Over recent months, I’ve seen more bloggers are getting their hands dirty with delving into their stats and looking for ways to improve them that go beyond just increasing visitors. This is great, as using Google Analytics is a great skill if you ever want to grow your blog or work in marketing as I know some do.
One of the metrics on Google Analytics which I’ve seen debated a few times on Twitter is bounce rate. There’s a bit of confusion around what it is, and why it appears to be so high for many bloggers.
In this post, I’ll tell you a bit more about what bounce rate is, what it means to your blog, and a few tips on how to improve it.
What is bounce rate?
Bounce rate is the % of people who ‘bounce’ right off of your site without visiting any other pages than the one they first landed on. For example, someone may come to your blog to read your most recent post, and then leave. This is pretty common, as the nature of a blog dictates that the visitor is there to view the one post and then go elsewhere.
Where do I find it?
You’ll need Google Analytics for this (read my post here for how to get started with GA). Once you have GA installed and it’s recording data, you can take a look at your bounce rate.
For an overview of bounce rate for your whole blog, go to Audience > Overview. You’ll see Bounce Rate next to Avg Session Duration.
If you want to look at the bounce rate for individual posts or pages, go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. Then you can use the search box to type in a keyword relating to the URL of your post. For example, if my post had the word ‘analytics’ in the URL, I would use this term to find it.
You’ll see Bounce Rate next to Entrances.
Why is the bounce rate so high?
As I said, blogs will always have a higher bounce rate than a shopping website, for example. When reading a blog, chances are you landed on it to read a particular post – once you’ve read it, you’re done and move on with your life. If lots of your visitors do this, your bounce rate will be quite high.
But fear not – it’s totally normal. My overall bounce rate for the past month is over 70%! As a rule of thumb, a blog can have a bounce rate from 60% upwards. If it’s lower, then great – but if not you certainly aren’t failing as a blogger at all.
What can I do to decrease the bounce rate?
If you do want to work to keep your bounce rate % down, there are a few things you can do to try and keep your visitors on site.
This nifty trick is also good for SEO. Internal linking is basically just linking to other blog posts within a post. For example, further up you’ll have noticed I linked to my Google Analytics guide for beginners. By utilising internal links, you’re inviting visitors to take a look at other related content.
Make sure to only include relevant links – e.g. if you have written a review of a skincare product, you may wish to link to another review of a similar product. Keep it natural, otherwise, people won’t click through.
You can also add internal links at the end of a post to encourage people to check out similar content.
Related post widgets/plugins
You may have heard of LinkWithin or a similar related post widget or plugin. My WordPress theme from Pipdig has a plugin which shows similar content below my posts, designed to encourage people to click through if they want to read about related topics.
The key for relevancy with these is to make sure you are using categories or tags with your posts, as these widgets will tend to display posts that have the same or similar categories/tags attached. You’ll see that other posts of mine with the category ‘blogging’ will show below.
You can also add ‘popular post’ widgets into your sidebar to encourage visitors to view your most viewed posts. Depending on what platform you are on, you can edit the settings to show the posts you want to direct more traffic towards as well.
A surefire way to improve bounce rate is to have a blog which is nice and clean, and easy to navigate. Categories are handy again here, as you can add them to your top navigation menu, or in your sidebar. You’ll see at the top of this page that I have my main blog categories available to click on which then take you through to all posts with those categories assigned to them.
Never underestimate the importance of the way your blog looks – confusing navigation will discourage people from staying on your site.