So you publish awesome content. And you want your readers to stay longer on your website and relish the content you’ve published.
That’s a reasonable wish of every blogger, because we bloggers put in so much effort to create content day in and day out.
So we want our readers to stay on the site and read every bit.
When they bounce off, it is heartbreaking, isn’t?
A blog with a higher bounce rate shows that the visitors are simply leaving the blog without reading much (or any) of it.
From usefulness point of view, this shows that somehow readers don’t find the content useful.
It can also be that certain features on your website – like the loading speed, annoying stuff like popups, the UX or things like that might hinder people from staying longer.
Whatever may be the reason, you must make sure that you do your best to keep the bounce rate low.A low bounce rate is healthy. Find out how to achieve one! Click To Tweet
Before discussing how, let’s talk about bounce rate for a bit.
What is bounce rate and why does it matter?
Bounce rate is nothing but the percentage of visitors who visit a page on your site simply leave or bounce off after visiting one page on your site – without navigating to other pages.
This could signal that your site’s content is not very useful or interesting to the reader.
At the same time, this could also mean that the reader just got the information he/she wanted on that page and no more is required.
Apart from the content, there are other things like site speed or other user friendly items that could hinder your users from clicking on to another page of your site.
So does this mean when a reader simply leaves your site after one page visit, that your site is not good enough?
That’s what it means according to GA – a high bounce rate is not good.
But what if your reader just got what he wanted in that page and left?
What if he simply lands on the contact page, sends you an email and leave? Can’t complain, right?
What if a reader spends 20 minutes on a page on your website?
Does this mean that your content was so good that the reader has to stay and relish each word?
Or does this mean that your content was so boring that the readers just fell asleep with the page opened?
Can’t say, right?
OK, so in general if you have a content rich website – a blog – you’d expect your readers to explore more of your content – as a general rule of thumb.
That’s what bounce rate is all about.
And in this post I’ll share 9 ways to help you reduce your blog’s bounce rate.
9 Powerful ways to lower your blog’s bounce rate
These 9 tips not only help you to decrease your bounce rate but these are also the best practices that you should be following in your blog – to keep your readers (and hence also the search engines) happy.
#1 Find out and optimise posts with high bounce rate
It is very important that you pay attention to Google Analytics data. I hope you have GA code installed on your website.
Now login to your GA account and browse through your pages. You need to get to Behaviour > Site Content > Content Drilldown.
Now you will see a list of your blog’s pages along with the metrics that include bounce rate.
You will need to pay attention to those pages that have a bounce rate greater than your average bounce rate (your average bounce rate is displayed at the top of the Bounce Rate column in GA).
Find out what you need to do to make people stay on that page longer. And to click through.
Ideally you should look for possibilities to improve your content.
And then, you should also make sure to add in elements that can improve further click throughs – like internal linking, displaying related posts, adding more references, and so on.
Of course, the tips I discuss below also should be implemented, if applicable, on that page.
#2 Work on your site speed
When is the last time you waited for more than 5 seconds for a web page to load?
Especially if you are accessing a web page from your mobile device it is highly impossible to wait for more than 3 seconds for a page to load.
And when that happens, your readers are going to click the back button and look for the information elsewhere.
You can’t stop them because the internet is full of busy people.
Rather, you should work on aspects to improve your blog’s loading speed.
Use websites like GT Metrix, Pingdom and of course, Google PageSpeed to analyse your site’s speed and fix the recommendations provided by those sites.
If you can’t handle them, we have a dedicated speed optimization service to help you with that!
#3 Avoid annoying elements on your pages
Anything that annoys the user will make them run away.
Annoying elements include pop ups that hinder access to content, that’s unable to close/exit, that triggers more pop ups (like do you really want to exit? And do you really, really want to exit? And so on…).
I don’t say that you should not add a popup. But keep it un-annoying.
Ads are also included in the list. I am not against ads. But the placement of ads should be such that it doesn’t interfere with content consumption.
And pop down ads are a certain no no. There are other kinds of ads that open a pop up/pop down for random clicks on a page. This is seriously annoying.
Inline ads are fine as far as they are not misleading.
And ads that autoplay videos on high sound will make your visitors run away from your site.
#4 Directly publish your readers’ queries
When your readers find what they want, they are more likely to stick longer on your site and explore.
