Ways to Reduce Your Blog's Bounce Rate

by JoHarrington

There are many tricks or incentives that bloggers can use to invite their readers to check out your other content. Your analytics rating will love it.

The key to reducing your blog's bounce rate is first to understand it. Then you can add in all manner of tips and tricks, which bring it down.

In this Wizzle, I have collected some of those together to start you off. But the best practices of all are those which you discover for yourself. They may be unique to you, thus readers are more likely to warm to them.

It's a desirable thing to do, as search engines increasingly look at the bounce rate to determine how well your article answers search queries.

Making Every Visitor Welcome in Your Internet Home

The aim is to attract readers further into your blog. Your bounce rate depends upon it.

Photo: Door KnockerAnyone can knock on your front door. They could be a postal worker delivering a parcel or a religious evangelist come to save your soul. It could be a neighbor asking if you would move your car or a lost passer-by seeking directions.

These people rarely make it past your doorstep. They arrive with a query or a message, receive their answer and move on into the rest of their lives.

In many ways, they are like the random visitors to your blog. These are the people who come to read a single entry, then click right away into new wonders of the internet.

They are raising your bounce rate through the roof.

Occasionally your doorbell will ring to announce a different kind of visitor. Friends or family smile back at you and they come inside. They will see more than your front porch. They'll wander through the hallway and settle down in the lounge. There's a nice cup of tea in everyone's hands, as they catch up on all of the news.

A successful blogger will treat every individual entering their site as a long-lost friend. Leaving them standing on the landing page should be considered impolite. Invitations to check out other areas will add value to your greeting. As they click onto another page, it is the cyberworld equivalent of you leading them onto a comfortable sofa and offering a nice, warm drink.

That is the way that you bring your bounce rate down.

Understanding your Blog's Bounce Rate

If visitors look at just the landing page, then

  • Return to the search engine
  • Click the back button
  • Leave your page in a tab/window idling for more than 30 minutes
  • Follow an external link elsewhere

you will receive a high bounce rate percentage.

More Blogging Tips

People clicking too quickly off your site means that they didn't find anything of interest there. The search engine makes a note.
Using the same word over and over again used to be a sure-fire way to get search engine hits. Now it will just get you fired.

Treat Every Page as your Homepage

Your blog has many, many front doors welcoming in your guests. Have you ensured that all of the doorsteps are scrubbed?

Every website creator has spent hours agonizing over their homepage. Are the colors right? First impressions are always formed by aesthetics; snap judgements made of patterns and pixels. The content is secondary. It might have been the hook that brought them here, but if the page doesn't look inviting, then the words might not even be read.

Homepages get poured over and tweaked. Endless rounds of feedback from friends and experts cause another experimental redesign. It is important, because this is the portal into your site. It's the door through which your readers and/or potential customers will come. Except it's not.

For bloggers especially, the front door to your blog tends to be individual articles. These are the ones whose links turn up in search engines or get passed around in social networking sites. The entry point for your readers is called the landing page. It is invariably not that wonderful introduction that you spend so long perfecting.

There can be huge clues as to which are your real 'homepages'. They are the blog entries and articles with the highest number of hits. If you wish to be precise about this, then using a tracking program is the way forward. The most popular of these is Google Analytics, but there are others. They will tell you which are your main landing pages and what happened next for those who read them.

At the very least, these are the pages that you should be pouring care and attention upon. Have you triple checked for typos? Are all of your links live? Are your images fantastic and your writing the best that you've ever done?  Forget about your designated homepage. No-one has looked at that since you last asked your mother for her opinion. These are your homepages, so treat them as such. Make them your face to the digital world.

If you want your bounce rate to be reduced, then your top 10 landing pages are where you should be extending the most invitations to come inside. The majority of your readers will have entered through here. If they then exited from it, they have pushed your percentage up. These pages are both the source of your unhappy bounce rate and the greatest opportunity to make it lower.

If you want to be truly brilliant, then treat everything you ever create as your homepage. You never know which will be the one to go viral.

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Where Else Can Your Readers Go?

You want visitors to your blog to then click somewhere else. Time to pay attention to your navigation.

You are staring at a Wizzley page right now. Forget the content for a second and take another look from the point of view of bounce rate. Is there anything here which might persuade you to investigate another page on this website?

