Online world is amazing. Almost everything can be put on the weight and measured. If you struggle with converting online users of your web service or application into paying customers I would say check Bounce Rate of your product’s website at first.

Bounce Rate tells how many people visited your site by mistake or in other words the quality of the traffic leading to your website.
According to Google Analytics: “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).”

Converting free users into paying, happy customers is a process which involves several inbound and outbound marketing techniques including educating and activating users with high quality content. That’s why building accurate user base is even more important than building wider user base, because avoiding unconvertible users save your assets and allow to use most suitable sales strategy.

In the nutshell. If your product’s website bounce rate figures two digits there is lots of space for improvement. It’s good to start checking SEO keywords that are in use,and other traffic acquisition strategies that have been used, too.

Avoiding unconvertible users has a lot with long tail SEO strategy. In case of one of my projects decreasing Bounce Rate was important because some percentage of bounced users have came back and signed up to the service (almost unconsciously). It is the case especially if the site has frictionless registration implemented, so the user could register through his social profile account just with one button click.

Most of all, such users were hard or impossible to convert into paying customers because their converting potential was close to zero, they were here by mistake.

I assume that most of us can not afford spending 100,000 USD annually for positioning in Google search engine with a most popular keywords. This implicates long-tail SEO strategy and usage of dozens long-tail key words. In this case bounce rate reduction has a lot with periodical reviews of key words, checking which of them really work and adjusting accordingly.

Implication of Bounce Rate change

Total Bounce Rate drops down, up to few days after trimming key-words bucket. Prepare for enormous change, the bigger the worst keywords have been used.

Bounce Rate Reduction view from Google Analytics

In case of one of my websites Bounce Rate decreased from the level of 70-80% to the level of 1-5% measured in the constant time span. Traffic decreased by 25% and registration to the service dropped by the factor of 5 but transaction level remained constant. And did I say that average time spent on the site has grown?

Accumulate like a boss

In the world where size does matter there is temptation to accumulate users (i.e. to show your investor higher user acquisition rate or to have the user base just bigger, or feel better). We all know volume effect can leverage sales but it can be also pain in the neck if conversion rate is getting lower.

Converting free users into real customers is a huge challenge almost for every SaaS business because usually it is very inert process. Buying online service is not an one way road but rather effect of complex behaviours spread in time, and so the quality of free users is crucial to be successful in this process.

If current base of free users consists of incidental people — coming from the race of rising traffic, blindly — all efforts in converting them into customers may even kill online business.

That’s why in such a niche like mobile publishing we at PressPad put lots of attention to shape high quality traffic, and experiment a lot with key words, content strategy and even business model. For example, one month after decision to focus on quality traffic we have been able to see that daily entrance into the registration process on our website decreased by 20% but total successful registrations increased to 22%

Seth Godin said that “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” so let me left you with that quotation.