How good is your website? Internet 101 for agents: bounce rates

by REP07 Nov 2014
If you suspect your website is failing to produce actual clients, this one statistic could explain why.

Brokerages are not in the same business as Buzzfeed; it’s great your blog on staging has been re-tweeted 50 times, but will it get clients through the door?

As agents often tell clients; buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life; clearly you’re not going to make it after 30 seconds on a website. It’s much better that you have a smaller number of high quality website visitors, who are looking for services like yours, rather than a vast number of casual readers. That’s where bounce rate comes in.

Google defines bounce rate thusly: “Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”

Of course that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if that one page is particularly important; an enquiry form perhaps, or the page listing your contact details. But if that page is your homepage or a single blog article it suggests visitors aren’t interacting with the site, or particularly interested in what you have to say.

A bounce rate of over 70 per cent indicates your website has a problem: here’s how to start solving it:

1. Find your bounce rate
If you don’t have a Google Analytics account yet, it’s vital you get one. Google Analytics can tell you a huge amount about your website, and the basic version is free. On the audience overview you can find your bounce rate.

2. Identify your most popular pages
Although this seems counter-intuitive, if you have a high bounce rate it’s your most popular pages that are letting you down. You can find which pages these are by selecting Behaviour then Overview on the menu on the left side of the page.  Look at these pages: do they really convey the best first impression? And do they link naturally to other pages?

All of your website pages need to tie-in with the rest of the website: not only in terms of having a fancy box saying ‘click me’, but in terms of leading the readers to this point, for example an article on refinancing ending with a link to your contact details.

3. Work backwards to the links to that page
Go back to the beginning – why are these pages your most popular pages? Chances are they’re the links which you’ve put on adverts, or Yellow Pages, or which have been picked out by Google (which can happen because they’re popular, continuing the cycle). Perhaps you’re promoting the wrong pages?

Although it seems logical to put your homepage as the hyperlink of an advert, it may not be the best way to engage visitors; confronted by a mass of options, visitors may just leave the website. Having visitors arrive at a well-written article, which naturally leads them to talk to you, could be far more effective.

You could also be promoting pages in the wrong places: there are many options to target adverts at local readers, and of course it’s basic marketing tactic to put adverts in places potential home buyers are likely to visit. This can help you get the right type of visitor.

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