When Redesigning a Website is a Financial No-brainer
There are many factors that can go into the calculation of whether or not to redesign and/or update a company website. Factors such as "mobile compatible" or "search engine friendly" have dominated this calculation in the past couple of years and will continue doing so for at least the next few years. But a metric like bounce-rate is often over-looked. Bounce-rate for a website is generally defined as traffic that comes to your website and then very quickly leaves within a few seconds. So essentially it does not look at any other pages. It would be similar to someone walking into the front door of a retail store, did a quick scan of the store and then turned around and left. This is not what you would call a high quality sales interaction.
A high bounce-rate for a website is often an indication of a poor user experience and response to the design, content and functionalities. It can indicate that a number of problems exist on the site like poor navigation, slow page loads, poor aesthetics, and low content quality. Keep in mind that there are situations where a high bounce-rate may not be a bad thing and has to always be assessed along with with other factors like session time before it can be suggested that it is a negative indicator. Getting alot of traffic to your website is pointless if the traffic immediately leaves. This is especially troublesome if you are paying for this traffic. We see many companies running online advertising campaigns that are paying thousands of dollars a month and the traffic that these campaigns generate has a bounce rate of over 90% and session times of only a few seconds. This is akin to using hundred dollar bills as fuel for the fireplace to heat your office.
When a company website has a very high bounce rate and hasn't been updated in a number of years a redesign could be warranted both for the aesthetic improvements and more importantly the potential improvements in the pocketbook. In many cases just redesigning and updating the website itself will likely instantly double the "effective" traffic to the website without any other advertising or optimizations.
What do I mean by "effective" traffic? For the purpose of this discussion I am talking about the percentage of traffic that your company has a chance of converting into a lead, a sale or some other beneficial metric for the company. Here is an example. Let's compare two Belize Resort websites that both get 500 visitors a day.
Website A gets 500 visits and has a bounce rate of 76%
Website B gets 500 visits and has a bounce rate of 38%
If you analyze website metrics like bounce rates alot you can quickly see that Website B will be getting more "effective" traffic than Website A. You can more clearly see this if we make the comparison of the two sites and only look at the traffic to the sites that does not immediately bounce and go away. This is the non-bounce traffic or "effective" traffic as I am describing it here.
Website A gets 500 visits x 76% = 380
-- non-bounce traffic is 500 - 380 = 120 visits
Website B gets 500 visits x 38% = 190
-- non-bounce traffic is 500 - 190 = 210 visits
Website B, because of its lower bounce rate, has almost twice as much "effective" user traffic.
Now lets go from the hypothetical to an actual example of a website redesign that we did recently and show some hard numbers. The below case study describes the redesign we did for the WhistleStop marathon website which is the Upper Midwest’s top fall classic marathon. Prior to our redesign the WhistleStop marathon website was not mobile compatible and suffered from a very high bounce rate (roughly 76% over a period of the last two years).
After the launch of the new website design, which was a mobile responsive theme, the bounce rate instantly dropped to about 46% and has continued to go down to now an average of about 38% (Figure 1).
Below are some calculations on how the redesign and the significantly lower bounce rate for the WhistleStop website immediately produced a significant financial benefit.
WhistleStop savings from the new design.
From the various online advertising campaigns we will use the average cost per click of $1.70 per visit.
Traffic over a period of 3 days and their different bounce-rates.
931 x (46% bounce rate) = 502 (these are non-bounced visits) in 2016
931 x (74% bounce rate) = 242 (these are non-bounced visits) in 2015
The improvement above in bounce-rate produced an increase in 260 "effective" and convertible traffic over three days (502 in 2016 which is 260 visits larger than 242 in 2015).
This would be an increase in 87 visits per day * $1.70 or $148 per day in advertising cost savings. For a month this equals = $4440.00
This means the new design for the WhistleStop website is saving them $148 per day in extra advertising costs that they might otherwise have to spend to produce the same level of "effective" traffic.
This savings is before you take into account the increase in traffic because of the site being more search engine friendly. The screenshot below shows that the traffic to the WhistleStop website was up 16% this year over last year not taking into account any changes in bounce-rate. The year over year increase gets greatly amplified when you look at the increase in "effective" traffic year over year and in this case it was an increase in 198%. In just one cycle the savings easily pay for the redesign costs. As you can clearly see this redesign project was a "financial no-brainer".