In today’s lesson I want to talk about a statistic or metric that is in Google analytics that I see bloggers talking about a lot – that of ‘bounce rate’.
Just today I was asked twice about bounce rate and how to get it lower.
So in this episode, I thought I’d tackle the topic and will talk briefly about what bounce rate is, about why I see many bloggers not really interpreting it in a helpful way and for the bulk of the episode I want to give you 11 things you can do to lower bounce rate on your blog. Lastly I’m going to suggest some homework that you might want to do!
So if you if you’re not sure what bounce rate is or you look at the stat in your Google Analytics and want to know how to get it lower – this episode is just for you!
Note: you can find this episode (PB179) here on iTunes if you’d like to listen to it there.
Further Resources on How to Lower the Bounce Rate on Your Blog
- Google Analytics
- Plugin to Open External Links in a New Window
- ProBlogger Podcast Listeners Group on Facebook
- Further Reading on Removing Dates from Blogs
- ProBlogger Start Here Page
- Digital Photography School Start Here Page
- dPS Photography for Beginners Sneeze Page
- 21 Settings, Techniques and Rules all New Camera Owners Should Know (a sneeze post)
- How to Turn Surfers into Blog Readers by Building a Sticky Blog
- Getting Blog Readers to Subscribe, Follow and Connect
- How to Turn First Time Visitors Into Interested Readers of Your Blog (Portal Strategy)
- Series of Blog Posts vs Long Blog Posts – Which is Better?
- How to Get People to Comment on Your Blog Posts
- How to Build a Culture of Community on Your Blog
Welcome to episode 179 of the ProBlogger podcast!
My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger.com, which is a blog, a podcast, event, job board, and series of eBooks all designed to help you as a blogger to start an amazing blog to create lifechanging content for your readers and to hopefully make a bit of an income for yourself.
You can learn more about ProBlogger over at ProBlogger.com.
Now today, I’m feeling a little bit strange. Listen to this. Can you hear it? There’s nothing. My house is so quiet today because my youngest son started school this week. Yes, all three of my boys are at school at last. Also it’s been very exciting to see him get in his uniform and waddle off to school with a massive bag on his back. The house is just so quiet. I think it’s gonna take a little time to get used to, but anyway, one of the good things about a quiet house is that I can record this podcast pretty much anytime of the day. I don’t have to set him up with a movie or anything like that or wait till he goes off to preschool.
Without further ado, let’s get into today’s lesson.
In today’s lesson, what I want to talk about is a statistic or a metric that you can find in your Google Analytics account. It’s one that I see a lot of bloggers talking about. It’s the statistic or the metric bounce rate – your bounce rate. That’s what I wanna talk about today.
Even just today, I was asked twice in Facebook groups about bounce rate and how to get it lower, so I thought in this episode, I’d tackle the topic. We’ll talk briefly about what a bounce rate is, for those of you who’ve never heard that term before or maybe you’ve seen it in your Google Analytics and wondered what it was. I wanna talk a little bit about why I think some bloggers aren’t really interpreting bounce rate in a helpful way.
For the bulk of this episode, I wanna give you eleven different things you can do to get your bounce rate lower and hopefully improve your blog. The last thing I wanna do is suggest a little bit of homework that you might wanna do to lower your bounce rate. I wanna challenge you to pick one of the things we talk about today to lower yours.
If you are someone who doesn’t know what bounce rate is or you have been looking at it in your Google Analytics and wondering how to get it lower, this episode is for you. There is going to be quite a bit of further reading and some suggested further listening today, so you might wanna check out the show notes over at ProBlogger.com/podcast/179, where you can also get a full transcript of today’s show.
Let’s get into it.
Today I was asked by two different bloggers about bounce rate. [Riva 0:02:44] asked, “What are some ways to reduce your bounce rate?” Riva says, “I’m adding other posts at the end of my post for people to click through to. I’ve written long form and short form posts. I’ve got a ‘Start Here’ and ‘About’ page, but I can’t get my bounce rate below 70%.” Then Paul asks, “What’s an acceptable bounce rate for a blog? Mine is 80%. Is that too high? What can I do to lower it?”
