Bounce Rates Before and After

Just how important is an attractive design and an easy to navigate layout to the success of your online business?

Well here’s a before and after case study that might just help you make your mind up. It’s only a short time frame comparison but it was significant so I thought I’d post it.

I recently finished working on a site and while playing about with Google analytics noticed a big difference in bounce rates and some of the other metrics such as time spent on the site. For those of you that don’t know what a bounce, a bounce happens when a visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages.

High Bounce rates aren’t always a sure fire sign that the content isn’t what the user is looking for. I have one or two personal coding information sites, where the user just comes grabs the code snippet and away they go. For the site in question though, a guesthouse website, the high bounce rate off the homepage was worrying. Users weren’t checking the accommodation and availability pages, nor the local attractions so there was no chance the site would attract bookings.

First of all here’s the stats from Google Analytics.

Bounce rate comparison before and after website redesign

The stats compare July 6th – July 7th v June 15 – June 16th, Monday and Tuesday.

The stats are quite staggering. Before the redesign the bounce rate was as high as 71%. Most people that visited the site, came and went with the home page being the only page that they viewed before exiting. The time on the site went from 58 seconds to nearly 4 minutes, and pages per visit went from 1 to nearly 7.

The bounce rate went down to 20%, which is a decrease of over 70%. A 20% bounce rate is very good, there’s always going to be a certain percentage that stumble across the site so you’ll never get a 0% rate. Digging down into the stats amazingly no body checked the accomodation page or the availability pages.

Ok so here’s a screenshot of the before and after, and you’ll see the issues straightaway. It doesn’t take a genuis to work this out.

Before Screenshot

bounce rate before redesign

After Screenshot

bounce rate after redesign

The difference between the two:

  • The new design clearly enhances the business, the old colours are just too much
  • The new layout is pretty standard, it’s easy to navigate, with the pages labelled well
  • The images are now attractive, inviting, good quality with a stunning flash showcase
  • Internal linkage is better as opposed to non-existant
  • The content is better presented, it’s more readable and scannable and there’s more of it
  • There are clear calls to action including the check availability button

I’ve no doubt that the conversion rates and bookings will go up dramatically and that the stats would be fairly similar over a longer period of time. What this says to me is that the investment in a professional looking design is well worth it. Design matters alot.

It’s also important to get the site working before going out and promoting it. All the traffic in the world, and the investment that goes with that whether it’s PPC, SEO, email marketing or offline marketing wouldn’t work on the site the way it was.

It’s also easy for website and business owners to check their stats package, if you have Google Analytics installed even a quick glance at the dashboard will help you determine whether your site is performing or not, you don’t need to be well versed in Google Analytics.



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Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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