I've counted eleven links surrounding just the topmost title. You can visit Wizzley's homepage (twice) or have a choice of the topic category and all the sub-categories leading to Blogging Tips.

Then you get to my profile page, message me, become my fan, look at my articles or peruse my newest output. Clicking any one of them would reduce the bounce rate for either Wizzley as a whole or my own little section of it.

Continue down the right hand sidebar and there are invitations to read other articles. They are contextualized with this one. The wonderful web team here designed it knowing that anyone reading the current article is likely to want to look at others within the same broad topic spectrum. Anyone accepting such an invitation will be lowering the bounce rate percentage for this page.

I didn't leave such important matters to a site template. I had my own welcome to make. Look again at the section headed Understanding Your Blog's Bounce Rate. Right next to it, I inserted a couple of likely links. They are relevant to the article that you are reading. One gives a wider introduction to the same subject. The other provides information on a related field. They would be worth checking out.

(And just in case you did miss that the first time, I've just handed you another link to direct you straight back to it.)

Now scroll down to the comments. If a discussion is in full swing, then there will be an array of links to people's profiles, not least my own. Keep on going and you'll see two tiny links. Here you can print out my article to keep safe amongst your memoirs. Alternatively, if you hate it, you can flag the content and complain about me to the Wizzley team. These are all taking you to other pages. They would knock down that bounce rate.

Finally we reach the footer. It holds nothing but links to the rest of the website. I count fourteen there at the time of writing. They're all necessary and functional, but they could have that dual purpose of navigation to bring down Wizzley's percentage of bouncing readers.

The first time you looked, did you even notice every single one of those invitations to travel further? The secret isn't to merely provide the links, but to make them perfectly integrated to your landing page's content. No-one likes to feel pressured into going elsewhere for all that they came to see. But adding value to your page with promises of more is entirely acceptable. More than that, it should be mandatory!

3 Ways to Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Producing a variety of media to get your message across will help bring that percentage down.

How to Make an Income from your Blog

Buy these guides to learn how to monetise your on-line writing.

Vigilance on the Web (Or Being Your Own Guinea Pig)

Prepare for a voyage of digital discovery. The doors of perception are open and you will see the internet as it truly is.

Photo: EyesYou have witnessed how Wizzley and I have worked towards inviting our visitors to view more, but what about other sites? 

No-one here is going to be solely a blogger. You are an internet user too. As you surf the 'net, there will be some sites from which you bounce straight off. There will be others which made you stick around. How did they do that? 

Now that you have awareness of bounce rates, keep that question at the back of your mind. Each time you find yourself being drawn into a website, enjoy the content, then go back. Retracing your steps will highlight what it was about the page that made you want more. If it was something that could be emulated on your own blog, then do it! If it worked on you, then it will work on your readers too.

Similarly, if you were about to bounce right off, then pause for a moment and determine why. Is it a mistake that you are making on your own pages? If so, go and get that aspect corrected. You know from experience that it puts people off.

It's ok to experiment. There are millions of websites, books, conference speakers, podcasts and film focused on sharing their own tips on perfect optimization practices, but this is your internet home. You have control of the decor and the statistics at your fingertips. When you get it right through your own observations, then you might have something that no-one else ever thought about before. That's innovation and that could bring in the crowds. Do it!

Things I Saw on the Internet Today

We're all friends and colleagues here. Let's share our insights with each other!

I ventured further into a site because...
DavidPaulWagner on 04/30/2012

At the end of an article on a battle, it said:
"The War Continues...
Read on... [The Battle of Waterloo]"
the text in square brackets was linked to the next article in the series.

JoHarrington on 01/16/2012

Towards the end of the article, a slide appeared at the foot of the page. It suggested another article with an intriguing title, relevant to the one that I was reading!

Tips to Bring Down Your Bounce Rate

A checklist to work through as you tackle that tricky percentage!

We've covered a lot of ground, so here is an overview of the ways you can immediately target your bounce rate percentage:

  • Look at the aesthetics - does your blog look attractive?
  • Identify your landing pages and give them special attention
  • Write or otherwise provide more content just like those popular pages (then interlink them)
  • Ensure that your blog's navigation provides lots of opportunities for reader exploration
  • Check your external links to make sure they open in another window (you don't want people leaving in that way!)
  • Add multimedia content, including videos and audio options, such as podcasts
  • Work through the rest of your blog/website and imagine each page as a homepage

Above and beyond these tips, you should simply have great content. That is the be all and end all of any blog. Just be the best that you possibly can. They will come.

