‘Bounce rate’ is not only something that is referred to when sending emails (or cheques.. If anyone still uses those?) It is, in fact, a super useful metric that can be commonly overlooked when starting out with marketing your website or blog.
What are bounce rates?
Bounce rates measure the percentage of single-page visits on a website. In simple terms, it’s a measurement of the number of visitors who enter a website, but don’t stay to view any other pages. A high bounce rate usually means that the website isn’t fulfilling the needs or expectations of its visitors, while a low bounce rate suggests that visitors are interacting with the site successfully and finding the information they’re searching for.
High bounce rate = Unhappy visitors
Low bounce rate = Happy visitors
Bounce rates aren’t something to be overlooked as a blogger. It is an essential tool for providing insight into the overall user experience and effectiveness of your blog. If a website has a high bounce rate, it may indicate problems with the design, content, or functionality of the website, and may require changes to enhance the user experience and engagement.
Bloggers would want to avoid high bounce rates for their blog for several reasons:
User Experience: A high bounce rate implies that the blog is not meeting the expectations of its visitors, leading to a poor user experience and negative perception of the blog.
Engagement: A high bounce rate suggests that visitors are quickly leaving the site, meaning they’re not engaging with the blog’s content. This can result in lower levels of engagement, such as fewer comments, shares, and repeat visits.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Bounce rate is a factor considered by search engines when ranking websites, and a high bounce rate can harm a blog’s search engine rankings.
Ad Revenue: If a blog earns revenue from advertising, a high bounce rate can result in lower earnings, as fewer page views mean fewer chances for ads to be displayed and clicked.
Traffic: A high bounce rate may indicate that the blog is not attracting the right audience, leading to lower levels of traffic and fewer opportunities for growth and engagement.
How to check your bounce rate
To check your website’s bounce rate, you’ll first need to log in to your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have an account yet, you will need to create one first.
Once you’re logged in, choose the website you want to check from your account dashboard, then look for the “Audience” tab on the left-hand side of the page and click on it.
Next, click on “Overview” to see your website’s traffic statistics, and your website’s overall bounce rate which can be found in the “Bounce Rate” column.
You can even dig deeper and check the bounce rate for individual pages on your site, go to the “Behavior” tab in the left-hand sidebar and click on “Site Content”. Then, select “All Pages” to see a list of every page on your website and their respective bounce rates.
From there, you can click on any page to see more detailed information about its bounce rate, including the percentage of users who left the page after viewing it for a certain amount of time.
What causes high bounce rates?
High bounce rates can happen for a number of reasons. Most commonly, it involves an overall poor experience for the user which causes them to leave the page without engaging with your blog or website. Usually, this is something that can be figured out by vetting your website or asking someone else for their opinion, if you struggle to see exactly what needs improving.
Here are 10 things that can cause a high bounce rate for bloggers:
- Slow Load Time: Websites that take too long to load can cause users to lose interest and leave the site, resulting in a high bounce rate.
- Poor User Experience: Websites that are difficult to navigate or have a cluttered or confusing layout can cause users to become frustrated and leave the site, resulting in a high bounce rate.
- Inconsistent or Outdated Content: Blogs that contain inconsistent or outdated content can cause users to lose confidence in the site, resulting in a high bounce rate.
- Lack of Relevant Information: Websites that lack the information that users are looking for can cause them to quickly leave the site, resulting in a high bounce rate.
- Unappealing Design: Websites with an unappealing design can make blogs look ‘spammy’. This includes things like outdated graphics, cluttered layouts, lots of pop-ups or ads. These things can cause users to quickly lose interest and leave the site, resulting in a high bounce rate.
- Poor Mobile Experience: Websites that are not optimised for mobile devices can result in a poor user experience. For mobile users, this is going to result in users leaving your blog altogether.
- Pop-Ups and Distractions: This especially causes high bounce rates for bloggers, whose users are likely to quickly get annoyed by lots of pop-ups.. even if they aren’t ads. There is a fine line between a pop-up to prompt a sign up to a newsletter and pop-ups on every. single. page. There are even pop-ups that are designed to ask users to stay when they click out of the tab. Websites with too many pop-ups or distractions can cause users to quickly leave the site.
- Technical Errors: Websites that contain technical errors, such as expired SSL certificates, exposed code, broken links or missing images can cause users to quickly leave the site, resulting in a high bounce rate.
- Lack of Engagement: Websites that lack engaging content or calls-to-action can result in a lack of user engagement, causing users to quickly leave the site and resulting in a high bounce rate. This isn’t to be overdone though, as too many CTA’s in the form of pop-ups especially can have the opposite effect.
- Targeting the Wrong Audience: Blogs that mislead their audience or are in fact not targeted towards the right audience can result in a high bounce rate, as users may not find the information they are looking for and quickly leave the site. An example of this might be a blogger who writes about luxury travel, but is targeting an audience of budget-conscious travellers. The blogger’s content might include recommendations for expensive hotels, high-end restaurants, and exclusive experiences that are out of reach for the average budget traveller.
Now.. let’s take a look at how to actually reduce the bounce rate of your blog.
How to improve your bounce rate
Okay. Time to talk about improving your bounce rate.. The end goal is to make user experience better and keep users engaged on your website for longer. Once you have figured out where you might be going wrong, you can hone in on fixing those issues. To start with, you can look at doing the following:
- Make your website visually appealing and easy to navigate. An easy fix, but it can make a huge difference. Use clear, modern fonts and engaging multimedia to draw readers in and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. Ditch those old social media logos and 90’s website design.
- Speed up your website’s load times by optimising images and code. You would be surprised how quickly people lose patience in today’s fast paced digital world! A long loading time can increase bounce rates significantly if left unchecked. Check with your blog’s hosting provider if you notice your page load times are too long.
- Create high-quality content that meets the needs of your target audience. This means using engaging language, relevant topics, personal pictures and videos to keep readers interested.
- Reduce ads and pop-ups. This one explains itself.. No one likes a page filled with ads and annoying pop-ups.
- Use internal linking to encourage readers to stay on your site longer. This will help them discover related content and keep them engaged with your blog. Personal and interesting stories, or trending topics can be a good place to start.
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate with clear menus, search functionality, and links to related content. Easier navigation will help readers find what they’re looking for and stay on your site longer.
- Optimise your content for search engines by using keywords and meta descriptions. This is a good trick that will help engagement, since search engines are likely to recommend your content if it is good quality and well optimised. It will also help attract the right audience to your blog and keep them engaged with your content.
To put it briefly, a sky-high bounce rate can harm your blog’s engagement levels and damage its overall effectiveness. Nevertheless, adopting some of the game-changing approaches we’ve just gone over can transform your blog’s design, content, and user experience, helping you keep your readers interested and minimise bounce rates.
Make sure you’re keeping a close eye on your site’s metrics and making the appropriate tweaks to keep improving engagement over the long haul. And now, it’s your turn – how have you succeeded in taming your blog’s bounce rates? I’m all ears – share your tips with us in the comments section below!