Post synopsis: Worried about high bounce rate on your website? You can reduce the rate by making your readers check out more content on your website. This post explores some simple tips to improve your bounce rate.
You have a lot to share on your blog. Perhaps you want to share professional tips or nuggets of personal growth. Perhaps you want to share about your travels or your beauty hacks. Perhaps, you want to share your family recipes.
And you work very hard at not only creating solid content that is SEO-friendly but also promoting it social media platforms. Your page views are going up but somehow so is your bounce rate. This worries you. You
Well, here’s the good news. High bounce rate does not necessarily mean readers are not finding your content useful. It’s possible that
Or, perhaps you have fallen prey to the Facebook promotion thread guidelines where most people are visiting your site with no intention to engage.
Wanna find out? Read on to understand the concept of bounce rate, what a high bounce rate means for your website, and how you can reduce the bounce rate.
How to Reduce Bounce Rate on Your WordPress Blog
What is bounce rate?
Bounce refers to an event when a visitor lands on your website/webpage and exits without clicking a link (to another post or page) or commenting. Bounce rate is the percentage of events when a bounce occurs on your website.
You can find out the average bounce rate of your website in your Google Analytics account.
Why should you care about high bounce rate?
Turns out, bounce rate is one of the million (!!) determining ranking criterions when it comes to search engines, especially Google Search.
It is, however, not known how influential it is because Google doesn’t share that data.
But more importantly, a high bounce rate could be indicative of unengaging or unhelpful posts. That goes completely against the objective of most blogs–to help other people.
If people are not finding good content to engage with on your website, it is unlikely you will earn followers, subscribers, and high rankings.
What does it mean to have a high bounce rate on your website?
When I started blogging a year ago, my bounce rate was through the roof. I think I was averaging around 97%. With time, I worked on my content and marketing to bring it down to high 20s. For good part of the year, the average bounce rate of my website hovered around 30-32%. I put all my learnings in an email series and created the 7-Day Sticky Blog Workout (have you signed up yet?)
However, in the last month or two, I have kinda, sorta gone slow on content creation and even slower on promotion. My traffic has dropped and my overall average bounce rate is creeping up again. Law of average, you’ll! At the time of writing this post, my bounce rate is somewhere in 80s :-O There! I said it.
I am determined to bring it back down to 30s in a month or so. The 7-Day Sticky Blog Workout works! I want people to engage with my content more.
Anyway, back to the reasons for high bounce rate.
There are two ways of looking at this. Your bounce rate is high because your content is:
- Very helpful and super focussed
- Not helpful and all over the place
Let’s consider the first scenario: a visitor lands on your website looking for something super specific. And you, being the keyword champ, have in-depth information on that subject. The visitor comes and reads the content, finds all the answers she was looking for, and leaves.
But remember, the key to the first scenario is that you are retaining the visitor on your website/page for the duration of the post. Even if they do not interact with your page in any other way, such as click an internal link or check your About page. For example, if your in-depth post is a 5-minute long read, the visitor should be spending a minimum of 2-3 minutes on that page. If you see the average screen time for this page is just a few seconds, you need to work harder on your retention strategy (we will discuss how to do this in a bit)!
Let’s take my example: even though my bounce rate is high, take a look at my “time on page” number:
That means people are reading what I have to say and it’s probably enough to answer all their queries at that time.
Now, consider the second scenario: readers do not find your content useful or your content is not focussed. This is a more deep-seated problem because this requires attention. In a moment, you will learn about some practical ways to increase reader engagement on your website, and consequently, reduce your bounce rate.
But before we get to that, here comes a curve ball: given that most of us are promoting our blog posts on Facebook promotion threads, it is very likely that your bounce rate is high for no fault of yours. You could write great content that is on point and compelling. But, because of the promotion threads, a majority of participants visit your blog post with the sole intention of fulfilling the promotion thread guidelines. Most of them won’t take even a second to look what your post is about. They just want to hit the share button, exit, and move onto the next promotion thread. Not ideal but it’s the reality.
That’s why working on your SEO is so important. You want the majority of your audience to be interested in what you have to say. Check out this SEO-boosting cheat sheet to improve your Google rankings and increase organic traffic to your website.
How to reduce the bounce rate?
It is not difficult to bring down a bounce rate floating away into the far skies.
Deliver content that your audience wants
Pretty basic, right?
If your target audience does not find what they are looking for on your website, they are going to exit pronto! So, be very intentional about what you put in your post.
First of all, do your research. Find out what your target audience is looking for. Scan the search engines to see if there are other posts about this topic and whether there is a gap you can fill.
