Bounce rate plays an important role in a blog or website’s overall success.
Reduced bounce rate not only helps your content to rank higher in search engines (SEO benefits), but also affects the ROI or revenue in a big way.
No matter whether you are selling products and services, or simply offering informative content (with contextual Ads) via your blog; a lower bounce rate helps to engage your readers or consumers resulting in higher conversion rate.
Definition: Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors landing on a web-page, and leave the website without visiting other content or pages.
Crunchy Numbers: Bounce rate of 50% is considered as average, 60% or more is high average and more than 80% is problematic.
1. Make your blog content-rich
Give your readers more choice. If you are creating quality and compelling content, why not display more of them.
You can make you blog content rich by – Displaying popular posts, tag cloud, archive etc. on the side bar to access more and more posts easily by your visitors. Display around 8 to 10 posts on your HOME page instead of 5 to 6 for better reader engagement.
The whole idea is to make your best creations reachable to the visitors from any page of your blog. It’s a definite way to reduce the bounce rate of a site.
2. Reduce Ad Display
Nobody likes annoying Ads while reading articles.
Offer your readers better user experience, and position your Ads in such a way that they don’t interfere the flow of the article.
More number of Ads makes a blog spammy looking. And, if they are on above the fold, then it looks even more spammy. Usually, visitors don’t consider such sites for repeat visits.
To earn revenue you have to monetize your blog, you have to show Ads. But do it judiciously to improve bounce rate of your blog.
3. Increase website speed
Online readers have less attention span than their offline counterparts.
Nobody likes a slow loading website. Even a fraction of second increase in page loading speed costs large websites like Amazon and eBay to loose millions of dollar.
A fast loading website makes a visitor happy and prompts him to surf more. Make your blog theme light, get rid of unnecessary plugins, clean-up unnecessary codes in your template file, and use less number of graphics.
4. Clear navigation structure
A prominent, well structured and easily clickable navigation structure increases page views.
Every pages on your blog should be reachable with minimum possible clicks from any pages. Along with a well organized MENU (navigation), you should consider pagination system instead of previous post and next post links. Even, you can add your most important categories and pages at the footer for better user experience.
You can take the help of WordPress plugin called WP-PageNavi to add a beautiful pagination system to your blog.
5. Smart interlinking of pages
Interlinking of other relevant content on article body reduces bounce rate greatly.
Readers like to click internal links on blog post to know more by referring related topics. But don’t put too many links for the sake of interlinking. It again looks spammy.
Along with improved bounce rate, internal linking of pages helps your SEO efforts by passing link juice and anchor text benefits.
6. Clever using of outgoing links
Many a times you put external links on your blog post as a source of reference. This is good from usability point of view.
But placing an outgoing link at the beginning of the first paragraph is not a clever approach. Outgoing links act as an exit point for visitors. Your initial few links should be internal to lower the bounce rate. You can put outbound links in the second half or at the end of the article.
Your outgoing links should open in a new window tab instead of the same tab. In this way visitors return to your site easily and read further.
7. Say no to annoying Pop-ups
Web users hate pop-ups. No matter how important and the nature of pop-ups it is.
Few pop-ups are structured such a way that it open after few seconds of reading the article, usually to collect some user data or social media gain. Due to its obstructive nature people surf less on your site.
Placing a social pop-up on the HOME page does more harm than good. Readers don’t like repeat visits to these type of blogs. The reasons may be due to the obstruction and delayed loading. Why to visit pop-ups filled blogs, when plenty of great blogs without pop-ups are readily available.
8. Offer related posts at the end
A better way to keep readers Engadget is offering the related posts at the end of the article.
People love to read related posts if you offer quality content on your blog. You can take the help of WordPress Related Posts plugin to achieve this. A surefire way to engage readers to reduce bounce rate of your blog.
9. Make your readers comfortable
Make your readers’ stay comfortable on your blog.
They are like your guests. Make them comfortable by giving a homely feeling to consume more.
To do this – Make your blog easily readable by giving emphasis on font size, font color, background contrast etc. Using of pleasant and minimum colors with a simple (to navigate) layout provide comfort to blog readers. Happy readers surf more pages reducing bounce rate of your blog.
10. Make your website responsive
Use of mobile devices like smart phones and tabs to access online information is increasing exponentially.
In year 2014, online surfing via mobile devices is going to surpass the desktop. So make your website mobile ready for readers on the go. As such, bounce rate on mobile devices is very high due to less attention span of mobile surfers.
I recommend a responsive website or blog as per Google’s guidelines instead of a separate mobile version. Both have their pros and cons. But a responsive layout outweighs the mobile version in many ways.
I know, there are few more tips I have left to reduce the bounce rate of a blog. Now its your turn to add that in the comments below.