More often than not, newbie webmasters and bloggers do not feel concerned about a piece of data called the Bounce Rate. All the web traffic analysis tools worth their salt will tell you the bounce rate of your website or blog. And you must pay attention to it. In this article I am going to explain everything about bounce rate, including ways of how to reduce it.
Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of your website's visitors who come and read only one page on your blog. This is to say that a visitor comes on one of your posts and leaves your blog after reading that particular post. Such visitors do not spare time to roam around in your blog and read more posts.
High bounce rate can provide a hint that your blog is not catchy enough to entice a visitor's interest beyond the post where he had landed.
Ok, now that you know what is bounce rate, let's see how to calculate it. It's very easy indeed!
As I explained above, bounce rate shows how many visitors left your blog right from the page where they had landed. So, the simple formula turns out to be:
Bounce Rate of Site = (Visitors with one page view / total number of visitor) x 100
Thus, if you have 200 visitors in a day and if 170 of them left without going to any other post —then the bounce rate of your website is is 85% … meaning 85% of your visitors did not bother to explore your website further.
Well, 85% is very high bounce rate!
As I said before, any good web analytics software will automatically calculate and show you the bounce rate. You must use a good web traffic analysis tool for getting the insights into what's going on your website.
There can be tens of reasons why your bounce rate is high. Some of them would be obvious and others may need to be investigated. Here are some of the common causes of high bounce rate:
Low Content Quality
If your content is badly written or factually wrong —the visitor will immediately leave your blog (and perhaps will never come back!). Make sure that you write useful, helpful and interesting content in a language suitable for a good blog.
Slow Loading Speed of Blog
If your blog loads slow, I can bet that visitors will leave it sooner than you expect. Online visitors are not patient people. If your blog takes more than 5 seconds to load, you can be sure that you are losing a significant number of page views just because of speed issues.
Content is Irrelevant
If your content is not about what it claims to be —visitors will get annoyed. Many novice bloggers use such black hat tricks to get traffic but eventually they pay a heavy price.
Layout and Design of Your Blog is Bad
Your blog must have a clearly laid out, easily found and visible navigation scheme. If you don't have a good navigational structure, your visitors will not be able to find their way to the other areas of your blog.
Blog's design should be simple. Links should be clearly visible against the background color. For example, grey color links on black background is not a good idea at all.
You should not use stuff like moving items (like marquee, animated gifs, flash etc.) and popup windows too much. These things irritate visitors as they find it difficult to focus on the real content of your blog.
There is no perfect answer to this question. Different blogs and niches have different bounce rates. For example, news websites will have very low bounce rates because readers do come to these websites to read multiple news items. In contrast, a question-answer website will have relatively high bounce rate because visitors are most likely to leave the website after getting the answer they were looking for.
Nevertheless, an average bounce rate of 60% could be seen as an ideal rate for most of the websites. Even lower the better! So, I would recommend that as your first goal, you should aim to bring the bounce rate down to 60%. After that, you can go on reducing it even further.
The answer is obvious —isn't it? Well, bounce rate should be as low as possible because of several reasons, including the following:
- Low bounce rate is an indication that your blog is interesting. People come and they get hooked to it. They keep on reading more and more posts.
- Low bounce rate will increase the number of pages viewed. Most bloggers who want to get more traffic often worry only about how to get more traffic from outside (i.e. how to increase the number of visitors). But they don't realize that pageview count is almost as important as visitor count (especially if you're a professional blogger).
- Low bounce rate translates into higher revenues if you're displaying advertisements (Google AdSesne or any other ad networks). So far as we talk about ads, a new visit or a new page view are equally good. Lower bounce rate > higher page views > higher number of ads displayed > higher likelihood of clicks.
The core idea behind lowering bounce rate is to engage your visitor and encourage him to explore your blog. I am going to tell you a few tips on how this could be achieved —but of course the most important thing is to have interesting and quality content.
The more interesting and useful would be the content; the more would be chances that visitor will go on digging deeper into your website. So, no matter what; you must first of all focus on good quality material.
Having said all that, now let me offer you a few tips on how you can reduce bounce rate.
1. Interlink Your Posts/Content
You should not forget what you've already posted on your blog. While publishing a new post, look for avenues to interlink the new post with the already published material. This helps visitors to gain more insight into the topic of your new post.
Caveat is, as usual, don't overdo it. You must link relevant content otherwise you may run the risk of irritating your valued visitor!
2. Split Content
If your post is long enough, you can afford to split it into multiple pages. This will cause visitor to go through more than one page and therefore will reduce the bounce rate.
This trick however has its own share of problems. Your content should really be long enough to qualify for split. If you try to split small amount of content then each of the resulting pages will get even smaller amount of content. This can harm the overall value of your post in search engine's eyes. So, don't be greedy —use this tip sparingly and only when you really have large amount of content.
3. Show Similar Posts
You should show links of similar posts somewhere on your blog. These posts should have significant similarity with the current post. The idea is to offer the visitor more content that could be of taste to him.
There are several plugins out there to easily display similar posts. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is very popular and a good plugin for WordPress. nrelate is also a good one with lots of features. I personally use YARPP on TechWelkin.
Although, these plugins are fairly flexible as to where you want to place them —but putting related content links at the end of the post serves the purpose pretty well enough.
4. Use Sidebar to Highlight Interesting Content
Most bloggers use sidebar just for traditional widgets like subscription, social media channels, and introduction stuff etc. But sidebar is a place that can also be used for highlighting what's most interesting in your blog. This will attract visitors because sidebar remains more or less constant throughout the blog. You can show images along with such post links to catch even more eyeballs.
5. Use Popular Content Widget
This is another way of highlighting what is trending on your blog. Such widgets are available aplenty for all major blog platforms (like WordPress, Blogger etc.) These widgets show top posts based on the number of views.
This method is a bit different from the the above mentioned Highlight Interesting Content. In highlighting —you can select what to highlight. But popular content widgets automatically show the trending content. Highlight method gives you more flexibility and you can also use it for promoting posts that have not been doing good on their own. Needless to say, content of these posts has to be interesting!
6. Do Not Open External Links in Same Window
While giving links to other websites, you should make sure that these links open in a new window or tab (use target=”_blank”). Opening such links in the same window will take the visitor away from your blog and possibility of his pressing Back button is very low. Internet users flow with the information. They pretty much suffer with “wilfing” (What was I looking for?!)
7. Speed-up the Loading Time
You should take measures to reduce the load time of your blog. A slow loading website is something that makes bouncing a certainty. Different websites have different load times depending upon the kind and amount of content it offers. But, trust me, you can always do something to speed-up your blog. Just look for what is causing slowness.
It is important for any serious blogger to reduce bounce rate to as low as possible. However, one must not go overboard in playing tricks as it may spoil the whole dish. This article explained all about bounce rate. Now, following is an infographic from KISSMetrics that says a few more things. Do, please, let me know your comments and questions.
Feel free to comment and share with me your questions and suggestions. Thank you for using TechWelkin!