Bounce rate – something that’s on the mind of at least two of our readers and I know a little bit more because I just asked in our Facebook group (the ProBlogger Listeners Facebook group) – I asked the question, “What statistic do you watch the most?” About a quarter of the people who’ve responded so far have mentioned “bounce rate.” It’s something that’s on your mind. Let’s quickly define it, and then get onto some tips for lowering it.
Firstly, definitions. Bounce rate is a metric in your Google Analytics account that reports the percentage of people, who visit your site and who leave your site from that first page that they arrive on. They bounce off your site. They come to a page, and then they leave straight away without clicking around your site.
To find this statistic, it’s very easy. Simply log into your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have Google Analytics, please add it, because it’s an industry standard. It’s amazingly powerful, and it’s completely free. Once you’ve got it set up on your blog – if you’ve got questions about that, ask in the Facebook group, we’ll be able to help you through that.
Log into your Google Analytics account. When you are on the first page – once you’re looking at your blog stats, you’ll see the “Audience Overview.” You’ll see a little chart titled “Bounce Rate,” and it will have a percentage number underneath it. I’m looking at mine right now for Digital Photography School, and the number is the 78.25%. That’s an average of the last month of people who bounced away from my site, which sounds pretty hot. 78.25% are arriving on my site, and they’re leaving straight away.
It’s very difficult to compare my bounce rate to yours, and we’ll talk a little bit about why that might be in a moment. But you will see that number for yours. That means 78.25% of people are arriving on my blog, and they’re leaving without viewing any more than the single page they arrive on. If you click on that little chart in Google Analytics, it will open up the last month of your bounce rate or whatever period that you’ve got the dates in for.
Now most blogs don’t really see a great variation from day to day in their bounce rate. They’re usually a pretty flat line. Mine changes slightly when we send out our email. I’ll talk a little bit about that in a moment, but most blogs will have a very steady line when they click on that particular chart. It’s pretty even over time.
In general, when you’re interpreting that number, a high number – if you’ve got 99%, it means a lot of people are leaving your blog without surfing around. If it’s a low number, it means a lot of people are getting to your site and then clicking around your site. In general, most people would say a high number is a bad sign and a lower number is a good sign. But there are some times, where that’s not the case. We’ll talk about those in a minute. A low number means less people are bouncing away from your site.
The most common question I get asked when it comes to bounce rate is the one you heard before, “How do I get it lower?” or like Paul asked, “What’s an acceptable rate?” I’m gonna talk a little bit about how to get it lower in a minute, but there’s a few things I do wanna say about bounce rates. This comes into how to interpret that number.
First thing, there are times when a lower bounce rate isn’t a good thing. You might think that’s weird, but there are times, where the goal of a page on your site or maybe even your whole site is to get your readers to do something other than click around your site. For example, if you have a site that’s all about promoting affiliate products, you probably want to send people away from your site. You might have a post on your site that you actually want a bounce rate that’s really high. You want people to be bouncing straight off your site, because that means they’re going to visit the affiliate site. That might be one case.
It may be that you want people to call your business. If you’ve got a business, your blog is about your business, and ultimately, your goal is to get people to pick up the phone and call you, then a high bounce rate could actually be a sign that that’s a good thing. They’re getting to your site, and they’re picking up the phone and calling you. It may be that you’re trying to sell something on a site like Amazon or eBay, so you want to send people away from your site. It may be that you’re capturing a lead through a tool that doesn’t require another page load on your site.
Any of these things can actually mean your bounce rate is higher, but it can be a good thing. I wanted to put that out there, so it’s not always something that you want to lower if you’re trying to achieve one of those things. But most of us are trying to lower our bounce rate.
Second thing I wanna just say before I get into some techniques for lowering your bounce rate is that I see a lot of bloggers looking at their sites’ overall bounce rate. The number I gave you before is 78.25% of people who arrive on Digital Photography School are bouncing away. That’s interesting, but I much prefer to look at the bounce rate of individual pages on my blog. Whilst, yes, lowering my overall number might be a good thing, I’m much more interested in lowering the number on individual pages.
Let me give you a few examples. On ProBlogger, as I look at my Google Analytics account, I can see on the front page of ProBlogger, over the last month, our bounce rate is 61%. That’s lower than our site average. I think our site average there is similar to DPS. It’s normally in the seventies, but on the front page is 61. That makes sense. When people arrive on the front page of ProBlogger, there’s lots of options there for them to click around the site. They’re probably looking at the front page, because they’re trying to work out what the site is and what the most recent stuff is, and so it makes sense that that number is lower.
