Bounce rate is a measurement by Google that calculates how many bounces you’ve had from your website. A bounce is when a visitor comes to your site and that visitor does not click through to another page on your site, but instead, leaves.
Google wants visitors to read on and visit other pages on our sites and blogs, so it calculates how many visitors there were in total and how many left without taking any action, and that determines the bounce rate. Technically, a high bounce rate is not the end of the world because if the reader came in and got what they needed and did not go back to the drawing board and search more, then you are okay. But
analyzing bounce rate is vital because a high bounce rate can be a sign of a bigger problem: website disorganization Click To Tweet and brand mis-messaging.
What is the ideal bounce rate?
The higher the number, the worse it is for us, but don’t fret just yet. You don’t want lower than 20% because Google may actually think something is wrong, as the average bounce rate is between 40-55% but honestly for blogs it is more like 55%-70%.
Blog posts do tend to have a higher bounce rate because visitors may come in, read the blog post and leave.
Here are ten things you can do today to reduce your bounce rate
grab your free checklist.
BOUNCE RATE CHECK LIST!
Track your current bounce rate and see if you need further tweaks. Log into your Google Analytics and check your current bounce rate. Then compare your bounce rate in the last couple of months to see if it has dropped or raised. If it was higher than 70%, then investigate how you can reduce it. Watch this video to learn how to find your bounce rate and compare to the past.
#1. Analyze your home page and make tweaks. When your clients land on your home page, they are thinking the following.
- Where am I?
- What can I do here?
- What do I need to do next?
- Why this site and not another?
If I land on your website, I should know what is it about, so do you have a tagline listed? Text on a header? Bio photo with some info? Also, can I see where you are located right away? Remember, web visitors link through from an array of places, like photos, pins, posts, and other bloggers linking to you. Don’t assume they will know exactly what your site, service or products are about when they land there.
Many creatives have gorgeous websites with images and video but are missing an important element. It is called hand holding. Your website needs to be like the parent guiding the three-year-old to cross the street, holding their hand. You can not expect your site visitors to know exactly where to click and what to do. Sometimes I see photo galleries that the visitor has to click to advance or to see, but if you don’t tell them that, they won’t know. Think like the visitor, and not like your industry. Make sure you are telling them, and make sure you visit your own site as a visitor to check out their experience! Here are a few examples I love. These two are photographers but they tell you this right away.
Action Plan: Add text to header, tag line or bio photo with some info. Plus, add text informing visitors what to do and where to click.
To view some feedback examples I gave during my live one hour presentation on reducing bounce rate, join the Fuse Lounge , then go to Past Events and find the past Tuesday’s talk on Bounce Rate.
#2. Fix your navigation bar. Next comes your navigation bar. You should have your menu text and pages in the order you want your visitors to navigate from left to right. Our eyes automatically read from left to right, so guide your visitor exactly where you want them to go, and move your more important page links/tabs to the left. I love blogs that have a start here button such as By Regina and plan to add one myself.
Action Plan: Change the order of your navigation bar.
#3. Blogging direction.
When blogging, make sure you have links to some of your other blogs placed within that post. Also, have a “related posts” plugin, so when the reader arrives at the end of the post, they can view more. Two plugins I recommend are YARPP or Related posts plugin. I personally use YARPP and you can see at bottom of this post.
You also want to analyze your top pages. Do you guide your visitor to easily get to those pages? Do you give a call to action at the end of those pages to guide them where to go next?
Action Plan: Add a related-posts plugin. Add call to action text at end of important pages guiding the audience.
#4. Blogging readability. You want to break up your posts so they are easy to read:
- Add bullet points or numbered lists
- Add text in between the graphics
- Add more graphics. I love how the folks at CoSchedule break up their long ass posts. They make it easy to understand and navigate and even skip around. I love what Coschedule does with their very long blog posts and something I need to improve in. They have a table of contents so you can hop around plus they break up the text with graphics summarizing the posts.
- You can also add H1 or H2 headings to break up sections of your posts if they are very long.
Action Plan: Check past posts to see if they need more photos or the post needs to be broken up better.
#5. Speed. Website speed impacts SEO. PERIOD! Having a slow site will annoy your reader and annoy Google. If you’re on WordPress, I recommend you use a caching plugin to help speed up your site. Speaking of plugins, if you have too many, this can weigh down your site, so be sure to keep only vital plugins you absolutely need. Check when the plugin was updated last to see if it’s not causing any kinks.
Action Plan. Install the caching plugin and test the speed of your site here.
#6. Resize your photos. Also, make sure you are not using huge image files. Most blog templates recommend photos be no bigger than 900 pixels wide. I make most of my graphics in Canva, which has good-sized templates, but if you can resize images in Lightroom, BlogStomp, Photoshop ( love this tutorial here) or you can also use an image-compression plugin like WP Smush.
Action Plan: Set a workflow of how you will resize your blog photos.
#7. Create great content that will keep bringing readers back again and again. As creatives, we have a tendency to open our blogging dashboard and just stare at the blank draft screen in hopes of the writing fairies to blow their magic dust and whip us up a brand-spanking-new blog post. Then we are caught watching cat videos or political memes, and the post is still not done. Do not reinvent the wheel, my friend, check your Analytics or your CoSchedule top posts to see the five top posts on your blog. See which topics were covered? Now make more posts of those topics. Some things may have changed, so you can do a series, write on new findings, or even do a curated post such as the top ten articles I’ve found on topic X. Overall, you want to create great content with your reader in mind, so they come back and read more and more.
Action Plan. Create a library of ideas for your blog post. Read how to become a better blogger blog post I did here.
#8. Fix your broken links, YO.
Seasons change, feelings change.It’s been so long since I found you, yet it seems like yesterday. (Okay, 80’s song flashback… sorry.) But your photos change, web pages change, and so do links you once linked out to. Use a plugin like Broken Link Checker, which will scan your site for broken links, and you can then avoid 404 Errors, which Google does not like and will cause your audience to leave for sure.
Action Plan: Install a Broken Links plugin. Do a scan and fix the broken links.
#9. Open new links in a new tab. According to UXMovement, “when you open external links in the same tab, you create back button fatigue for users.”
Action Plan: Moving forward, always choose “open in new tab”.
#10. Mobile Friendly. I have blogged about this, and if you look at your Analytics you will see that more and more readers are on mobile, so make sure your site is mobile friendly. According to Neil Patel, we’re living in the mobile age. Almost 95% of your customers are on mobile, so your site must be optimized for them. Neil also states If you’re a WordPress user, it’s very easy to make your site responsive. All you’ve got to do is install the JetPack plugin and activate the mobile theme. You can also use the WPTouch plugin.
If you’re not using WordPress and you’re not a technical person, you may need to get a professional to help you out.
Action Plan: Take the mobile friendly test and check for mobile versions available for your site.
So get on it and check to see if your website needs a structure improvement.