Last Updated on January 28, 2016
If you are new to blogging, you have probably heard a number of terms that don’t really make much sense to you, but many of them are words you definitely need to know. A “bounce rate” is one of those words, and it can have a huge impact on your page analytics.
What is a bounce rate?
A Bounce Rate is the number of times, in percentages, that a person visits your home page (or entry page) to your site, but never leaves this page. They never go on to see the rest of the site. If you want to create a fan base, you need people to visit all of your site. If you have a high bounce rate, you need to do something different on your page.
Why do you have a high bounce rate?
There are many reasons for a high bounce rate. Users may not like your page design, or they find it hard to maneuver. They may not be interested in your site’s content, or they may find it hard to understand what your site is about. They may also find all they need on the first page they visit, and therefore they have no need to go further.
Other, in-depth factors
Another reason for a very high bounce rate is not having all your pages coded for tracking. Make sure Google Analytics is installed in the header or footer to ensure it is on every page in your site.
How to Improve Your Bounce Rate
Clean Looking Site Design
A relatively expensive way to fix a high bounce rate involves redesigning your site. Most importantly, redesign your landing page to keep people interested. It should be easy to read and figure out with plenty of breadcrumbs. Make it simple and streamlined, and be clear what your page is about.
Clear Navigation Menus
Navigation in the header makes it easy to encourage readers to look around more. Make use of Categories to organize your content by interest and be sure to include the categories your readers tend to be most interested in.
If your readers can’t find what they are looking for easily they will look elsewhere. Also be sure to include a search bar within the area readers see as soon as they land on your page.
Use Sneeze Pages
Sneeze pages are summary pages for a series or group of related posts. For example you might create a page where you can find all your Valentines Day posts. Create a gallery – people like nice visuals. The idea is that sneeze pages keep readers clicking around your site while they take in a topic they are interested in.
Don’t give away too much information on the first page. Instead, create easy-to-read links to other pages on your site. This means instead of showing full posts in your pages ensure you are showing excerpts only with attractive images to include readers to click through to the full article.
Practice Good SEO
If you don’t already, you need to start using SEO to get people to your other pages. Keywords are the best and easiest way to navigate people to your page.
Internal links to related posts within your post content is another great way to encourage people to click around, read more and engage with your blog. If you haven’t already made this a habit you can start by looking in Google Analytics under Behaviour > Overview to find your top posts. Edit those posts to add in links to other content on your site. This also goes back to using good SEO practices, make sure you are using relevant anchor text and not “click here”.
Avoid Intrusive Ads
Pop Ups and other ads that interfere with browsing will cause readers to leave immediately. Make use of your sidebar for advertisements instead. Music and Videos should start either muted or not be set to auto-play.
Increase your site load time
How likely are you to stick around and explore a slow website? Right. Fix that.
Easy to Read Content
Attractive content will keep people reading and engaged. Make sure your articles are visually appealing with headers, subheaders, bullet points, and nice big, clear images.
External Link = New Tab
Make sure that all external links open in a new tab. You want to keep your reader on your website. Sure link to other sources as needed but be sure you stay open in their browser by ensuring outside links go to a new tab and all internal links open within the same tab.
Show off Related Content
If you are using WordPress there are plenty of plugins for showing off your related content. My current favourite is Related Content Lite. You can also feature favourite posts in your sidebar to help encourage extra visits.
The best thing about fixing your bounce rate is that as your bounce rate lowers, your pageviews increase! Win – win!