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what is bounce rate

Tips To Reduce Website Bounce Rate: What Does Bounce Rate Mean

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:

  1. What is bounce rate and what does bounce rate mean
  2. What is bounce rate used for in Analytics
  3. Is high bounce rate really a bad thing
  4. 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

What Does Bounce Rate MeanIn 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 easy navigation for your visitors. Categorize your blog posts well and implement a good navigational bar or a system that allows the visitors to easily navigate through your site.

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.

 

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15 Responses to Tips To Reduce Website Bounce Rate: What Does Bounce Rate Mean

  1. The Robdog June 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    shoot after reading it got on a roll. I do have a lot of passion for this business but I wanted to congradulate you on a job well done.It truly makes people happy,inspired, motivated and filled with hope when they here of testimonials of success! Dig it!@ keep on trucking girl!

    • Dita Irvine June 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

      AAAH Robdog,

      you sure can make a girl feel good.

      Cheers,

      Dita

  2. The Robdog June 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi, you caught my attention with that term and wasn’t sure what you meant. By the way I heard about the program you was in and proved you can make money blogging. I got a little story right quick. I started a blog and just started writing copy and explaining about myself and kinda a dream I have and just started to write.I wanted to combine a brick and Mortar business touched with a little bit of internet flair! I wasn’t to concerned about the seo and all that I just wanted to be me and say my piece…I always promised I would reply to each and every feed back.WOW…at first a got a lot of spam and junk…than the posts were trickling in and leaving valuable remarks and comments and now (still not concentrating on seo)I have a lot of people that really like what Im doing . I try to give solutions and offer value! The Bounce rate intrigued me and wanted to find out what that was. I was guessing before I read it that people would sign in and leave because It wasn’t what they wanted.learn something new everyday,,,the name of the game abd thanks for the tip on a slow running blog.Its been giving me problems on IE nothing else but the IE Browser.

    • Dita Irvine June 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

      Hey Rob

      That is a really nice story. A friend of mine recently wrote a blog where he mentioned USP – unique selling proposition. In marketing we all know what that means but he changed it around and coined it with your identity. What it means that you have your own voice, your own uniqueness, your own writing style and so on.

      Well, it seems to me that you have found your USP, that is attractive to your readers and that is why they flock to your site. It is one good way to run a business.

      Keep it up,

      Dita

  3. Gordon June 15, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Well done Dita. Very good article. I appreciate the tips.

  4. Glenn Shepherd June 14, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Hey Dita,

    Thanks for the informative post. I found the part about an HTML sitemap especially interesting. I knew about the importance of an XML sitemap but hadn’t considered also including an HTML one. I’ll definitely look into this and will take a look at the WP plugin too.

    Thanks,
    Glenn 🙂
    Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Your Business Needs YOU!My Profile

    • Dita Irvine June 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      Hi Glen,

      not everyone knows about HTML sitemaps, yet they are very important. The SE’s will miss some of your posts when crawling and by having a sitemap you give them a little bit of a push to crawl more. For visitors who want to see more of your articles it is a good overview. I could not imagine not having one on my site.

      Cheers,

      Dita

  5. Tim Bonner June 14, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    Hi Dita

    I have a post I wrote at the very beginning of blogging which brings in a lot of traffic but also drags my bounce rate down.

    I read that Matt Cutts suggested bounce rate doesn’t affect your Google search engine ranking or your Pagerank but I’m concerned enough to do something about it.

    So, I deleted that post this morning and asked Google to remove it from their listings.

    Hopefully that will, over time, help to even out the bounce rate.
    Tim Bonner recently posted…What Is Blogging?My Profile

    • Dita Irvine June 17, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

      Hi Tim,

      It’s too bad about the post. I don’t know exactly how the bounce rate works in the rankings, but if it is not at all important why would it be included in Google analytics??

      Just a thought

      Dita

  6. Jeff June 14, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Hi Dita,

    Another great post! I could not have seen this at a better time! I was so confused every day looking at bounce rates, and how they would go up and down. I already took your advice and installed a few plugins, and will be linking back to other pages… hopefully things should get better! But I did realize that maybe a high bounce rate in some situations is not such a bad thing, and maybe I should not get so worried about it.

    If the posts are coming… I am sure to be reading! You put out gold!
    Thank you Dita for another great Post!!

    All the best,
    Jeff

    • Dita Irvine June 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

      Hi Jeff,

      You are absolutely right high bounce rate is not a bad thing in certain instances. It will especially occur on sites that offer solutions to a very specific problem that people search for. Once they find the answer there is no need to linger on.

      Regards,

      Dita

  7. Bill Farman June 14, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    Hi Dita

    Thanks for a informative and very useful post.

    I grabbed the plugin to improve bounce rate. Im currently running at 44% so I’ll be keeping a tim eye on this.

    Thanks also for the tip on the HTML site map. I grabbed this as well!

    Couldn’t agree more about limiting irritating pop-ups…

    all the best

    ;-b
    Bill Farman recently posted…Internet Marketing…and The Secret To SuccessMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine June 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

      Hi Bill,

      I’d be curious to see if the plugin helps your bounce rate (although your bounce rate is pretty good even without it). Please keep me posted.

      Cheers,

      Dita

  8. SandyHalliday June 13, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    Some great tips as usual Dita.

    I have two blogs and for some reason the bounce rates differ quite a lot. I have never managed to reduce my bounce rate for my health niche blog although I have tried number of things.

    I am just about to change my theme (again) for a news type layout so it will be interesting to see if that has any effect. I will also consider adding the reduce bounce rate plugin you mention. I have never seen that one before.

    I already have a number of plugins on my blog and I am hesitant to add yet another as they can slow down blog loading times. I have had a lot of problems with my blog loading properly as it is but hopefully the new theme will also solve that. It is mobile responsive too.

    Another way to reduce bounce rate is to engage the reader more by asking questions. If you ask a question at the end of the post, as you have done here, it can get your reader to stay longer while they post a comment.

    Sandy
    SandyHalliday recently posted…Does Your Blog Text Size and Font Matter?My Profile

    • Dita Irvine June 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

      Hi Sandy,

      Sometimes I think that the health blogs are not as interactive as internet marketing blogs. I have seen the same on my health related blog, despite the fact that I always have links to other posts.

      I am also thinking about changing the theme at some point, perhaps in the fall when I’ll have more time. I’ll keep you posted.

      Dita