I would go as far to say that I have become a little obsessed with my bounce rate percentage…. It’s like a little game to me, and I aim to get that figure as low as possible!
I will share with you all of the measures I have taken to reduce the bounce rate for this blog and I’ll reveal how I got into a pickle over my rather unrealistic bounce rate!!
So what exactly is bounce rate?
Ok, so if you have ever set up Google analytics for one of your sites, you will have noticed something called ‘Bounce Rate’. Basically this shows the percentage of visits that only go to 1 page before leaving again.
Here is what we define as a bounce!
– Visitor leaves the site by clicking the back button
– Visitor clicks away to another site
– Visitor closes the tab or browser
– Visitor types in a different url into the web browser
As you can see, the factors above are there to determine the quality of your site. The idea is that if you have a great site and great quality content, then the visitor is likely to stay on your site for longer and check out other pages within your site.
However this is not always the case. Depending on the type of site you have, a high bounce rate does not necessarily mean that the user did not find what he or she was looking for.
However for a blog like mine, I expect visitors to stay on my site if what they came across was good quality and offered them value. So to me, bounce rate is very important!
What is a good bounce rate for a site?
Bounce rate still remains a subject that is open to debate. What one person may think is a good bounce rate could be pretty bad in the eyes of somebody else. According to Google, the average bounce rate is between 40-60%. Having said that, it really does depend on the industry.
I have gathered these reports which outline the average rate according to the type of website:
As you can see, the typical rate does fall within Google’s estimates.
So what are the reasons for a high Bounce rate?
There are a number of reason s why you maybe experiencing a high bounce rate and here are the main ones:
– Your content is shit…. If a visitor lands on your page and the information presented to them is crap then they will probably click back and look for a different!
– Your site design is shit – Ever clicked on a link and come to a site that is cluttered and messey and looks rather confusing? Well sites like this discourage the user and the majority of visitors will click away!
– You are getting the wrong type of traffic – If your visitor does not find what they are looking for on the page that they have landed on, they are likely to click away. Now it’s not always your fault as you could have a generic traffic coming from Google that does not quite match the search term with your information.
Also, you could be getting less targeted traffic from somewhere that is increasing your bounce rate. If you go into Google Analytics and click on: Acquisition > xxxx
You can see what sources your traffic is coming from. Each source will have its own separate bounce rate. Look at this example from my blog:
– Your content can be great and the visitor has found the answer they were looking for so they click away from your site.
Having a high bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing!
But I wanted a lower one 🙂
What is the Bounce rate of this blog?
When I published my first traffic and income report my bounce rate was 52.2%
Pretty average and not bad I suppose for my first month!! This was showing that around half of all my visitors stayed on my site.
Oh shit! things just got a whole lot better. My bounce rate has decreased to 15.31%
I did make a lot of changes during this month which had a positive affect on my bounce rate. I will be going through these factors shortly. But first, I want to show you what happened in my 3rd Month!!
Month 3 (Half way through)
WTF!!! My bounce rate has come down to 1.63%
Alarm Bells are ringing!!! Now I know for a fact that it’s almost impossible to have a bounce rate this low, it just doesn’t happen!
So there is obviously a problem somewhere. Doh!!
After digging around I found out exactly what was causing this incredibly low bounce rate. The Google analytic code was actually placed on my site twice!!
This caused the artificial bounce rate and it was a lesson learned. Here’s how it happened….
I used a plugin called ‘Google Analytics’. You simply enter your code, that’s it….
When I changed themes I thought I had deleted this plugin, therefore I entered my code into the SEO plugin that I use. Not realising, I now had to instances of this code on my site.
Although it doesn’t mess up the traffic/visitor stats, it does mess with things like bounce rate!
So I immediately removed one of them and I started to see my bounce rate creep up to a normal level again!
If you want to cheat and get a kick ass bounce rate, then you know what to do 😉
Steps to lower your bounce rate:
Ok, although my figures got really F%$ked up, I have still managed to lower my bounce rate and engage with my visitors much better since the first month that I launched. Here are some steps that helped me achieve that….
– Changed the theme of my blog! It’s important that you site looks good, because if it doesn’t, people will just leave, regardless of how good your content is!
– Provide a lot of useful content. If a visitor lands on one your pages and they like what they see, chances are that they will want to see more of your site!!
– Interlink to other pages of your site. This is the best way to keep visitors engaged. Make sure you link to other posts on your blog so that when the visitor is reading your content, they can easily click a link to another page!
– Show your ‘latest’ or ‘most popular’ posts in your sidebar or beneath each post you publish. It gives the reader an opportunity to see what your site has to offer and increases the chances of them clicking to another page
– Make your post titles better. If you have a dull and boring title then a visitor is less likely to click on it. Make your titles interesting, use curiosity to make the reader click, or use strong wording to emphasise the benefits. Example. “Want to see how I made $x amount last month?” or “How to Build a private Blog network like the pro’s“
– Make your content deep and interesting. Notice how all of my articles are long! They are all at least 1800 words and they all offer value. This will keep the visitor on the page for longer 🙂
– Experiment with different layouts and colour schemes. When changing my blog theme I opted for a blue and yellow style. It’s amazing how different colours have different affects and meanings. Colours have a strong phycological effect on the human brain and decision making.
Check out these 2 posts for some great tips on colours:
– Increase the speed of your site – It’s true, every second counts, and for eery second longer it takes your page to load, the more visitors will click the back button. There are lots of things you can do to increase your speed.
The biggest speed factor behind my blog is the hosting with WPEngine. They are super fast!
Here is some more information about speed from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/
There’s not a great deal more to say about bounce rate. You should be taking note of it and if possible, try to lower it as much as you can….. (without cheating). I will continue to work to lower mine, but 30% is probably the limit! This would be seen as a very good bounce rate
I hope you enjoyed this short post. Please help the development of my blog by sharing it 🙂