What Is An Average Bounce Rate?
There is a lot of argument over what an acceptable bounce rate is - some people suggest that if you have a bounce rate over 40% you have problems whilst others are either more relaxed or even suggest that even a bounce rate of 20% is too high.
Average bounce rate for most sites typically fall in 40% - 55% range. If your site bounce rate is below 40% you are doing well and if it's above 60% then you definitely need to find out why.
Bounce rates do however differ across sectors, from business to business and are also affected by the size of your site and a range of other factors. Most webmasters will want to have as low a bounce rate as possible but there will be certain occasions where a web page answers all of a visitors questions where bounces are unavoidable - think for example about a Wikipedia style page that provides a complete overview on a particular topic.
What can you do about a high bounce rate?
If you're concerned about your bounce rate start off by analysing your Analytics data. In particular segment your traffic to identify particular traffic sources, landing pages and different visitor segments.
It's often good to start off with a review of your marketing. If your paid search traffic has a higher bounce rate then delve into the detail to identify particular keywords or AdGroups that are underperforming. You may need to reconsider the terms you are targeting and whether you are directing people to the most appropriate landing pages.
Think also from your customers perspective - if they've followed a link through to your site, clicked on an ad or found you via a search what are they expecting to see and are you delivering on this?
Site design, trust signals and dealing with fears, uncertainties and doubts will of course be extremely important once visitors get to your site.
Don't rush into testing different versions of your landing pages based purely upon your own ideas - qualitative feedback from your visitors, user testing and other tactics such as developing personas can help you better understand your audience and dramatically improve your chances of getting it right. Test everything you decide - split or A/B testing is often more appropriate than multivariate testing unless your site receives a lot of traffic.