Confession: I do not like bounce rates. They remind me of the popularity contests of high school and heaven only knows how I ranked on those.
A high bounce rate indicates that others are not interested in your site. A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after visiting one page. Basically, a high bounce rate shows that readers do not consider your site worth hanging around. It’s…well…it can be disheartening actually, especially if you think your bounce rate is high and no one really considers you worth reading.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Well, zero of course, but don’t let a 60 or 75 discourage you. An unofficial survey on one of my blog networks indicated that an average bounce rate for the majority of our blogs was in the 70-80% range. According to an infograph I saw recently from CrazyEgg, a good bounce rate goal for content sites like Cornerstone Confessions is actually more like 50 or 60 percent. It should be noted though that as a rule, the larger number of page views a website has, the lower the bounce rate so even this is hard to go on depending on your current page views. All that to say, whatever your bounce rate, we as bloggers should always try to make it better because we want our readers to stick around. And how we do that? By making our website sticky or easily clickable through one or more of the tactics below.
How to Decrease Your Website’s Bounce Rate
- Have clear navigation menus. If your readers can’t find what they are looking for easily they will look elsewhere. This is one reason I really like dropdown menus. It helps readers to be more specific in their search, thereby keeping them engaged longer.
- Have sneeze pages. What are sneeze pages? Sneeze pages are summary pages for a series or group of posts. My 144 Plan Home Page is example of a sneeze page. Another example would be one of my recipe landing pages where you can find all the recipes I’ve posted in particular category. Sneeze pages keep readers coming back to something they are interested in.
- Have a summaries only home page. We talked about this a little on Monday as #6 of 7 Ways to Speed Up Your Site Load Time but this one is a biggie. By having summaries only on your home page, guests who find your home page must automatically click to read a full article.
- Avoid pop-ups and intrusive ads. These ads tend to be a turn-off causing readers to leave immediately.
- Make your site mobile friendly or mobile responsive. On average anywhere from a 1/4 to 1/3 of pageviews come from mobile devices. Thus, if a site is not mobile friendly readers will be more likely to look elsewhere.
- Make your site load faster. According to ConversionXL 57% of readers will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load so be sure to do all you can to increase your site load time.
- Link to yourself. Link to relevant content found on your site in your posts. ‘Nough said.
- Make your posts easy to read with headers, subheaders, bullet points, images, contrasting colors, etc. According to Nielson Norman Group, if a reader does not find the article visually appealing in the first 10 seconds, the probability of them leaving is very very high.
- Cut out the music and auto-play videos on your site via ads or theme settings. Nothing is more annoying to me or most readers for that matter than music on a website, especially when you are trying to read articles after 9 p.m. when the kids are asleep. Please, no music.
- Open external links in new windows. This ensures that a reader doesn’t lose their place on your website. You can do this through html by typing target=”blank” following the site url.
- Prominently display your search box. If a reader likes what they find, they may be interested in searching your site for similar content. Currently the most popular place for a search box is right below a profile box in your sidebar. While you are welcome to have a search bar anywhere, having it in a common location helps to ensure that other readers will find it easily and use it.
- Add a related content posts plugin. My personal favorite is the nRelate Related Content Plugin but there are several other plugins out there that do the job just as well. Choose one that looks appealing to you with good ratings and go with it.
- Offer a helpful 404 page. I’ll be sharing more about this in a future post but for now, suffice it to say, if a person happens to reach a page on your website that can no longer be found, having an inviting 404 page can help to keep your reader engaged despite a faulty search.
- Display popular post links in your sidebar. Probably one of the things I look for most when first checking out a new blog is their most popular posts. What are they most popular for? Is it something I would be interested in? Is it something worth pinning? Popular posts are often my hook for following a new blog and I imagine I am not alone in this tactic either.
- Add an about page and/or a start here page. This gives new readers a place to start when first exploring your site. It helps them learn more about you and helps them to know what your blog is all about. Feel free to use my About page and/or Start Here page as place to start.
- Create clear calls to action such as “Download This” or “Sign Up for This…” or “Buy Now…” or “Leave a Comment…”. By doing so you are automatically inviting the reader to click to another page on your website.
And that’s it. Currently I am working on making my site more mobile responsive with the help of designer Christy Halsell as well as updating my 404 page to be a little more personal than “not found.” Once that is remedied I hope to see an even lower bounce rate than my current 59% so we shall see!
In the meantime, what are your tips for decreasing your website’s bounce rate?
I make no claims to be an expert on this subject, knowing full well the tips I’ve shared above just scratch the surface of all that’s involved. Thus, please share away and together we can learn from each other so as to grow in the areas in which God is using us for His glory.
Take it to the next level with these resources:
- Google Analytics
- How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate and Raise Interaction on Your Website by CrazyEgg
- iBlog, the Book
- My Blogging Brilliance Pinterest board.
This post is the 2nd of 12 in the 144 Plan to Blogging Brilliance. To learn more about the 144 Plan or catch up on a missed post, check out the complete 144 Plan Training Log.
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13