- How to create 10 blog posts from just one idea | FREE 300+ blog post ideas
- How to Reuse Old Blog Posts
Once you have a topic, decide on the type of post you want to create. There are many styles of blog posts. Choose the one that best serves your intentions and do justice to it.
Readers appreciate posts that focus on one topic comprehensively. Write it in an interesting manner. Make your readers stay and automatically your bounce rate will reduce.
Also, here’s a cheat sheet to boost your SEO ranking. After all, you first have to get people on your website.
- How to Promote Your Content (and Not Just on Social Media)
- How to Write a Compelling Blog Headline That Guarantees Clickthroughs
Optimize your website to load super quick
Let’s take a look at my page load time:
Holy moly! 14.7s is terrible! But I know what’s going on. I haven’t compressed my images in a while. I also have a ton of plugins and themes installed–I need to delete those.
Think about the last time you tried to open a website and it just wouldn’t load. Remember how frustrating it was? Now, check your own website’s speed on GTMetrix.
How long does it take?
Visitors abandon sites that take more than 5 seconds to load. In fact, a good page load time is less than 1 second. It’s true!
So, how do reduce page load time? There are some technical and some non-technical aspects to it:
- Choose a good hosting partner and the best plan for your needs. I recommend SiteGround for their reasonable packages and spectacular customer/technical service team.
- Compress your images because these take up a lot of space. Believe it or not, when you upload one image on your WordPress media library, WordPress saves up to 8 copies of that in different sizes. I use the EWWW image compression plugin.
- Delete images that you don’t need. Why fill space with unnecessary junk?
- Delete plugins and themes that you don’t use. Themes and plugins use a lot of backend files to create a seamless user experience. However, those files add up and slow down your load time.
- Install caching plugins. For example, W3 Total Cache save parts of your website so that it doesn’t need to contact the server each time a repeat visitor lands on your website.
- Use CDN services. These services distribute the load across various servers across the globe. This means if your host is based in the US but someone from India is trying to access your site, their ping will be sent to the US server and back. This takes time, even though it’s a matter of seconds. Instead, with CDN installed, the India visitor will ping a destination closer to her (such as India or Singapore) instead of pinging the US-based server.
Update your content regularly
Okay, so you got someone interested in visiting your website by researching keywords and writing stellar content. Google can take a long time to show any movement in your posts ranking. But that day has come. A long time has passed since you created this piece of content–it has become outdated. And someone has landed on your website to read this post. Yikes!
Always make sure your content is up-to-date.
- Revisit old posts and check if content is still relevant. If not, update it to reflect the latest information.
- Remove the date display from your blog posts
- Sort comments from newest to oldest
Use simple language
In most cases, your blog is not your creative writing canvas; it’s an instructional content platform. Unless you are an author, poet, painter, actor…and your website is your portfolio.
Readers come to your website to find information and/or learn something. Make it easy for them to learn.
- Write your content in an instructional style. For example, use list or Q&A format.
- Use simple language to make your content readable to the majority of your audiences.
- Provide examples and images/screenshots/videos to illustrate your points.
When you create content that is not only interesting but also easy to understand, readers will stay and check out your other content.
Build a web of your posts
Now that your reader wants to read more of your content, guide her to your best content.
How will she know what she should read next? Where can she find more content on the topic you have written about?
Use internal linking.
The idea is to not only guide the reader to appropriate reading material but also to be a one-stop-shop for her.
Be generous with linking to your existing content. Create a storyline that demands that you add the links to related content. Do not force-fit though.
An additional advantage of internal linking is creating backlinks. More backlinks = high Google ranking.
When appropriate, do not be afraid to add a few external links as well.
Make your site mobile-friendly
With the advent of smartphone technology, more and more people now access the web on their smartphone or tablet.
Now, you may think if you have a website, it should load and be accessible from all platforms. Well, that used to be the case.
But now, it’s just the minimum threshold of any website. Your website has to load in a prescribed manner on a smart device. Factors such as page load speed, resize responsiveness, pop-ups, etc. determine whether someone will continue on your website.
When selecting a theme for your website, make sure it is mobile responsive, or AMP compliant. Non-compliance means poor user experience on mobile device and results in users navigating away quickly.
Here’s a post that explains how to make your website AMP compliant.
So, there you have it. Those are some of the most common ways to reduce the bounce rate on your website.
For even more tips on reducing your website’s bounce rate, join the
FREE 7 Day Sticky Blog Workout
This is an email series designed to share not only tips but actionable items at the end of each day.
Alright, let’s wrap up…
Do you track your bounce rate? What changes have you seen over time?
Pin for later.