It is therefore highly important that you identify your target audience, their challenges, problems and pain points and craft content to solve their problems, and emphathize with them.
If your blog is full of such useful content, your readers will definitely be tempted to explore more.
And when you attempt to do that, visit Q&A sites like Quora.
Type in your keywords and find questions people ask. You’d have heard this advice already.
But here’s the key thing – use the exact keywords and phrases your target audience are using in your content.
This way they feel that you’ve understood their problem much better. And this is not a trick. It directly means that you have actually understood them well.
#5 Increase readability of the content
Creating content and publishing it is one part of the story. But how do you make your readers read it?
It’s quite a tricky thing indeed!
Even if your content is 100% useful there is no guarantee that your readers will read it sincerely.
Most people skim. And most won’t care (for various reasons).
Which is why you need to present your content appropriately.
Creating useful content is not enough. Presenting it in a way that can be easily consumed by your readers is highly crucial.
Boring, plain text is definitely a big NO.
Watch this video to get tips on formatting your blog post for making it easier and interesting for your readers.
#6 Make external links open in new tab
When you are adding a reference to an external source inside your content, you should make a point that you make it open in a new tab.
This is a simple trick. That’s it.
You are not doing anything wrong by doing so.Here's a simple trick to reduce bounce rate (#6)!Click To Tweet
In fact, your readers will thank you because they can have the external link opened in a new tab, while at the same time they can still continue reading your content that they were reading half way through.
If you make those external links open in the same tab, your readers will be interrupted – they will be taken to the external page, while they are actually reading your content.
And that counts as bouncing off, even if the reader didn’t intentionally do that.
So how to implement it? Just click on the tick box next to “Open Link in New Tab” to make this happen.
#7 Provide additional reading
How will your readers explore more of your blog’s content if you don’t provide them with the directions?
You should of course let them know where they can go and find more content!
Here are some ways to do it:
- Add a list of popular posts and/recent posts in the sidebar.
- After every blog post, provide your readers with a list of related posts!
- Inside your content, be generous and link to your other blog posts where appropriate.
- Provide a clear navigation on your site with menus (they should be able to reach your Home page, Contact page, About page etc. just with a click from any other page on your site).
- The more they can easily navigate through, the higher is their chance of staying longer on your site to explore.
#8 Monitor 404s and handle them appropriately
A 404 page on your site is a dead end. And when readers encounter such a page, they will have no choice but to go back (although some might get to the home page – but you can’t guarantee).
If you have a 404 page on your website and if that page is directly listed in search results, people clicking on that link will face a dead end.
So they will simply go back to Google and click on another result.
Now 404s do occur in a website. As a website owner you should keep a close eye on things.
First, you need to create an account in Search Console, add your site and submit your sitemap.
Once that is done, Google will monitor your site for various issues – one of them is broken links.
You can also add a plugin to get this checked and be notified on a regular basis on your site.
When you update an old blog post, make sure you keep the URL the same.
If you have to change the URL make sure you do a proper 301 redirect from the old URL to the new URL.
Having said that, certain 404 pages are unavoidable.
In that case you have to get creative and design your 404 page so that your readers can either search for stuff on your site, or be presented with a list of popular posts on your site so they stay longer and explore.
#9 Create long form content (and present them appropriately)
Long form content is gaining popularity among many bloggers – mainly because Google is rewarding such content with good rankings.
What is long form content?
It is nothing but in-depth, useful piece of content that is at least 1500–2000 words long. But do remember that it is not always about word count.
The post has to be insanely useful and in-depth.
Writing such posts on a regular basis is not easy. But doing so will surely give you great benefits.
Having said that, when you have long form content it is highly challenging to have people read through your full content.
And if they don’t stick longer, your bounce rate is going to go high!
Reduce the bounce rate of your blog now!
Having a low bounce rate is a great thing.A low bounce rate indicates both readers and (hence) search engines are happy!Click To Tweet
Even though you cannot accurately measure what’s going on when a reader opens a page on your website using bounce rate, it is a very good metric that tells a lot about user happiness.
It shows that your readers find your content useful and that they enjoy staying longer on your site and exploring.
This is a good sign – both in terms of you pleasing people and search engines.
So go ahead, apply these tips and drastically reduce your blog’s bounce rate!