If you look at other pages on ProBlogger, you might look at our “Start Here” page. The bounce rate on that is 54%. That’s fantastic. Again, that page is purely designed to direct people to different parts of the site. On the job board on ProBlogger – this is where we list jobs for bloggers – the bounce rate is 35%, and that’s great because it means people are clicking on individual jobs on that job board. You can see there, there’s an incredible variance. Whilst the overall bounce rate for ProBlogger as a whole is 72%, there’s pages that are as low as 35%. There’s incredible variance there. I think looking at your overall number is interesting, but looking at individual pages and individual posts on your site is much more interesting.
On the converse side, I’ve showed you there some low bounce rates. There’s posts on ProBlogger that have very high ones. There’s a post I was just looking at before. I wrote it in 2012. It’s still getting search traffic every day, but the bounce rate on that individual post is 91%. That’s because the content on it is old. People are arriving on it and seeing the date 2012, and they’re seeing information that perhaps isn’t as relevant for them and they’re bouncing away at a higher rate. Actually digging into your stats and looking at the bounce rate of individual pages, I think is so much more productive and beneficial. A better strategy for looking at your overall is to really dig into those. I really would encourage you to do that in your Google Analytics.
You may even just stop this podcast right now and get into Google Analytics. Look at your most visited pages, your front page of your blog, and the key pages in your navigation, the most visited blog posts, pages like sales pages or landing pages for your email lists – all of these pages – it’s really interesting to see what the bounce rate is, and it’s much more worthwhile to spend your time decreasing the bounce rate on individual pages than overall in some ways. That’s another thing I wanna say about bounce rate.
The last thing I’ll say before I get into some techniques for lowering bounce rates is that bounce rate varies depending upon the source of your traffic. Again, I’m gonna flip back to Digital Photography School. My Google Analytics there – just looking at that now, and I can see that traffic that comes from Google bounces away from Digital Photography School at 77%, whereas traffic coming from social media is bouncing away at 81%. Then traffic coming in from email is bouncing away at 55%. I could see the incredible variance in the types of traffic and the sources of the traffic, so I think it can be really useful to dig into that.
I’m particularly interested in looking at Google traffic because that makes up the bulk of the traffic on my site. Over 50% of my traffic comes in from Google, and most of the people arriving in from Google are first-time visitors as well. I’m looking at really lowering that.
Email – I’m not really as interested in lowering that. It’s already pretty low, and that’s because we send out emails with multiple links in them. Someone opening our email might see 10 of our latest posts on the site, and so they’ll click on through to a few of those. That’s why that number is 55%, but I’m not really interested in lowering that much more because those people are already subscribed.
People who are coming in from Google – they’re first-time visitors. I wanna get that number down because I know if I can get people visiting more pages on their first view, they’re more likely to subscribe.
Dig into your Google Analytics. Look at the bounce rate for individual pages on your site and also the different sources of traffic. You’ll get much more information about your bounce rate if you dig deeper.
I made those disclaimers and those general comments about bounce rate. Let me dig into some strategies for getting the bounce rate on your site down, and of course keeping in mind that sometimes, in a few instances, you don’t wanna get it down because you wanna get it higher. You want people to take action off your site, but let’s talk about getting your bounce rate down because that’s what most of us are interested in doing on our site on the individual pages.
I wanna go through 11 things, and I’ll kind of whip through them as fast as I can. Firstly, the first thing you can do to get your bounce rate down is to make a great first impression when people arrive at your site. I’ve said this many times in the past. People decide in the first few seconds when they’re on your site as to whether you’re a credible site, whether you’re relevant to them, and whether you’re worth reading. They’re making those judgments based upon the design of your site, the branding of your site, whether you’re clearly communicating the benefits or topic of your site, whether you’re making a promise that excites them. Things like your design, your branding, your tagline – these things can help to create a great first impression. They will make people look a little bit deeper into your site. If they see a beautifully designed site that’s well-branded and that clearly communicates a benefit for them reading, they’re much more likely to click around on your site and see whether you’ve got something worthwhile for them.
