There are a lot of technical terms a long-term blogger has to learn about — website hosting, SEO, nofollow links, etc. But, one term many seem to ignore is one that everyone should be clued up on: Bounce rate.
No, unfortunately it isn’t how many bounces per minute you can do on a space hopper. It’s a term for some of the most vital blogging data you can ever access.
To understand bounce rate, you must first know where to find yours. There are multiple ways of doing this, but the simplest is to sign your website up to Google Analytics.
Once your analytics is up and running, navigate to overview and you’ll be presented with some statistics and data. It should look something like this:
Here, you’ll find your bounce rate as a percentile statistic. But…
What Does Your Bounce Rate Mean?
A ‘bounce’ is the term given to a website visitor leaving your website after viewing only one page. In simple terms, they either hit the back button after a few seconds, or they read a particular blog without checking out any others on your site.
Of course, we don’t want people bouncing. We want them looking around our blogs, sampling all our finest content.
In the example above, the bounce rate is 28.33% percent, which means that just over 28% of people who visited the website left without viewing another page.
What Should Your Bounce Rate Be?
A good bounce rate is generally considered to be anything below 70%. The lower you go, the better. Bounce rates near the 25% mark are considered excellent. As you start to get into the teens, there is likely to be concern that the data isn’t tracking properly. It may well be that you have a super-amazing blog which nobody wants to leave, but accurate figures closing in on single digits are pretty much unheard of.
On the other hand, there may not be cause for concern if your blog is above 70%. Blogs are unique in that they often ask and answer a question on one page. If you are writing about how to improve bounce rates and you answer every question a searcher is looking for about bounce rates, they may just bounce once they’ve got everything they need.
Every type of blog has a unique type of content on offer, and every blogger has their own style and twist that will also affect bounce rate. Do not compare yourself to other bloggers, because it is a fruitless endeavour — you are not the same. Instead, ask yourself:
How Can I Improve the Bounce Rate of My Blog?
To improve bounce rate, you must improve user experience. Here are a few changes you can make to boost your bounce statistics:
1 – Improve Load Speeds
The internet has made the modern person very, very impatient.
For every second it takes your website to load, more and more people are impatiently clicking the back button, looking for something more immediate. By the six second mark, over half of all users will likely have left your website. Clearly, then, improving load times is one of the best ways to drastically improve bounce rate.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce load times, even if you aren’t the most technically savvy person. Moving to a paid website hosting platform is a great start. Unlike free services, you receive better connectivity and data uploading speeds — basically, you get what you pay for. It is also a good idea to optimise images by reducing file size when possible and include plugins like Lazy Loading tools.
For more advanced tips on how to reduce site load speed, check out this blog by Moz.
2 – Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
This year, mobile usage officially overtook desktop browsing as the primary method of accessing the internet.
This means that your audience has shifted, so you should shift with them. A mobile-friendly website is absolutely essential in this day and age. If you load up a page that isn’t designed for mobile, it is almost completely unnavigable – and you know what that means. Bounce.
If your blog isn’t friendly to mobile browsers, you’re alienating the majority of your audience – or at least making things more difficult for them than it needs to be. Improve your design for mobile users and watch your bounce rate improve dramatically.
3 – Prioritise Design
Speaking of design..
A great blog design is crucial for attracting and maintaining visitors – but what constitutes a great design?
As mentioned earlier, most users are impatient. They want useful information and they want it now. A strong design capitalises on this desire, using visuals, succinct text and simple layouts to draw the eye.
Take the design of this website, for example.
Clicking on the homepage, you are immediately aware of what the blog offers. The simple, white design pushes your eyes towards the visuals and short, snappy text. Within seconds, you can see what’s on offer. While there are only a few elements on the page, you know this is a family blog focusing on reviews and recipes, with extra bits tied on. Now you can start browsing for the things you are looking for, or blogs you might be interested in reading.
Conversely, if the website was full of text, overwhelmed the senses with large background images and had too many blogs and categories to choose from, users would be more likely to bounce — unable to satisfy their thirst for immediate gratification.
4 – Think Carefully About Pop-Ups
It can be tempting to put pop-ups on your blog, like “sign up to our newsletter” or “read our top picks”, but pop-ups aren’t something many people enjoy.
Here, you have to consider the payoff vs the benefit factor. What is the value of your pop-up compared to the value of annoyed users who bounce because of it?
If you use pop-ups on your blog, run test phases to see the metrics behind your decision. Monitor bounce rate against the gains from your pop-up, then remove the pop-up for a period of time and see how bounce rate changes.
From here, you can decide whether or not the impact to bounce rate is worth sacrificing for the benefits of having a pop-up.
5 – Take Advantage of Internal Linking
Improving bounce rate is all about shifting people around your website; getting them to move from one page to another without looking elsewhere. More content clicks, more views, more people reading your blogs!
Here, internal linking plays an important part. If your viewer reaches the end of a blog and has nowhere else to go, they’ll be more likely to hit the back button than go looking through your menus.
Using internal links to point them towards other blogs is a valuable technique that should be utilised at this point. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Call to Action — A call to action often appears right after a blog and invites the reader to dig deeper into your site. For example:“Did you find our blog on website hosting helpful? Click here to find more tech insights!” If they liked the blog and found it helpful, this creates a natural flow that helps them move deeper into your blog’s architecture.
- Suggested — If you’ve got blogs in similar categories or on similar topics, use internal links to suggest them. If you reviewed an episode of a TV show, why not link them to another review of a previous episode?
- Sidebars — You don’t always have to be the one that offers up content to readers. If you’ve got great blogs you think people will love, just make sure they are accessible. Putting links to more content through sidebars allows readers to see what else is available and easily find other blogs that might interest them.
The trick is creating less work for your reader — the less effort they have to put in, the more likely they are to keep browsing.
6 – Write Related Content
Having a niche for your blog is important, especially when it comes to bounce rate.
Chances are that new visitors arrive through social media or Google searches, landing on a specific blog, not your homepage. After gobbling up the blog, if there is no other relevant content for them, why would they stay?
Let’s say you are looking for advice on website hosting and design as you start a new blog. You find a website that offers a good article, but they have no other relevant resources. You’ll bounce.
If they had more content that was in that niche, you’d be far less likely to leave, instead looking at what else they have on offer. Keeping your focus refined means that those who stumble across one of your posts are far more likely to be interested in your other posts.