How to Fix High Exit Rate and Convert More (The Smart Way)

Last updated on Feb 15th, 2024 | 7 min

TL;DR: Reducing high exit rates hinges on understanding user behavior, optimizing website design, and enhancing page performance. Strategies include simplifying navigation, ensuring mobile responsiveness, accelerating page loading, and leveraging persuasive CTAs. Incorporating incentives and improving checkout processes further engage visitors, while emphasizing social proof builds trust. 

You’ve done everything by the book:

✓ your website has racked up top positions in Google search

✓ visitors are landing on well-designed pages with clear CTAs

✓ your offers are too good to skip…

But the conversions are subpar at best.

You visit the Google Analytics reports to investigate and see the exit rates are through the roof!

The first question that comes to mind:

Is a high exit rate good or bad?

Exit rate refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your website from any page after interacting with it. A high exit rate is a sure signal a page might need optimization. For example, a high exit rate on a “Thank you” page after purchase is completely normal. But a high exit rate right before completing a purchase indicates something’s wrong.

Think of exit rate as your helpful sidekick to a great customer journey (and more conversions). It pops up in the most important places and points you in the right direction to catch the culprit.

Stop visitors from exiting. Speed up your website with NitroPack →

Understanding High Exit Rates

Maintaining a good exit rate for strategic pages on your website is often deprioritized. Needless to say, decyphering the percentages you see in your Google Analytics reports is your best bet to properly optimizing conversion rates.

What is a good exit rate for a website?

While that depends on your line of business and the type of content you’re serving on any landing page, a 2022 report shows that most site owners either see an exit rate below 25% or between 26%-40%.

And to better understand what these percentages represent, you can refer to the following formula to calculate exit rate:

% Exit rate = the number of visitors exiting a page/ the total visits the page got


The science behind high exit rates

A huge part of optimizing for more conversions is understanding user behavior, the online decision-making processes, and the role of emotions and cognitive biases.

Balancing between consumer emotions illustration

Whether you're improving your website design and loading speed or introducing user engagement elements, you need to pay close attention to well-established rules of user psychology on the web.

Some of the items that address cognitive biases and ensure visitors complete an action on your website are:

  • Simple site navigation;
  • Easily scannable content (an F-pattern with a focus on the top left corner of the page is a good starting point);
  • Excellent site speed and performance on all pages;
  • Clear and concise copy, plus interactive elements like videos and surveys for higher user engagement;
  • Persuasive techniques and emotional triggers, i.e., encouraging users to sign up for a newsletter and implementing storytelling or social proof.

Optimizing your landing page and shifting your focus on your visitors' behavior is crucial for improving user engagement, reducing bounce rates, increasing conversion rates, and ultimately driving more revenue for your website.

Keep all your visitors happy and engaged. Speed up your website with NitroPack →

Exit rate vs bounce rate: are they the same?

Often used interchangeably, exit rate and bounce rate are fundamentally different:

  • Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your website after visiting only one page without interacting with it in any way.
  • Exit rate, on the other hand, measures the percentage of visitors who leave a website from any page, including the last page they visited (plus, they have interacted with your web content).


What Causes High Exit Rate

High exit pages are most commonly a result of:

  1. Poor website design and user experience: 94% of first impressions of websites are related to design. Confusing layout, unappealing design, and complex navigation are arguably the top reason for high exit rates.
  2. Irrelevant content or missing information: 85% of consumers need detailed information before reaching a decision to make a purchase or not. Missing social proof or FAQ sections can turn away a visitor from trusting you.
  3. Technical issues and slow page loading times: broken links, 404 errors, and slow site speed make it impossible for visitors to access the content they want quickly and easily. Anything above 3 seconds load time will make 47% of visitors jump to your competitors.


10 Data-Driven Strategies to Lower High Exit Rates

Your first step to smart exit rate optimization is to confirm you’ve identified all pages that need improving. Check exit rates for each page of your website with Google Analytics (Behavior > Site Content > All Pages).

Expert tip: Start with the top-traffic pages that drive actual value to your online business and compare the exit rate of each with the average of the entire website to spot inconsistencies.

Now let’s move on to the most effective methods for reducing high exit rates.

1. Improve navigation and layout

Clear navigation and an intuitive design are the backbones of well-optimized websites that convert visitors into paying customers. Here are several make-or-break aspects to consider in your next iteration:

  • Simplify your navigation menu: Avoid using too many categories or subcategories, and make sure your navigation menu is easy to understand. Users expect you to be aware of their needs and pain points, and navigation needs to reflect that.
  • Use clear labels: Use descriptive labels for navigation menu items, and avoid using technical jargon or abbreviations.
  • Use breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs provide users with a visual trail of their location within your website, making it easier for them to navigate back to a previous page.
  • Use whitespace: Whitespace can improve the readability and visual appeal of your website and make it easier for users to focus on the content. Busy web pages are no longer “it.”

Mailchimp homepage before and after web design optimization

Image source: Justinmind


2. Optimize mobile responsiveness

70% of web traffic comes from smartphones, and 61% of users will never return to a website if it’s not mobile-friendly. Here are some tips that can help retain more visitors:

  • Use responsive design: Responsive design automatically adjusts your website's layout and content to fit the screen size of the user's device.
  • Test your website on multiple devices: Make sure to test your website on different mobile devices to ensure that it looks and functions correctly.
  • Only use adaptive images: Large images can slow down your website's load time on mobile devices, so make sure to optimize them for smaller screens.


Ebay mobile-friendly website layout

Image source: Toptal


3. Increase page loading speed

Did you know that 57% of online consumers experience high stress (and even anger) levels if a site doesn’t load within 3 seconds? Here are some tips for increasing your website's page loading speed:

  • Take care of large media files: unoptimized images and videos can slow down your website's load time, so make sure to optimize them for web use.
  • Minimize HTTP requests: Reduce the number of HTTP requests your website makes by combining multiple files into a single file and using CSS sprites to combine multiple images into a single file.
  • Use caching: Web caching allows your website to store frequently accessed files on the user's device, which can help to speed up page load times.