Another thing that you can do to create a positive first impression is to work on social proof. Again, this makes people look twice if you’ve got a user testimony or a testimony from someone else who’s famous or someone who said something nice about your site – include that. If you’ve got a lot of social media followers or subscribers, if you put that number up and show people there are other people on your site, if you’ve been quoted in mainstream media and you can use the logo of the New York Times or the Washington Post or whatever it might be – these things all just create these little signals for first-time visitors to your site that perhaps your site is a legitimate site. Perhaps you’re credible. Perhaps you’ve got something worthwhile to them. Social proof can also help.
Another thing that is a little bit controversial, but I’m gonna go there, is: I think removing the dates on your blog posts can be one thing that may make a good impression upon people, particularly when you’ve got a lot of very old content on your site that’s evergreen. On Digital Photography School, we have posts that I wrote back in 2006, 2007, which are still relevant for today. I’ve got a post – I just shared it on Facebook earlier today – on shutter speed and what shutter speed is. It’s a useful post, but it was written in 2007. If I have the date on that post, people will look at it and go, “Ugh. This is old.” They’ll make a judgment based upon when it was written even though it still is relevant today as it was back in 2007.
On Digital Photography School, I don’t have dates on my site. That removes a little barrier. It creates a little bit more of a positive impression. If your site is not about evergreen content, there’s probably good reason to keep dates on your site, but if you’ve got a lot of evergreen content, removing dates might be one thing that can help to make a more positive impression. I actually noticed when I took dates off Digital Photography School, my bounce rate actually got lower. That was a little test that I did. Number one: make a great first impression.
Number two: make your site as easy to use as possible. People are much more likely to stay in the site and click around on your site if it’s easy to do that. Number one: make sure your site loads fast. If you have a very slow loading site, people are going to get frustrated using it. They’re not gonna wanna click another link on your site because it’s gonna take another 30 seconds to open up. Make your load time as fast as you can. Make it easy to read.
You might wanna listen to episode 176, where I talked about scan-able content, using good font sizes and line spacing, choosing a readable font, having clear navigation, making your blog mobile responsive, so that people don’t see a tiny, minute version of your site, and they just don’t know what to click on your site. Minimize interruptions. Too many pop-ups or too much clutter on the site – it just gets too overwhelming for people. You want a nice, clean site that loads fast, that’s easy to read on a mobile. These things make it easier for people to stay on your site. They will reduce the bounce rates.
It may be that you need to think about a redesign for your site to fix up some of those things, if you think they might be having an impact. One of the things we do when we do a redesign is really watch very carefully the bounce rate statistic across the whole site, but also on individual pages.
Number three thing you can do to reduce bounce rate is to really focus very hard on high quality content. Perhaps this is the best thing that you can do because if people arrive on your site and they read something or they watched something, and they experienced something that changes their life in some way that’s high quality content, they’re much more likely to click around. If you’ve got a well-written article that’s articulate, if you are generous with your readers, if you have something that enhances their life in some way – they’re gonna click around. That’s ultimately, I think, the best thing that you can do. Invest a lot of time into the content. Of course, that improves your blog in many other ways, but it will improve the bounce rate as well.
Number four: call people to connect with you in some way. One of your goals on most parts of your blog or to get people to make an ongoing connection with you, you want them to maybe subscribe to your email list, connect with your social media, make a strong clear call to action in multiple parts of your blog to connect with you. This will help people to keep coming back to your site, which ultimately – it may not change your bounce rate in the moment, in that first visit, but it will over time. We see return visitors to Digital Photography School. People who are coming back every day are actually clicking around at a much higher rate than first-time visitors. That’s very clear in all of the blogs that I’ve ever been involved with.
You wanna get people engaged, and the best way to get people engaged with you is to get them to subscribe in some way to connect with you in some way. I’ve got a lot more advice on that particular topic of getting people to connect with you, getting people to subscribe with you in episode 115. I’ll link to that in the show notes. Any point of connection that you can get is a really great way of getting an ongoing lower bounce rate.
Number five. This is something that is gonna take a little bit of work to do, but it’s one of the best things that I did on ProBlogger over the last 18 months. We’ve actually just rolled it out over on Digital Photography School. In our redesign of ProBlogger last year, we created, for the first time, portals. If you haven’t seen them before, just go to the front page of ProBlogger.com and scroll down, and you’ll see there that we’ve got eight icons on that page.
