I asked for data on bounce rates.
A high bounce rate would suggest that it is easy for users to locate the service (or information) they seek. A low bounce rate suggests that users have to navigate from the first page they arrive on to locate the service (or information) they seek.
Even so, rational design decisions could radically affect bounce rate. It is certainly not possible to take one website with a bounce rate of 40% and another of 50% and say that one is a better site than the other.
Understanding what is a normal bounce rate for local government would be useful for local government web designers and, potentially, for other web designers.
The median bounce rate for all local government websites is 45.7%. There is a wide spread of bounce rates between different websites.
Only 25% of websites have bounce rates under 40% and only 25% have bounce rates above 51%.
There is an intriguing relationship between bounce rate and deprivation. Local authorities serving less deprived areas tend to have higher bounce rates than local authorities serving more deprived areas. As these local authorities also experience a higher proportion of visits using mobile devices it may be that these factors are related.
In addition to the link to deprivation, it is clear that lots of other factors affect the bounce rate on local government websites.
It is tempting to see a link between this trend and the relationship between deprivation rate and mobile traffic (see the section on users). We cannot draw any firm conclusions based on these data but it would be interesting to investigate whether people in less deprived areas are using websites differently and may be more ready to check or report items via their mobile phones.
There is a normal range for a bounce rate for local authorities. This does not mean that a site with a much lower or much smaller bounce rate is doing anything wrong. It does not mean that a site with a bounce rate in the normal range is doing anything right. But for website managers, understanding what ‘normal’ is in local authority terms should be helpful.