When I first started blogging, I had no idea what to look?when it came to tracking the growth of my blog. It took me a while to figure out what to look at and how to track growth. There is a lot of talk about page views or even how many users you are bringing in to your blog. Those key metrics are hugely important to your blog and tracking it’s growth, but there is one key metric that people seem to neglect focusing on or tracking as much.
If you haven’t put a lot of time into tracking your bounce rate, I highly recommend it. But first, what is bounce rate, how you can track it and why does it matter?
So first of all, what?is?bounce rate? Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit only one page on your site. While it may just seem like a number, it is actually a number that can tell you a lot about your site. Most websites have a fairly high bounce rate simply for the nature of how websites work, but why would it be important to try to lower your bounce rate?
The deeper someone goes into your site, the more likely they are to stick around. Think about the number of times you may have stumbled upon a new blog, only to discover that their last post may have been a link up or giveaway and you aren’t intrigued and leave the site. If you had seen maybe their last five posts, you may have found one that intrigued you and maybe ended up subscribing or following the blog on Bloglovin’, or even more likely to manually find your blog again.
Sometimes, we only get one chance to turn a first time visitor into a subscriber. Oftentimes if someone clicks off our site quickly they won’t ever find their way back. Think of how many times you’ve ended up on a site and you can’t even remember how you ended up there. So it’s unlikely that someone will intentionally try to get back to your site if they didn’t love the content the first time.
[Tweet “Sometimes, we only get one chance to turn a first time visitor into a subscriber.”]
That’s why it’s really important to focus on that bounce rate and use that as a way to look into what’s happening when readers come to your site. The tricky part about bounce rate is that a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily indicative that people don’t enjoy your content. It could simply be that you haven’t added in ways for your readers to go deeper into your site.
Tracking bounce rate
If you haven’t installed Google Analytics on your blog, that’s the first step (find out how to do that here for WordPress and here for Blogger). You won’t be able to really track this until you have about a month’s worth of statistics. After you have Google Analytics installed, you can see your bounce rate right on the reporting overview.
Again, most blogs have a high bounce rate so it’s not unusual if your bounce rate is over 90%. But there are a lot of ways you can improve that.
Now that you know your current bounce rate, it’s time to start adding elements to your site to start to slowly lower your bounce rate. As you start to utilize these different changes, you can look back at previous months on your Google Analytics to see how effective your changes are.
There are a few that I think are the most important to lowering your bounce rate.
Open Links in New Windows
This is one easy, easy mistake to remedy. I see this?all the time within blogs. Usually, I always open a link in a new tab because I’m OCD like that, but occasionally, I will forget to right click to do that and I get really frustrated when a link takes me away from the blog post I was reading. There’s one distinction though I want to make. If you’re linking to your own content on your sidebar or within a post,?don’t?set that link to open in a new window. But if you are linking to anything off your own site, including social media, make sure they open in a new link! It’s so easy for people to get lost in the other sites you link them to so don’t allow them to get lost and never come back to your site. By opening a link in a new window or tab, they’re much more likely to continue reading your blog post.
Truncate Your Posts
This seems to be a little controversial in blog world, but for me, it really works well. I love truncating my posts on the homepage so that people can easily see which posts they have or haven’t read and can easily find the content they’re looking for. Especially if you have long blog posts, this is really helpful so readers can easily scroll through your last five posts to catch up.
The other great part is that this really helps your bounce rate. If every time someone comes to my main blog page, they have to click on a “read more” link to get to a post, they’re automatically going to be visiting two pages, meaning they won’t be including in the bounce rate of people who left after one page. This is the biggest thing I can attribute to my really low bounce rate.
After adding in a “read more” feature on all of my new posts in October (when I switched to WordPress), I immediately saw my bounce rate drop. This also increased my pageviews because readers were automatically going to at least two pages each visit (unless coming from a direct link on social media).
Links Within Posts
This is actually something I don’t utilize very much, but can be really helpful for a lot of bloggers! There are tons of plugins for adding old links at the bottom of a new blog post. I really recommend doing this manually though, to give your readers the most out of your old content. For example, you could link to similar posts within the actual text body of the post, or you could create a graphic at the bottom of your post that shares some similar content. This is also really helpful for your traffic that comes from Pinterest. If someone reads a post about blogging, they’re much more likely to read another one on blogging than they are to read a recipe post. So adding in your content manually makes sure that the linked content is relevant for the post you just wrote.
These three basic changes can make a huge difference in your bounce rate. But it’s about more than a number. These changes can create a better experience for your readers and help new readers discover the great content you have waiting for them on your site. I truly believe that as you see a decrease in your bounce rate, you’ll also discover an increase in subscribers coming directly from your blog.
Have you focused on your bounce rate before?
If you have questions about bounce rate, please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!