We’ve also got those icons on every page on the blog as well in the sidebar. The title above it says “I need help with…,” and then underneath that there’s eight things. Basically, what each of those icons links to is what we call one of our portals. You’ll see there’s a portal for how to start a blog. You’ll see there’s a portal for creating great content. You’ll find a portal for finding readers for your blog. We researched our readers to find out what their biggest needs were, and we identified these eight things that our readers come looking for information on, on ProBlogger. Then we developed a portal page for each of those things. I think there’s actually seven of them. One of them links to our job board as well.
We created these portals. If you go and click on one of those portals, you’ll find out that they contain a video greeting, so I’m trying to make a connection there. That’s a personal video. It’s me talking about my need in that particular issue. Then underneath the video or next to the video, there’s a call to subscribe. There’s lots of information. It’s not just our latest posts. It’s not like a category page, where we just show our latest, most recent content on that particular topic. We actually have curated our best content on that.
Underneath the video, you’ll see there six or eight different posts that we’ve hand-selected on that particular topic of finding readers or starting a blog. Then underneath that, we showcase our latest content. You can find some fresh stuff, but you’ll also find our best stuff as well.
The portals have really, really helped our bounce rate a lot. With the portal, the main reason we do it is to get people to the right content on our site within a click or two of them arriving on our site. Our portal pages have a bounce rate as low as 40%. I just looked at them all, and I think the lowest one was 39%.
Now I do talk again more about our portals and how we developed them in episode 114, if that’s something interesting to you. Really think about that as our way to get people to the best content and to get people accessing your archives. This is one of the things that we realized in ProBlogger. We’ve got thousands of posts in our archives. Many of them are really useful today, but people just weren’t finding them because they had to dig too hard so we’re surfacing that best content as well.
Number six thing that I wanna talk about is similar to the portals, and that is our new “Start Here” page. Having a “Start Here” page – again, I mentioned the statistic before. It’s one of the lower bounce rates on our site at ProBlogger. A “Start Here” page is a great way of highlighting some of your best content and getting people connected with you. It’s similar to our portals in design and bounce rate as well.
It’s really prominent in our navigation, so if you go to any page on ProBlogger, the first item in the nav bar is the “Start Here” bar. It’s really targeting, particularly those first-time viewers and particularly the Google readers – anyone arriving in from Google, who’s arriving on ProBlogger for the first time and Digital Photography School now is hopefully gonna see that link in our navigation. If you go and look at that page, again, there’s lots of good content. It introduces the idea of the portals, and it tries to get that connection with people.
Think about how you could do it. You might wanna do an “About” page. You might find something else. A “Story” page, “Learn About Me as a Blogger” – those type of pages may actually help to achieve those goals as well for you.
Tip number seven – this is really a simple one to do – is to make external links on your blog open in a new tab or a new window. If you are linking on your blog to another website in a blog post, one of the simplest things that you can do so that you don’t lose that reader is to make sure it opens in a new window or a new tab. This means that if someone clicks your external link, they don’t leave your site. There’s just a new tab open there. It doesn’t mean that they have to hit the back button to get back to your site, because they’ve now got two tabs open – one with the new site and one with yours. That keeps people on your site longer and increases the chances of them clicking another link on your site.
It’s very simple to do this today. You don’t even need to really learn HTML. If you’re using WordPress, there’s a checkbox every time you add a link. You can click that checkbox. It’s a “Open in new tab” checkbox, and it will add that relevant HTML. There’s also WordPress plugins. I’ll link to them in the show notes that will do this for you automatically. That’s just one of the simplest things that you can do. It really does work to reduce the bounce rate on your site.
Again, number eight – I’ve only got eleven, so we’re getting towards the end here. Number eight – this is a very simple thing to do particularly for those of you who’ve got blogs that have been around for a while, you might have a lot of archives. As I said before, a lot of those posts in your archives don’t get seen very much. Another way to highlight some of that older content is to simply add links to the new posts on your site.
One of the best things that you can do is as you’re writing your next blog post, just challenge yourself to link to at least three other posts on your site as you write that post. As you mention topics in your new posts, that you’ve written about before in greater depth or things that relate, just link to them. Just add those. It needs to be something that you just get into the habit of doing in the middle of your posts. As you’re writing, be adding links.
