Do you want to keep your blog readers on your site for longer? Are you shocked by your bounce rate? How can you decrease your bounce rate? What is bounce rate anyway?
There’s something that’s been bugging me for a while. My bounce rate, it’s very high and that’s not a good thing. It’s time I did something about it.
Listen below to find out what you can do to decrease your bounce rate
If you haven’t heard the term before, bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that come to a site and leave after viewing just one page. The lower your bounce rate the better.
Bloggers often have a high bounce rate and it’s not always a bad thing. The very nature of a blog encourages people to come in, read the latest post and leave but as business bloggers, we need more. We need people to hang around and take action. We want them to buy our stuff, fill in our forms, trust us and that’s why I’m going to work on my bounce rate.
To find out what your bounce rate is you’ll need to log in to your analytics programme. I use Google analytics. The good news for me is that it is decreasing. I’m 2% down on the same period last year. People are also staying on my site longer so even if they are leaving after one view at least they are consuming some of the content on my site.
My 2% decrease is encouraging but it’s not good enough. If you want to achieve a solid decrease you’ll need to set yourself a goal. I’m going for a 10% decrease in 6 months. Setting the goal is the easy bit, working out how to achieve it is harder.
I asked people on social media, I read a whole bunch of stuff and I took a deep dive into my Google analytics. Here are 14 tips that I’ve collated that should help decrease bounce rates.
1. Add ‘Read more…’ to the blog home page
This was suggested by Rebecca Kelly from ThatSoBee on Facebook.
Sometimes you’ll visit a blog page, like my own, and you are able to read the posts in full. You can keep scrolling and reading. On other blogs this page will show a short introduction paragraph followed by ‘read more’. To read the entire post visitors will have to click through to the actual post.
Although the bounce rate from my blog home page is relatively low I could decrease it further by using this ‘read more’ layout.
2. Avoid click bait headlines
Are you over promising with your headlines? Take another look, if you are you’ll need to change. When people are enticed into a site by a headline they have an expectation of what will be at the other end. If it’s not what they expect they’ll leave straight away.
You’ve probably been the victim of click bait before. If you’ve ever clicked a ‘You’ll never guess what happened next’ style headline you’ll be aware of the disappointment that awaits you after you click.
Not only will people leave your site quickly but they’ll be less likely to click a link from you again.
3. Leave StumbleUpon alone
I talked about this in detail in a recent vlog. StumbleUpon does not deliver good quality readers, most will skip straight on by without waiting for you page to load.
4. Use internal linking
This is something I try to do each time I blog. Make sure you are linking to at least one of your previous blog posts in the text of your blog. This will drive readers on to new posts on your site and keep them interested.
You can see I’ve linked to a previous post on StumbleUpon above.
5. Use a related post plugin
Related Post plugins add a selection of your blog posts to the bottom of posts. I’ve been using one for a while but haven’t seen a noticeable change in bounce rate as a result.
I’m trying something new with this plugin. Instead of letting it decide which posts people may be interested in I’ve been hand-picking what will appear. Time will tell if this works better.
6. Find out what people are searching for
Use your Google analytics and Google search console to find out what people search for both to find your site and to search your site for content.
This genius suggestion came from Darragh Doyle on Facebook. Finding your most popular posts and including those in your related posts or internal links is bound to attract more people to read on.
7. Create a sneeze page
I was inspired by the ProBlogger podcast to create a sneeze page at the end of last year. A sneeze page is a bit like the roundup posts we covered in episode 26 except that instead of linking out of your website you are linking people to useful resources within your site.
Here’s one I created to showcase my popular Facebook competition posts. It does have a low bounce rate and I reckon if I give it a better title it will gather more traffic.
8. Create a ‘Start Here’ page
This is another tip I’m stealing from ProBlogger. The ‘Start here’ page on their site asks a simple question.
‘What do you need help with’
I clicked on ‘Start a blog’ which brought me to a page full of posts related to that topic.
Not only will people use these pages to browse more content but you can also link to these within your related posts.
9. User experience
Sarah Eggers sent me a bundle of user experience tips via Twitter. It’s so easy to get user experience wrong, you may be able to identify some issues yourself but it’s only when you see how others use your site that you discover the real problems.
I’d recommend watching a friend navigate your blog, this will give you a great insight into what needs to be changed.
Sarah gave me a few key things to look at:
- Font size – Does your font size work for each device it will be viewed on?
- Make it easy to scan content. It’s a good idea to break up long content with short paragraphs, sub-headings and photographs
- Change chunky paragraphs into bulleted lists so they are easier to digest.
10. Say no to pop up windows
Yes I know I said they work. They do, but they can also give readers a poor experience. If you really, really must add a pop-up find one that will only appear when it guages readers are about to leave the site.
11. Open links in new window
If you are linking to other sites make sure that those links open in a new window. Otherwise people click them and leave your site behind.
12. Is your site mobile friendly?
You’re probably tired of hearing this by now, but your site must be mobile friendly. Even though only 21% of my traffic comes from mobile I’m still obsessed with giving those people a good experience.
Check your site out on your own phone, on other phones and tablets. Is the text readable, is it easy to read without pinching and zooming with your fingers? If not you need to look at a redesign. People won’t hang around if they have to put too much work into reading.
13. Ebooks and downloads
Kate McQuillan from Pet Sitters Ireland is an old friend of this podcast. I interviewed her about her business blog earlier this year. She recommends using eBooks and downloads to your site. This is a great idea, if someone reads your blog and sees added value in a download you’re not only reducing your bounce rate but you’re also grabbing that important email address.
14. Update your bouncy posts
This is where I have the most work to do. A look through my analytics shows me some posts that have a higher than average bounce rate.
These posts fall into two categories:
- Posts with a large bounce rate but a long dwell time. People may be leaving immediately but at least they are reading. For these posts I just need to identify a link, download or related post that will encourage them to read on.
- Posts with a large bounce rate that people leave really quickly. These posts will need more work. Once I’ve identified them in my Google analytics I need to ask myself a few questions:
- Is the post up to date?
- Does the post have any internal links?
- Is the headline relevant to the content?
- Is it well written, does it add value to my readers?
- Should I just unpublish it or rewrite it comletely?
This weeks blogging challenge is to take a look at your analytics, identify bouncy posts and see how you can implement the tips above to decrease bounce rate. Don’t forget to keep a regular note of your bounce rate so that you can see if your efforts are paying off.
If you’ve been following my challenges or if you have done something on your blog that has worked well I’d love to hear about it. You can leave me a comment below, tweet me @spiderworking or snap me @spiderworking.