The Visitor
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More Tips for Online Writers

Thematic bloggers act like speculators on the futures stock market. They are hoping to get in at the ground floor.
People clicking too quickly off your site means that they didn't find anything of interest there. The search engine makes a note.
Using the same word over and over again used to be a sure-fire way to get search engine hits. Now it will just get you fired.
Chitika provides on-line advertisements that complement, or act as a replacement for, Google Adsense; but they work in a different way.
Updated: 03/18/2014, JoHarrington
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


JoHarrington on 08/22/2014

You and me both!

I spend many evenings reading stuff online, while chatting with friends in Skype. As I'm deaf in one ear, I can't differentiate between conflicting sounds. So if we're mid-conversation and a webpage plays a video, I'm not only off out of there, but make a mental note not to go back. Automatically playing videos are the bane of the partially deaf.

And yes, I too have my external links opening in a new window. I think I'm right in thinking that's the default on Wizzley. But I could check with Simon if needful.

AngelaJohnson on 08/22/2014

I've always had my external links open in a new window. I never want people to leave my web pages (for good) for someone else's. I think video is important and spend time looking for good, relevant videos on youtube. But I HATE it when a video starts playing without me pushing a button or a link. If that happens, I leave.

JoHarrington on 12/08/2013

I'm glad that it's proving to be so useful!

cmoneyspinner on 12/07/2013

Have to bookmark this. I'll have to constantly refer to the guidance.

JoHarrington on 12/06/2013

You're very welcome!

Mira on 12/06/2013

These are some very useful tips. Thank you, Jo. I'll make time to look at Google Analytics again.

JoHarrington on 12/04/2013

You're very welcome.

All people are different on what they prefer for inter-related links. I try to add specifically related ones, as they turn up throughout the article. Then more distantly related ones at the end. Unless it's telling a sequential story - like with my St Patrick life story, or the Wars of the Roses ones - in which case the next installment goes at the end.

Think like a reader. Where is the most sensible place for your links to go, if you were navigating through the article?

CeresSchwarz on 12/03/2013

Thank you for all the helpful tips on how to reduce a blog's bounce rate. I agree about making sure external links open in a new window. I also do that for the sources of my images here on Wizzley.

Do you recommend adding related links at the end of a blog post even if said blog post already has tags at the end of it and even if the tags page is accessible in the sidebar? Or should there be some related links in the text of the blog post itself?

JoHarrington on 10/22/2012

I'm proud that I was able to give you that piece; and thank you for your insights here too. By all working together to share tips, we all turn out a little wiser. Plus there's the capacity for wider experimentation to see what works.

I do precisely what you do. I stare long and hard at the best and the worst of my bounce rate stats. Then I try to work out what caused each extreme. You gradually erode away at the mists, in order to determine best practice for yourself.

Thanks for sharing.

2uesday on 10/22/2012

Without reading this months ago I would not have been able to compare and understand bounce rate on the sites I write on.

I returned to read this as I am seeing big differences in bounce rate between the online places that I write on; and I am trying to work out what causes that. It is the sort of thing that interests me, but that I also think is useful for online writers to consider. If I can figure out the good bits of the best and the bad bits of the worst, I might be able to apply it to my future writing.

I started thinking about this because one of the places I have articles on has a bounce rate that I know is really bad. My Wizzley pages bounce rate look good and seem OK to me. I have one blog/domain that has a very low bounce rate and is worth building on. When I look at the Analytics stats. of the three; it is not surprising that the page views and duration of visit matches the pattern of the bounce rate.

The comparison also started out as a way to improve the rate on the high bounce rate site, but I have now concluded it is a lost cause. Especially, as I am guessing it is not due to any of the factors that I am in control of. After all, if people are staying on my Wizzley pages longer and are engaging with the writing on my blogs, then it is probably a case of appearance or too many ads. putting people off on the other site.

See what you started here, you gave me the first piece and most important piece of the puzzle.

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