Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without navigating to another page. If you have a low bounce rate, it means the majority of the people who come to your site will have a good old nose around while they’re there. Having a low bounce rate therefore suggests your site is filled with fabulous content that people love to read!
It’s worth noting here that the average bounce rate for blogs is 70-90%. At the time of writing, my bounce rate for the last 30 days is 74% (I got that from my Google Analytics; you can do the same). Ideally, I’d love to get my bounce rate lower than 70. Here are ten ways to do that…
1. Attract the right visitors: make sure your post titles and meta descriptions are a good indicator of what the post includes. If the person clicking your link intends to be there in the first place, they’re more likely to stick around. If they’ve read a misleading title and clicked through to find the content is not what they’re after, they won’t stick around.
2. Include links to other posts – both within the text of your posts (where relevant), and at the bottom. You can do this with services like Link Within and Shareaholic.
3. Choose your keywords carefully. Make sure that if you’re using keywords in your post, they match the specific content properly. There’s no point in stuffing random keywords into a post in the hope of getting a few clicks, if people are not going to stick around when they get to you.
4. Check how user-friendly your site is. Ask a friend to have a look at your site to assess how easy it is to find things like a search bar, menu and other content. Joanne Dewberry offers a “5 Things for £5” service where she will check over your blog and give you a list of 5 things you can do to improve it and this is well worth doing.
5. Make sure your text is readable. “Handwritten” fonts look pretty, but how easy are they to read? When faced with something that’s not immediately clear and easy to read, most people will click away – no matter how fantastic the content is. Avoid using light text on a dark background; it’s difficult to read. Use a reasonably large font, a large headline and employ the use of white space to break up text. Bulleted lists also make posts easier to read when people are busy.
6. Set all links to open in new windows. This is a really simple one. If you’re including a link in your post, make sure it will open in a new window, and not cause your reader to click away from the post they’ve been reading.
7. Optimise your page load time. WordPress has thousands of plugins you can download, but each one you add will slow your site a little more. Lots of photos will also slow down the pageload and in this age of immediate access to everything, nobody wants to wait even a few extra seconds for a page to load.
8. Avoid pop-ups. I can’t be doing with pop-ups asking me to sign up to email lists or provide feedback or download a free e-book. A lot of other people can’t either, and they will click away rather than search for the little “x” symbol to close the window and read your blog.
9. Share your most popular posts – A short list in your sidebar of the most popular posts on your blog is a great way of making sure people will stick around. If a post has been really popular with other readers, it’s likely that new readers will want to read it too.
10. Choose your headlines carefully – Take a look at this headline. It does exactly what it says on the tin. This doesn’t just mean that people clicking a link to this post will stick around, but when they’re wandering around the rest of the site, they’re more likely to click in to read other posts if the headline makes it clear what they’re about.
Basically, what you’re trying to do is make sure someone who ends up clicking onto your site is encouraged to stick around. Make it easy for them to find more great things to read, and make it easy for them to read it.
What do you think? Do you know of any other great ways to lower the bounce rate of a blog? I’d love to hear your opinions!