics, then you have probably come across bounce rates. They appear in your analytics as a percentage, but what exactly do they mean? This post will not only explain exactly what church website bounce rates are, but also how to improve them.
What are Church Website Bounce Rates?
Church Website Bounce Rates are a key metric that you should be tracking on your website. But before you can track them, it is important to know exactly what bounce rates are. Google defines bounce rates as: “single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page”.
What this essentially means is that it is a measure of the amount of visitors who visit your site but only visit one page. The higher your bounce rate is, the higher the percentage of people who only visit one page. For example, if your bounce rate is 85%, this means 85% of people who land on your website don’t venture any further than your landing page. Similarly, if your bounce rate is 10%, the majority of visitors are clicking around your website.
Are High Church Website Bounce Rates Bad?
You can have a high bounce rate for a few reasons, and it is not always necessarily a bad thing. Two positive reasons for high bounce rates are:
Extremely Relevant Content. A good reason for a high bounce rate is that your landing pages are so relevant to the people who find them, they do not need to delve any further; they have already found the information they were looking for.
You Get Most of your Traffic from Social Media. If you have a strong social media following, and receive most of your traffic from social networks, then you can have a high bounce rate. This is because your audience doesn’t need to click around your site when they visit, as they have often seen it already through your social channels.
Unfortunately, the negative reasons for a high church website bounce rate are a lot more common. The two main negative reasons for a high bounce rate are:
Poor Quality Landing Page. If your page is not optimized to encourage user engagement, then users will often move on.
Non Relevant Content. If your page is being found by people who are not interested in what you are promoting, then this will cause them to move on quickly also.
Slow Load Time: If your page is loading very slowly, a visitor might click out of your page before it is fully loaded. However, sometimes they might have already been measured by analytics, so this will count as a bounce. Check out our article on how to dramatically improve church website load times.
Why are Church Website Bounce Rates Important?
Church Website Bounce Rates are important to you for a number of reasons. First, they are good indicator of how engaging your site is. High bounce rates mean that you need to either make changes in your content, or make a tweak in your website’s design.
Another important thing to factor in relation to high bounce rates is that it could affect your performance in the Google rankings. While Google does not measure if you have a high or low bounce rate from your analytics, if you have a a lot of visitors bouncing straight back to Google after they land on your site, it will definitely impact your rankings.
There is of course a plethora of reasons that could affect your ranking in Google. Check out our article on how to improve your Church Website SEO.
How to Improve Church Website Bounce Rates
After you have determined the reasons for your high bounce rates, it is time to do something about them. As we already mentioned, a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing, but if it is caused by poor design or irrelevant content then you must take action. Luckily, there are a number of techniques you can employ to increase user engagement.
Google, like your visitors, loves relevant content. In fact, it is one of the most important ranking factors in Google. This applies to both organic traffic, and also to Google Search Network Campaigns. You have to ensure that the page your visitors are landing on is relevant to what they are searching for. This is done by having separate landing pages for the different keywords that people are searching for. It is pretty pointless to have someone who is searching for ‘Divorce Support’ to be landing on the same page as someone who is searching for ‘Financial Advice’. The page cannot be relevant to both, and this is why we create optimized Landing Pages. Be sure to check out our detailed post on how to create landing pages that engage visitors to your church website.
Call to Action
Having a prominent Call to Action is important for increasing engagement and reducing bounce rates. A Call to Action is a piece of content intended to entice a certain action from a visitor. An example would be having a button that says ‘Learn More’ or ‘Sign Up Now’, to entice a user to click on it.
The position of your Call to Action is important too. There is no point in it being hidden at the bottom of a landing page. The Call to Action should always be above the fold, so the user can see it the second they land on the page.
Navigating your site should be kept as simple as possible for your visitors. A great way of doing this is by linking to other pages of your website throughout your content. This is done by including text links within your content to other pages that might be relevant to the visitor. For example, if you have a landing page on your site that deals with Financial Advice, an internal link to another page about Budgeting Advice would make sense to the user. Internal linking is also a ranking signal for Google. This means that the more relevant your internal linking is, the better your website will perform in Google’s rankings.
Another great way to use internal links is to add a ‘You Might Also Like’ section to the end of each page. Here you can display similar content that will elicit clicks from your visitors.
The position of your main menu is also important for engagement. Your menu should appear at the top of your page, as this is where visitors will expect to find it. It would also include a home button, so people can easily navigate around your site. A ‘sticky’ menu is also a great way to keep it really simple for your users to navigate. With a ‘sticky’ menu, the menu is always at the top of the page, even if your visitor scrolls down. This means the menu is always visible, and your user always has the option to visit another page of your site.
Lastly, be careful when viewing your analytics to not mix up Bounce Rates with Exit Rates. As the name implies, the Exit Rates are the percentage of page views that were last in the session. There are some good examples on the Google support page.
Contact Jason Hamrock or Kevin Peck, or use the Contact Us button.
Jason Hamrock – Phone: 480-773-9115 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Peck – Phone: 602-481-2991 | Email: email@example.com