This is the most informed writing I’ve ever seen on this subject.
What is Bounce Rate? (bouns rāt) n.
The bounce rate for the homepage, or any other page through which visitors enter your site, tells you how many people 'bounce' away (leave) from your site after viewing one page.
So, if the bounce rate from your homepage is 30% (which is relatively low), that means that 30% of your visitors ‘bounce away’ from your homepage.
The concept is designed to tell you how your homepage performs. Keep in mind that different types of resources, for example, products, services, or information, will have different bounce rates and usage patterns.
How can I improve my bounce rate?
As a first step, consider updating your entry pages to decrease the bounce rate. Start with your homepage. Think about the old adage that “first impressions are the most important”.
Websites do not get a second chance to make an impression. If you are expending energy to attract visitors, you should be putting at least as much energy into keeping them, if not more.
Use a visitor tracking service to find out what search terms people are using to find your site: if visitors are leaving quickly, make sure that your content and search terms are well-matched; the cause of a high bounce rate may be that visitors are not finding what they expected.
Check your exit pages to see where most of your visitors are leaving and try to determine why they leave, especially if that is not where you intend them to leave from.
What is Click-through rate?
Click-through rate (or click-thru rate) tells you how many people are clicking through to your site from a third-party. For example from a link, search engine, banner, advertising or email campaign.
Your click-through rate tells you the success of your campaigns. Use this knowledge to determine which strategy is the most effective and focus your energy there.
Use bounce rate to measure the effect of content changes
A good way to make use of your bounce rate stats is to measure the efficacy of content changes. When you make a content change, record your bounce rate. Then make a comparison after a week and see if you are encouraging visitors to move further into your site.
The bounce rate stats that we have designed can also tell you how far into your site visitors are surfing. We have designed a bounce rate feature that graphically shows how many people bounce after viewing, for example, three pages.
To view an example of a bounce rate, login to our demo, and view the Opentracker.net bounce rate statistics.
There are many theories about how to draw visitors further into your site. Make sure that your clickpaths are intuitive, and lead visitors further into your site. Some analysts suggest that this is best accomplished by orienting your site more towards browsing visitors than searching visitors, and ‘pulling’ them deeper to explore your content, instead of ‘pushing’ them directly to specific information.
And an article by Steve DiPietro, the man we believe coined the phrase 'bounce rate', way back last century, in 1998: