No doubt you’ve heard that to reduce website bounce rate is important if you want to rank higher and/or if you want to make more money online. In today’s post I will give you a few tips to reduce website bounce rate but before that I will explain what is bounce rate. As well, I’ll explain why bounce rate is important and how does it affect your blog.
Some marketers will go as far as to say that a low bounce rate is a vital sign of a healthy and a successful blog. Yet some of these same highly successful bloggers have a high bounce rate. Why is that?
In this post I will cover a few questions some bloggers are asking:
- What is bounce rate and what does bounce rate mean
- What is bounce rate used for in Analytics
- Is high bounce rate really a bad thing
- Tips to reduce website bounce rate
What Is Bounce Rate
A bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who enter you site and “bounce” or leave your blog or site almost immediately rather than stay and continue to view other pages or posts on your blog.
Typically, the lower your bounce the more effective are your marketing and search engine optimization efforts to reach your target audience.
What Does Bounce Rate Mean
The excellent short video by Avinash Kaushik explains what bounce rate means. Have a look at it, it is very interesting.
What Does Bounce Rate Analysis Tell You
You can easily find the bounce rate bounce rate of your blog by checking the analysis (as well as other analyses) of your site in Google Analytics. The analysis can show you bounce rates for different pages, which types of visitors are bouncing (for example, organic traffic, forum traffic, direct traffic and so on) and how the is the rate changing. Based on this analysis you can pinpoint which pages and even keywords are causing you the problem.
Image 1. Google Analytics View Of Bounce Rate
In this image you can see a very low bounce rate for Blogging Spree in a given period. From the analysis you can also see that visitors looked at different pages on this blog and stayed about 29 minutes on the blog on the average and on average, the visitor visits 3 pages. This is very good and thus far the same results can be seen from visitor from various traffic sources. What this suggests to me that I am targeting the audience well.
Is High Bounce Rate Really A Bad Thing
As you heard Avinash in the video, he thinks of high bounce rate as: “They come, they puke, they leave”
This may be true for many websites with poor content, poor design and too many pop-ups and ads. But for many sites it simply does not hold true.
Any websites that are solutions driven will have a high bounce rate. People come to the site, find what they want and leave without ever exploring the site further.
Another scenario is actually happening to high traffic, high ranking blogs or sites. Here visitors regularly will come to check out the home page for a new publication, bookmark the item and leave. It may appear as a “bounce” to Google and it assigns it a “high bounce rate”, but for the blogger it means that she has a loyal visitor who is coming regularly to the site looking for what is new. Loyalty and trust often translates itself to higher conversions for the blogger / marketer on one hand, but a higher bounce rate on the other.
Tips To Reduce Bounce Rate
As a rule of thumb, a 50 percent bounce rate is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 80 percent, you’ve got a major problem… Inc.com
There are several solutions to help you bring the bounce rate down. A lot of these solutions are directly related to your site layout and design, content plus it has a lot to do with good on page SEO and internal link building.
►Make sure you have a well designed internal linking in place. I have seen a lot of blogs that have great information in their blog post but there are no links within the post that would lead the visitor to other pages or articles. If a page is not linked to any other pages it is not going to be found.
►Implement an HTML site map. This site map is different than the XML Sitemap you submit to Google via your webmaster tools. This sitemap is for visitors to use. Search engines will use it too and it will help them to find out what your website is all about. On this site I use a free WordPress plugin called Simple Sitemap. I keep a link to the sitemap on the top navigation bar of my website.
►Be certain that you site is responsive and is clearly visible on all devices including mobile. For more information check the following article on free and premium responsive themes.
►Check the speed of your site. A slow loading pages are going to deter your visitors from checking through to other pages. As well, some of the visitors are not even going to wait to see your site to load. As a result you will lose traffic and your bounce rate will increase. You can test the speed of your website at GTmetrics and fix any problems according to their recommendations. Ideal speed is under 4-5 seconds. I have put together a few tips on ho to increase the speed of your site. You can find the relevant articles here…
►Evaluate the design of your site. The last thing your visitors want is to arrive at a poorly laid out site. If you have blog posts on the home page, have them as excerpts rather than full text. That way your posts will be shown as summaries and your visitors will have a greater choice without scrolling to oblivion. A popular design is the magazine style design. Some themes do not automatically generate excerpt on a home page. I have described how you can create excerpts for you home page.
►Get rid of spam. Too many pop-ups and advertisements will turn your visitors off. They’ll see right through what you are trying to do. We all want to make money with our sites but we have to be subtle about it. Think about how you feel when you arrive at a site that is nothing more than an advertisement. You’ll leave. So will your visitors if your blog is spammy.
Also it is believed that if you have a splash page when the user enters, you are probably causing many people to leave. For me, the most annoying is a site with partially locked content. I am out of there instantly.
►Have your related content clearly accessible. This can be easily done with different WordPress plugins. On this site I have “Related Posts for WordPress” and it shows related and relevant posts underneath the article.
►You can use a WordPress plugin that will improve your bounce rate. The plugin will tell Google Analytics every 10 seconds that your visitor is still on the page and on top of that it will also let Google know there was some interaction on that page. Apparently, it is accepted by Google. If you have a problem with your website bounce rate, give it a try. Here is the plugin link… and also a description about how and why this works.
In summary, this post covered several topics, including: what is bounce rate, what does bounce rate mean and what is it used for when it comes to analytics. As well, we discussed whether high bounce rate is really a bad thing and lastly I offered you a few tips to reduce bounce rate of your website.
As always, please give me some feedback and even offer other suggestions for improving the bounce rate, if you are aware of some.