Is Your Bounce Rate Killing Your Blog?

What is bounce rate?

Bounce Rate is the total number of visitors that view one page divided by the total number of page visits. If you have Google Analytics installed then I’m sure you’ve looked at this number before, but if you’re like me you may have paid little attention to it at first. I suggest that you reconsider the importance of bounce rate as an indicator of your blog’s health. If people come to your website and never dive into additional content you have then you’re missing out on an opportunity to convert a casual web visitor into a loyal reader.

What is a good bounce rate?

Before we dive into ways to analyze your own bounce rate we should first establish what a good bounce rate is. Based on my research I generally shoot for under 40%, but it all depends on the type of blog or website you have. Whatever your target, it’s important to remember factors that can influence higher bounce rates for any website.

Reasons to bounce:

Unattractive website design, Poor navigation, slow load time, website does not meet searchers expectation (i.e. poor content, doesn’t answer their question), too many annoyances on the page (i.e. pop ups, in text advertising, too many advertising blocks).

Armed with these common reasons why people may leave your blog have you done a good enough job combating them? Do you have a design that’s easy on the eyes? Is it easy to navigate? Does your website load slow? Do you make enough money from the advertising to compensate the annoyance your visitors will face?

How I fight bounce rate:

I use only custom WordPress themes or premium themes and avoid free themes because there are only a few good diamonds in the rough and I don’t care to search for them. I use Click Tale to analyze the primary WordPress theme I use and look for ways to improve on the design based on how users navigate my page – they have a free account program worth checking out. You can also just search for “website navigation best practices” and use the feedback to improve your existing blog’s navigation. I then use Google Webmaster tools to determine my page load time and Page Speed to see which resources create a longer loading time. You may find some WordPress plugins cause a huge bottleneck in page load. I am also a huge fan of caching plugins like this one to decrease load times.

I address all of the above steps because my overarching goal is to get a web visitor to read multiple blog posts and spend as much time on my blog as possible. As long as my content is high quality and engaging then the longer a person stays on my blog the more likely they are to subscribe to it. So what I do is display a mixture of both partial and full blog posts depending on the length of article and topic focus. The way to determine which you should use is simple. Does including a break in the story make a user want to click through? If I believe that it does than I will include a break after introducing the concept in the blog post and setting the hook that incites a user to click through.

Wrap Up

The point of analyzing your bounce rate and asking questions like these is to get a quick feel for the health of your blog. Do people yearn for more content continuously clicking through to stories on your blog or do they look for the exit as soon as they land on your blog?

Expanding beyond bounce rate we can look at other key elements of the blogs health which include pages per visit, average time on site and percent of new visits to get a full blog health checkup, but these are topics for another blog post and in the end I believe it all starts by looking at bounce rate first. Here’s a quick test, if you thought this was an informative article than why not visit my blog Make Money on the Internet where I share my experiences as a full time internet entrepreneur? I’ll post a follow up article on my blog that shows the bounce rate stats from you coming to my blog and I can use that data as a way to improve my bounce rate as well.

The following has been a guest post from full time internet entrepreneur Chris Guthrie. You should follow him on Twitter @ChrisGuthrie and visit his blog where he shares ways to make money online.

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