Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Home Page Bounce Rate for Heaven Fresh

Heaven Fresh being a micro multinational, its web site sales have been the life line for every new office.  We launched http://www.heavenfresh.com in March of 2003 and kept adding content to it on incremental basis.  Subsequent web sites for Canada, Germany and the UK were simply a replica of the first one.  I have been told numerous times that our web sites are little too "busy", or in other words cluttered.   I personally have been somewhat reluctant to give a quick facelift to the web sites,  thinking that we might lose our positioning in the search engines.  Anytime someone suggested that the visitors might find our web sites confusing, my answer has been that I much rather have the sites found and get the visitors frustrated than put up nice web sites and not be found by the visitors.  After all each one of the web sites topped the search engines for various related keywords and all of them generate good business, enough to sustain a new office.

I really believed that we should not mess with our web sites as long as they are producing good sales until I saw the bounce rate on the newly designed interface of Google Analytics.  Our average bounce rate is around 60%, meaning that many visitors leave the home page very quickly without looking around any further. Sixty percent bounce rate is a scary number.

A total revamp of the web sites is already under way. However, I wish that we would have done it earlier. As a result of redesigning the web sites, even if we lose some traffic it will not make much difference since more than half the visitors leave the homepage within few seconds anyway.  According to Avinash Kaushik,  Analytics Evangelist for Google, "it is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying". Here are some good tips on his blog.

A brand new Heaven Fresh Canada web site will be up and running by the end of August 2007.  My goal is to strike a balance between the site's visibility in natural search and a desirable bounce rate.

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