As the traffic to your site increases, it is actually quite exciting. The numbers rise, the stats increase, things are looking up!
Then someone mentions Bounce Rate. You take a look at yours and it is really high – NOT GOOD.
But what is Bounce Rate? Let’s take a look.
Take wikipedias definition:
A bounce occurs when a web site visitor only views a single page on a website, that is, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs.
So quite simply. you get a visitor, but they only read the page they land on – no other pages.
So they are not really engaged.
It could be argued that repeat visitors only want to read your latest post, which is true. However, you will probably find a large percentage of your visitors are new.
So how do you keep your visitors engaged? How do you keep them on your site?
Here are 6 ways you can improve your blog, keep people reading and reduce your Bounce Rate.
Ok this may seem a little counter-intuitive: you do want your user to be a little distracted, but by your content.
You probably have all sorts of things installed and added to your website.
The problem is a lot of these things can be distracting to your user and even take them off your site.
Take flashing banners for example. They grab people’s attention, but when someone clicks them – the user is taken to another site, never to return……
This may be good if you are earning a lot of money from this – but with things like Google Ads or other PPC advertising, I doubt it.
You may have also been tempted to add all sorts of Widgets to your side bar.
In the end you have a lot of widgets on your side-bar and most of them are distracting your reader.
Reduce them to the essentials (ones that pay – with money or more page views). If it doesn’t bring the reader and you something, then it is not worth taking up the space.
Site speed plays a major role on any website. People like fast sites and in fact are used to them. They will not wait.
There are so many things you can do to reduce your site load time.
1. The first major thing is to reduce the number of plugins you have installed (at least the ones that appear on your or affect your pages).
You can install a plugin called P3 which analyzes your plugins affect on your page load speed. Do it, I reduced my by half with two plugin removals.
2. Another way to reduce the load time is to make sure your images are the right size, compression and so on. I posted on that here.
Check your site speed as you make the changes via Pingdom – a great site for testing.
Many people disagree on this, but to me it is quite clear.
If you have a link to another site (take the one to Pingdom above) it should open in a new tab or window.
Not only do you get to have both sites open, but I make sure you don’t lose my page and get completely lost.
Some people argue it is annoying – I guess it depends how you surf. I personally use tabs and appreciate keeping windows open .
In terms of a blog and keeping your visitors, there is no argument – Open in a new window.
Note: It is actually a simple checkbox when you create a link in WordPress, so really – no excuses.
Another great way to keep your users on your site is to offer them your old content to read.
This can be done in a number of ways, but one of the best is to categorize them.
First you will want to make a new page where you can organize and add all the links to the posts in a category.
These pages then go on the menu (like my Social Media, SEO etc).
These menus can also be sub-menus, depending on the numbers of categories you have of course.
It’s a great way to engage your users, provide them with topics to browse and learn from and keep them on site.
Another common way to engage your users is to create a few pages with useful content.
Some ideas for this include
Separate pages with content are great ways to provide users with things to read , but they don’t really stand out and many first time visitors will ignore them.
One great way to fix this problem is to display your best content (most comments or views) on your side bar.
Recently I have added such a widget using the PostSkin Plugin (this link is to my Review of it).
This provides a list of 5 or more of your best posts in a very colorful way, and entices the user to click them.
Not only is it fully customizable and can be placed anywhere on your site, you can also track it’s effectiveness via the number of clicks.
So you can fine-tune your colors, fonts, images etc to get even more clicks (this is part of what is called A/B Testing in marketing).
Keeping readers on your site and reducing your bounce rate is something we should all be aiming for.
By doing one or all of the above steps you will find you get more page views and visits.
Take a little time each week to improve your site and implement some of the above.
Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).