The ultimate guide to your bounce rate

Do you know what your bounce rate is?

If you’re a blogger, your “bounce rate” is something you might not have thought about for your blog before. Heck, you might not even know what it is. I certainly didn’t when I started blogging!

(If you haven’t started a blog yet, be sure to check out my ultimate how to start a blog guide. You can have your own blog up and running for less than £2 per month!).

This post is an introduction to bounce rates, including what they are and how to check yours.

WHAT IS A BOUNCE RATE? 

A bounce rate measures the amount of people who visit your blog and then leave it after only visiting one page. Essentially, the amount of visitors who “bounce” out of your blog.

HOW DO READERS BOUNCE?

People leave your blog for any of the following reasons:

  • Going back to search results

They might have read a section of your post and decided it’s not for them and returned to Google (or whatever they used to search) for other results. Or they might have read your whole post and got the information they needed, and then decided to go back.

  • Closing the browser

Perhaps your post was the last one they wanted to read, and they’ve closed the browser after it.

  • Entering a new URL in the address bar

Your post might have reminded them of another blog they liked and they went to visit it. Or you mentioned a product and now they’ve entered the URL of a shopping website into the address bar to go and buy that product.

  • Clicking on external link 

If your post mentions a website they haven’t heard of before, chances are they will click on it to see what it is immediately, leaving your blog in the process.

WHAT IS A “GOOD” BOUNCE RATE?

A “good” bounce rate number varies depending on the type of website. So for online shops and ecommerce sites, you’d expect to have quite a low rate as the majority of people should be browsing different pages in order to buy something.

However for blogs, a “good” bounce rate is much higher, because many people will just read your post and then leave.

According to CXL, a good bounce rate for bloggers is anywhere between 65% and 90%. Anything lower than 65% would be considered excellent.

Whilst there isn’t an exact figure for a good bounce rate, there is definitely a bad bounce rate. If 100% of the people visiting your blog are leaving it after reading one post/ visiting one page, it’s a sign you’re doing something wrong.

WHY DOES MY BOUNCE RATE FOR MY BLOG MATTER?

Bounce rates are important if you have a blog as they give an insight into the behaviour of your blog readers.

So for example, if you have a post on your blog where your bounce rate is 100%. It shows that 100% of people on your blog are reading that post and leaving as soon as they’ve read it.

This isn’t great for you as a blogger. You want to be engaging as many people who visit your blog as possible!

HOW DO I CHECK MY BOUNCE RATE?

The best way to check your bounce rate is using Google Analytics.

If you go to the Google Analytics dashboard, you can see your bounce rate for your blog easily.

bounce rate google analytics home

This shows my bounce rate for the last 7 days. You can change it so you can see your bounce rate for the last month, or even just for a day, by changing the settings here.

change bounce rate for different lengths of time

Obviously this just shows the bounce rate for your blog overall. It can be helpful to see the specific bounce rate for each of you blog pages and posts. 

You can do this by going to Behaviour> Site Content> Landing pages.

On the right hand side you will then be able to see the bounce rate for each page and post.

bounce rate for individual posts

MY BOUNCE RATE IS HIGH. ARE HIGH BOUNCE RATES BAD?

No!

One of the reasons people bounce from blogs is because they’ve read the post and got what they need. So, it might just mean your readers are after one thing, and your post has given them that.

However, a high bounce rate can be a bad sign. As a blogger, I know I want people to be visiting other pages and posts on my blog before they leave. So the lower my bounce rate, the better really. And if you’re a blogger I’m sure you feel the same!

WHY IS MY BOUNCE RATE SO HIGH?

So you’ve checked your blog bounce rate, and it’s high (like almost 100%). Why is this? 

Your blog bounce rate might be high because:

  • …It’s a blog

As we’ve already seen the bounce rates for blogs tend to be particularly high (up to 90% is considered “good”).

  • Your blog is still growing

If your blog is new or you’re gaining traffic, the majority of your page views will be people visiting your blog for the first time. Lots of these people will just read your post, then leave, meaning if the amount of new users you have is high, chances are your bounce rate will be too. 

Once your blog has grown or is more established, you’ll have readers who are interested in you and what you have to say. These engaged blog readers want to hear what you have to say, and will read more of your posts, lowering your bounce rate.

  • Because of the way you obtain your readers

You bounce rate varies depending on how someone has visited your website. You can see how someone has arrived at your blog by going to your Google Analytics dashboard, then clicking Acquisition>Overview. Then you can also see the bounce rate depending on how you acquire your readers.

bounce rate by acquisition

So you can see that for my blog I get a lot of my readers through social media. But the few that I get through referral (other people talking about my blog on their website) tend to visit other pages a lot more before they leave.

  • Your post is good!

Remember, a high bounce rate isn’t bad! Say someone wants to know how to add covers to their Pinterest boards. And your post shows them exactly how to do it, they follow along and it’s done. The reader got want they want, and then they leave. So it’s not always a bad thing!

  • Not so good reasons which are making people leave 

As we’ve seen, there are good reasons why your bounce rate will be high. However, there are a lot of bad reasons people might be bouncing out of your blog.

Want to engage your blog readers more? Check out this post all about your bounce rate, including why your bounce rate is so high.

WHAT ARE THE BAD REASONS MY BOUNCE RATE IS HIGH?

People might be bouncing out of your blog for the following (not so good) reasons:

  • The readers you have obtained don’t actually want to be there
  • They weren’t impressed with the post they read and don’t want to read more
  • You blog is hard to navigate
  • Your blog isn’t loading quick enough

And more.

As you can see, there are more bad reasons that your bounce rate is high, rather than good.

TO SUM UP: 

  • Your bounce rate measures the amount of people who visit your blog and then leave after only reading one post/ page.
  • Readers bounce a number of ways, such as going back to search results, closing their browser or clicking on an external link.
  • A “good” bounce rate for bloggers is between 65% and 90%, which is considerably higher than other types of websites.
  • Your bounce rate is important for you as a blogger as it shows if people are engaging with your content.
  • You can check your bounce rate for both your blog overall, for individual pages and posts and for how you acquire your readers using Google Analytics.
  • Your bounce rate might be high because your blog is still growing, because of how you obtain your readers, or even just because it’s a blog.
  • High bounce rates aren’t always a bad thing. It might just show your readers are getting what they want out of your posts.
  • There are bad reasons why your bounce rate is high, such as you have readers that don’t actually want to be there, your posts aren’t giving them enough, or your blog is hard to navigate/ doesn’t load fast enough.

PLEASE HELP ME LOWER MY BOUNCE RATE!

I hear you.

That’s why I’ve made a separate post all about how to lower your bounce rate, coming soon!

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