Before we get started and learn how to reduce bounce rate for a blog let us first understand what we mean by the term ‘bounce rate’ and why it impacts the growth and search engine ranking of your blog posts. Also we’ll be having a quick look at bounce rate best practices for a better understanding on how you can lower the bounce rate on your blog.
What is ‘Bounce Rate’
Often used in internet marketing, bounce rate is a metric that is used to indicate the percentage of visitors who land on one of your web pages and then leave without clicking on to any of your other posts elsewhere on your website. In other words, they are referred to as single-page visitors.
Is Higher Bounce Rate Really that Bad
A high bounce rate generally indicates that people are not finding your content useful. But it not always like that. It also depends on the content and goal of your website. If the success of your blog depends on people visiting your homepage and then clicking on posts to read them but if they aren’t doing so, then it is a bad sign for your site. On the other hand, if your site is just focused on call to actions such as putting the visitor in contact with your pre-sales team, making them subscribe to your newsletter, gathering leads for your next big product or making them click out to an affiliate site, then it is perfectly normal – you need not worry about high bounce rates.
How to Reduce Bounce Rate for Your Blog
Improve your Content Readability – Write Readable Blog Posts
Content readability simply means how easy it is for your site’s visitor to read and process your content. Though it may not be directly taken as a ranking factor by search engines, your content’s readability is what that determines how long a visitor will stay on your site. The longer the visitor stays on your site, the better it is for search engines.
The first and foremost rule of content readability is, do not use complex words. You aren’t going to boast about your vocabulary to your readers unless your readers are PhD in English language and Literature.
Try not to make your sentences too long and confusing. People can easily get lost along the way and they will just run away from your site and never come back.
Write your post like how you would have a normal conversation with your friend, not like a project report, formal letter to a higher authority or something similar.
Make sure you use a legible and distinct font with proper font size for your blog. Using a highly stylized or cramped font is only going to make your readers close the browser tab for good even though your post may be ranking high in SERPs.
Use proper formatting and separate your content properly under related headings. Use H1 tag for your post title and H3 or H4 tags for subheadings.
Display a proper featured image and support your post with related images/graphs if possible. You can use a site like Pexels or Pixabay to get free high-definition images to be used on your blog.
Optimize Website for Mobile Devices
If you still haven’t optimized your website for smartphones and tablets, you are doing an injustice to visitors who arrive at your site using mobile devices. Moreover, the number of smart phone users are increasing rapidly and search engine traffic from mobile devices is at an all time high. Google has already started rolling out and testing its mobile-first indexing strategy for a handful of sites. You can learn more about it over here.
To check if your blog is mobile friendly already, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Just enter your URL (site link/address) and hit the ‘Run Test’ button to see how well you fare in front of Google’s smartphone bot.
Here are a few steps you can follow to make sure your website is mobile-friendly when Google fully rolls out its mobile-first index.
Choose a responsive web design by installing and activating a fully responsive WordPress theme. Or you can install a separate plugin to serve a mobile version of your site to visitors coming from smartphones and tablets. This can be done by installing a WordPress plugin like WPTouch, Any Mobile Theme Switcher, Mobile Smart or WordPress Mobile Pack. Alternatively, you can enable Jetpack’s own mobile theme if you are already using the Jetpack plugin on your site.
Compress and optimize your images before uploading to your blog. By just following this single step, you can cut down your page size by more than 60 percentage. Alternatively, you can compress them after uploading to your site by making use of a plugin like Smush Image Compression & Optimization or ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
Enable accelerated mobile pages on your WordPress site so that Google can load a simplified version your posts when the user is coming from a search engine and is on a slow internet connection. If you haven’t enabled AMP yet, you can do so by reading how to enable accelerated mobile pages on any WordPress site.
Reduce Page Load Time & Speed Up Your Website
According to one study by Akamai (the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processes online)
- 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
- 40% will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
- 52% of online shoppers say quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site.
Now do you realize why it is so important to have a quick loading web page? Because if you don’t then you are going to be pushed down the search engine result pages.
Reduce server response time by migrating your website to a better WordPress hosting platform – lower the response time, the better it is for your site. Also, you must enable GZIP compression on your WordPress site so that the required bandwidth is reduced.
GZIP compression can easily be achieved by installing and activating a proper WordPress caching plugin on your blog.
Deactivate and uninstall any unused plugin on your WordPress site. This helps you to get rid of unnecessary bloat and wastage of server resources.
Don’t Make a Mess Out of Your Blog
You might have started out blogging with a good thought of sharing information on your blog but what use is it if people can’t easily find the information what they came looking for. I have come across many bloggers who would display a whole lot of images on their blog’s sidebar. I mean, what’s the point? People do not care what blog awards you have been nominated for or to what blogger groups you belong. And it is so irritating to find many bloggers embedding a whole lot of social crap to their website making it crawl like a tortoise. Just keep in mind, embedding so many external resources to your blog’s widget area is going to slow down your website and visitors are going to be pissed off when that happens.
No one wants to see all your Instagram photos, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and Pinterest boards on your blog. It’s called a blog for a reason. Maybe you can add a link back to your social profiles, but embedding everything makes your blog look like a total mess. And again there are advertisement banners placed linking out to your blog sponsors/affiliate sites. All these reasons I assume contribute to readers don’t giving a damn about what’s displayed in your blog sidebar.
Long back, links to important content of any website can be found in its sidebar but nowadays it’s filled with junk – a place where all nonsense resides contributing nothing and adding no value to your blog. You can change this trend by placing useful and fewer number of widgets in your blog sidebar and getting rid off all social media embeds. For a change, add something which the visitor might find useful and at the most display just one advertisement on your sidebar.
Thus I hope that you found this post helpful in learning more about bounce rate, higher and lower bounce rate circumstances and how to reduce your website’s bounce rate. If you liked this post, I’m quite sure you would also love my post on WordPress SEO plugins for getting higher SERP rankings.