Impress your visitors with a fast website! NitroPack speeds up your site uses automatically →

4. Perform keyword research and pinpoint target audience

By using keyword research tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs you can better understand what your target audience is searching for and create content that is relevant to their interests. Here are some tips to start with:

  • Identify long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and targeted than broad keywords and can help you attract more qualified traffic to your website.
  • Develop keyword mapping: It helps you to create an intuitive and logical structure for your website while improving the internal linking between pages and optimization of their anchor texts.
  • Use keywords strategically: Use keywords in your headlines, subheadings, and throughout your content, but avoid overusing them. Google rewards people-first content.


5. Use headlines and subheadings to organize content

Headlines and subheadings can break up your content and make it easier to read and understand. Here are some tips for using headlines and subheadings effectively:

  • Use descriptive headlines: Use headlines that accurately describe the content of the section or article. Our research shows that the most effective headlines are between 4-8 words long.
  • Use hierarchical subheadings: Use subheadings to break up content into smaller sections and use a hierarchical structure to show the relationship between them.
  • Keep it short and clear: Long paragraphs are hard to read and are often excluded from the scanning process a visitor goes through.

Example of readability improvements for blog article paragraph

6. Use persuasive CTAs

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are buttons or links that encourage users to take action, such as "Sign up now," "Subscribe," or "Buy now." CTAs should be visually prominent and placed strategically on the page. The language used in the CTA should be clear, specific, and action-oriented.

Checkout design with effective CTA buttons

Image source: UXmovement

Expert tip: High-converting CTAs always acknowledge their surroundings. Instead of using a generic call-to-action, like “Request Demo,” focus on highlighting the value users will receive once they click on that button, i.e., “Book a free demo” or “Try it for free”.


7. Offer incentives or lead magnets

Incentives, such as free trials, discounts, or eBooks, can entice users to stay on the site and take action. These incentives should be relevant to the user's needs and interests. Lead magnets, such as newsletters or eBooks, can be used to capture a user's email address for future marketing efforts.

Incentive popup form example AppSumo PDF

Image source: Wisepops


Expert tip: Position exit-intent popups in critical moments when a visitor is about to leave the site offering a last-minute incentive or message to encourage them to stay. These popups can be used to collect email addresses or offer a discount code. However, use them judiciously, as they can easily become too intrusive and annoying.


8. Simplify checkout and form-fill processes

A complicated checkout process or form-fill can lead to frustration and high exit rates. Simplify these processes by removing unnecessary fields or steps and making it easy for users to complete their purchase or form submission.

Consider offering guest checkout or social login options to streamline the process. Don’t forget to offer customers to save their details for an even faster checkout next time.

Social login web design example


Expert tip: Personalized content and recommendations can make users feel seen and understood, leading to increased engagement and conversion. Use data such as user behavior and demographics to tailor content and recommendations to the user's needs and interests. This can be done through email marketing, personalized landing pages, or recommendation algorithms with better-price CRMs like HubSpot and EngageBay.


9. Enhance social proof and build trust with users

Social proof refers to the phenomenon where people are more likely to trust and take action based on the actions and opinions of others. A whopping 93% of consumers read online reviews before deciding whether to purchase.

Examples of social proof include customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials. Incorporate social proof into your site through product reviews, testimonials, or social media posts. And with the increasing prevalence of video content, it's no surprise that video testimonial solutions have become a popular medium to showcase user experience and satisfaction, offering a realistic and powerful form of social proof.

Examples of trust badges for web design

In addition to social proof, building user trust is crucial to reducing high exit rates. Make sure your site has clear and transparent policies, such as shipping and return policies, and prominently display trust badges, such as SSL certificates or industry certifications.


10. Leverage the power of email marketing

Even if you didn’t convince a visitor to convert the first time, you can still re-engage them after they exit your website. Remember the exit-intent popups we mentioned earlier?

Use the email addresses you collected there to send targeted email campaigns to offer incentives, personalized content, or product recommendations to get users back on your website.

For example, the tool for visual collaboration, Miro, cleverly nudges inactive users on a free plan back to the platform with productivity tips:

Example of email marketing reactivation techniques by Miro


Next Steps

Reducing high exit rates is an ongoing process that requires continuous testing and optimization.

Use A/B testing, heatmaps, and click tracking to identify areas of the site that need improvement and test how effective your new optimizations are. Analyze user behavior data regularly to make informed decisions about site changes:

  • Use A/B testing by a tool like Optimizely to compare two versions of a webpage to see which one performs better in terms of conversion rate. This can be done with different headlines, CTAs, images, or layouts (but remember to always test one element variation at a time).
  • Heatmaps show you which areas of your site are getting the most clicks and attention, while click tracking tools show you where users are clicking and how they are navigating through your site. Use this information to identify areas where users are getting stuck or where they are dropping off, and make improvements to your site to reduce your exit rate and improve your conversion rate.

Now that you’ve got all the tools and strategies for optimizing your customer journey, it’s time you rolled up your sleeves and made every visit count!

Looking for a tool that’s as powerful as it is light? Speed up your site with NitroPack →

Lora Raykova
Web Performance Buff

Lora has 7+ years of experience developing in-depth, specialized content for SaaS companies in the CEE region. She has sourced and collaborated with subject-matter experts on site speed optimization for WordPress, Core Web Vitals, and the future of web performance. "If you can't explain it to a 7-year-old, you've not researched it well enough" is Lora's guiding principle when publishing professional insight for complex technical topics.