How to Check Your Bounce Rate
By David Ward
Bounce rate is a critical measure in website analytics. It is an indicator that tells either how long a visitor stays on your site or how many pages that person visits. Checking your bounce rate requires installing analytics software, which will analyze the bounce rate for you. While there are many Web analytics software suites available, most are out of the price range of the average website owner. For most home websites, the website owner will use Google Analytics, a free program available from Google that allows the webmaster to analyze traffic to his site.
Installing Google Analytics
Sign up for a Google Account through the "Webmaster Tools" section of Google's website. If you already have a Google account, you can use that account to create an Analytics account.
Select the "Analytics" link on the top left of the page.
Select the link "Sign up now" under the blue button that says "Access analytics." Sign into your Google account using the same login you used in the first step.
Select "Create new account" from the drop-down menu in the top right of the page next to the text that reads "My Analytics Accounts." Click the "Sign up" button on the next page and fill in the form that asks for your website URL, time zone and account name. Be sure to give the account a name you will identify with the website you are tracking.
Click through the "Continue" buttons, filling in the personal information and accepting the user agreement.
Testing Your Bounce Rate
Allow Google Analytics to run on your website for several days or weeks. This will allow the program to gather enough information to give meaningful results.
Log back into your Google Analytics Account. Click on the blue button that says "Access Analytics."
Select the account you created for your website. On the next page, select "View report." This will provide an overview of the website's statistics, including overall bounce rate.
- Many web analysts consider bounce rate to be among the most critical statistics regarding a website. The measure is often considered to be a measurement of how engaging your website is, as it measures the length of time a visitor spends on the website.
- A number of other website analytics providers can set up a tool to measure bounce rate. Some examples of these providers are Coremetrics, Omniture and Web Trends. Most of these are paid services, and in some cases are enterprise level tools in which the actual measurement tool is operated by consultants at the business. If you wish to have more detailed analysis of your bounce rate, these options are worth exploring.
- If your website is a blog, "bounce rate" can be a deceiving metric. If the tool you use measures "bounces" as people viewing a single page and then navigating away, rather than using time as a measurement, you are likely to have a higher bounce rate on a blog than on other websites. Regular blog readers are likely to navigate to a blog, read the newest entry, and then navigate away, artificially inflating the bounce rate.
David Ward has written professionally for websites since 2009. He has published instructional material on numerous websites, as well as in collegiate newspapers including "Cherwell" at the University of Oxford and "Quest" at Reed College. Ward holds a Master of Arts in social sciences from the University of Chicago.