I was ecstatic when I started seeing an average of less than 30% bounce rate on my site. So today, I want to share with you five proven ways you can reduce high bounce rate on your own blog.
This process can take you a day to carry out depending with the size of your blog. But if you would like to see a key difference immediately, then your analytics should be your friend while carrying out this process.
That said to maintain a low bounce rate, then you need to keep checking and tracking your site to see what is causing the spike in your bounce rate.
Reduce High Bounce Rate
For someone who has been blogging since 2009 (with so many failed attempts in between), it would be a surprise to say I used to have days with 100% bounce rate.
Case in point
Yep! A blogger by night and an analyst by day. And I could still stand tall and smile with such horrific numbers.
There is a reason as to why my people say “Mganga hajigangui”. If you don’t know what that means, call your Swahili friend (PS. I am your Swahili friend)
Well, lately my blog has been gaining a couple of new eyeballs that I had not planned for. Peers. And nothing can make you slouch and wish the ground could swallow you than been confronted by your peers.
So on a beautiful vacation day, instead of heading out to explore a foreign land with my family, I sat in my room, ordered a variety of platters and got to work.
What is a bounce rate?
Before diving into the proven ways to reduce high bounce rate, you need to understand what bounce rate is and why you need to reduce rate.
According to Google Analytics, a bounce rate is defined by single page visits. What does this mean in simpler terms? It means, your reader landing on one page on your site and not interacting with any other page.
Why do you need to reduce high bounce rate?
Your bounce rate can indicate one of many things, such as a heavy site, poor content quality and much more. Which eventually affects your rankings on search results. Leading to a reduced number of organic traffic on your site.
When Google notices that readers on your site do not interact or spend time on your site, it marks your site with having poor quality content. Thus reducing your ranking on its search engines.
And we do not want that.
Back in campus I would snooze in all lectures apart from a handful. And the lectures I never slept, the lecturers made a point of making the lessons conversational.
Nobody likes being talked at.
We normally want to feel like we are being heard. Like your presence in this conversation means something.
Yes, I would like to learn something of value from your blog. But why should I make that experience like stepping on a lego your little one left at the foot of your bed.
I know what you are thinking, how does changing the tone of your blog help with reducing a bounce rate?
Well, it is no longer 2009.
You may also like: How to implement the triple P framework in selecting the perfect blog niche
People have options. Hundreds of thousands of options if not millions. So why should they stick with your snooze-fest article if they can find alternatives in micro-seconds?
Get my point.
To easily figure out how well you retain your readers to keep scrolling and reading your article. You need a tool that would help you analyze how far your readers scroll on your page.4
To do this.
Head over to your analytics. View articles with the highest amount of traffic and the highest amount of bounce rate. List down five to ten of those articles on a piece. Even better, just open them on a new window for each of them.
After all, you want to reduce on your high bounce rate right away.
Next, with a tool like hotjar, add those URLs and simply track them for the next five to ten days. See at what point do your readers actually leave your article.
If most of them drop off at the top of page, you have more problems that attribute to your high bounce rate rather than the content you are creating
An ice cream shop attendant once said, if you only have three variety of flavors to offer you make more sales at the end of the day than when you have sixty seven varieties.
That is true for both an ice cream shop and your blog.
The more options you give to your readers the more indecisive they become in those five or so seconds. Such that they do not click on anything at all and bounce off.
What is on your navigation?
Does it have to be there?
What is part of your navigation and has the least amount of click through rate?
Those are all factors you need to consider. And because I like to talk about conversion boosting blogging, I would like you to make the choice on your blog based on the current metrics that you have.
Install the Google Analytics chrome extension and make sure you have logged in.
You may also like: How to set up Google Analytics
Now visit the most popular pages on your site with the highest amount of bounce rate. You have already done this in the previous exercise. Now look, what are people clicking at.
You can extend this exercise to view the most visited pages in general on your blog and see where are your readers clicking to.
Use Google Analytics to determine their flow and where do they eventually exit your site entirely?
Whenever you notice a product advertisement, a link that does not perform well, and it is located in a prime area; consider the following:
- Do you need to change the color
- Do you need to test different copy
- Do you need to create a funnel for your readers to select that option
Key prime areas include:
- side bar
You can do everything that is required, but the server side can still let you down and give you a high bounce rate.
So how do you reduce high bounce rate from the quality of your hosting?
What is your server response time?
So if I look at my traffic today, I can tell my average load time has increased. Next thing I will check is what is causing the load time to increase.
I can see that the server response time is good.
A good hosting, should help with your server response time. Right now, I can vouch 100% for SiteGround (affiliate link)
I also like to see how much time does it take to locate my web address?
I can now officially say, my site load time is not affected by my hosting.
The images you have on your site can cause your site load time to increase.
My very next course of action is to view the load time for popular pages.
And right there I can see why I am having a longer average load time on my site today. The culprit is this article I wrote on how to use the triple P framework in selecting the perfect blog niche.
On the article itself, I have two images.
The article featured image and pin to pinterest image.
The size of the images combined is less than 100KB. So the images are no longer the issue causing a longer load time.
What are the sizes of your images in your articles?
Remember your article page should be less than 1MB.
Resource heavy plugins and external scripts
Having inspected the page, I can say that external scripts are causing the load time to increase.
I have increased the number of content upgrades on that page.
Instead of having just one, I have five.
It is the same content upgrade, with the triple P framework any beginner blogger can use. And the reason I have five of them is to test where should I place the content upgrade for the best conversions.
I am personally OK with leaving it as is for now.
You may also like: 3 reasons why your website has a high bounce rate
As for you, what external scripts and heavy plugins do you have on your site?
If you are on shared hosting, it comes down to the quality of your plugins. I have seen sites running with over one hundred plugins on shared hosting and still have a great site load time.
Brian has actually taken the time to list down five most popular plugins that are resource heavy. Them being resource heavy means you need to avoid them if you are on a share hosting account.
Interlinking is one type of web links I had already talked about in this article. And for each article, it is good practice to always link to other articles related or can build upon the current article.
One of my favorite tools and happens to be free one can use is mentionable. Why I like it? You can deactivate and your links can still remain active.
You may also like: The 3 types of web links you should build with every article you write
My next favorite plugin for interlinking is definitely seo smart links premium. It is definitely an expensive plugin. Though worth it if you have thousands of pages on your site.
After testing whether I should have pop-ups or not on my blog, I realized if I want to harness a long term relationship with my readers, I should have a minimum number of pop-ups or none at all.
Not only does it interrupt the flow of your readers as they consume your content, but it also increases on the size of the page on your site. So if you have a pop-up on your left and another on the top and an exit intent pop-up; all these pop-ups need to load when a reader visits your site.
So of all the pop-ups you have, how many would you consider an absolute necessary? Limit that to one or two.
As you can see to have a drastic overnight difference on your high bounce rate, you need to have a systematic approach rather than going page by page to improve the quality of each article you have ever created.
On your systematic approach, you need to track your most popular pages with the highest bounce rate.
How can you use the above tips to make sure you are reducing the bounce rate for each of these pages?
Do you have to migrate your site to a new host? Do you have to resize the size of your images? Do you have to deactivate certain plugins?
With a systematic approach, you can be sure to not only reduce your high bounce rate but also improve the experience for your readers
After following the above tips, by how much did you reduce your high bounce rate?