Also, you can add further reading at the end – some suggested reading. That’s a great place to add some other links as well because people have just finished reading something from you. Hopefully they’ve liked it, and they’re looking for something else to do. Suggest some further reading or some further listening on your own site. There are widgets that will help you to do that and plugins that will help you to do that. They’re surface-related reading, but I actually like to add in my own.
Another thing that you can do is to create content that interlinks. Actually create a series of content on your site. Might be over a week. It might be over a month. It might be over a longer period. It may be something that you actually publish it all on the one day. There’s five posts broken down. One post links to the next post. This can significantly lower your bounce rates. People want to know what’s coming next. They’ll click those links like crazy.
There’s definitely some pros and cons of using series of content. You don’t wanna just break a really short idea down into 10 posts because that can get quite annoying to your readers, but if you got a longer idea that you wanna explore, a series can be one really great way to do that. I do talk about the pros and cons of series versus a long form content in episode 149. I’ll link to that in the show notes.
The other thing you might wanna do just to help resurface some of that old, good quality content in your archives is to link to those posts in your sidebar. This is something that used to happen a lot on blogs, that used to be very common in sidebars to see the links to other posts. I don’t see it as much today. Maybe it’s a change in design, but I do think if you’ve got a really good quality post – a post that just always gets a great reaction – find ways to highlight that wherever you can. It may be that you should highlight that on your “About” page, on your “Start Here” page. It may be that that’s just a post that gets linked to on every page on your site.
If you look at ProBlogger, you’ll see in the sidebar, we always highlight a post called “How to Start a Blog.” I’ve talked about that post in previous episodes. We highlight that on every page because we know there’s a very high percentage of our readers who need that information. They come looking for that information. Maybe you’ve got a post that you know it’s popular, that you know there’s a big demand for that topic, and you know it’s a good quality post, link to it in your sidebar. It doesn’t have to be a link. It could be a button. It could be a banner. We link to it with an image and a call to action in the image.
Point number eight: interlink your content and highlight the best content on your site as much as possible.
Tip number nine is kinda related to that in highlighting the best content on your site, and it’s to use what I call – I’ve talked about this a couple of times in the past – the “Sneeze” page. One of my favorite techniques for getting people to explore my site, to go deep within my archives, is to create a special page on my site called a “Sneeze” page. These are pages on your site, which are purely about listing relevant posts on a topic.
I’ve give you the example. You can find this in the show notes, but if you go to Digital Photography School and you look in our navigation menu, you’ll see that we highlight very prominently in our menus, a link called “Tips for Beginners.” We know that that’s a really popular idea for a lot of our readers there. They learn about photography. A lot of them are beginners.
If you click on that link, you will end up on a page, which is what I would call a “Sneeze” page. Essentially, it introduces the topic, and then it lists 40 or so different posts that we’ve written that will be relevant for beginners. If you hit that page, it’s very unlikely that you will leave that page without clicking at least one of those links. The whole point of that page is to get people “sneezed” deeply into our archives.
I do this numerous times. You’ll also see it in our navigation. There’s a page called “Portrait Tips,” and there’s another one called “Landscape Tips.” These are “Sneeze” pages. These are purely lists of links around our site, and people click those links like crazy. It’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done, and I can’t believe more bloggers don’t do that.
You can also write posts in that style. I’ll link to this in the show notes. There’s a post on Digital Photography School called “Twenty-one Settings, Techniques, and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know.” It’s a post. It’s an article. It’s a 21-point article or list post. I write a paragraph on each of those settings or techniques, and then I link in each case to another article on the site on that particular topic. It’s sneezing people. It’s very rare that someone arrives on that post and doesn’t click at least one other link on the site. It’s got a very low bounce rate. Use that technique on your site.
Tip number ten is to invite interaction. One of the simplest ways to get people to view another page on your site is to get them to leave a comment. Leaving a comment using most comment systems today means that the page will reload. When you hit “Comments” after you put your comment in, the page reloads, and suddenly you’ve got your bounce rate down. Getting a comment is one very simple way to get your bounce rate down, but it also, and more importantly I think, increases the chances that that person’s gonna come back to your site tomorrow or the day after to see if someone has interacted with him.
Again, listen to episode 79 for how to get more comments on your blog because I know it is something that a lot of bloggers do struggle with. I guess it’s also worth saying that pretty much anyway of getting an engagement with your reader, getting them to vote in a poll, getting them to take a survey or a quiz, getting them to like your page on a social media account – any sort of form of engagement does increase the chances of them coming back again, which helps with your bounce rate. I’ve got some further listening for you on the show notes on that particular topic of building community on your blog.
