On most blogs, a low bounce rate is crucial. A few, which are designed to give answers fast, wouldn’t be worried about a high one but, for most, a high rate indicates your site needs an overhaul.
A viewer is said to have bounced if they land on a page and leave without navigating to another page. So, for a fact-supplying website, it means they have successfully given the viewer what they wanted. If you are not one of those sites, you need to read on.
A great reader experience will keep them on your site
These days, viewers expect websites to be sophisticated and to cater to their needs. A clean, attractive design is a must. Your site has to look like you care about it and that you maintain it well. Definitely don’t do anything silly like having audio or a video which starts as soon as they hit the site. They will run a mile. The other day, I was opening a few sites all at once to try to find something and one of them started talking loudly to me but I couldn’t narrow down which it was because the video wasn’t immediately visible. I had to shut down all the sites to get it to stop. And it was loud!! Not a good experience.
Look at your site and try to think like a reader who has just landed for the first time.
I’m going to ask you a series of questions. Answer honestly and make up your own list of what you need to change.
1. Are there lots of easy ways to navigate around your blog?
- Do you have Related Posts beneath your posts?
- Do you have a Popular Posts widget in your sidebar with lovely big photos?
- Do you have a couple of internal links in every post?
2. Is it immediately obvious what your blog is about? Does your blog title tell the story or perhaps your tagline? You probably chose a blog name that means something to you but does it say something to a reader arriving for the first time? Make sure you have it spelt out somewhere obvious.
2. Is your navigation bar simple and not cluttered and uses the commonly understood terms like Contact Us and About Us? Don’t confuse the viewer. If you can keep all your menu items on one line, it will be easier to read and won’t overwhelm the reader. Keep the names as short as possible.
3. Are there only a few categories so the reader stays on track? Give them too many choices and they will choose nothing. Your categories should all make sense and explain to the reader what kind of posts you have on your blog. If necessary, clean them up to under 10 categories and then re-categorize your posts. I see blogs all the time with 30, 40, 50 categories. The blogger keeps inventing new ones and basically has no idea what they are doing or what the categories are for. They are for the reader. Put yourself in their shoes.
4. I have written a whole post about your site load time here. You lose 11% of your potential traffic for every second of extra load time. Test your home page and also a variety of posts and pages to see what is working and what is not. Remember, they have to be under 3 seconds. Check them here: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ If it’s slow, read my article and take action.
5. Are your posts attractive with subheadings, bullet points etc. and not too long. If you have some doubts, read my article on a checklist for your posts.
6. Do you have a lot of ads? Too many ads often dominate the prime real estate of a blog and hinder navigation as well as take people away from your blog when they click on them. It’s a balancing game to get it right. You may have noticed that many of the popular blogs don’t have a lot of ads.
7. Is your site mobile friendly with a responsive design? If your site can’t be seen on a variety of devices, people will obviously click away immediately unless they are on desktops or laptops.
Now, I am going to take you on a little journey around Google Analytics in the video below so you can analyse where this bounce rate comes into play and I will tell you where to aim your efforts.
Top Image by http://victorframeofmind.tumblr.com/