Last thing I’ll say about getting your bounce rate lower is to make searching easy on your site. I’m amazed how many blogs I arrive on today that don’t have an opportunity for readers to search on their content, or they bury their search bar low on the page somewhere. I think our search bars need to be prominent because a lot of people arrive on a piece of content on our site. That piece of content may help them, or it may not quite help them.
One of the first things that they will think to do is “I wonder if they’ve got the exact information that I want.” If your reader comes with a particular need, the chances of them – if they see a search bar – searching, doing a search on your site for that particular need or that particular topic are quite good. Again, this is a great way to get a second-page view. When they put in search, they hit the search icon, another page loads on your site, the search results. Then there’s a whole weave of other links to other things you’ve written. Again, they will click on one of those links, and another page loads.
Getting your bounce rate down, make sure your search function is working. Make sure people can see it, and make sure it’s prominent. It will help people to load more pages, but it will also help to surface the right content for your readers. A lot of this really is about trying to get the right content in front of your readers as easy as possible.
There’s eleven techniques that you can use to lower the bounce rate on your site. I know there’s been a lot of information, and I have mentioned quite a bit of further listening that you can do. I’m gonna link to all of those links in the show notes, and there’s also a full transcript of every word I’ve said today in the show notes as well over at ProBlogger.com/podcast/179.
Bounce rate is an important metric to watch, and I hope you found this episode helpful. Just keep in mind that while looking at the overall bounce rate of your site is interesting, it’s more powerful to look at individual pages and individual sources of traffic. In particular, what I’m doing in tracking my bounce rate is looking at the most popular pages on my site. I’m looking at my front page. I’m looking at the most visited blogposts, and I’m particularly paying attention to certain sources of traffic. For me, Google is one that I’m particularly working on lowering the bounce rate on at the moment. I’d encourage you to do that as well.
If you wanna turn today’s show into a challenge, and I know many of you are looking to turn the information that I’m giving into practical out-workings, homework, if you like. There’s a few things you can obviously do. Firstly, and probably what I would do first is to identify your top three blogposts on your site, in terms of: there are posts that consistently get decent traffic from Google or some other source. Go and have a look at the bounce rate on those three posts. You may actually find they’ve all got very similar bounce rates, and it might be the average of your site. Or you might find that one of them is much higher or one of them is much lower. Do some analysis on why that might be the case. Challenge yourself to optimize those particular posts.
If you’ve got a post in your archives that’s getting a lot of traffic to it, see what you can do to lower that bounce rate in some way. Maybe it’s about doing a call to subscribe. Maybe it’s about adding some further reading at the end of the post. Or maybe it’s about adding some links in the midst of that content or other things that you’ve written. Maybe it’s about asking a question at the end of that post to get a discussion going. Maybe it’s about improving the quality of that post, making a better first impression. Look at that types of thing.
There’s also plenty of other things I’ve mentioned today that you could do as a challenge as well. You could look at key pages on your site, like your homepage and start thinking about how you could redesign that page and make that homepage a little bit stickier and more clickable. You could start a “Start Here” page on your site, or think about creating a “Sneeze” page. Or you might look at maybe identifying some topics for portals on your site. You might even just simply install one of those WordPress plugins that make external links open in new tabs.
Choose something today. That’s the key. Choose something as a result of this information. I challenge you. Lower your bounce rate in one of these ways on your site, and then come over to the Facebook group “The ProBlogger Listeners” Facebook group – if you do a search for “ProBlogger Podcast Listeners,” you’ll find it – and tell us “what did you do and did it work?”
If you want something else to listen to, there’s plenty listed on the show notes today, but you might also want to check out episode 35, which is all about creating a sticky blog. Sticky blog sounds a bit icky, but it’s a blog where you hook people. You trap them on your site without actually [recalling 0:38:14] them or anything. It’s about creating a site that people don’t want to leave. Episode 35 goes into greater depth on that.
Thanks for listening today. I look forward to hearing how you approach lowering your bounce rate. Head over to the Facebook page and let us know what you’re gonna do and how it works for you. Thanks for listening. I’ll chat with you next week.
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